Ok, so a while back I used a phrase that, to me, was common. I said I had 86’d myself. I got a couple of chuckles from others when I said it. But, then I found myself wondering where that term had actually come from. So, as most random tangents go, I googled it. It turns out that, there are probably more than 86 different theories as to where it originated….anything from Speakeasy’s to the Naval code for garbage…..to a grave being 8 feet long and 6 feet deep….to people jumping off the observation deck (86th floor) of the Empire State Building.
However, the most commonly held belief is that it is American slang for “nix” which rhymes with 86. While that may be the true origin, it’s actually the one I like the least. After all, it also rhymes with 76, 66 26…oh, and SIX! so that seems kind of dumb to me. Not to mention, the word nix is another one that I use….and wouldn’t use in place of 86.
So, while I can’t tell you where it actually comes from, nor where I learned it….I can tell you it’s a fascinating thing to look into. And, while I doubt that the Navy’s garbage is the origin, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it’s the reason they chose AT-6 is the code for garbage.