Every Man Jack
Posted: 11 April 2007 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  2
Joined  2007-04-11

Having just used the phrase ‘every man jack of them’, I wondered where on earth that expression sprung from.  Does it even occur in US usage?  I’ve lived here 30 years, and I still find myself wondering whether I am likely to be understood by a native…

Posted: 11 April 2007 06:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Total Posts:  1544
Joined  2007-03-21

Last time we discussed this

Posted: 11 April 2007 07:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Total Posts:  3333
Joined  2007-01-31

OTOH, Brewer is not very trustworthy and the OED draws no connection to “every chone”; it does not record the existence of “every-john” and it cites “every man John” a few decades later than “every man Jack”.

The OED compares the phrase to the obsolete use of “jack” as a common noun meaning “a man of the common people; a lad, fellow, chap; esp. a low-bred or ill-mannered fellow, a ‘knave’.”

Not very common in the US; I think of it as a Britishism.

[ Edited: 11 April 2007 07:29 PM by Dr. Techie ]
Posted: 12 April 2007 04:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Total Posts:  4214
Joined  2007-01-29

First OED cite:

1807 in Catal. Prints: Polit. & Personal Satires (Brit. Mus.) (1935-54) VIII. 601 May I never weigh anchor again—If I don’t upset every Man-Jack of you.

Cf. the comparable use of plain jack:

1548 UDALL Erasm. Par. Luke vi. 65 A common poyncte of pleasure doyng, that euery iacke vseth.

The Brewer explanation sounds to me completely implausible.

‹‹ New Yorker article      Rubber ››