Posted by ESC on December 01, 2004
In Reply to: The Round File posted by TheFallen on November 30, 2004
: : : : : : What is the word origin for 'File 13'?
: : : : : : e.g. You're talking about the File 13.
: : : : : File 13 means the office trash can. "We'll put this document in File 13." I am guessing that "13" is used because it is an unlucky number.
: : : : Also called "the round file" because round is a popular shape for trash cans. Even though trash cans can be rectangular, just about the only thing in an office that's round is the trash can.
: : :
: : : ESC+ Brian, many thanks for your clear explanations. Is this expresion mainly used in the States or on both sides of the Atlantic?
: : I am from the New World, so I can't say if either of these expressions (File 13 or Round File) are used in the Old World.
: Being a Brit, I can confirm everyday office usage of "the round file" to mean the waste paper bin (aka trash can). File 13 is however a new one on me.
FILE 13 -- 1. A wastebasket. Especially military. Jocular. First citation in 1941. 2. A private or classified file containing harmful or embarrassing information. 1969. From "Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, Volume 1, A-G" by J.E. Lighter, Random House, New York, 1994.
Then there's the: UBI FILE - Useless bits of information file. (Heather French Henry, Kentucky native, 27, presentation on Oct. 18, 2002, before the Kentucky Association of Government Communicators at Shaker Village, Ky.)