Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at IS2.NYU.EDU
Wed Jun 23 03:21:06 UTC 1999

At 01:13 PM 6/23/99 +1000, Roly Sussex wrote:
>I am having trouble locating an explanation of the phrase "86",
>meaning something like "to refuse a customer service" or possibly
>"to eject a customer". Friends have heard it in "MASH"; I believe
>it may be part of American restaurant-speak where there are
>various codes used by waiting-persons for different dishes.
>Can anyone help?

OED2 says it might have been rhyming slang for "nix," gives "out of a menu
item or ingredient" as another definition, and has a first citation (from
_American Speech_) dated 1936.

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing at nyu.edu or gd2 at is2.nyu.edu

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