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What does the term “86’d” relate to?

I found that you can say "86 something" as a verb when we want to "cancel" something...

Is it used for everything??

For example, if I'm in a restaurant and changed my mind about one dish, is it correct to say "Hey, 86 it"?

Note: I'm not asking about the meaning of the verb to 86 something, but rather whether the verb can be used generally or only in specific contexts.

  • I've never heard that term. Is it some sort of jargon somewhere?
    – Luke_0
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 19:30
  • I live in new york, I heard it a couple of times but ignored the meaning until now.
    – RollRoll
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 19:33
  • 2
    @Hellion that question doesn't answer mine
    – RollRoll
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 19:39
  • 1
    @EdwinSoho Maybe not a direct answer, but it's definitely related, and related enough for this question and its answer(s) to be merged with that one, I think. Others might disagree...
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 20:24
  • 1
    I'd only use the term in a restaurant, or with someone who I knew was very familiar with restaurant terminology. In the latter case, I guess I could say something like "I'm 86 on cash," but that's hardly a normal use of the term. In my experience (3 years in a kitchen) it doesn't really mean "to cancel" as much as it does "we're out of." I definitely wouldn't use the term to tell my waiter to cancel an order.
    – J.R.
    Commented Nov 8, 2012 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia link.

Speaking as someone who spent almost a decade working in restaurants and bars, I've never heard a customer use the term. It's jargon that restaurant employees would use speaking to each other.

In my experience it's used either to indicate you're refusing service to a particular customer, or that the establishment has either run out of an item or removed it from the menu. Even if you ordered a burger then changed your mind, I wouldn't tell the cook to "86 that burger". A much more likely scenario is I put your burger order in and the cook comes back and says that "86 on burgers" because they've run out of ground beef.

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