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This rustles my jimmies

seems like a commonly used idiom recently to denote being annoyed, angered, touched. Still, every idiom has some origin, and I wonder what is the original meaning of this one.

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Can you give any context? Links to passages? To me, sounds like a generic made up phrase, that doesn't mean anything at all literally, just something like 'that's annoying'. –  Mitch Nov 5 '12 at 17:05
    
I'd never heard this before, but it seems to be all over the internet. Only a couple hits in Google books, but hundreds of thousands in a regular Google search. –  J.R. Nov 5 '12 at 17:22
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There is an extensive entry at know your meme. –  cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Nov 5 '12 at 17:44
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...and that extensive entry indicates that the answer will never be conclusively known. I reckon that jimmies are whatever you want them to be. –  Andrew Leach Nov 5 '12 at 17:45
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I'm in agreement with Andrew Leach. The phrase may have been modeled after don't get your panties in a bunch/twist. Like many memes, it was an invented phrase used in a small community (not sure if there's a regional basis or if it was made up purely online) that caught on with Internet users at large. There isn't much more one can add to its origin and development other than the KYM entry. –  Zairja Nov 5 '12 at 18:16
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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Similar to the idiom getting your panties in a bunch, I will hazard a guess that jimmies is a complementary masculine phrase. Jimmies may have originally referred to the male member (or accompanying anatomy). At least one instance occurs in the December 2003 issue of Men's Health.

We put our lives in their hands and our jimmies in their grip.

In the article, "in their grip" refers to wearing a condom.

As for rustle, this definition seems likely:

to act or move with energy or speed

This is just one example of getting your X in a Y or getting your (noun) (verbed) (e.g. getting your titties in a twist, getting your biscuits flipped, and so on). The gist of these expressions is that one is annoyed, angered, or upset. The severity or crudeness of the language may describe the intensity of emotion felt by the "rustled".

Jimmies works as a malleable, polysemic construction. Since it can mean nearly anything, the phrase can be employed in multiple situations, increasing its popularity.

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+1 FWIW, this from Urban Dictionary and posted in 2007 confirms your conjecture. I note that this is not a 'getting your X in a Y' but a 'Xes my Y' construction; the equivalent in my day was "That chaps my ass". –  StoneyB Nov 5 '12 at 19:09
    
I always assumed that "jimmies" referred to boxers or other underpants. That definition would go equally well with @StoneyB's Urban Dictionary link, and works better with the list Hugo gave in his answer (specifically the "pajama" entries). –  Kyle Strand May 14 '13 at 18:06
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We may never know what the jimmies being rustled are. But here's a summary of the 24 Urban Dictionary definitions for jimmies, oldest first (the page number is the page the definition appears on, highest votes are on the first page):

  • Page 1: Apr 17, 2003 synonym for sprinkles
  • Page 2: Oct 11, 2003 Something you put on yogurt.
  • Page 2: Oct 24, 2003 rod shaped chocolate for ice cream
  • Page 3: Mar 12, 2004 The two little kids who live in circular houses down towords the bottom of me, guarded by their friend, Aniconda.
  • Page 1: May 5, 2004 Nothern term for "sprinkles."
  • Page 3: May 15, 2004 n. The male genitalia
  • Page 2: Jun 14, 2004 Slang for testicles
  • Page 3: Oct 7, 2004 1. A feeling of paranoia - synonym of willies 2. The intense creepy feeling you get when you hear something that wigs you out.
  • Page 1: Oct 28, 2004 Pittsburguese for candy sprinkles which are placed on top of ice cream.
  • Page 3: Dec 24, 2004 South Jersey for 'Sprinkles'. Morons.
  • Page 1: Mar 3, 2005 A reference to a particular type of Sprinkle, namely, Chocolate Sprinkles
  • Page 4: Mar 23, 2005 See cunt and bitch
  • Page 2: Jul 8, 2005 An old racial slur that means a black person. Used primarily in the south.
  • Page 2: Dec 1, 2005 small pieces of colored sugar or candy that are scattered over the surface of ice cream, cakes, or cookies as a decoration. Pittsburghese
  • Page 4: Dec 11, 2006 Slang for Oxycontin (80mg)
  • Page 3: Dec 28, 2007 Pyjamas- Short for 'jim-jams' or as an alternative for 'jammies'.
  • Page 1: Sep 18, 2008 Chocolate or rainbow rod-shaped candy on ice cream. [and etymology]
  • Page 1: May 5, 2009 Slang term for sprinkles. Used by people who live very close to Boston. Not used by those in western massachusetts
  • Page 1: Sep 21, 2009 Another word for condoms.
  • Page 2: Mar 8, 2010 ... Jimmies are a coating of shit particles resembling confectionery sprinkles...
  • Page 4: Dec 30, 2010 A rod shaped chocolate candy for icecream popular in the Northeast U.S. and also a term for condoms in the South U.S.
  • Page 3: Jul 28, 2011 something retarded new englander's call sprinkles.
  • Page 3: Dec 26, 2011 pajamas you wear out, especially to a tool concert. or you can wear these pajamas while at home.
  • Page 1: Feb 27, 2012 When rustled, convey feelings of discontent or of being upset.

To summarise, only one refers to something being rustled, and this is the latest but highest voted, and came after the June 16th, 2010 date that Know Your Meme identified for the gorilla image macro so doesn't tell us anything.

There's two definitions for pyjamas, two for male genitalia, one for condoms, and four other miscellaneous entries.

However, the earliest and most frequent definitions (12 in total, and one derived definition) are for chocolate (or rainbow) rod-shaped sprinkles you put on yoghurt or ice-cream, a slang term of the north-east US, particularly Pittsburgh, South Jersey, Boston and New England.

Rustle my jimmies may be referring to the sound chocolate sprinkles make in their box. If so, the Sep 18, 2008 definition provides an etymology of the name jimmies:

Chocolate or rainbow rod-shaped candy on ice cream.

Jimmies were first developed by Just Born Candy Company, which was founded by Samuel Born, who immigrated to the US from Russia around 1910. Born opened a small candy-making and retail store in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1923. Soon after opening the Brooklyn store, Born invited his brothers-in-law, Irv and Jack Shaffer, to join him in the business. With his capable partners handling the factory and growing sales, Born was free to direct his energies to his many candy-related inventions.

In 1930 James Bartholomew was lucky enough to acquire a job at Just Born, Inc. Bartholomew operated a machine that produced Born's latest invention, tiny hot-dog shaped chocolate sprinkly things. But what to call them? Born briefly pondered that question before deciding to accredit the name to the producer, Jimmy Bartholomew. The new product was named JIMMIES, which is still a trademarked name, but no longer made by Just Born.The dictionary definition for JIMMIES used to be "decorative things." They have also been called toppettes, shots, fancies, trimettes and sprinkles.

When they came to Boston, (circa 1947) Brigham's was the first to promote JIMMIES and did not charge for them. In Boston, JIMMIES are to ice cream like mustard & relish are to a hot dog. Brigham's has continued the long tradition of serving JIMMIES free of charge on ice cream cones and dishes.

"I asked the guy to put jimmies on my ice cream sundae and he asked, "Rainbow or chocolate?'."

by ~scott71~ Sep 18, 2008

A 2009 Snopes article delves into the pre-rustle etymology of jimmies and suggests the Just Born story may at least partly true.

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+1 I like this idea of rustling the sprinkles in the box! –  Zairja Nov 8 '12 at 0:22
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I wondered this myself & after some searching on Google, I came across this site that seemed to be the most authoritative & comprehensive source of information available:

That Really Rustled My Jimmies | Know Your Meme

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This explains where the phrase arose, but not how the meaning arose. –  StoneyB Nov 5 '12 at 18:46
    
According to the website - in the section titled "Origin": The phrase originates from FunnyJunk. On June 16th, 2010... –  Alexander Nov 5 '12 at 18:58
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FunnyJunk is a website, not a meaning. –  StoneyB Nov 5 '12 at 19:04
    
Indeed, you're quite right. –  Alexander Nov 5 '12 at 22:24
    
Though it out that 'junk' may in fact be the meaning ... –  StoneyB Nov 5 '12 at 22:27
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