Part 2.  Enjoy!

The Big Apple

Meaning: Nickname for New York, USA.

Origin: There is no definitive source for this. As so often, there are several theories. One is that it derives from the translation by jazz musicians of the Manzana area as ‘apple orchard’. Another explanation has it that jazz musician’s slang for engagement was ‘apple’ and that a date in New York was the ‘big apple’. The phrase was certainly current in jazz music circles in the 1930s.

Probably the strongest contender is that it was coined in the horse racing community in the southern USA. John J. Fitz Gerald was a horse-racing writer for the New York Morning Telegraph in the 1920s. He reports hearing the phrase used by stable lads while on a visit to New Orleans in 1920, although there’s nothing in that report to link the phrase to New York.

Fitz Gerald did later use the phrase with reference to New York in his ‘Around the Big Apple’, piece for the Telegraph on February 18, 1924, and that is the earliest citation we can find of it in print:

“The Big Apple. The dream of every lad that ever threw a leg over a thoroughbred and the goal of all horsemen. There’s only one Big Apple. That’s New York.”

So, by his own account, Fitz Gerald didn’t coin the phrase, but it’s likely that he set it on its course to become part of the language.


The Fist Bump

The origins of the bump are murky, though most communication experts agree on a basic — if fuzzy — evolutionary timeline: the handshake (which itself dates back to ancient times) begat the “gimme-five” palm slap that later evolved into the now universal “high-five” and, finally, the fist bump.

Some claim the act of knuckle-bumping began in the 1970s with NBA players like Baltimore Bullets guard Fred Carter. Others claim the fist bump’s national debut occurred off the court, citing the Wonder Twins, minor characters in the 1970s Hanna-Barbera superhero cartoon The Superfriends, who famously touched knuckles and cried “Wonder Twin powers, activate!’ before morphing into animals or ice sculptures. One might also credit germaphobics for the fist bump’s popularity. Deal or No Deal host Howie Mandel reportedly adopted the gesture as a friendly way to avoid his contestants’ germs.

Even the terminology used to describe the manual move is under dispute. Some other terms for the move include “power five,” “fist pound,” “knuckle bump,” “Quarter Pounder” and “dap.”

The fist bump’s precursor, the low- and high-fives, originated in the 1950s, again mostly among athletes, who deemed handshakes too muted and formal for celebrating teamwork and triumph. The 1980s are generally regarded as the heyday of the high-five, though the gesture has enjoyed a revival of sorts in recent years — especially among Gen-X parents and their offspring. Modern-day high-five enthusiasts have even created a cellphone version: Callers high-five their phones (slap the speakers) or simultaneously type “5.”