Tom, Dick, and Harry
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the ordinary person; people generally; everyone:
They invited every Tom, Dick, and Harry to the party.
Origin of Tom, Dick, and Harry Expand
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for Tom, Dick, and Harry Expand
Tom, Dick, and Harry
an ordinary, undistinguished, or common person (esp in the phrases every Tom, Dick, and Harry; any Tom, Dick, or Harry)
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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Tom, Dick, and Harry in Culture Expand
Tom, Dick, and Harry definition
A phrase referring to randomly chosen people: “I asked you to keep my plans secret, but you've told them to every Tom, Dick, and Harry.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
The idiom "every Tom, Dick and Harry" is a placeholder for multiple but unspecified persons. In other words, in the sense of "any random person we could think of." In short, "everyone" or "all ordinary individuals."
This model should appeal to every Tom, Dick and Harry.
I can't be expected to answer for every Tom, Dick or Harry's actions.
The "and" is sometimes replaced by "or" in British English.
The origin of the idiom is unknown. Dating the first use is problematic too, depending on which source you believe in. Oxford English Dictionary has the first use in 1657 by the English religious thinker John Owen. HarperCollins has it as 1734. Shakespeare used the variation "Tom, Dick and Francis" in Act 1 of Henry IV (1583-97).
TOM, DICK AND HARRY - "This group of names signifying any indiscriminate collection of masculine representatives of 'hoi polloi' was a more or less haphazard choice. It probably started with names common in the sixteenth century. Thus Sir David Lyndesay, in 'Ane Dialog betwix Experience and ane Courteour' (c. 1555), has 'Wherefore to colliers, carters and cokes to Iack (Jack) and Tom my rime shall be directed.' And Shakespeare, in 'Love's Labour's Lost' (1588), gives us in the closing song, 'And Dicke the Shepheard blowes his nails' and Tom beares Logges into the hall.' And 'Dick, Tom and Jack' served through the seventeenth century. But our present group was apparently an American selection. It appeared (according to George L. Kittredge's 'The Old Farmer and his Almanac,' 1904) in 'The Farmer's Almanack' for 1815: 'So he hired Tom, Dick and Harry, and at it they went.'" From "Heavens to Betsy" by Charles Earle Funk (Harper & Row, New York, 1955).
P&S Who is this 'Tom, Dick, and Harry'..and what did they do that was so bad, that every generation seems to know about them?
Serious question on how these three names are always associated with one another...like Larry, Moe, and Curly..yet, no tv show, and yet it seems it would have made more sense to call these names out, instead of these other three..idk, anyone else?!
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