Learn English » Known Phrases and Unknown, but Interesting, Facts

86 – Eighty Six

What is eighty six? Yes, I’m asking about the number 86! It is a number, a two digit even number!

Yes, everything is right. In English, it carries a different meaning too, and not merely a number.

To know what it means, we have to take a flight to the US! The origin of this number and the meaning associated with it were developed in the restaurants of the United States.

'Eighty Six’ refers to the unavailable food items in restaurants in the US.

The restaurants may have served a variety of food and may have, for some reason, stopped serving a food made from specific ingredient or a specific group of food. For instance, No sea foods in a restaurant, which earlier served sea foods.

If the restaurants cannot provide a specific variety of food, it will be marked as ‘Eighty Six’. So, now you know! If somebody says 86ed for a food item, it means it won’t be available.

The term used in the food courts and restaurants in the US gradually travelled throughout the world.

These days, the term 86 or 86ed refers to something that is abandoned, destroyed or unavailable.

Example: King’s rule is 86ed in many countries.

Telegram service is 86ed in India.

Also, in the modern world, this term is used to mention a team member who is abandoned from a team.


There is just no need to explain what lemon is! Yeah, you all know it. But I have a hidden meaning expressed by it. Do you know?

Lemon is not just a fruit as we know. It is considered a degrading word, used to mean something that is not perfect, or a faulty or a stupid action. Just like many other words in the English language, it can mean many different things depending on how it is used.

He bought a lemon car! – means a useless car that looks good but not worthy of its claim!
He acts like a lemon – represents foolish or stupid acts.
Go, buy a lemon – means Buy something useless

This is a popular term used widely as a motivational quote:

If life throws lemons at you, crush and drink the juice!

‘Lemons’ here means unwanted things, stupidity and difficulties.

Would you buy a lemon? :)

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