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the real McCoy

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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.

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Other 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.
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