Although the origin of the phrase is debated and the traces of its past diverge, it can easily be discerned that it comes from jazz roots.
An early link to the origin of the phrase comes from Cab Calloway’s Cat-Ologue: A Hepster’s Dictionary, published in 1938.
In it, the term “solid” is defined as “great, swell, okay”, indicating that “Do me a solid” means “Do something good for me”.
Alternatively, several unsupported claims also state, that the phrase was linked to the filling in certain Jazz Cigarettes: hash.
Various accounts also state that “Do me a solid” was initially used as a way to ask for coins, referring to the Roman “solidus”, a valuable gold coin.
In any case, the expression didn’t start appearing in print until the late 1960’s, with one of the earlier examples coming from a 1972 issue of the Time magazine.
Although the expression already gained a wide popularity during the mid-1900’s, its popularity was boosted in the 1990’s, when it was featured in several episodes of the iconic television series Seinfeld.
“Do me a solid” was first defined on Urban Dictionary on September 5th, 2006, with countless other entries having been added since.
Its popularity was also boosted in 2011, when the Season 2 Episode 18 of the Regular Show first aired on Cartoon Network, under the title “Do Me a Solid”.
- Dictionary.cambridge.org – to do someone a solid
- English.stackexchange.com – What is the origin of the expression “do me a solid”?
- Lexico.com – do someone a solid
- Grammarhow.com – “Do Me A Solid” – Meaning & Origin (With Examples)