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Eighty sixed

Posted by James McNelly on June 22, 2003

I am pretty sure that the origin of the term EIGHTY SIXED came about as follows:

In the electrical power industry, the components of devices in power plants and substations are identified by a standard numbering system to save having to write out the name of the component, which would take up too much space on drawings.
All power linemen and electricians are familiar with the 86 relay, which is the LOCKOUT relay, and is labled as such on switchboards. This relay trips whenever a serious problem occurs and must be manually reset before the breaker or generator can be pleced back in service.

Linemen are traditionally a particularly rowdy bunch of men, and individuals are often barred,(locked out, 86ed)of bars and restaurants. The restaurant people would naturally pick up the term from the linemen.