First recorded use in 1930. From the name of an American soft drink made since 1885 to which advertisement ascribed many beneficial properties directly but also indirectly by using the same name as a patent medicine first manufactured in 1878. Perhaps ultimately from an Abenaki word meaning "dark water".
- nerve, spirit, backbone, determination and fortitude, courage, force of character
- verve, vigor, pep, energy, initiative
- wit, skill, know-how
The word's origin as the name of a very popular product marketed as a cure-all for modern society's most common negative effects on daily life can be seen in that the word has very many different connotations but that these can be grouped into three meanings corresponding to "cures" for these common modern problems. The most typical negative feelings experienced due to the fast pace of modern society are probably those of being too weak in spirit or body or mind to deal with daily life, in other words, of being overwhelmed/helpless, exhausted/listless, or confused/perplexed. The word's original use for a cure-all can also be seen in that the word is often used with more than one of these meanings at a time.