Olly, Olly Oxen Free

Posted by Bob on November 03, 2005

In Reply to: Olly, Olly Oxen Free posted by Dianne Sharr on November 03, 2005

: Olly, Olly Oxen Free

: I liked this explanation by Brooke Adams, in the Salt Lake City Tribune on 19 July 2004

: "Olly, olly oxen free!"

: "It is used by kids everywhere to signal it is safe to emerge during Hide-and-Seek games. But where did this nonsensical phrase come from?

: "I couldn't find a source. One game player guessed it had something to do with oxen, while another was sure it had Olde English roots.

: "After the Olly, Olly cry went up in Orem the other night, I asked a few kids where it came from. Shawn Fucile, 8, figured 10 year-old Zach Hedrick made it up. Nick Robinson, 11, knew better. No, that's what you say every time, Nick explained.

: My guess? All ye, all ye, come in free, which became mangled while passing from one kid to another: olly, olly oxen free. My husband says the full verse is, "Olly, olly oxen free; if you don't come now, you'll be I-T!"

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