brand spanking new

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brand spanking new

Post by garbage man » Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:42 pm

Please show etymology, etiology, and lexicology of the subject, if you can.

brand spanking new

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Aug 10, 2005 5:47 am

Dear Garb, You sure you don’t want the proctology and gynecology also? (&lt)

I'll begin by looking at the the easy part of BRAND SPANKING NEW:

BRAND-NEW, also BRAN NEW, meaning completely/entirely/absolutely/perfectly new, unused, is actually pretty old and does not come from the modern idea of the ‘brand name’ of a product. 'Brand' was originally the Anglo-Saxon word for a piece of burning wood or torch and in the 16th century it came to be applied to an identifying mark made with a hot iron, which did provide the basis for the modern sense ‘goods made by a particular company.’ But ‘brand-new’ is much older than ‘brand name’ and, in fact, it dates back to the 16th century when it denoted pristine metals or metal articles, as if fresh and glowing from the fire, furnace, or anvil. It first appeared in the figurative sense circa 1570. A synonym was ‘fire-new,’ which was used by Shakespeare in Richard III and Twelve Night (see quote below). The variation BRAND-FIRE-NEW appeared in 19th century dialect.
<circa 1570 “New bodies, new minds .. . and all thinges new, BRANDE-NEWE”—‘Sermon 2, Corinthians’ by Foxe, v. page 63>

<1592 “Your FIRE-NEW stamp of honor is scarce current.”—‘Richard III’ by Shakespeare, Act I, Scene iii>

<1714 “‘Wear these Breeches Tom; they're quite BRAN-NEW.’”— “What D'ye Call It?” by Gay, ii. v. page 28>

<1790 “Nae cotillon BRENT NEW frae France.”— “Tam o' Shanter” by Robert Burns>

<1821 “When villagers put on their BRAN-NEW clothes.”—‘ The Village Minstrel’ by Clare, i. page 38>

<1825 “BRAN-FIRE NOO, as I'm alive.”—‘Brother Jonathan’ by John Neal, I. page 151>

<1858 “The whole Saxon Army . . . all in beautiful BRAND-NEW uniforms.”—‘History of Friedrich the Great’ by Carlyle, II. VII. iii. page 183>

1870 “This BRAND-NEWNESS makes it seem much less effective.”—‘Passages from the English Note-Books’ (1879) by Hawthorne, I. page 108>

<1871 “A BRAN-NEW vaudeville.”—‘Voltaire’ (1886) by Morely, page 131>
The word SPANKING (origin unknown, but perhaps Scandinavian, cf. Danish, Norwegian ‘spanke,’ and Swedish’ spånka,’ to strut) has a long and glorious history dating from the mid 17th century when it meant very big, large, or exceptionally good in some respect, frequently with the implication of showiness or smartness. Starting in the 18th century it was also used to describe horses moving at a rapid pace smartly and vigorously. By the early 19th century it was used to describe people who were dashing, lively, boisterous. Grose’s A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (1796) defined it as meaning “Large [Also, of course, excellent, dashing]." In the mid 19th century it was said of a breeze that was blowing strongly or briskly (a ‘spanking breeze’), and of a pace or rate (often of a ship) that was rapid, smart, vigorous, brisk, and lively (‘spanking along’). And a ‘spanker,’ which in 1751 had become a synonym for ‘spanking’ – exceptionally large or fine, of a person, animal, or thing of superior quality or character – a bit later in the century also became the name of a sail on the old 3, 4, and 5-masted sailing ships.

According to the OED it wasn’t until the late 19th century that the adverb SPANKING (1886), with the meaning of ‘very, exceedingly,' as used in SPANKING NEW and BRAN SPANKING NEW (1905) first appeared in print.

However, I found an older example of the phrase BRAN SPANKING NEW from 1854. And this tells us not only that the expression is older than previouly thought, but that so then is SPANKING NEW, and so then is the adverb SPANKING, meaning 'very/exceedingly.' In addition, I also found several other examples which came after 1854 but which sitll predate what the OED has to offer. (see quotes below).
<1854 “ ‘Next, gentlemen—for the ladies won’t be permitted to bid on this article—is a real, simon-pure, tempered, highly polished, keen-edged Sheffield razor; BRAN SPANKIN NEW; never before opened to sun-light, moon-light, star-light, day-light, or gas-light; . . . . Who will give two dollars?”— ‘New York Times,’ 4 July, page 5> [[the spiel of a San Francisco auctioneer]]

<1886 “A SPANKING fine dinner.”—‘Londinismen: Slang und Cant’ by H. Baumann, page 188/2>

<1887 “For the sole reason to report intelligently the market value of a BRAN-SPANKING NEW wife on the Western coast of Madagascar, the Krooman was instructed to offer in the few words of the language he understood to exchange the tobacco for the wife . . . and it was worth while to see the look of matronly indignation that flashed form the eyes of the dark beauty when she comprehended the wish of the impudent foreigner.”—‘Los Angeles Times,’ 16 October, page 12>

<1891 “Hit sho wuz er purty sight ter see de gent’mens in dey SPANKIN’ NEW un’forms an’ dey BRAND-NEW rifles . . .”—‘Catholic World,’ Vol. 52, Issue 312, March, page 812>

<1895 “. . . my uncle set out for the city of Cork dhressed in a SPANKING NEW suit of clothes and with five pounds in his pocket, . . .”—‘Overland Monthly and Out West Magazine,’ Vol. 25, Issue 147, March, page 310>

<1905 “BRAN SPANKIN’ NEW, . . . absolutely new.”—‘Dialect Notes,’ III, page 71>

<1925 “The [house] . . . on my right was a colossal affair .. . SPANKING NEW under a thin beard of raw ivy.”—‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald, i. page 6>
Note: There are those who think that there is a relationship between SPANKING, SPAN, SPAN NEW, SPANG NEW, SPIC-AND-SPAN-NEW, BRAND-SPAN-NEW, BRAND-SPANDER-NEW, etc. Etymologist Charles Funk claimed that ‘span-new’ dates back to the Old Norse, in which its form was ‘span-nyr,’ from ‘spann,’ a chip + ‘nyr,’ new. This allusion, he said, was to the newness of a chip or piece of wood freshly cut by the woodsman’s ax. He claimed that ‘spang new’ and ‘spanking new’ were just variants and expansions of ‘span-new,’ which gave additional emphasis as in the case of the longer ‘spic-and-span-new’ (later to be shortened to ‘spic-and-span’) where ‘spick’ is a spike-nail’ and the allusion is to a spike just off the blacksmith’s forge. The later extension of ‘spick-and-span’ to imply spotlessly clean, neat, and tidy was a reference to newness. Thus, a brand-new ship would have all new spics (planks of wood) and spans (nails). ‘Spic-and-span-new’ appeared in the late 1500s, while the now familiar abbreviated term ‘spic-and-span’ first appeared in print in 1665 (see spic and span). Bartlett’s 1848 Dictionary of Americanisms also lists SPAN-CLEAN and SPANDY-CLEAN.

(Oxford English Dictionary, Facts on File Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, Picturesque Expressions by Urdang, Horsefeathers by Funk, Facts on File Dictionary of Clichés, Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, Ship to Shore by Jeans)

Ken G – August 9, 2005

brand spanking new

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Aug 10, 2005 7:56 am

Ken, as a sheer matter of interest, where does spanking meaning spiflication come in all this?
Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

brand spanking new

Post by garbage man » Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:00 pm

Thanks, Ken, for the excellent discussion of "Brand spanking new." My Boeing engineer buddies will be pleased. My friend, Bill Lerner, was at Yale in 1940 with George Bush, and he helps me with some of these words. But he is blind now, so it is hard for him to research like you do.

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