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I've heard several Americans say "everything's coming up X". Sometimes, it's a person's name, and sometimes, it can be anything.

Example: https://youtu.be/ivW7z3wGAl8?t=175

Everything was coming up fruity!

Everything was coming up berry!

What do they mean by this? "Everything is/was coming up..."? Where does it origin from? It sounds very strange to me.

I couldn't find anything on Wikitionary.

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  • Farming metaphor for your planted field showing heavy signs of crop X sprouting (coming up) – Yosef Baskin Aug 14 '20 at 14:48
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  • The video clip instances are from a 1980s ad for a cereal. Not relevant. – Xanne Aug 14 '20 at 19:18
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    @Xanne, I would contend that the 80s cereal ads are relevant in that they are a play on the more widespread expression "Everything's coming up roses," as in Davo's comment. – RobJarvis Aug 14 '20 at 19:41
  • @RobJarvis As a source, yes. As speech needing explanation, no, they’re ads. Song is 1959, I think it said. OP gives no other uses except with a person’s name. – Xanne Aug 14 '20 at 19:52
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Particular instances of the expression "everything's coming up X" for the past 60 years are heavily influenced by the hit song "Everything's Coming Up Roses," from the 1959 Broadway musical (and subsequent 1962 film) Gypsy, about the stripper Louise Hovick (aka Gypsy Rose Lee), whose mother's name was Rose.

The simple sense of the expression is "everything is great" or "everything is going to come out well." Nigel Rees, A Word in Your Shell-like (2004) offers this brief discussion of the term:

everything's coming up roses All is well, prospects are good, everything's blooming. The phrase is used as a title of a song with words by Stephen Sondheim in the musical Gypsy (1959). But did the expression exist before this? Partridge/Catchphrases guesses that it was already current circa 1950, It is possibly adapted from the expression 'to come out of something smelling of roses', but there do not even seem to be any examples of that in use before the date of the Sondheim song.


Early published instances of 'everything's coming up roses'

A Google Books search for "everything's coming up" for the period 1900–1965 yields no matches before 1959—and the first matches for that year are from "Reviews of This Week's LP's*," in Billboard (November 2, 1959):

GYPSY | Annie Ross. World Pacific 1028 (Stereo & Monaural) — Annie Ross comes thru with a sock jazz vocal version of the songs from "Gypsy" that should have the jazz fans agog. The arrangements here are by Buddy Bregman and they swing, but most important of all is the thrushing of Miss Ross which has never been more hip, sultry and just plain enjoyable. She does mighty fine with "Some People," “Everything's Coming Up Roses” and “All I need Is a Boy.” This is a gasse!

...

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP MUSIC | Art Van Damme Quintet. Columbia CS 8177. (Stereo & Monaural) — The Art Van Damme Quintet has been one [o]f the best of the small jazz-pop groups for years, and on this new album they come thru solidly again. They handle a group of standards in their own bright, happy style that makes for solid listening. Tunes include “You Do Something to Me,” “Everything's Coming Up Roses” and “When Your Lover Has Gone.” This set should have steady sales.

Not only does Billboard praise two versions of the song from Gypsy, but it cites what may be the earliest verbal play on the song title—Van Damme's LP title, Everything's Coming Up Music.


Early instances of 'everything's coming up [something besides roses]'

A year later, the replacements for "roses" in the expression become more frequent. From Broadcasting, volume 59 (1960) [combined snippets]:

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP ZINNIAS! Window boxes, gardens, flower pots — we don't know where WBNS listeners plant these zinnias, but every year for the past 5 years, they have written for thousands of them. Each Spring WBNS Radio personalities offer free zinnia seeds in exchange for a post card bearing the listener's name and address. At right you can see how the WBNS zinnia gardeners are thriving.

From Historic Garden Week in Virginia (1960) [text not viewable in snippet window]:

Everything's coming up magnolias ...

From an article in Harper's Bazaar, volume 96, part 1 (1963) [combined snippets]:

EVERYTHING'S COMING UP TULIPS!!!

Tulip-draped sleeves, petaling from a round-necked bodice caught under the bust with a grosgrain bow for a romantic Empire look—the waist whittled by narrow tucks above a skirt flowing softly to the hemline.

From an article in The Iron Age, volume 196, issues 19–26 (1965) [combined snippets]:

Everything's Coming Up Roses—Or Dandelions?

Profits are winging out into the wild blue yonder. Cheers are going up in company boardrooms as the third quarter earnings reports come bouncing in.

And from an unidentified article in Town & Country, volume 119, issue 4521 (1966) [combined snippets]:

The big news for fall is color. Everything's coming up fuchsia, magenta, and vermilion. Way back in the days of mere monochrome, NBC ran an ad that ballyhooed color and pooh-poohed black and white. In a world without color, charged NBC, "pea soup would look exactly like borsch , and can you imagine London in a borsch fog?"


Early instances of 'everything's coming up roses' as an idiom

Meanwhile, back in 1960, we find the expression "everything's coming up roses" being applied as an idiomatic way of saying "everything is going great" to the plastics industry, in an unidentified article in The Rubber Age, volume 88 (1960[?]) [combined snippets]:

There may be concern by some industries about prospects for the immediate future, but in plastics everything's coming up roses. Nothing short of a major depression will stop this wholesale market penetration. Total production of synthetic plastic and resin material next year "will almost double" the 3.7 billion pounds marked up in 1955, the year Seiberling entered the plastics field. Production for 1960 will be at 6.4 billion pounds, according to estimates of the Society of the Plastics Industry in New York City.

From an article in Forbes magazine, volume 96 (1965) [combined snippets]:

Happy Traveler / Everything's coming up roses these days for Greyhound Corp.

Greyhound Corp. is one of those lucky companies that is doing well both in its original business and those it has diversified into.

And from an advertisement for Automation magazine in Industrial Marketing, volume 51, issues 7–12 (1966) [text not shown in snippet window]:

He reads Automation, the magazine of production technology, because it's the one modern source of information on how to make profits. Everything's coming up roses for Automation, and for our advertisers. Be an advertiser. Let's all enjoy the sweet smell of success.


Antecedents to 'everything's coming up roses'

Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, second edition (2013) offers this entry for the expression "come up roses":

come up roses 1. Turn out extremely well, as in I had my doubts about this project, but now it's coming up roses. {Slang: c. 1960} 2. come up smelling like roses. Emerge untarnished from a difficult situation, have no stain on one's character, as in He was suspended for a month but still came up smelling like roses. Eric Partridge believed this usage originally was fall into shit and come up smelling like roses, but the vulgar initial phrase is now generally omitted. {Slang: first half of 1900s}

In Google Books and Elephind searches, the oldest expression seems to be "come out smelling like a rose [or roses]." From an untitled item in the Salt Lake [City, Utah] Herald (July 19, 1885):

It is a cold day when the Buckeye gets left. The courts have now decided that in Ohio the husband is the legal owner of his wife;s clothes. So absolutely is the title vested in the husband that a man who wanted to deed his wife's wardrobe to her could not legally make the transfer. Your Ohioan is so lucky that if he were to fall into a cesspool he would come out smelling like a rose.

From S.J. Osten, "From District Council No. 9" (February 26, 1912), in The Blacksmiths Journal (March 1912):

As far as the rest of them [union blacksmiths on strike] I won't take up any more space by giving their history, but will say that if every single one of them should fall into a cesspool they would come out smelling like roses. As far as the balance of the men are concerned they are willing to stay on the firing line.

From Clyde Davis, Sullivan (1940) [combined snippets]:

Then I got to thinking sense and I said to hell with fine art if you can't make a living at it, and nobody can make a living at it unless his pictures are both mighty good and pretty freakish also to attract attention—besides his being lucky enough to fall into the Chicago river and come out smelling like a rose with a gold watch in each hand.

From an unidentified short story in Story, volume 32 (1948):

The column stiffened, alerted by the spit of sound. A tank loomed out of nothingness, the glinting edges of its bawdy bulk dismembering the dark like a monstrous woman partially denuded. The warm murmur of voices and the sharp green hissing flame of a squad stove brewing coffee made the men turn their heads.

"Some guys can fall into a latrine and come up smelling like a rose," Wino said."

From "Fearful of Votes Back Home," in the Indianapolis [Indiana] Times (March 29, 1949):

It would be hard to compute the national disgust at the fiddling and faddling of the 81st Congress, which was supposed to lead us out of the wilderness, but it must be enormous at the moment. By comparison, the 80th Congress, which Mr. Truman scornfully used as a whipping-boy to re-election, comes up smelling like a rose.

And from "Like a Rose?" in Naval Aviation News (March 1953):

Remember the story of the fellow who "came out smelling like a rose"? Well, this guy didn't.

The pilot cleared from Patuxent to NAS Memphis, Tennessee in an F4U-4 with 233 gallons of gasoline. His flight plan called for a true airspeed of 180 knots and an estimated time enroute of three hours and 30 minute. ...

The impact with the second telephone pole turned the Corsair into the backyard of a rural dwelling. A privy loomed ahead, and the plane plowed into it. Fortunately it was unoccupied, for the F4U came to rest on top of it. Both the privy and the plane suffered strike damage.

If nothing else, these early instances of "come out [or up] smelling like roses [or a rose]" tend to confirm Partridge's view that the noteworthy aspect of smelling like a rose in the original expression was that it was preceded by falling into something extremely noisome.


Conclusions

Expressions of the form "everything's coming up X" almost certainly owe their existence to the song "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the musical Gypsy (1959). Whether it, in turn, was influenced by the earlier expression "come out [or up] smelling like roses [or a rose]" is less clear, but it doesn't seem far-fetched to me. The latter expression has been in use since at least 1885.

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  • Are you sure you found enough long examples? – nnnnnn Sep 8 '20 at 12:55

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