A caller asked about the
word moxie. It’s a slang term meaning audacity, energy, high spirits, and rock-steady
Its source seems to be a
trademarked name for a soft drink characterized as bitter with an undertone of
sweetness. An 1890 quote seems to confirm this origin: “Young man, you've got
nerve enough to start a Moxie factory.” [H. C. De Mille, Men & Women in
America's Lost Plays]
The drink was originally
developed by Doctor Augustin Thompson in 1876 as a patent medicine. Like so
many other patent medicines, it was supposed to cure lethargy, nervousness, and
insomnia. The good doctor claimed that its active ingredient was a rare South
American plant discovered by his friend, one Lieutenant Moxie. You betcha.
It turned into a soft
drink around 1885 when he added soda water to the mix. The drink is still
manufactured, but seems to be limited to some Northeast states and to Florida.
You’ll find their web site here: http://www.drinkmoxie.com/
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