...fair to middling...

Gerald Cohen gcohen at UMR.EDU
Thu Nov 8 05:27:17 UTC 2001

My thanks to George Cole for a helpful message he sent me about "fair
to middling," which I now share with ads-l.

---Gerald Cohen

>Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 21:40:00 -0500
>From: GSCole <gscole at ark.ship.edu>
>To: Gerald Cohen <gcohen at umr.edu>
>Subject: ..fair to middling..
>I cannot definitively answer your question, but a search of MOA-Cornell
>found the following, which speaks of "men in the middling class" and, in
>reference to a detective, "Ours was 'from fair to middling,' in
>cotton-brokers' phrase...."
>The quotes are from Rag Fair, London, Sept. 1867, p.516.
>And, with reference to an opera performance, in Xenophon's Memorabilia
>of Socrates, Jan. 1849, p.109.
>I have heard the phrase used as a general categorization, without regard
>to a given object, i.e., it might be used to refer to the weather, or to
>the quality of food at a fast food place.
>But, I have never studied the phrase, per se, and I have heard it used
>without the sounding of the letter 'g', as in "fair to middlin".
>Hope that the above is not a pure waste of your bandwidth.  Also, hope
>that the links work.
>George Cole
>Shippensburg University

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