Fair to Middling is a widely known Southern colloquial expression used for expressing that something is of a mediocre, middling quality.
The expression has been often confused with a Texas based alternative metal band’s name: Fair to Midland.
“Fair to middling” has been around for a significant time, with the earliest documentation of the expression dating back to 1800, when it was included in The Louisiana Planter and Sugar Manufacturer, a weekly newspaper.
During the 1800’s, the expression gained a significant ground in the Southern states, being exclusive to them, with the most uses and documentations coming from Texas, making the expression a staple for the Lone Star State.
During the 1950’s, the popularity of “Fair to middling” dwindled, however it was brought back to prominence in 1998, when a Texas based alternative metal band adopted the name “Fair to Midland”, which is a modification of the titular colloquialism.
The popularity of the band rose significantly in the 2000’s, with various independent releases appearing and achieving success among fans, eventually getting signed to a label, and breaking up a few years later, leading to a slight increase in the Google trend of both phrases.
Although “Fair to middling” is not as popular as it once was in the past, it may still be encountered in a variety of contexts in the Southern States, especially Texas.