Moxie is a trademarked beverage that was originally bottled in 1884 and sold as “nerve food.” Moxie advertising in 1940 contained the line “He’s got Moxie!”—defined in 1941 as “meaning sex appeal, leadership, sand, personality plus, oomph, vim, vigor.”
The word “moxie” (not capitalized) has been cited in print since at least August 19, 1925, when “‘Mills has the moxie,’ says Rorty. (meaning that he has the nerve)” was printed in The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, MA). New York City-based sportswriter Damon Runyon (1880-1946) wrote in July 1928 that a boxer had “moxie” (heart, courage).
[This entry was assisted by research from Peter Jenson Brown of the Early Sports and Pop Culture History Blog.]
Moxie is a carbonated beverage that was one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in the United States. It continues to be regionally popular today.
Moxie has a unique flavor that is not as sweet as that of most modern soft drinks and that is described by some as “bitter.”
Moxie is closely associated with the state of Maine and was designated the official soft drink of Maine on May 10, 2005. Its creator, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was born in Union, Maine, but Moxie was invented and first produced in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Moxie originated as a patent medicine called “Moxie Nerve Food,” which was created around 1876 by Dr. Augustin Thompson in Lowell, Massachusetts. Thompson claimed that it contained an extract from a rare, unnamed South American plant, which had supposedly been discovered by a friend of his, Lieutenant Moxie, who had used it as a panacea. Moxie, he claimed, was especially effective against “paralysis, softening of the brain, nervousness, and insomnia.”
After a few years, Thompson added soda water to the formula and changed the product’s name to “Beverage Moxie Nerve Food.” By 1884 he was selling Moxie both in bottles and in bulk as a soda fountain syrup. He marketed it as “a delicious blend of bitter and sweet, a drink to satisfy everyone’s taste.”
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Dict. Amer. Regional Eng. s.v.).
slang (chiefly N. Amer.).
Courage, audacity, spirit; energy, vigour; enterprise; skill, shrewdness.
[1890 H. C. De Mille Men & Women in America’s Lost Plays (1941) XVII. 290 Young man, you’ve got nerve enough to start a Moxie factory.]
1930 D. Runyon in Collier’s 20 Dec. 32/3 Personally, I always figure Louie a petty-larceny kind of guy, with no more moxie than a canary bird.
1934 M. H. Weseen Dict. Amer. Slang 215 Moxie, ability and skill as a baseball player.
16 September 1876, Essex County Herald (Guildhall, VT), pg. 2, col. 3:
... “Moxie” ...
(The name of a horse.—ed.)
8 June 1885, Boston (MA) Daily Globe, pg. 4, col. 8 ad:
Moxie Nerve Food, Lowell, Mass.
10 February 1888, Norcatur (KS) Register, pg. 3, col. 4 ad:
Marriages are not as common as they used to be. The girls are no fools, and the consequence is gymnastics, walking, etc., and now they have got to Moxie, that makes a girl want to get into the prize ring.
19 June 1902, Buffalo (NY) Evening Times, pg. 4, col. 4 ad:
MOXIE NERVE FOOD.
The necessary support of the strenuous life.
19 August 1925, The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, MA), “Referee’s Sporting Chat,” pg. 15, col. 4:
“Mills has the moxie,” says Rorty. (meaning that he has the nerve).
(A conversation about baseball players.—ed.)
11 August 1927, Daily News (New York, NY), “Fistic Poppas Refuse to Take Any Steps” by Jack Farrell, pg. 32, cols. 1-2:
Joe Jacobs insisted Frankey Genaro should be declared champion, but when a half dozen other managers arose in unison and demanded to know where Joe got his moxie, the commish put the matter off until a later date.
23 July 1928, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “British Hold Little Hope for Heeney” by Damon Runyon, pg. 15, col. 5:
“Well, Tom’s improved,” I suggested. “He’s come on. A rough, tough chappy with plenty of Moxie.”
“I beg pardon!” interrupted Tommy, looking bewildered. “Moxie?”
“Heart—Courage,” I explained.
16 July 1935, The World-Herald (Omaha, NE), pg. 12, col. 2:
He Has Moxie.
Chicago, Ill., July 15 (AP).—Promoter Mike Jacobs of New York still insists that Max Schmeling would fight Joe Louis, Detroit Negro heavyweight sensation, at the Polo Grounds, September 18, instead of meeting Max Baer under the promotion of Madison Square Garden on or about September 25.
4 June 1938, Moorhead (MN) Daily News, “Lee’s Hurling Puts Chicago Cubs Within Reach of Lead,” pg. 4, col. 1:
He’s Got Moxie
5 January 1939, Daily News (New York, NY), “Hollywood” by Ed Sullivan, pg. 42, col. 1:
Columbus, Fulton, the Curries, Marconi, Edison—all of them were short-enders in the betting, but the important thing is that they weren’t short on “moxie,” which is prize-ring slang for courage.
5 May 1940, Boston (MA) Herald, pg. 20, col. 5 photo caption:
“WE’VE GOT MOXIE!” is the theme of an extensive advertising campaign mapped by Moxie company officers and advertising agents. Left to right—C.A. Holcomb of Alley and Richards, Moxie advertising agency; ...
18 May 1941, Minneapolis (MN) Sunday Tribune and Star Journal, “Bleachers Still Baseball’s Backbone” by George A. Barton, Sports sec., pg. 8, col. 8:
“I don’t think he’s got any moxie.” (Slang for courage.)
It gave agency executives the idea of promoting the theme “He’s got Moxie” — Moxie meaning sex appeal, leadership, sand, personality plus, oomph, vim, vigor.
The Georgia Gibbs Job is live and engaging, and tho it closely echoes the Barton original, has moxie enough to make noise on its own.
The Nine Lives of Michael Todd
By Art Cohn
New York, NY: Random House
“I don’t know if you got moxie or you don’t have moxie, but . . .”
Word Mark MOXIE
Goods and Services IC 032. US 045. G & S: NONALCOHOLIC, MALTLESS CARBONATED BEVERAGE AND SIRUP FOR MAKING THE SAME. FIRST USE: 18850000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 18850000
Mark Drawing Code (5) WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS IN STYLIZED FORM
Serial Number 71178054
Filing Date March 23, 1923
Current Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Registration Number 0189066
Registration Date September 9, 1924
Owner (REGISTRANT) MOXIE COMPANY, THE CORPORATION MAINE 61-71 HAVERHILL STREET BOSTON MASSACHUSETTS
(LAST LISTED OWNER) THE MOXIE BEVERAGE COMPANY, INC. CORPORATION NEW HAMPSHIRE ONE EXECUTIVE PARK DRIVE, SUITE 330 BEDFORD NEW HAMPSHIRE 03110
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record David L. May, Esq.
Type of Mark TRADEMARK
Affidavit Text SECTION 8(10-YR) 20040210.
Renewal 4TH RENEWAL 20040210
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE