Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Poor Jack or John (A).

 Poor.Poor Man. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Poor Jack or John (A).
Dried hake. We have “john-dory,” a “jack” (pike), a “jack shark,” and a “jack of Dover,” Probably the word Jack is a mere play on the word “Hake,” and John a substitute for Jack.   1
        “’Tis well thou art not fish; if thou hadst, thou hadst been poor-john.”—Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, i. 1.
        We have a similar perversion in the school-boy proof that a pigeon-pie is a fish-pie. A pigeonpie is a pie-john, and a pie-john is a jack-pie, and a jack-pie is a fish-pie.

 Poor.Poor Man. 


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