WHAT’S IN A NAME? BY K J ROLLINSON

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The Real McCoy

Did you wonder whether the expressions ‘the real McCoy’ or ‘Gordon Bennett!’ came from? I did, so I looked them up. I find the explanations very interesting, and I pass them on to you in the hope you will find them interesting too.

When something pleases us, we may say ‘it’s the real McCoy’ – the genuine article.

‘McCoy’ started his life as Norman Selby, a boxer, who was born in Rush County, Indiana, in 1873. In 1891, he changed his name to Charles ‘Kid’ McCoy, thinking to succeed as a boxer, he must have an Irish name since Irish boxers were popular at that time.

At the height of his success, a middleweight named Al McCoy appeared on the scene. From then on, Kid McCoy was billed as the REAL McCoy to distinguish him from lesser fighters.

But the expression ‘The Real McCoy’ originally applied to first class whisky…

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