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Posted by ESC on December 20, 2000

In Reply to: 86'ed posted by desz01 on December 20, 2000

: Can anyone please post where this phrase came from. The diner "back in the days", or perhaps in the armed forces? I am Curious to know...

Stuart Berg Flexner, in "Listening to America," (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1982) has a section on lunch-counter terms. He says, "86, rhymes with and means 'nix,' usually called out from cook to waiter or waitress, meaning 'we're all out of it, we don't have any.' Also used to mean 'no sale' and as a code meaning a person is not to be served, because he is broke, drunk, etc."