the real McCoy


The best of its kind, the real thing: “That homemade pizza was the real McCoy.” The source of this expression is the story of a famous prizefighter named McCoy. He had so many imitators that no one was sure which was the real one.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with the real McCoy

real McCoy, the

Also, the McCoy. The genuine thing, as in That painting's not a reproduction—it's the real McCoy. This idiom has a disputed origin, but the most likely source is its use to distinguish welterweight champion “Kid McCoy,” the name used by Norman Selby (1873-1940), from other boxers using his name to capitalize on his popularity. [c. 1900]

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