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All Out Are In Free!

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Kylie Ryan, an elementary-school teacher in Seattle, Washington, remembers that when she played hide-and-seek as a child, the call for everyone to come in was alle alle oxen free. Are there other versions? Yes, and because these sayings were not codified and instead passed from child to child, there are a multitude of versions. The Dictionary of American Regional English lists at least 30, including alle alle outs in free, allsie allsie in free, allee allee oops in free, allie allie opes in free, and all-ee all-ee olson free. In Shakespeare’s time, the same game was called all hid. Listen for all that, plus the big “Hello!” from Ms. Ryan’s class. We’ve also talked about this children’s expression in 2014 and even earlier in 2008. This is part of a complete episode.

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