Named after American merchant and statesman John Hancock (1737–1793), the first person to sign the United States Declaration of Independence. According to legend, he signed his name prominently to be sure George III could read it, causing his name to become an eponym for a signature. However, other examples show that Hancock always wrote his signature this way.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /dʒɒn ˈhænkɒk/
- (General American) IPA(key): /dʒɑn ˈhænkɑk/, /dʒɑn ˈhænkɔːk/
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- Hyphenation: John Han‧cock
- (idiomatic, US) A person's signature.
- Please put your John Hancock on the dotted line to close the deal.
- 1879, Bates Harrington, How 'tis Done: A Thorough Ventilation of the Numerous Schemes Conducted by Wandering Canvassers, together with the Various Advertising Dodges for the Swindling of the Public, Chicago, Ill.: Fidelity Pub. Co., OCLC 77314010, page 63:
- The man is pressed for his "John Hancock" with all the persuasiveness and eloquence of a practiced operator on masculine vanity.
- 2005, Dary Matera, John Dillinger: The Life and Death of America's First Celebrity Criminal, trade paperback edition, New York, N.Y.: Carroll & Graf Publishers, →ISBN, page 36:
- Audrey and crew even squeezed frail grocer Frank Morgan, the victim, into adding his John Hancock to the parole petition. The cherry was getting Hanging Judge Joe Williams to sign on as well.