Jesse T Sheidlower jester at PANIX.COM
Mon Jan 24 09:25:54 UTC 2000

> I have heard that _four-twenty_ (4:20) is a pot-smokers' code-word
> for "It's time to smoke a joint."  Has anyone else heard this, and
> does anyone know where it comes from?

There was an article about this term in _High Times_ relatively
recently. A group of friends from California claimed to have
coined it themselves, and said that it referred to "The Four
Twenty-Club," their group that used to gather after school for
the purpose of smoking pot. I can't remember now what the
number referred to. There was some mechanism for its spread--
that these friends used the term amongst themselves, and then
one way or another it reached a wider audience.

While this claim seemed as ridiculous as most such claims are,
I got in touch with the person nominally in charge of the group,
and he produced rather clear letters dating from the 1970s
demonstrating the unambiguous use of the term in the manner claimed.
I wasn't entirely sure what to make of this, it seemed so odd, but
it also seemed genuine.

I have the correspondence buried somewhere back in the States,
but much of the material was in the High Times article as well.

Jesse Sheidlower
Oxford English Dictionary
<jester at>

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