Joe Sixpack

or Joe Six-pack

[ joh-siks-pak ]
/ ˈdʒoʊ ˈsɪksˌpæk /

noun

Slang. the average or typical blue-collar man.

QUIZZES

DON’T VACILLATE! VANQUISH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ!

It’d be a real faux pas to miss this quiz on the words from August 3–9, 2020!
Question 1 of 7
What does “vacillate” mean?

Origin of Joe Sixpack

An Americanism dating back to 1975–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does Joe Sixpack mean?

A Joe Sixpack is an average, working-class American male. He is often characterized—sometimes positively, sometimes negatively—as a guy who isn’t very highly educated, who likes sports, and who enjoys putting back a couple of beers.

Where does Joe Sixpack come from?

Joe Sixpack dates back to at least the 1970s, used in political contexts for the average male voter. Joe calls up an average Joe, or regular guy, and Sixpack refers to beer, sold in six-packs.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton notably used Joe Sixpack for “private citizen” after the dismissal of Paula Jones’s sexual harassment lawsuit against him. It was in 2008, however, that Joe Sixpack went viral when Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin figured herself as a female Joe Sixpack (and hockey mom): “It’s time that a normal Joe Six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency.”

Given the fact Palin made notorious gaffes on the campaign trail exposing her inexperience or ignorance on important matters, critics countered that a Joe Sixpack was exactly what the country didn’t need in the White House. To this end, Palin was much satirized on Saturday Night Live, including for her Joe Sixpack remarks. In one particular sketch, Palin (played by Tina Fey) and her top-of-the-ticket John McCain himself were on a QVC shopping channel selling products, among them a Joe Sixpack action figure.

How is Joe Sixpack used in real life?

Politicians and political writers love to refer to average, male, beer-drinking voters who candidates want to win over as Joe Sixpack, a kind of working-class answer to the soccer mom. The term generally champions the man in this context, but in popular culture, it often disparages him.

In a standup act in 2008, for instance, comedian George Carlin memorably knocked Joe Sixpack as overweight and stupid.

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

British Dictionary definitions for Joe Sixpack

Joe Six-Pack
/ (ˈsɪksˌpæk) /

noun

US slang an average or typical man
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

Idioms and Phrases with Joe Sixpack

Joe Six-pack

A lower-middle-class male. For example, I don't think opera will appeal to Joe Six-pack; he'd prefer a rock concert. This disparaging term, first recorded in 1977, conjures up the image of a man in undershirt and construction helmet who will down all of a six-pack (six cans or bottles of beer sold in a package) in an evening.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.