". The origin of this word as the name of a popular product marketed as a cure-all may help to understand the logic behind the plurality of its similar meanings: The meanings can be grouped into "cures" for the problems of feeling too weak in spirit, body, or mind; in other words, of being overwhelmed/helpless, exhausted/listless, or confused/perplexed. At the time he developed Moxie, Thompson claimed that the bitter extract used to make the syrup was from a rare and unnamed South American plant, but it was later determined to be gentian root extract, a fairly common substance that has been used in tonics since at least 170 BC during the reign of Gentius, namesake of the plant’s genus gentiana and the last king of the powerful Ardiaei tribe in Illyria. The Etymology of “Moxie” Posted on February 10, 2018 February 12, 2018 by Jess Zafarris “Moxie,” used generally from 1930, comes from the brand name of a bitter syrup first marketed as the medicine “Moxie Nerve Food” in 1876, then sold as a soft drink starting in 1884. Thompson also claimed that he named Moxie after his friend Lieutenant Moxie, who discovered the plant and its extract, but it’s likely that no such person existed and that he drew the name from a few rivers and lakes in Maine, where Thompson was born.
These bodies of water included variations of the word “moxie,” meaning “dark water” in Eastern Abenaki languages, which was and is spoken by the Mi’kmaq, Maliseet, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people of coastal Maine. (“dark water”)..
From the name of an American soft drink made since 1885 to which advertisement ascribed many beneficial properties directly but also indirectly by using the same name as a patent medicine first manufactured in 1878. Moxie was sold as the “nerve food” syrup first, marketed as a remedy for “paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia,” and later the syrup would be sold for use in soda fountains. ( Log Out / Moxie’s creator, Dr. Augustin Thompson, sought to create a medicine that did not contain then-common but potentially harmful drug ingredients such as cocaine and alcohol. The word appears in very many place names in Maine, especially of falls and ponds, and is perhaps ultimately from Abenaki [Term?] (“dark water”). "courage," 1930, from Moxie, brand name of a bitter, non-alcoholic drink, 1885, perhaps as far back as 1876 as the name of a patent medicine advertised to "build up your nerve." It was one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in the US, arising during a boom in soda brands that included Dr. Pepper (which was notably served at the 1885 Louisiana Purchase Exposition), as well as other now-defunct ginger ale and root beer brands. ( Log Out / Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! The current, most common usage of the word, referring to bold determination and spunk, comes from the gist of the marketing for the medicine (and then beverage), which said that it would “build up your nerve.”. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. Much-imitated in its day; in 1917 the Moxie Company won an infringement suit against a competitor's beverage marketed as "Proxie. ( Log Out / Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary, As a girl she had speed and a knock-kneed, https://en.wiktionary.org/w/index.php?title=moxie&oldid=60330958, English words following the I before E except after C rule, Requests for review of Dutch translations, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. The brand may be from a Native American Abenaki word for “dark water,” from Maine lake and river names. The (Etymological) Difference Between Tortoises and Turtles, The Etymology of Trivia: A Place Where Three Roads Meet, Out of This Word: The Origins of 5 Intergalactic Terms. ( Log Out / Change ). From the name of an American soft drink made since 1885 to which advertisement ascribed many beneficial properties directly but also indirectly by using the same name as a patent medicine first manufactured in 1878.
First recorded use in 1930. moxie (n.) "courage," 1930, from Moxie , brand name of a bitter, non-alcoholic drink, 1885, perhaps as far back as 1876 as the name of a patent medicine advertised to "build up your nerve." Learn how your comment data is processed. “Moxie,” used generally from 1930, comes from the brand name of a bitter syrup first marketed as the medicine “Moxie Nerve Food” in 1876, then sold as a soft drink starting in 1884. First recorded use in 1930. The word appears in very many place names in Maine, especially of falls and ponds, and is perhaps ultimately from Abenaki [Term?] Despite legendary origin stories put out by the company that made it, it is perhaps ultimately from a New England Indian word (it figures in river and lake names in Maine, where it is apparently from Abenaki and means "dark water"). This page was last edited on 8 September 2020, at 06:42. The beverage Moxie, originally patented as medicine, is still sold today by the Moxie Beverage Company in Bedford, NH.
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