[Ads-l] ABC (was Re: XYZ revived)

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Dec 21 10:58:36 EST 2016

> On Dec 21, 2016, at 12:28 AM, W Brewer <brewerwa at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Buttons vs. zipper
> ... On the fly, I would say that the zipper
> may be faster, but buttons fail less often, & won't nip yer schlong like a
> zipper can.

But think of all those scenes in raunchy Hollywood comedies that would have precluded.  (Like JL, I had never heard or even heard of “XYZ” before this thread, and unlike him I never lived through a period of trousers with buttons.  Barn doors open, si; XYZ, no.

If the DARE entry can be trusted for first cite, I was a bit too late for the XYZ bandwagon.  (Anyone familiar with the long form, XYZ B.S.S.?)


1968–69 DARE (Qu. W24c, . . To warn a man that his trouser-fly is open) Infs MI97Aux, NY209Aux [a 10-year-old], X-Y-Z; NJ45, My little sister says X-Y-Z [All Infs young]; RI17, X-Y-Z [FW: Inf’s granddaughter says]. 1985–86 DARE File, “The current code is: XYZ, B.S.S. (=examine your zipper before someone sees)”—reported by several women in 20–30 age range, office personnel at U. Mass., Amherst. 2007 DARE File—Internet, [Children’s song:] You gotta XYZ examine your zipper. It falls down so mysteriously./ XYZ examine your zipper cause noone’s gonna take you seriously./ Then some kids they were pointing at me./ . . / And someone yelled out XYZ.

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

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