Posted by ESC on April 30, 2001
In Reply to: Ollie Ollie Oxen Free posted by EThornburgh on April 30, 2001
: Can anyone give me the origin of the above subject?
: In youth it was applied to those participating in a game being called in "free" by calling out " Ollie Ollie Oxen Free".
: Are there other meanings - spellings? Origin?
: Thank You.
OLLY, OLLY OXEN FREE - "If you've ever wondered about the origins of this chant - used to call in all players at the end of a game of hide-and-seek - be advised that the experts only have a partial answer to your lifelong puzzlement. Word sleuths are fairly certain that the 'oxen' (or 'octen') in the call is simply a childish corruption of 'all in.' The rest remains a mystery." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).
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