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A crackerjack Americanism

By Debra Dobbins

The headline above plays off the Americanism “jim-dandy,” which means excellent or very pleasing, according to Webster’s. It’s akin to another Americanism, “crackerjack.”

Jim is used as an intensifier, rather like the words “very” or “quite.”

“Jim-dandy” can be considered part of southern dialect. (Dialect means language that is peculiar to a specific area or region.) For instance, it appears in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, which is set in the Deep South:

“We could not wait for Atticus to come home for dinner, but called and said we had a big surprise for him. He seemed surprised when he saw most of the back yard in the front yard, but he said we had done a jim dandy job. ‘I didn’t know how you were going to do it,’ he said to Jem, ‘but from now on I’ll never worry about what’ll become of you, son, you’ll always have an idea.’”

Judging from the article on basketball star Jimmer Fredette, he always has an idea on how to rack up major points for Brigham Young University. You can read the story on Fredette in today’s print edition or e-edition.


 

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