Barry Popik’s Site: Great Resource for Origin of Americanisms, Slang, Etc.

I recently discovered, a very interesting language-oriented website! Ever wondered about the origin of the term “Big Apple” used to describe NYC? Well, you will find that information and much more on Mr. Popik’s website.

Here’s the site’s “About” section:

BARRY POPIK is a contributor to the Oxford English DictionaryDictionary of American Regional EnglishHistorical Dictionary of American SlangYale Book of Quotations and Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. Since 1990 he has also been a regular contributor to Gerald Cohen’s Comments on Etymology. He is recognized as an expert on the origins of the terms Big AppleWindy Cityhot dog, hamburger and many other food terms, and he is an editor of the Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink. He has over 7,000 archived posts (from 1996–2007) of commentary on Americanisms to the American Dialect Society email list, ADS-L. This website, The Big Apple, began in New York City in 2004.

Why Is New York City Called THE BIG APPLE?

Big Apple Night Club Sign (Harlem, NYC)

No, Damon Runyon did not coin it. This splendid term comes from stablehands and the world of horse racing, and did not even originate in NYC. Below is a brief summary in Barry Popik’s own words, and here’s the link for the full story. This summary heads up the source URL:

“The Big Apple” was the catchphrase of New York Morning Telegraph track writer John J. Fitz Gerald in the 1920s. He admitted this twice and it was the name of three of his columns. He picked up the term from African-American (“dusky” he called them) stable hands at the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans, probably on January 14, 1920.  

If you love language and history you will probably be interested in Barry Popik’s website.

Expert proofreader and editor, graduate of The University of Texas at Austin (B.A. in American Studies; minors in Psychology and German Language). Background in various fields, including admin assistant in law office, university dept. of psychology, career counseling practice; assistant to entrepreneurs; skip-trace agent for asset recovery; health food café jack-of-all-trades; telecom customer service rep; TV air-time sales agent; high-end retail clerk; web/Internet researcher; along with 25+ years of freelance proofreading, editing, & writing.
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