'olly olly oxen free' in Congress

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Jun 14 03:09:08 UTC 2013

On Jun 13, 2013, at 9:50 PM, Herb Stahlke wrote:

> A Huff Post story at
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/13/indefinite-detention-americans_n_3437923.html?ref=topbar
> quotes a congressman as follows:
> "There was a phrase in that game called 'olly olly oxen free' -- meant you
> could come out, you were safe, you no longer had to hide," Cotton argued.
> I've never heard "hide 'n' seek" called that, but the phrase is now in the
> Congressional Record.
Maybe he was blending two observations--

(1) There was a phrase in a game, which went "olly olly oxen free" and that meant you could come out [etc.]
(2) The game in question was hide 'n' seek.

Close enough for government work.


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

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