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What is the origin of slam-bang?

I walked slam-bang into this character.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

As I have my Green's open at nearly the right page (from a previous answer), I can suggest it could be one of two meanings; either "vigourously or energetically", or "precisely, directly". Both of these meanings date from ~1840. As to the origin, the earliest reference has a firearm sort of sound: "Down went the Major, shot right through the hips, slam-bang. (R.M.Bird, Nick of the Woods, 1837).

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Definitely onomatopoeic. I found this reference back to 1789, republished in the periodical The Polyanthos in 1806:

http://books.google.com/books?id=Z7kRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA190&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U0xxRynaWoIJSt2ldNQSM33n-6_uA&ci=125%2C1252%2C812%2C254&edge=0

Interestingly, the phrase appeared again in the same magazine six years later in a letter to the editor quoting some "famous Parson W__":

http://books.google.com/books?id=DFEAAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA94&dq=%22slam%20bang%22&hl=en&ei=NTWsTayyGcjogQfltuHzBQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&sqi=2&ved=0CEQQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=%22slam%20bang%22&f=false

And from six years later still, I found this footnote to the use of the word tamb in the Doric pastoral, The Exmoor Courtship, exegeted in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, 1819:

http://books.google.com/books?id=kXAEAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA533&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U300WKJndJyDQ1Zgh300CZhKKYZPA&ci=83%2C946%2C785%2C111&edge=0

The "translator" dates the poem to the reign of Henry VII, but this all may have been a ruse.

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