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High fives

Posted by ESC on June 05, 2006

In Reply to: High fives posted by RRC on June 04, 2006

: : Can anyone say the meaning of the phrase high fives? I quote the sentence to help.
: : "The guys started whooping and hollering and giving each other high fives."
: : Thanks

: This one is in the online dictionaries - try If a picture is worth a thousand words, go to Google, type in high five, and click on the word Images.

Ahem. A Kentucky connection:

HIGH FIVE - "1980s, a contribution of African American urban culture became widely known in sports, especially basketball, as a quick, dramatic substitute for the traditional handshake or 'pat on the butt' in congratulations. The 'high five,' developed from an earlier greeting practice of palm-slapping known as 'slapping five' (often accompanied by the words 'Gimme five' or 'Gimme some skin'), is done with one palm or both palms raised high, and the slap can be quite energetic. It is done by players of all levels, in all sports and regions, as well as by fans, and even in non-sports settings." From "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).

Another source says "University of Louisville (Go Cards!) Wiley Brown, Daryl Cleveland, and Derek Smith claimed to have invented it in 1979 during preseason practice as an odd, attention-getting gesture of triumph. However, hand slapping is also a way of greeting, especially among African-Americans." From "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).