Cover for calt: Barrelhouse Words: A Blues Dialect Dictionary. Click for larger imagejellybean
Down on Franklin Avenue, jellybeans standin’ to an’ fro
Well you hear one jellybean ask the other one:
“Which a-way did my good girl go?”
—”Hi” Henry Brown, “Nut Factory Blues,” 1932

A moron or simpleton. As an ex-employee of the St. Louis factory that was the subject of the above song put it: “‘Jellybean’ means you half-cracked. . . . If I call you a ‘jellybean’ that mean you a simple-crack guy. . . . If a guy call me a ‘jellybean’ direct to my face, he callin’ me somethin’ ignorant . . .” (Sylvester Grant, 1970 interview with author). As a general pejorative, the term dates to about 1915 (DAS); it appears in Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929).

From Barrelhouse Words: A Blues Dialect Dictionary by Stephen Calt.

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