Where the Term “The Real McCoy” Came From

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The term “The Real McCoy” originated in the prohibition era.  Captain William S. McCoy was a rum runner who coordinated most rum transported by ship during prohibition.  He was known for never watering down his imports; thus, his product was “The Real McCoy”.

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  • Uly

    No, it didn’t. The term well predates prohibition, with the first citing in 1881.

    Some people associate the term with Elijah McCoy’s oil drip cup, but there’s no proof of that either.

  • Uly

    Incidentally, this is the second time that I’ve seen you give an “I found out the origin of a word or term!” that’s easily disproven, the other time being the word “loo”. Before you post these, you really should get into the habit of checking a dictionary for the earliest citation. I like the OED (because I have free access as a member of the NY public library), but if you can’t access that http://www.etymonline.com is a good one. What they say about the phrase “the real McCoy”, btw, is that it became popularized during Prohibition.

  • Uly

    Edit: Sorry, just checked the OED, the first citation they have is from 1856 (I thought the 1880s was a bit late, because although it’s associated with Elijah McCoy it really does predate his invention!) I’m going to go fix Wikipedia now.