: (slang) to refuse to serve (a customer); also : to get rid of : throw out
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 be someone with 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 by Merriam-Webster etymologists is that the word was created as a rhyming slang word for nix, which means "to veto" or "to reject."
The bar's policy is that bartenders have both the authority and responsibility to eighty-six customers who disrupt other patrons.
"He eighty-sixed the last reform once he was safely re-elected, saying he wanted to give municipalities more time to get ready for the change." — Brian O'Neill, The Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania) Post-Gazette, 14 June 2007
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
What hyphenated word ending in six is synonymous with eighty-six?VIEW THE ANSWER
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