I'm alright, Jack

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I'm alright, Jack is a British expression used to describe those who act only in their own best interests even if assistance to others would necessitate minimal effort on their behalf.[1][2] It carries a pejorative tone and is relatively rarely used to describe the speaker: "I limped down the aisle and asked a fellow to move along one seat so I could sit down, but he refused: "I'm alright Jack". So I hit him with my crutch, your Honour."

The phrase is believed to have originated among Royal Navy sailors, where a ladder was slung over the side of a ship, and when the last sailor climbed on board he would say, "I'm alright Jack, pull up the ladder". The use of the name "Jack" derives from Jack Tar, an archaic term for a British sailor. Another variant of the story depicts the origin of the phrase among sailors returning home from duty who, instead of being treated as brave heroes, were forced to fend for themselves in a dog-eat-dog society.

It was used in the title of the film I'm All Right Jack (1959).


  1. ^ Sarah Cassidy and Richard Garner (2006-04-12). "Thatcher blamed for lack of respect in classrooms". The Independent.
  2. ^ Lynsey Hanley (2016-07-03). "High status, high income: this is Britain's new working class". The Guardian.

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