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Posted by Jon on January 31, 2003

In Reply to: 24/7 posted by masakim on January 24, 2003

: : : Does anyone know when this phrase came into common use? Could it have been around in the 1980s, or is this a 90s thing?

: : 24/7 - One source lists 24/7 under "rap" words. ("Speaking Freely: A Guided Tour of American English from Plymouth Rock to Silicon Valley" by Stuart Berg Flexner and Anne H. Soukhanov, Oxford University Press, New York, 1997).

: : A second places "twenty-four/seven" in the Hip-Hop & Rap chapter and says: "To be attentive 24 hours a day, seven days a week." ("Flappers 2 Rappers: American Youth Slang" by Tom Dalzell , Merriam-Webster Inc., Springfield, Md., 1996) There's no date for the expression. But it does say that hip-hop was created "as an alternative to the culture of gang violence in the mid-1970s in the Bronx and Harlem...By the mid-1980s, rap music as an expression of hip-hop culture had become the Next Wave of wider popular culture..."

: : I am wondering if 24/7 is a riff on the 7-11 convenience stores.

: Jerry Reynolds, one of the SEC's two best freshmen by the end of last season, calls his jump shot "24-7-365", because "It's good 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year".
: (_Sports Illustrated_, November 28, 1983)

: 24-7--24 hours a day, seven days a week (as in, I love you 24-7).
: (1985 _People_, March 18, 1985)

: Is caring for Cassandra a full-time job? "That it is," she said. "Twenty-four-seven."
: (_Providence Journal-Bulletin_, 1996)

: Numbers seem to be replacing words 24/7 these days.
: In fact, 24/7 originated in street slang more than a decade ago to represent ''24 hours a day, 7 days a week.'' More recently, Chevrolet ads have tried to popularize a longer form, even though it misses a day every leap year: 24/7/365, written with virgules. The country singer Neal McCoy used hyphens last year to title his CD ''24-7-365.'' Will those hyphens be replacing the virgules soon? No, says a survey of publishing professionals in the McMurry newsletter Copy Editor, which finds that 89 percent of readers prefer 24/7 to 24-7.
: (Jeffrey McQuain, "On Language," _New York Times Magazine_, September 16, 2001)

That ought, surely, to be 24/7/52 !

Possibly 24/7 was used originally by the medical profession to mean, for instance, continuous monitoring of patient required. Seeing as doctors are too busy to spend the time to right continuous (or can't spell it) they put 24/7 as shorthand...