real MacKay

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Attested in 1856 as “A drappie o’ the real MacKay” (A drop of the real MacKay).[1][2][3] Used as advertising slogan of G. MacKay & Co., Ltd., a whisky distiller.

Later attested 1883, Robert Louis Stevenson:[4]

For society, there isna sae muckle, but there’s myself—the auld Johnson, ye ken—he’s the real Mackay…


  • IPA(key): /ˌreɪl məˈkaɪ/, /ˌriəl məˈkaɪ/


the real MacKay

  1. (idiomatic) The real McCoy, the genuine article, not an imitation.



  1. ^ Scottish National Dictionary
  2. ^ 2007 OED
  3. ^ Susie Dent of the Oxford University Press, on February 8, 2008 broadcast of Countdown.
  4. ^ R.L.S.: Stevenson’s Letters to Charles Baxter, 1956, ed. De Lancey Ferguson and Marshall Waingrow, p. 125