"fair to middlin'"

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Mon Feb 7 02:58:24 UTC 2000

    The following origin of "fair to middlin'" was passed along to me today
by a man who grew up on a cotton farm in the bootheel of Missouri.  He
tells me that  "fair to middlin'" probably has its origin in the speech of
people who work with cotton.  I have not yet had a chance to check this in
the reference works.

    He points out that there are four rankings of cotton according to the
length of the fibers:
1) good, 2) middlin', 3) fair, 4) poor.  Hence: "fair to middlin'."

     Sounds plausible.

----Gerald Cohen

gcohen at umr.edu

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