Fine and Dandy

Meaning of Idiom ‘Fine and Dandy’

Fine and dandy means excellent, fine, well, good, nice, all right, etc. 1Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,2Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.

Usage

This idiom is just as often used sarcastically as sincerely. “Fine and dandy,” when used this way, means bad or not okay. For example: “You stopped for food and didn’t bother to ask me whether I wanted something. Well, that’s just fine and dandy. I’ll eat my shoe, instead.”

Examples of Use

“Ted told the doctor he was feeling fine and dandy.”

“On Thanksgiving, we always pretend everything is fine and dandy, even though we’re still fighting every other day.”

Origin

Used since at least the early 1900s.

dandy was, at one time, a person who we would call a metrosexual today, a man overly devoted to fashion and who “erased his masculinity” (a fop). The word dandy also referred to an excellent thing of its sort, which is the origin of “handy-dandy, referring to something particularly useful. By extension, the adjective dandy meant excellent. The present idiom, then, uses two words with similar meanings and are used as an emphatic way of saying “things are great.” Just as dandy has always been a popular word to use sarcastically, so is the present idiom.

More Idioms Starting with F

More ‘Fine’ Idioms

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
2. Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.