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Fun Fact Friday: Peachy Keen Jelly Bean

I love words, the study of words, and all things words related.  Do you ever wonder where some random word or phrase comes from?  I do too!!  Must be why you read this random blog.

Ever wonder where Rizzo (of the Pink Ladies of Rydell High) got the idea to say, “Peachy keen, jelly bean.”

Now I know the Grease script said it, and that’s where the character’s lines come from…but where did the writers get it?

Somewhere around the 1870’s, “peachy” began to be used to describe someone or something as wonderful.  Prior to that it was mainly used to describe women’s cheeks or complexion as far back as ancient Rome and old school China.

By the early 1900’s that grew to mean something excellent or fine.  It stayed in use from then on as a cheery and colorful way to say, “All’s well.”

The 1950’s brought us “peachy keen” as a neat-o way of saying “just peachy.”  “Peachy keen” started 1948 with a Pasadena DJ named Jim Hawthorn.  Not sure if he invented it or if he borrowed it.  But he surely made it famous.  All because he was bored at work one day and started talking all far out and what not.

And so that’s the original source of Rizzo’s line , “Peachy keen, jelly bean.”

For those of you who know “just peachy” as the sarcastic way of saying, “things are not great.”  This started around the 1980’s.  Someone asks how it’s going, and it’s not going well, so you say, “Oh just peachy!” and roll your eyes at them. (Okay…maybe not YOU…but some people did).

Today it’s used both ways.  Sarcastic or straightforward.  How do you use it?

Point to ponder while you wander….the study of words, their meaning, and how word usage changes across time is known as etymology.  I know you were wondering about that too, you curious thing you.  You’re welcome.