View Full Version : What is the true origin of 86'ing something in a restruant?
08-12-2002, 09:36 AM
While working in the restruant industry i have come across the phrase of 86'ed. While I have heard many a theories and ideas on how it started i still do not know the origional birth of this phrase. Help me!!!!!!!!!!
08-12-2002, 10:13 AM
Cecil's column on the subject: Where does the term "86" come from? (http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_291b.html).
08-12-2002, 06:51 PM
I just read that column today but I have also heard many other viable explanations i.e. when you are burried 8 feet long six feet deep so if you are 86'd you are dead (military explanation). There are a few more i was wondering if anyone else has heard anyothers. By the by where is the proof Cecil huh where is the proof.
08-12-2002, 10:27 PM
captainolev You don't get how it works.
Cecil says that the numbering system was in use in the 1920's. I can't find a followup thread about this because our search engine needs four lettered words to search. "86" just doesn't make it.
I can find you a cite for "86" in print from the late 1920's meaning "don't serve that drunk." And it appears in "American Speech" in 1936 as meaning "Item on the menu not on hand." If it appeared in AS at that time, it certainly existed some good time before that.
Now that Cecil and I have given you dates/cites, it's your turn to come up with a date/cite for the military/burial explanation.
08-13-2002, 03:21 AM
Since this seems to have been inspired by Cecil's column, I'll move this thread to Comments on Cecil's Columns.
An earlier (short) thread on the same subject: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=25073
08-14-2002, 02:14 AM
Years ago Whiskey was usually 100 proof. If you had too much to drink, they would only serve you 86 proof. Hence the term 86'd. Now 80 proof has replaced 86 proof which was common until the 1980's.
08-14-2002, 11:09 PM
All we request is that you provide a cite as to your assertions. Can you give us any help here?
08-21-2002, 02:29 PM
I don't have any proof to the story that I was told about the origins of 86, but it does sound plausible. There is a bar in NYC named Chumley's. It was a speakeasy during proabition. A lot of political types were known enjoy themselves there. Well when the cops were about to roust the place, the barkeep would get a courtesy call before hand, so he would be able to tell the people to get out before the cops came. They'd all go out the back door and the booze would be hidden and all would be fine. Well, what was most interesting is that the address of the place is on the back door and that address is...86. So therefore, when the barkeep would get the call he'd yell out to the patrons 86 and they'd know what was up.
08-21-2002, 06:10 PM
The chumley's story always sounds good. Michael Quinion (http://www.quinion.com/words/qa/qa-eig1.htm) can probably express the negative evidence better than I.
At Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim, there is an attraction called "Soarin' Over California." Since the theme is flight, the queue has photos of great aviators, designers and aircraft on the walls. One of them is of the F-86 (http://f-86.tripod.com/) Sabre jet that was flown in the Korean War. The caption claims the term originated there, that when an enemy plane was shot down by someone in a Sabre jet, the enemy plane was said to have been "86'ed."
I guess Disney should've consulted Cecil.
08-24-2002, 02:07 PM
Originally posted by oblatna
Years ago Whiskey was usually 100 proof. If you had too much to drink, they would only serve you 86 proof. Hence the term 86'd.
Um ... doesn't that story just sound a tad ... unlikely to you?
"Uh oh, Charlie, look at this guy. He's had way too much to drink. He's slurring his speech and can barely stand up." "Well, then, let's only give him 86 Proof whiskey instead of 100 Proof whiskey. No one could possibly get drunk on 86 Proof whiskey."
08-27-2002, 10:52 AM
I was thinking that very thing, tracer! I can see a bartender wanting to arrest or reverse a patron's drunkenness, but slowing it down by only 14% doesn't make a lick of sense.
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