Word of the Day : June 4, 2011


noun MUM-bul-tee-peg


: a game in which the players try to flip a knife from various positions so that the blade will stick into the ground

Did You Know?

The object of this game -- which dates to the 17th century -- is for each player to flip or toss a knife in a series of moves such that, after each move, the knife sticks erect in the ground. Some common moves are flipping the knife from the palm, from the back of the hand, and from between the teeth. Players perform in turns until they miss, resuming after other players miss unless one player wins by successfully performing all positions. The game's name comes from a forfeit required in the early days of the game: a small peg was driven into the ground by a prescribed number of knife blows, and if you lost you had to "mumble the peg" -- that is, pull it out with your teeth.


When they felt they'd outgrown marbles, the boys in the neighborhood switched to mumblety-peg, which they played in the dirt parking lot behind Main Street's stores.

"A boy on an idle Saturday, playing a solitary game of mumblety-peg in the shade of a cottonwood. The hunting knife in his hand is a prize possession, its four-inch blade mirror-bright and sharp enough to cleanly slice a page of his uncle's newspaper." -- From Philip Caputo's 2009 novel Crossers

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