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Re: 6s and 7s

Posted by ESC on February 10, 2002

In Reply to: 6s and 7s posted by JOEL BRENNER on February 10, 2002

: Does anyone know the origin of the phrase, to be at sixes and (or) at sevens?

From the archives:

Source: "Hog on Ice" by Charles Earle Funk: (paraphrased). The expression is believed to be 150 years old at least (this written in 1948). An older form, "on six and seven," was known in Chaucer's day and he used it in 1375 in "Troylus and Cryseyde." But he didn't explain it. Mr. Funk thinks Chaucer's use referred to an old dicing game. From Chaucer and other sources, we know there was a game where to try a throw of six and seven was a very risky gamble. One who staked his win on such a throw was reckless in the extreme.