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High five

Posted by ESC on September 14, 2002

In Reply to: High five posted by gareth william whittaker on September 13, 2002

: If the term "high five" was invented by Derek Smith in 1979/80 what was the gesture known as before that date?For surely he didn't invent the gesture. I remember seeing Bilko use it in a 1956 episode of his show.

HIGH FIVE - "1980s, a contribution of African American urban culture became widely known in sports, especially basketball, as a quick, dramatic substitute for the traditional handshake or 'pat on the butt' in congratulations. The 'high five,' developed from an earlier greeting practice of palm-slapping known as 'slapping five' (often accompanied by the words 'Gimme five' or 'Gimme some skin'), is done with one palm or both palms raised high, and the slap can be quite energetic. It is done by players of all levels, in all sports and regions, as well as by fans, and even in non-sports settings." From "Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley" by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov (Oxford University Press, New York, 1997).

Another source says ".University of Louisville (Go Cards!) Wiley Brown, Daryl Cleveland, and Derek Smith claimed to have invented it in 1979 during preseason practice as an odd, attention-getting gesture of triumph. However, hand slapping is also a way of greeting, especially among African-Americans." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).

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