Etymology (Meaning of Words)/Jabip
I've heard the word "Jabip" used to refer to places in the middle of nowhere. Having searched around online, I've been unable to find out when or where the word came into being. A possible clue to its geographic origin is that my Dad heard it in Delaware City in the mid-70s or early 80s. Could you tell me about the origins of "Jabip", please? Thank you.
FOLLOW-UP: I posted your question at a reference librarians' list for difficult questions. Many people responded, some having heard the expression and some hearing it for the first time. Of the 30+ responses I received, about 10 were from the Philadelphia-Wilmington area. Only one person had heard it, but he couldn't identify its origin and suggested that it may be a very "localized" expression used by a very few people from 1960 onward. A person from Dagsboro, DE told me that the correct expression was "East Jesus."
Since I could get no help from these experienced and knowledgeable experts, I made the 50-mile round trip to the closest university with a large language collection. I checked every reference book devoted to slang, idioms, and Americanisms. It was NOT in the multi-volumed "Random House Dictionary of American Idioms" or "The Oxford English Dictionary." However, Harvard University's Belknap Press [in 1996] did include the term. The dictionary gives dates for the known WRITTEN usage, but that means the term was most likely used before it actually appeared in print.
I am pasting in the section I copied from DARE -- "The Dictionary of American Regional English."
DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN REGIONAL ENGLISH, V.3 [Belknap Press of Harvard University, 1996]
Jabib n Also Jdbip, Japip; rarely Jaboot NJ, sePA
Also in-comb Fifth and Japip: An imaginary, extremely remote
1983 Lutz Coll neNJ, It was in the 1950s that I heard Ramsey High
School pupils say such things as, "She lives way back of Jabib," and,
"You have to go way out in Jabib" I heard one of the teachers use the
word in 1973. . . It obviously meant ccthe boondocks" or "back of
beyond" 1984 NADS Letters sePA, Jabib—My wife and her relatives
in West Chester, Pennsylvania, use this term. It is pronounced .[jsbrp].
It is commonly used to describe a long and drawn-out shopping trip for
a hard-to-get item: eel had to go all the way to Jabip and back to get
this one" Ibid Philadelphia PA, My boss is a 35-year-old white man
from Philadelphia. He has mentioned the phrase "Fifth and Japip" as a
phrase that he used in his youth. C£Fifth and Japip" was a mythical
intersection supposed to be out in the middle of nowhere. Ibid sePA,
She doesn't live near here, she lives past Fifth and Japip Qs'prp]. Ibid
cnNJ, We used it only as East Jabib (pronounced [js'bib]), and it
meant—still means—"way-out-who-knows-where." 1986 DSNA Letters
neNJ, Jabib. . . My family and I used this word and the word jaboot. .•
to refer to a place remote by distance or from amenities, as in "from
here to jabib;". "from here to jaboot;" "from jabib to jaboot" (or vice
versa); or "He lives way out in jabib (or jaboot)" 1991 DARE File sNJ,
sePA, "To go from here to Japip" means to take forever to get somewhere
or do something. The expression has been used in the Philadelphia,
southern New Jersey, and Delaware Valley area since about 1900,
and is still common there. 1992 NADS Letters Philadelphia PA, My
Philly friends say by Fifth and Japip. Ibid sePA, I am from Philadelphia.
. . The expression I've mostly heard is eche lives'at Fifth and Japip", ^
meaning: out of the way, or "God knows where". 1992 DARE File
Philadelphia PA, Have heard of "You can go to 'Japip1 as far as I am
concerned"—in other words, the land of nowhere! Just a slang expression
of dislike. Ibid nNJ (as of 1960s), He lives way out in East
Jabib—in the middle of nowhere.
I regret that I did not know the knowledge that you were seeking. As I told you, I not think that anyone has. If you ever find out who made up the word and when it happened, I would appreciate knowing about it.
I thought my answer was very clear, but you did not. I apologize.
Places that do not exist are often referred to as "Unreal estates." Authors make up these places, as did Jonathan Swift, when he coined the names of many places for "Gulliver's Travels." The most famous of those places was "Lilliput."
Although I lived in the Philadelphia area for years, I have never heard of "Jabip" or "Jabib." We used the regular "boondocks" and "the Toolies," a reference to Thule in Greenland. Every geographical region has its own version of a "nowhere" place. No one has been able to trace the origin, because the words are part of the ORAL TRADITION of the area. They are spoken long before they are written down. So, we have no way of knowing who first spoke the word "Jabip."
I have found several reference to the place in some online sites.
Here is the first one, from "Wikipedia" --
BFE or Bumblefuck, Egypt (also Bumfuck, Egypt, Butt Fuck, Egypt, or Beyond Fucking Egypt) refers to an unspecified remote location or destination, assumed to be arduous to travel to, unpleasant to visit and/or far away from anything of interest to the speaker (e.g. "Man, you parked way the hell out in BFE"). In Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, this is often referred to as Japip or East Jabip/Jabib. In the Chicago metropolitan area, the term was coined to refer to the region in downstate Illinois known as "Little Egypt", centered in Cairo, Illinois, for being the furthest from the urban center in both distance and way of life. Bumfuck is also military slang for a remote, hard to get to military base. The term has been also rendered as Bumfuck, Iowa or Bumfuck, Wyoming or Bumfuck, Idaho. In 2009, the Academy award-winning film The Secret in Their Eyes made reference to Bumfuck, Iowa. Bumblefuck, Missouri was popularized by the 1988 movie Rain Man.
THE URBAN DICTIONARY is a good source for slang expressions. Unfortunately, the references in this dictionary do not have the year of origin or the person(s) who coined the expression:
THE URBAN DICTIONARY
The middle of nowhere. Shares a southern border with West Bumblefuck.
Child: Are we there yet?
Mother: No, not yet.
Child: Why not?
Mother: Because your whore of an Aunt forced your Uncle to move out to Jabip so he can't see his family anymore.
A fictitious town that is far away from where you currently are.
"It took so long to get there that I was almost to East Jabip!"
Here are some related examples. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation created signs for every small town. Those signs explained the origin of the town's name. They were stumped on Perkiomenville, and they had no idea how the Perkiomen Creek got its name. They consulted with a respected local historian. He said that the meaning of the name was "somewhat clouded." Then, he went on to say that the Indian word "Perkiomen" probably meant "place where cranberries grow," but there was no actual proof that the meaning was correct. Thus, it was unclear or "clouded." The government listened, partially, so now, when you enter the town of Perkiomenville, you see on the sign that the town's name means "somewhat clouded."
Another Pennsylvania story, which may or may not be true, is the naming of the small town of "Ono." As the town grew, the folks decided to give it a name. As each name was suggested, the crowd groaned "Oh, no." Every suggestion was rejected, so they went with what seemed to be the most popular response: "Ono, Pennsylvania."
I wish I could give you the exact date and the name of the person who introduced "Jabip," but that is just impossible.