End of ADS-L Digest - 28 Apr 1995 to 29 Apr 1995 ************************************************ There are 7 messages totalling 165 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. "You're eighty-six, man!" 2. 86ed 3. I swan (3) 4. Cross-post: on n X short of a Y 5. Why, and how we transcribe it ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995 00:30:06 -0700 From: Anton Sherwood Subject: "You're eighty-six, man!" Matti Pitk{l{ says: > I watched the TV-series "Northern Exposure" the other day > and a character there used the expression "You're eighty- > six, man" to another, who had done some renovations at this > first character's house (well, actually it was a trailer), > and caused some water damages there. I understood this to > mean something like "You are a disaster, man". I wonder > though, were this expression comes from, and how well > known it is in the US? Would someone have a clue? If I were told "you're eighty-sixed," I'd take it to mean "you're no longer welcome here." (To whom did Chris say it? Was that the episode wherein Chris inherited some money?) >From "The Straight Dope" (Cecil Adams): | The term derives via a roundabout route from a number code allegedly | in wide use in 1920s diners and soda fountains. 86 supposedly meant, | "We're all out of the item ordered," said by the cook or some other | honcho to a soda jerk or similar minion. By extension 86 came to | mean, "Don't serve anything to the indicated party because he is | either broke or a creep." (Presumably you see how a code would come | in handy in such situations.) Bartenders later used the term in | connection with any person deemed too hammered to serve additional | drinks to, and eventually it came to have the all-purpose meaning | we assign to it today. | Other lunch counter code numbers (I rely here on the Morris | Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins) include 82, I need a glass | of water (80 and 81 at times meant the same thing); 99, the manager | is on the prowl; 98, ditto for the assistant manager; 33, gimme a | cherry-flavored Coke; 55, I crave a root beer; 19, I yearn for a | banana split; and 87 1/2, check out the babe over yonder. I think I've also heard "eighty-sixed" used of a broken machine, but won't swear to it. Note that in "Get Smart", Don Adams played the loyal but bumbling Agent 86 (and his smarter sidekick was Agent 99). Anton Sherwood *\\* +1 415 267 0685 *\\* DASher[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]netcom.com