What does Johnny Come Lately mean?
Johnny Come Lately is an expression to refer to a newcomer at a workplace or any other activity.
It may be used as an endearing phrase or as mockery, depending on the context and the intention of the speaker.
What's the origin of Johnny Come Lately?
The first known use of the phrase is from 1839.
It uses the common first name John, similar to the phrase average Joe, stressing that the newcomer is on to the bottom of the hierarchy.
Spread & Usage
How did Johnny Come Lately spread?
The phrase remains relatable, especially with so many movies revolving around the topic of the conflict between a “Johnny Come Lately” and an established boss.
There is a 1943 movie, titled “Johnny Come Lately”, presenting the story of a drifter, who brings change to a town.
One of Steve Earle’s songs on his 1988 album, Copperhead Road is also titled “Johnny Come Lately”.
- Grammarphobia – The earliest Johnny-come-lately