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[muh-koi] /məˈkɔɪ/
the genuine thing or person as promised, stated, or implied (usually preceded by the or the real):
Those other paintings are copies, but this one is the McCoy.
Origin of McCoy
1880-85; also Mackay, McKie, the clear McCoy (of liquor); of uncertain origin; hypothesized identifications with Mackay, a Scottish clan, and Kid McCoy, nickname of U.S. boxer Norman Selby (1873-1940), are unsubstantiated Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for McCoy
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Mr. McCoy must be honoured for his candour and superior honesty.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • No risk of loss, no possible disadvantage, daunted Mr. McCoy.

    Ireland as It Is Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
  • I told him you were McCoy's hired man just helping me take care of him.

    They of the High Trails

    Hamlin Garland
  • Mr. McCoy estimates the number of inhabitants of this territory at 47,733.

  • On the contrary, seeing that she was not much injured, he laughed in concert with McCoy.

    The Lonely Island R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for McCoy


(slang) the genuine person or thing (esp in the phrase the real McCoy)
Word Origin
C20: perhaps after Kid McCoy, professional name of Norman Selby (1873–1940), American boxer, who was called ``the real McCoy'' to distinguish him from another boxer of that name


Tony, full name Anthony Peter McCoy. born 1974, Northern Irish national hunt jockey: champion jockey every season since 1995/96
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for McCoy

as in the real McCoy, 1881, said to be from Scottish the real Mackay (1883), of uncertain origin, though there are many candidates, including whiskey distilled by A. and M. Mackay of Glasgow (the phrase the real McCoy became popular during Prohibition to describe liquor); Charles S. "Kid" McCoy (1872-1940), former welterweight boxing champ; and a claimant for chief of the northern branch of the clan Mackay.

"By jingo! yes; so it will be. It's the 'real McCoy,' as Jim Hicks says. Nobody but a devil can find us there." [James S. Bond, "The Rise and Fall of the Union Club," Yorkville, Canada, 1881]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for McCoy



Genuine; legitimate; kosher: like every other McCoy biz (1930+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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