Susannah Centlivre, a prominent writer of farcical comedies, wrote a play in 1718 that has provided the English language with a new word meaning «utterly pure or real». This play, titled A Bold Stroke for a Wife, had as its hero a man named Simon Pure. The name of that man has come to mean, in everyday English, the real or genuine article. When the authenticity of a thing is unqualified and beyond dispute, it may be said to be simon-pure.
In the play, Simon Pure, a Quaker from Philadelphia, is a man of impeccable reputation. He has received a letter of introduction to a Miss Anne Lovely, a pretty young woman and heiress to a handsome fortune. Meanwhile, a certain Colonel Fainwell steals the letter and gains entrance into Anne Lovely’s home by passing himself off as Simon Pure. Fainwell obtains the guardian’s written consent to marry Anne. Simon
Pure has a difficult time proving that Fainwell is an impostor, but in the end the hero gets the girl.
The only thing about all this that is not a farce is the genuineness of the hero — he was simon-pure.