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Red rover

Posted by Smokey Stover on May 19, 2008 at 15:17

In Reply to: Red rover posted by ESC on May 18, 2008 at 18:20:

: : What's the origin of "it's all over red rover"

: A guess -- from the children's game.
: wiki/Red_Rover

The game, or a version of it, is described thus, in a memoir by one who played it.

'Red Rover was another game we played. We called, "Red Rover, Red Rover, won't you come over?" The opposing team sneaked as close as they dared, then retreated, but were often caught before they had gotten to safety, and they too had to be our captives and work for us.'

The usual phrase was "Red Rover, Red Rover, I dare you come over!" but obviously there are variants.

See: slate/slatespring2000.htm

The phrase, "It's all over, Red Rover!" is a sort of play on words, using the ubiquitously known game-name "Red Rover" as a rhyming counterbalance to "It's all over." Only the first phrase provides meaning to the sentence, unless there's an allusion revealed only by the context, which you have not given.