Voguish Vocabulary: Moxie

moxie, n: spirit, courage. From Moxie, an American soft drink marketed in the late 1800’s. In the Dec. 20, 1930 edition of Collier’s: “Personally, I always figure Louie a petty-larceny kind of guy, with no more moxie than a canary bird.”

Example from the news: Richmond Times-Dispatch, Feb. 15, 2006, sports: “He likes having the ball in his hands. He’s got a little moxie to him.”

Example from Scripture: “On your feet, Philistines! Let’s see some moxie! We’re about to become slaves to the Hebrews, just as they have been slaves to us. Show what you’re made of! Fight for your lives!” —1 Samuel 4:9

(Sources: OED, Merriam-Webster Online. For The Dane.)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. You, sir, are a beautiful man. I have people ask me all the time what moxie means. In fact, I had to enlighten three people over the weekend. On the quick-and-go, I always liked explaining it as spunk. Of course, I’m assuming people understand spunk.

  2. My father-in-law is a big fan of Moxie (the soft drink), and I’ve had some myself when visiting in-laws in Pennsylvania. Here’s a good link to the company that still bottles it today: Moxie

    The logo has a picture of a doctor; it was originally marketed as “Moxie Nerve Food” and was said to cure ailments such as “softening of the brain” and even “loss of manhood.” (according to Wikipedia: Wikipedia: Moxie) All I know is that it’s nasty-tasting stuff (unless you’re a fan!) so I guess it takes a heck of a lot of “moxie” to drink it.