Olly olly oxen free

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For the 1978 black comedy film, see Olly Olly Oxen Free (film).

Olly olly oxen free (and variants: ollie ollie umphrey, olly-olly-ee, ally ally in free,[1] Ollie Ollie in come free,[2] ally alley ocean free, etc.) is a catchphrase used in such children's games as hide and seek to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game, that the position of the sides in a game has changed (as in which side is in the field or which side is at bat or "up" in baseball or kickball), or, alternatively, that the game is entirely over. It is thought[who?] to derive from the phrase "All ye, all ye 'outs' in free,","All the outs in free" or possibly "Calling all the 'outs' in free;" in other words: all who are "out" may come in without penalty.[3] Various calls used for such purposes have gone by the collective name of "ollyoxalls" in some places.[4]

The phrase can also be used to coordinate hidden players in the game kick the can, in which a group of people hide within a given radius and a "seeker" is left to guard a can filled with rocks. The seeker has to try to find the "hiders" without allowing them to sneak in and kick the can. In many areas the phrase used is "All-y all-y in come free", to tell the remaining hidden players it is time to regroup in order to restart the game. The phrase is announced by a hider who successfully sneaks in and kicks the can.[citation needed]

An old version of the phrase is "all ye, all ye, all come free."[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]

The phrase was also coined by the characters Hannah, Jessica and Alex in the novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Opie, Iona and Peter. Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959 p.143; Bronner, Simon. American Children's Folklore. Little Rock: August House, 1988 p.p. 178
  2. ^ Tabler, Dave (June 8, 2010). "Ollie Ollie In Come Free!". http://www.appalachianhistory.net. Dave Tabler. Retrieved May 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ Cassidy, Frederick Gome; and Joan Hall, "Ole Ole Olson All In Free", another way of saying it is oll-e oll-e ox-and-free Dictionary of American Regional English, (1985) Vol III (I-O), p. 874.
  4. ^ In Portsmouth, England for example. Opie, Iona and Peter. Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959 p.143
  5. ^ http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/ThePoolGuy.html
  6. ^ http://www.voyager.cz/tos/epizody/12miritrans.htm