Olly olly oxen free
Olly olly oxen free (and variants: olly olly umphrey, olly olly ee, outtie outtie let's be free, olly olly oxen tree, all-y all-y all set free, olly olly in come free, ally alley ocean free, etc.) is a catchphrase used in children's games such as hide and seek, capture the flag, or kick the can 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. Cassidy and Hall write that the phrase may be derived from 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. Various calls used for such purposes have gone by the collective name of "ollyoxalls" in some places. Tukey and Rowell speculate that the phrase may be a corruption of a hypothetical and ungrammatical German phrase alle, alle, auch sind frei (all, all, are also free). Another possible origin might be the Greek language. Óloi óloi éxo would translate to "everybody everybody out."
- 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
- Tabler, Dave (June 8, 2010). "Ollie Ollie In Come Free!". appalachianhistory.net. Dave Tabler. Archived from the original on 2010-06-18. Retrieved May 20, 2014.
- Tukey, Paul Boardway; Rowell, Victoria (2012). Tag, Toss & Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games. Storey Pub. pp. 13–. ISBN 9781603425605. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
- 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.
- In Portsmouth, England for example. Opie, Iona and Peter. Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Oxford: Clarendon, 1959 p.143