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James Callow Folklore Archive

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TRADITIONAL WORDS

EIGHTY-SIX.

Submitter comment: THE PHRASE WHICH WAS PICKED UP WAS EIGHTY-SIX. TO EIGHTY-SIX
SOMETHING MEANT TO 1, IGNORE IT, OR 2, THROW IT AWAY. THERE IS ALSO
A TRADITIONAL TALE ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF THE TERM. IT IS BELIEVED TO
HAVE COME FROM AN OLD BARTENDER'S TERM. WHEN THE BARTENDER SAW THAT
SOMEONE WAS DRUNK, HE WOULD PASS THE WORD TO EIGHTY-SIX THAT MAN.
THAT WOULD MEAN EITHER CALL THE POLICE, WHOSE ADDRESS WAS 86TH ST.
OR TO GIVE THE MAN 86 PROOF LIQUOR, RATHER THAN 100 PROOF.

Where learned: CALIFORNIA

James Callow Keyword(s): ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE ; NUMBER ; THREAT

Subject headings: SPEECH -- Trade & commerce
PROVERB -- Proverbial Phrase

Date learned: 00-00-1967

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