The Real McCoy?


Could you please explain to me the expression The Real McCoy? Where does it stem from? I have heard it several times and I guess it means something like ‘the best thing’ or ‘the real thing’ but why McCoy?

Hi Kievstar,

Yes, you’re right it does mean the real thing or the genuine article. There are several explanations for the use deriving from a man called McCoy, often to do with whisky. The one however I like best is the story of a boxer called Kid McCoy, an American in the early 20th century. He was a boxing champion and one day he was annoyed by a drunk who kept on saying he was not Kid McCoy. Eventually the boxer couldn’t stand it any longer and knocked the drunk out. The drunk’s first words when he came round were: You ARE the real McCoy.’


Hi Alan,

Your answer is the real McCoy. Thank you.