Counting seconds in other countries.

When I was in school, I was taught to count using “Mississppi” so as to not rush and I still do this today. It occurred to me, how do people in other countries count seconds? Do most countries have a standard phrase or does it vary? For that matter, what do the Yankees do? Do y’all use Mississippi as well? Or do you count “one New Hampshire, two New Hampshire…”?

My Pittsburgher mother says Mississippi, so I guess the Yankees are like us in some respects.

Born and raised in the South, live in New England now. It is still Mississippi’s claim to fame here.

Chimpanzees are “like us” in some ways as well.:slight_smile:

I learned it as “one thousand one,” and I never heard “one Mississippi” until adulthood.

We used “one one-thousand; two-one-thousand; three-one-thousand”…

In England the preferred methods were “one-Picadilly, two-Picadilly…” and “one-one thousand, two-one thousand…”, at least when I was growing up.

The smarter ones among us used a watch.

That’s what we said too.

(Grew up in VT, BTW.)

Growing up in Pennsylvania, everyone I knew counted with “Mississippi.” The most frequent place you’d hear it would be during playground football games, where the defensive players would have to count to five Mississippi before they could rush the quarterback.

Once, as a kid, I timed myself saying “Mississippi” and realized that it actually took slightly over a second. Stickler for accuracy that I was, I dropped the middle “iss” from the word, bringing it down to three syllables. That worked out to exactly a second, and I still do it that way to this day.

I heard some (Canadian) football commentators mention the other day that kids in the states count Mississipi’s and Canadian kids count ‘steamboats’, before they can rush the quarterback. It’s true, I remember counting steamboats when playing touch football as a kid.

No idea why steamboats though.

It seems as if the “one one-thousand ; two one-thousand ; three one-thousand” method is a Northeast USA “tradition”. That’s what I’ve always used and I’ve been in the Boston area all my life.

One-Kodak, Two-Kodak…
May have been George Eastman who originated that one.

In Germany it’s almost invariably einundzwanzig, zweiundzwanzig, dreiundzwanzig, vierundzwanzig, … - i.e. twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, …

Well, I actually typed something about how even though they eat puppy sandwiches for breakfast, we still have something in common, but I was the better man and deleted it.

I (Milwaukee, WI) always counted with one thousands, while my boyfriend (Ottawa, ON) counted with Mississippis, though he’s heard of steamboats. How odd…

This one uses "one steam engine, two steam engines, three steam engines … !

Steamboats in Canada, for as long as I can remember…

In Germany, the trick is finding a word that takes only a second to say.


Growing up on just east of Cleveland, I heard “Mississippi”, “Steam boat” and “one thousand” as the timing words.

I’ve normally used the “one-thousand” method. (Montreal, Canada)

However, I’ve also counted “One hippopotamus… two hippopotamus…” when in the presence of kiddies, because it gets giggles. I wonder how many young adults are walking around counting like that as a result of my babysitting?