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Smack dab

Posted by R. Berg on July 19, 2001

In Reply to: Smack dab posted by Brent Geppert on July 19, 2001

: Does anyone know the origins of "smack dab in the middle?"

"Smack dab" makes sense as a combination of two adverbs, each derived from a noun, if we look at some definitions in the right order.

Webster's Second Unabridged Dict. , SMACK as a noun (sense 3): "A resounding slap or crack; a quick, smart blow . . ."

Same dictionary, SMACK as an adverb: "1. With the sudden violence of a smack; squarely and sharply . . . ; as, he ran smack into him. 2. As direct or as evident as a smack; completely; undeviatingly."

Same dictionary, DAB as a noun (sense 1): "A blow; variously, (a) A gentle blow, as with the hand or a soft substance. (b) A sudden hit; a peck, thrust, or sharp slap."

Same dictionary, DAB as an adverb: "With a dab; sharply."