David Bowie db.list at PMPKN.NET
Wed Jan 17 16:03:02 UTC 2007

From:    "Arnold M. Zwicky" <zwicky at CSLI.STANFORD.EDU>

> back in 2005 we had a discussion of retro "psych(e)", that is,
> sentence-final "psych" or "psyche" (in print, /saik/ in
> pronunciation) used to retract a statement, the way retro "not"
> does.  now victor steinbok reports the spelling "sike", as in the
> following head on a paul kiel story:

>    Doolittle: I'm a New Man -- SIKE!

>    http://www.tpmmuckraker.com/archives/002333.php

> there's also an urban dictionary entry for "sike":

>    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sike

> one of the definitions there identifies it as being from the late 80s
> and early 90s, but it's clearly still hanging around.

FWIW, i find it spelled "sike" in inscriptions in my middle and high
school yearbooks (as early as the early 80s).

The understanding at the time was that it meant something like "piss",
making it a weaker term to use than "sh?t" (obliteration to avoid
vulgarity bots). I don't recall ever hearing at the time that it might
have any relationship to "psych out"--but we *are* talking memories of
pre- and early teenhood here, so i'm not gonna vouch strongly for
anything in this paragraph except the "piss" memory, which is rather strong.

David Bowie                               University of Central Florida
     Jeanne's Two Laws of Chocolate: If there is no chocolate in the
     house, there is too little; some must be purchased. If there is
     chocolate in the house, there is too much; it must be consumed.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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