Re: On 86 [was: The Singles Bar Model of Computing]

Jay Thomas (
Thu, 20 Aug 1998 13:15:34 -0400

Sally Khudairi wrote:
> Same in the gastronomic industry, but without the "10-"

> Gregory Alan Bolcer wrote:
> >
> > > Jeez.... To be 86'ed is to be so drunk that your cut off and asked to leave
> > > the bar.

How fortuitous. From todays email:

Subject: Trivia Subscription
20 Aug 98 5:42:39 AM

Today's Trivia Question:

Why is something that's thrown out said to be "86ed"?

(answer below)

In the real world, if you send someone a virtual gift, they
think you're crazy. On the Internet it's cute.


The Answer:

It seems that in the 1920s, diners and soda fountain
employees used to use code numbers to communicate with each
other. 82 meant "I need a glass of water," 19 was a call
for a banana split, 99 meant "the manager is on the prowl,"
and 86 meant "we're out of that item."

Later 86 came to mean "Whatever he asks for, tell him we're
out of. He's broke, so don't serve him anything."
Eventually, when someone was 86ed, he was simply asked to
leave or thrown out.

(Source: THE STRAIGH DOPE, by Cecil Adams)

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Jay Thomas		(work) 617-576-4832	
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Verbing weirds language  -- Calvin