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Big Apple, the

noun, Informal.
1.
New York City.
Origin
1925-1930
1925-30; promulgated as a tourist slogan during the 1970s; perhaps reuse of earlier “the Apple” (New York City in jazz musicians' argot) with Big as in big cheese, big time, etc.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for big apple

Big Apple

noun
1.
(informal) the Big Apple, New York City
Word Origin
C20: probably from US jazzmen's earlier use to mean any big, esp northern, city; of obscure origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Contemporary definitions for big apple
noun

New York City

Word Origin

may have been coined by Edward S. Martin in The Wayfarer in New York (1909), based on 'apple' as a lucrative job or engagement for jazz musicians

Usage Note

slang

noun

a line dance done in southern US

Word Origin

originated in Big Apple Night Clubin South Carolina

Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin and History for big apple

Big Apple

"New York," 1909 (but popularized by 1970s tourism promotion campaign), apparently from jazz musicians' use of apple for any city, especially a Northern one.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for big apple

Big Apple, the

noun phrase
  1. New York City •Popularized in the 1970s as a nickname: New York is the Big Apple/ young musicians storming into the Apple (1909+)
  2. A jitterbug dance of the mid1930s

[apparently fr jazz musicians' term apple for a city, esp a city in the North; the dance may be so called from a Harlem club of the same name]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for big apple

1930s square-dance version of the jitterbug that was named for the Columbia, S.C., club where it originated. Assembled in a large circle, dancers did a basic shuffling step or other jitterbug step like the lindy hop. Directions such as "right foot forward" or "get your girl and take a twirl" were given by a caller, but more enterprising dancers, singly or in couples, frequently improvised.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for Big Apple, the

Few English speakers likely know this word

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6
8
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