Church key (was: Set-ups (was "Boilermakers"))

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Apr 4 04:32:45 UTC 2000

>Church key perfectly well understood to downstate and upstate NYers when
>there were beer cans w/o tabs.
>David Bergdahl          Ellis Hall 366         Ohio University / Athens
>Associate Prof/English  tel:  (740) 593-2783   fax:  (740) 593-2818
>                        bergdahl at

>From my beer-drinking days first at college in upstate NY (early 60's) and
then back home in Long Island, I can vouch for both halves of that claim;
it was also the standard term for the item in California by the mid-60's.
I often wondered whether the allusion was to the shape of some real and/or
archetypal church key, or (as I suspected) whether it was just a
metaphor--the way to worship at the shrine.


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