phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Phrases, Sayings and Idioms Home > Discussion Forum

Re: UBI File

Posted by Gary on December 01, 2004

In Reply to: Re: UBI File posted by ESC on December 01, 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.)

In the UK unwanted items are often filed under 'B' (the bin).

My office colleagues occasionally adjourn to Meeting Room Q (The Queen's Head, next door).