variants or 86
eighty-sixed or 86'd; eighty-sixing or 86ing; eighty-sixes or 86es

transitive verb

: to refuse to serve (a customer)
"Beer here, barkeep," he said. "You're eighty-sixed," Lucy said. "Cut off. No more for you."Mary Karr
: to eject or ban (a customer)
The club's bouncers eighty-sixed her.
I nodded at the corner bar beside us. He said, "I can't go in there." "Why?" "I'm eighty-sixed."Andre Dubus
broadly : to eject, dismiss, or remove (someone)
He was eighty-sixed from Twitter following outrage from other users … Jason Wilson
The prof and his lovely wife … are ghosts, having recently been eighty-sixed from this world when their car was hit by a falling rock. John Stark
But [Jim] Boylen is yesterday's news now, kicked to the curb, eighty-sixed by the Bulls on Friday … Steve Greenberg
: to remove (an item) from a menu : to no longer offer (an item) to customers
Many small restaurants or bars may run into issues with their inventory. When there are not enough ingredients left to make a popular dish or drink, they'll have to 86 it. This prevents customers from ordering it and then getting upset.Joshua Weatherwax
: to reject, discontinue, or get rid of (something)
Democratic leaders also eighty-sixed a similar amendment introduced in the House version of the bill …Dell Cameron
Sadly, … the heartless bottom-liners on the food committee eighty-sixed the black raspberry [ice cream] for good.Greg Kesich
So after attempting a Zoom interview that had them sounding as garbled as the off-camera adults in a "Peanuts" special, we eighty-sixed the audio on our computers and talked on the phone …Brian O'Neill

Did you know?

If you work in a restaurant or bar, you might eighty-six (or “eliminate”) a menu item when you run out of it, or you might eighty-six (or “cut off”) a customer who should no longer be served. Eighty-six is still used in this specific context, but it has also entered the general language. These days, you don't have to be a worker in a restaurant or bar to eighty-six something—you just have to have something to get rid of or discard. There are many popular but unsubstantiated theories about the origin of eighty-six. The explanation judged most probable according to Merriam-Webster's research is that the word was created as a rhyming slang word for nix, which means “to veto” or “to reject.”

Examples of eighty-six in a Sentence

decided to eighty-six his birth name the minute he arrived in Hollywood

Word History


probably rhyming slang for nix entry 1

First Known Use

1948, in the meaning defined at sense 2b

Time Traveler
The first known use of eighty-six was in 1948


Dictionary Entries Near eighty-six

Cite this Entry

“Eighty-six.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eighty-six. Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

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