1859, first attested in the song of that name, which was popularized, if not written, by Ohio-born U.S. minstrel musician and songwriter Dan Emmett (1815-1904); perhaps a reference to the Mason-Dixon Line, but there are other well-publicized theories dating back to the Civil War. Popularized nationwide in minstrel shows. Dixieland style of jazz developed in New Orleans c.1910, so called from 1919.
An American song of the nineteenth century. It was used to build enthusiasm for the South during the Civil War and still is treated this way in the southern states. It was written for use in the theater by a northerner, Daniel Decatur Emmett. As usually sung today, “Dixie” begins:
I wish I was in the land of cotton; Old times there are not forgotten: Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.
Engage in unrealistic, hopeful fantasizing, as in If you think you can drive there in two hours, you're whistling Dixie. This idiom alludes to the song “Dixie” and the vain hope that the Confederacy, known as Dixie, would win the Civil War.