Three cheers and a Tiger
"The most compelling evidence, however, is what may be found in John Russell Bartlett’s A Glossary of Words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States, published in Boston in 1859. The following account will no doubt answer what a tiger actually was and is:
Tiger. In 1822, the Boston Light Infantry, under Captain Mackintosh and Lieut. Robert C. Winthrop, visited Salem and encamped in Washington square; and during their stay a few of the members indulged in sports incidental to camp duty, when some visitor exclaimed to one who was a little rough, “Oh, you Tiger!” It became a catch word, and as a term of playful reproach, “You’re a Tiger,” was adopted as one of the peculiar phrases of the corps. On the route to Boston some musical genius sung an impromtu line, “Oh, you Tigers, don’t you know,” to the air of “Rob Roy McGregor oh!” Of course the appellation soon induced the Tigers by name to imitate the actions of the Tiger, and the “growl” was introduced, and at the conclusion of three cheers, “a tiger” was invariably called for. [begin quote] In 1826, the Infantry visited New York, being the first volunteer corps to make a trip from this city to another State; and while there the Tigers at a public festival awoke the echoes and astonished the Gothamites by giving the genuine howl. It pleased the fancy of the hosts, and gradually it became adopted on all festive and joyous occasions, and now “three cheers and a tiger” are the inseparable demonstrations of approbations in that city. - Boston Evening Gazette  [end quote]"
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