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Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?

GUEST,Thomas 03 Apr 11 - 05:01 AM
Will Fly 03 Apr 11 - 05:07 AM
Anne Neilson 03 Apr 11 - 05:28 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Apr 11 - 05:57 AM
Bernard 03 Apr 11 - 06:00 AM
Dave Sutherland 03 Apr 11 - 06:03 AM
Rozza 03 Apr 11 - 06:08 AM
GUEST,Gail 03 Apr 11 - 06:13 AM
Snuffy 03 Apr 11 - 06:16 AM
Mo the caller 03 Apr 11 - 06:55 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Apr 11 - 07:32 AM
MGM·Lion 03 Apr 11 - 07:36 AM
Georgiansilver 03 Apr 11 - 08:14 AM
Dave Hunt 03 Apr 11 - 08:31 AM
Tradsinger 03 Apr 11 - 08:35 AM
Dave Hunt 03 Apr 11 - 08:52 AM
gnomad 03 Apr 11 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,Thomas 03 Apr 11 - 09:03 AM
Les from Hull 03 Apr 11 - 09:04 AM
Geoff the Duck 03 Apr 11 - 09:10 AM
Geoff the Duck 03 Apr 11 - 09:21 AM
Anne Neilson 03 Apr 11 - 09:27 AM
Marje 03 Apr 11 - 11:50 AM
Effsee 03 Apr 11 - 12:26 PM
GUEST,Thomas 03 Apr 11 - 01:49 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 03 Apr 11 - 01:54 PM
Kent Davis 03 Apr 11 - 02:39 PM
Mysha 03 Apr 11 - 03:09 PM
GUEST,Selby 03 Apr 11 - 03:17 PM
Jim McLean 03 Apr 11 - 05:17 PM
Joe_F 03 Apr 11 - 05:41 PM
Allan Conn 03 Apr 11 - 06:22 PM
JennieG 03 Apr 11 - 06:31 PM
meself 03 Apr 11 - 08:51 PM
Hrothgar 04 Apr 11 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Eliza 04 Apr 11 - 06:23 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Apr 11 - 06:32 AM
Zen 04 Apr 11 - 06:57 AM
Jim Carroll 04 Apr 11 - 07:01 AM
GUEST,Patsy 04 Apr 11 - 08:15 AM
MikeL2 04 Apr 11 - 09:55 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 09:56 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Apr 11 - 10:04 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 10:08 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 10:10 AM
Tattie Bogle 04 Apr 11 - 10:34 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 10:37 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 10:58 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Apr 11 - 11:12 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 11:29 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Apr 11 - 11:36 AM
MartinRyan 04 Apr 11 - 11:45 AM
MGM·Lion 04 Apr 11 - 11:50 AM
Gibb Sahib 04 Apr 11 - 03:13 PM
Floksnog 05 Apr 11 - 05:19 AM
GUEST,PatrickH 05 Apr 11 - 12:02 PM
Jim Carroll 05 Apr 11 - 12:04 PM
Les from Hull 05 Apr 11 - 12:19 PM
Richard from Liverpool 05 Apr 11 - 12:53 PM
Bert 05 Apr 11 - 01:01 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Thomas
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 05:01 AM

Just for my own amusement, What was your childhood words for truanting?

In 1990's Bristol we had "Skiving" and "Bunking off"

While we are at it, What about the game where you knocked on the door and ran away?

Bristol 1990's it was either "Knock knock Ginger" or "Knock out Ginger"

And just to make it a trio, what about childhood Truce words?

We had "Parley" and "Mercy Peanuts" around us...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Will Fly
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 05:07 AM

Your "parley" was our (Lancashire) "barley".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 05:28 AM

In 1950's Lanarkshire, we had 'dogging' for truancy; 'Ring! Bang! Skoosh!', where the "skoosh" was the extra quick exit after the door-knocking; and 'Keys' (with your fists clenched and thumbs in the air) for a truce.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 05:57 AM

In Northampton in the early-1940s, truanting was "playing waggy". I was interested to find a variant of the same when I was teaching in S London nearly 20 years later, where it was the clearly related "hopping the wag". When I moved to teach in & near Cambridge, it was always "skiving" or "on the skive".

"Kings" in Northampton for truce; "fanites" in 1940 Worthing.

(I got messed about a bit during the War, it will be gathered: 4 schools in 3 different towns, Worthing, London, Northampton[2] , & maybe 10-12 weeks of school time not at any school, in Bedford & Stony Stratford, between 8th & 9th birthdays [May 40 - May 41] ~~ hence all these different terms learnt at the time.)

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Bernard
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:00 AM

Lancashire (1960s) for truancy was 'playing wag' or wagging it'. It would be interesting to find out why!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:03 AM

In the North East it was "playing the nick"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Rozza
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:08 AM

In South Yorkshire, when I lived there it was "lakin'".

Truce word in Grimsby area was "crosses".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Gail
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:13 AM

In 1960s Goole (more or less the point at which the East, West and North Ridings of Yorkshire all met) we called it twagging.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Snuffy
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:16 AM

Twagging or sagging in NE Cheshire 1950s

plenty of other schoolyard folklore here: Folklore: Tag (the game) and the the links there to other similar threads.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:55 AM

'Fainites' in London in the late 40s for a truce. I never 'played truant' and the game you mentioned was unheard of. But then I had a sheltered childhood. 'Playing out' was rare - I was usually expected to bring friends into our garden.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 07:32 AM

Re the truce words, btw: did all those you have all quoted above include the necessity for displaying fingers of both hands crossed while using them to demand the truce, as was the invariable practice in both those I cited above, from Northampton & Worthing [the latter of which Mo sites in London also just above]?

I distinctly recall, incidentally, a strip on front of Radio Fun comic in early 1940s featuring Arthur Askey and Richard Murdoch, in which one of them called a 'fanites' (I am sure that was how it was spelt there).

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 07:36 AM

(... though in my head I always visualised pale men in armour, having originally, as children do, misheard the term as "Faint knights"!)

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Georgiansilver
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 08:14 AM

We used to 'Skip' school or a lesson... or more.....


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 08:31 AM

Bilston - (Black Country) Skiving

Barley -which is of course a corruption of Parley or Parlez = talk

The book you need is Peter and Iona Opie - 'The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren' some fascinating stuff - it shows how the truce terms are found in groups according to the region of the country
Also see; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truce_term
Dave Hunt


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 08:35 AM

It's 'mitching' in Cardiff.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Dave Hunt
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 08:52 AM

some good stuff from the Opie collections here

http://sounds.bl.uk/Browse.aspx?category=Oral-history&collection=Opie-collection-of-children-s-games-and-songs-&browseby=Browse+by+county&choice=A-C

See here for more information about the collection:

http://sounds.bl.uk/TextPage.aspx?page=backgroundOpie-collection-of-children-s-games-and-songs-

Dave


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: gnomad
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 08:55 AM

Hull, E.Yorkshire (famously hull9 on Mudcat) in 60's: twagging or twagging off = truanting.

Kings (with crossed fingers displayed on at least one hand) = truce


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Thomas
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 09:03 AM

Thank you ever so much, everyone - these are brilliant!

I do have that book - Peter and Iona Opie - 'The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren' - That is where the idea to ask here came from - I have also asked my facebook friends - it is amazing how many words there are and are still being used.

Other Truanting words from my friends -

Bunking off - Bristol 1980's
Skiving off - Bristol 1980's
Wagging, Wagged it - Manchester 2000's
Skiving - Birmingham 1970's
Playing Hookey - NE USA
Kopana - Greece
Poking it - East coast Scotland
Mitch off - Torquay
Playing the Nick - Durham
Skiving off - Durham

Other truce words from my friends -

Pax, Paxies - surrey 1960's
Mercy - Bath 1980's
Time Out - Bristol 1980's
Squits - Durham


Knocking on the door prank -

Knock down Ginger - Surrey 1960's
Knock Knock Ginger - Bristol 1980's
Knock out Ginger - Bristol 1980's
Chickenelli - East Coast Scotland
Knock a door run - Manchester 2000's
Trap Door Run - Scotland and dorset
Nicky Knocky Nine Doors - Durham


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 09:04 AM

In Hull we had twagging, playing twag or twagging off. As opposed to spragging, which was informing to someone in authority as in 'I'm gonna sprag on you'.

Our truce term was 'kings', both hands up to face level with fingers crossed.

I think it was knocking off Ginger here, but being such a well-behaved child I would never have had first-hand experience of such activity!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 09:10 AM

1960s Bradford (West Riding of Yorkshire) not turning up for lessons was Slamming School, slamming for short.
In later days, with other influences, "Knocking-off school" meant much the same think, but as it was a higher school with lessons given by different teachers, there was the option of going absent from the premises selectively, so you might find individuals knocking-off Chemistry of Maths. I am not sure if I can recall people "slamming" an individual lesson, I think that referred to a total absence.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 09:21 AM

As for this idea of a truce! I have no recollection of there ever being such a thing in Bradford.
On the playground "tig" thread people kept going on about having Time-out or Safe Areas. As far as we played, if you weren't "It", you were a target. The only exception was occasionally you would agree that you couldn't tig back the person who had tigged you, so they had a short breather until the next person was "It".
Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Anne Neilson
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 09:27 AM

@Guest,Thomas -- you mentioned a couple of posts ago that 'chickenelli' was a Scottish east coast word for the door-banging game.
In the Glasgow area in the 50's, 'chickie mellie' was a game played to annoy hoseholders in the winter when it was dark: a long piece of black thread had a button tied to one end and a drawing pin about 6-8" along it, for attaching to the wooden cross-piece of a sash window; the perpetrators then retreated a distance (round a corner or behind a bush) and carefully pulled the long end of the thread till the button tapped on the window in a very irritating way, causing the householder to pull open the curtains and peer out into the dark -- not likely to notice the button dangling at the side of the window.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Marje
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 11:50 AM

When I was growing up in Northern Ireland in the 1950s/60s, our word for truanting was "mitching", which I see is also recorded in Devon.

Our truce word was "Pax" or Paxie", accompanied by crossed fingers.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Effsee
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 12:26 PM

Aye EK, 'chickie mellie' it was in Dundee as well for knocking the doors in the 1950s.
"Plunking" was the word for truanting...
erm, truces, nah, Dundonians don't do truces!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Thomas
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 01:49 PM

Our "telling on" word in Bristol 1990's was "Grassing him/her up" the tale teller being a "grass"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 01:54 PM

Truce words? The nearest we got to that was a situation of immunity declared as skinchies by means of crossed fingers (SE Northumberland c. 1965).

Did we have any special terms for Truancy? As I recall we just did that anyway. We did for going to the school - and that was getting caught. We had the euphemism Catching Rats at one point but that was particular folklore to a particular group from a particular incident, as was a few others which were more obscene. And suspended was a good one too.

Knocky Nine Doors we had too; and we pinched the idea of Chicky Melly from old Oor Wullie books. The one that really pssed the nieghbours off was Lester Piggot which involved a free for all race down the gardens o'er leaping the fences, or not, as was generally the case. And I dare complain about the kids outside! We were the pits - shameful misrule the order of our nocturnal regime.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Kent Davis
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 02:39 PM

From the U.S.*, mid-60s to early 70s

truancy - "skipping school" or "playing hooky"

door-knocking prank - no special name for it

truce words - "times" or "time out"

Kent

*As a child, I lived in South Carolina and West Virginia. We used the same words in both places, and I've not heard any others in the states in which I've lived since childhood (Tennessee, Virginia, and Ohio). Possibly these are standard throughout the U.S.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Mysha
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 03:09 PM

Hi,

Frisian:
The act of being absent is a "skûdeltsje", and it's "set" (set) or "makke" (made). There may be a relation to "skûle" (hide).

Making noise at the neighbour's door is "beltsjelûke" (pull the bell), even though most doorbells have been push-bells for over half a century.

A safe area in tikboartsje is a "honk"; the same word is used for the four safe spots in base ball. Temporary excluding someone from the game would be "bekoar", by himself or "... foar" (for) someone else. To halt the game, one called "frede" (peace, as in the absence of war, rather than tranquillity) which often resulted in the game stopping permanently. For frede, and I think also for bekoar, you had to show the palms of your hand; your right hand would probably have sufficed.

You would not have crossed your fingers, as that was the sign that allowed you to ignore such rules, tell lies, and other things normally forbidden (which made no sense to me at all).

Bye,
                                                                Mysha


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Selby
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 03:17 PM

late 50 early 60 missing school was jigging in selby . the other word thats sticks in my mind was if you where playing marbles of ciggies throwing cig packets at a wall you could run up shout beeacks and pinch the lot


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Jim McLean
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 05:17 PM

Plunking in Paisley also.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Joe_F
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 05:41 PM

"Playing hooky" was pretty much standard US kid talk in my childhood (1940s, southern California, but also widespread in the literature).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Allan Conn
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:22 PM

Scottish Borders in the 70s it was generally 'skiving'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: JennieG
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 06:31 PM

In a country town in Oz in the 1960s truanting from school was "wagging school", in the mid 80s when I worked in the education system it had been replaced by "jigging school".

Cheers
JennieG


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: meself
Date: 03 Apr 11 - 08:51 PM

Southern Ontario: playing hookey.

When I was in high school (1970s)in Windsor, Ontario, it was "skipping out" - "playing hookey" was what little kids did.

A contemporary of mine in Halifax, NS, told me that they "hooked off".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Hrothgar
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 06:01 AM

"Wagging school" or "Playing the wag" in Queensland in the 1950s and 60s.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 06:23 AM

In Middlesex (1940's) it was skiving. The door-knocking and running away was 'Knock Down Ginger' and the truce word was 'Fainites' accompanied by crossed fingers. Enid Blyton in one of her Famous Five books had a Fainites Castle!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 06:32 AM

We need a sort of sub-category taxonomy, e.g. where, & how many times, and how widespreadly [is that a word? oh well!] the syllable 'wag', for one example, appears: we have had 'wagging', 'wagging school', playing the wag', hopping the wag','wagging off', wagging it', 'playing waggy'...

And, then, to how many nouns each of the verbs, 'hop', 'play' &c, or each of the adverbs [or appositive prepositions] 'off', 'it' (thus used here, I should urge, rather than accusatively or appositionally-nominatively)) &c, can be applied, & in what combinations...

Anyone up for such an analysis? How about some of our computer mavens?

Only joking ~ I think!...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Zen
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 06:57 AM

In London in the 1960s truanting was generally "skiving off" or "bunking off".


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 07:01 AM

'mitching' in Ireland.
In one recitation we recorded Daniel 'The Liberator' O'Connell is referred to as "The mitcher from Munster"
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 08:15 AM

My father called it 'Mooching' from school which must have been a word for skiving off when he was a boy in the 30s in Bristol. In the 60s in my Primary school in Bristol if caught out lying everyone would point and say 'Liar, liar pants on fire' and if you grassed and told the truth you would be called a 'tale, tale tit' crossed fingers for luck was called 'cross-keys.'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MikeL2
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 09:55 AM

hi

In Cheshire we called it wagging just like others have explained above.

In our area we had a Truant Officer ( who's name escapes me) and he used to know all the places where "waggers" would go when not at school.

No shopping malls in those days - it was usiually fishing down at the brook or at the station collecting train numbers.

Of course there used to be " jungle telegraph " and we would know when he was in the area and hide.

Happy days

Cheers

MikeL2


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 09:56 AM

"mitching", "bunking off", "on the lam"

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 10:04 AM

"On the lam" is an interesting one, as "taking it on the lam" is the expression always used by NY gangsters in Damon Runyon's stories for running away. Wonder how that got adopted into Martin's school slang for truancy in ~ ah ~ where exactly, Martin? & when?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 10:08 AM

Dublin, 1950's. Not sure how old the expression is in Ireland - I'll see what I can find out.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 10:10 AM

"on the hop" was also common, IIRC.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 10:34 AM

I think "Skiving" and "bunking off" are fairly widely used throughout the UK.

Found another couple in the online Scots dictionary: "plunk the schuil". "jouk the schuil", "kip".

Telling on someone is "cliping" up here.
I thought "grassing" came from rhyming slang originally: there's a reference to "grasshopper" rhyming with copper (policeman) from a dictionary of slang from as far back as 1893, and originally a "grass" was someone who told on someone to the Police. It's suggested that to "shop" someone also comes from grasshopper. Then there's cop, squeal, squeak, snout.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 10:37 AM

A quick check suggests that "on the lam" was British slang before moving across the pond - and possibly coming back again to some people! We also had "lam" as "hard blow" or "thrashing", both noun and verb: "He gave him a right lam!" "I lammed into him.." etc. "lambaste" is connected also, in all probability.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 10:58 AM

We also had, now that I come to think of it, "on the gur". Now that one IS very local. If Liberty Boy or Fergie spot this, they'll recognise its origin.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 11:12 AM

"Lam" for beat is certainly old English; pretty well standard rather than slang, I should judge - not shown as 'slang' in Chambers. Whether connected to the "taking on the lam" for flight I doubt.

Partridge gives: "on the lam", on the run (from justice), in Britain adopted about 1944 from US servicemen. Where was your 'quick check', which seems to conclude differently, conducted, Martin?

I seem to recall Runyon using derivative "laminger" for a man on the lam: so, Martin, would a truant have been called that in Ireland in the 50s?

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 11:25 AM

Ooops! How did I miss Partridge... That sense is not in the Penguin Historical Slang which is abridged from his work.

I was mainly seeing references to a piece by H L Mencken where he seemed to argue that the word came to America with something like the "beating" sense and moved into gangster slang (no shortage of Irish in that community!), changing slightly. Runyon's literary use might then give it another impetus.

I no longer live in Dublin but will try to follow up when the chance arises.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 11:29 AM

Daniel Cassidy's book How the Irish Invented Slang claims it derives from the Irish word "léim" meaning jump - hence "flight". Hmmmm... I dunno.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 11:36 AM

Could well have come into NY usage from the vast numbers of Irish in that city in C19 indeed, Martin. (I once read that there were more Irishmen in NY than in Ireland, & more Jews there than in Israel. How true, I wonder?). But then, as you say, that would have been Irish Irish; so only tenuously to be regarded as a British import, would you not agree?

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 11:45 AM

A number of words have bounced merrily between Irish and English of various persuasions for manys-the-year! Colloquial Dublinese (and to some extent Cork) also preserved quite a few English words which even the respectable slang dictionaries regarded as "obsolete" a long time ago!

Incidentally, I see "on the lang" as Cork slang for truancy - origin unknown.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 11:50 AM

That, Martin, is a most interesting variant ~~ if, indeed, it is one.

These are Deep Waters, Watson...

~Sherlock~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 04 Apr 11 - 03:13 PM

At some point I acquired "skylarking" from Jamaican. Can't say that's what "we" as school kids called it, but nowadays that's the word comes to mind.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Floksnog
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 05:19 AM

I have put together some Westcountry wplayground rhymes and words on my blog - http://westcountryfolklore.blogspot.com/2011/04/first-draft-of-playground-rhymes-games.html

Glad this post got so much interest (I was the Thomas who posted originally - become a member now!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,PatrickH
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 12:02 PM

See http://alangarner.atspace.org/times4.html for a bit on Garner recognizing much of the ("North Mercian") dialect in Sir Gawain, including the word barlay for a truce. So perhaps not from the French...
We used barley in Wallasey.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 12:04 PM

Sagging school in Liverpool
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Les from Hull
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 12:19 PM

Mention of the Truant Officer (usually now known as an Education Welfare Officer) earlier might bring in some related folklore. In Hull (we had 16 of them back in the 60s) they were usually called the School Board Man. There hadn't been School Boards since 1902!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Richard from Liverpool
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 12:53 PM

I used to sag off school (1990s Liverpool)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Bert
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 01:01 PM

Late Forties London.

Don't remember a particular word for truancy, though we did it.

Knock Down Ginger for knocking on doors

and Fainites for truce.

Later in Hampshire 'Cavey' was for look out someone's coming.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Lady Nancy
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 01:02 PM

Here in the (old) West Riding of Yorkshire it was slammin', twaggin', and 'bunking off'.

Our word for "safe" was "barlow".

LN


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Lady Nancy
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 01:02 PM

Knock-a-day-run for knocking on doors and running away.

LN


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: keyofzed
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 01:02 PM

Liverpool again.
Bunking - leaving school before hometime
Sagging - Not going to school
The truant officer was Mr White (Whitey) but I never met him


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 01:18 PM

The truant officer was 'the wagman'.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 02:09 PM

Thanks for that, Al. Reminds me of my yesterday's entry at 0632 AM, about how we needed some statistics, & suggesting that variants of 'wag' appeared perhaps the most widespread usages.

Anyone feel like doing any sort of regional/statistical analysis of terms, even just as they appear thus far in thie thread. I'd undertake it myself if I were not hopelessly innumerate tee-hee!

~m~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Floksnog
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 03:06 PM

Its no in depth analysis but here is a first draft of what we have so far for truanting -

(the type numbers are arbitrary)



Type 1 = "Bunking", "Bunking Off", "Plunking", "Plunk the Schuil"

1950's-1960's and 1990's-2000's

Bristol, Dublin, Dundee, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Scotland, USA, West Riding of Yorkshire


Type 2 = "Skiving", "Skiving off", "On the Skive"

1940's-1990' inclusive

Bath, Birmingham, Bliston (Yorkshire), Bristol, Cambridge, Durham, London, Middlesex, Norfolk, Scottish borders


Type 3 = "Wagging", "The wag", "Playing waggy", "Playing wag", "Wagged it", "Wagging it", "Hopping the wag", "Wagging Schuill", "Playing twag", "Twagging", "Twagging off", "Sagging", "Sagging school" "Sag off school"

1940's-1960's, 1980's, 2000's

Australia, Bath, Cheshire, Hull, Lanarkshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Northampton, Yorkshire, West Riding of Yorkshire


Type 4 = "Playing Hookey", "Hooked off"

1940's, 1960's, 2010's

USA, Canada


Type 5 = "Poking it"

East coast of Scotland


Type 6 = "Mitching", "Mitch off", "Mooching"

1930's, 1950's-1960's, 1980's

Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, (Ireland), Northern Ireland, Torquay


Type 7 = "Playing the nick"

Durham, North East England


Type 8 = "Dogging"

1950's

Lanarkshire


Type 9 = "Lakin"

South Yorkshire


Type 10 = "Slamming School"

1960's

Bradford (Yorkshire), West Riding of Yorkshire


Type 11 = "Knocking Off"

1960's

Bradford (Yorkshire)


Type 12 = "Taking the Air"

1990's

Bath


Type 13 = Jigging school"

1950's-1960's, 1980's

Australia, Selby


Type 14 = "On the hop", "Hopping the wag" (also see Type 3)

1950's, 1960's

Dublin, London



Type 15 = "On the gur"

1950's

Dublin


Type 16 = On the lam"

1950's

Dublin


Type 17 = "Jouk the schuill"

(Scotland)


Type 18 = "Kip"

(Scotland)


Type 19 = "Skylarking"

Jamaca



(some of these are from me asking the same question of my friends)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 05:07 PM

Brilliant, Floksnog. Thank you...

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Floksnog
Date: 05 Apr 11 - 06:08 PM

Forgot the Frisian - "skûdeltsje" - Type 20, seeing as I have written out Canadian, Usa, Jamacan and Eire, as well as British?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Floksnog
Date: 06 Apr 11 - 08:16 AM

"Mitching" for Totnes 1980's a friend told me... (Type 6!)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Floksnog
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 01:57 PM

My friend from the midlands says his dads words from about the 1950's was the really old sounding "Swinging the lead"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Apr 11 - 11:53 PM

'Swinging the lead' was, I believe, originally servicemen's slang for going sick to avoid duty; sounds like nautical slang originally ~~ here is one explanation I found online: "Some sailors [in the days of sail] felt swinging the lead (to take soundings} was an easy job and swinging the lead came to mean avoiding hard work. In time it came to mean feigning illness to avoid work." {edited from SOME OLD SAYINGS EXPLAINS [sic] By Tim Lambert}
http://www.localhistories.org/sayings.html

~M~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: s&r
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 04:22 AM

Nottingham - I remember crosses or cross kings as a truce term, dobby as tig bags or baggsy to lay claim to something (tax used by local kids in Blackpool)

Stu


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 07:42 AM

Bags (bags I, baggys) in London ('40s) too.

Though I wonder how reliable our memories are. I've moved around a bit. Childhood in N. London, the 4 years in N. Staffs mixing with students from all over the place, first job on Teeside, married a Yorkshire man and lived in Cheshire ever since. Plenty of chance for cross-contamination.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 09 Apr 11 - 08:19 AM

When I went to school in Birmingham (UK) it was termed 'playing the wag' or 'wagging it' Which I was guilty of a few times


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Fiolar
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 07:43 AM

Where I grew in Ireland, the word used was "slingeing" (pronounced "slinjing".) Many counties had their own local words.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 11:16 AM

Where I grew in Ireland, the word used was "slingeing" (pronounced "slinjing".)

Interesting. Haven't heard that word for many years. In my (Dublin) childhood we used it a bit less specifically, I think. It meant something like "slouching along", "dragging your heels", even "malingering" - but not specifically in the context of truancy. Of course, a "slinjer" might well be "on the gur"!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Skribla
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 01:17 PM

In Grimsby (N E Lincs) truancy was twagging
Game was Knock-Door-Run
As for truces, no such thing on the Nunsthorpe Estate where gangs took no prisoners!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Apr 11 - 02:10 PM

Could 'twagging' be one of the 'wag' family, on the widespread variants of which I have already commented?: possibly from a Northern-style pronunciation of 'playing, or hopping the wag' as 'hopping &c t'wag'; whence maybe an aphetic noun~verb usage, 'twagging', by one of those familiar 'noun-to-verb & vice-versa processes so loved of all real English users, tho so frequently decried by foolish writers to newspaper correspondence columns who don't appreciate the exquisite flexibility of the language.

~Michael~


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 07:28 AM

"mitch" was obviously pretty widespread in Britain and Ireland. According to Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (great app version, incidentally!), it originally meant "to lurk out of sight, to skulk" up to about mid-16th C. before acquiring its "play truant" meaning.

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 10:21 AM

Going "on the bounce" in Dublin.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 11:29 AM

As an American overseas, I grew up with the terms Skipping (school) or Playing Hooky in English, and with "(aller a, or faire) l'ecole buissonniere" (go to bush{y} school) in French.

I am FASCINATED with all the different British ones. I have read about skiving, I read a lot of British children's books growing up. That is also where I read about King's X for truce.

The French kids did "pouce" (thumb) for that, either raising the thumb or calling the word.

The American kids cried "uncle" in the same situations. We didn't say Truce, we gave up/surrendered, very different. I don't think the Americans HAD a truce as in suspension of play hostilities. We have "time out" (both hands flat forming a T, or call the words), but without the connotation of temporary PEACE, just the connotation of hang on, we need to clarify the rules by which we will keep fighting.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 11:56 AM

Up here in the North of Scotland, dodging school was known as "jooping" or "juping" off school. Must try Googling it!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Derrick
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 12:03 PM

In the fifties just east of Plymouth, the term for truancy was mitching. Our truce word was bargees,probably a local version of barley.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Alan Ross
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 12:14 PM

I just looked up the word Jooping - on Google. I wish I hadn't. It now means something entirely different in a horrible sexual way. I apologise for the modern misappropriation of an innocent childhood word.   In our North of Scotland dialect, jooping or juping meant playing truant. Somewhere along the line the word has now acquired a new cultural meaning to others.   When I was a kid you jooped School. I cannot believe there is another word using the term, but I'm afraid there is! No offence intended.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 12:42 PM

'Mitch' meaning cited by Martin Ryan above as skulk or lurk is presumable connected to Hamlet, III. ii ... "Marry, this is miching malhecho. It means mischief!"

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Cool Beans
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 12:59 PM

In Rhode Island (USA) it's called bunking or bunking school and there's a day in late spring called National Bunk Day when lots of kids don't go to school. I haven't heard it called bunking anywhere else in the US.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Mark Ross
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 04:14 PM

In Queens, In New York City in the '50's and '60's it was "PLaying Hooky".

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Harmonium Hero
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 04:19 PM

In Liverpool, it was 'sagging school' or 'sagging off' (without the final 'G', of course; you'd take your life in your hands talking like that). I first heard the term 'bunking off' in my second or third year of secondary school - high school, as it's now called. A teacher arrived late for a lessn one afternoon, by which time, two lads had absconded via the classroom window, which looked out onto the sreet. There was, as somebody up the thread has suggested, a difference between bunking off - leaving unofficially early, and sagging - not showing up in the first place. 'Doing a bunk' is, of course, a well-known phrase for absconding. 'Barley' was the truce phrase, but was also widely used to claim immunity from being caught. It was accompanied by crossed fingers (in immitation of barley sugar?).
The knocking on the door and running away game was, in my experience, confined to 'Mischief Night' - which I think was Halloween, and I don't remember the game having a name. Not that I ever did that sort of thing, you understand.
John Kelly.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Newport Boy
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 04:41 PM

In Newport, 1940s.

'Bunking off' or 'Mooching' for missing school. 'Knock up ginger' for the door game and 'cree' for a truce in running/chasing games. I don't recall a truce phrase in battle games (or battles).

We had a good variant of knock up ginger - the lower block of our street had 100 houses, semi-detached and facing each other across the street. Up to 1947 there was very little traffic (there were only 3 cars on the estate of 400 houses in 1945). Then we had a bus - a double decker which ran half-hourly.

Half an hour was just enough time for a determined team to tie opposite knockers together with black cotton. The next bus knocked 100 doors! Result!! But only once or twice a summer.

Phil


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 04:57 PM

Further to Mark Ross's NY citation above of "playing hooky", it's certainly "hookey" in Tom Sawyer (C19 Missouri); about the third or fourth page Aunt Polly says to Tom, "I made sure you'd played hookey and been a-swimming."

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: BanjoRay
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 06:58 PM

Where I grew up in Loughor (West of Swansea) in the forties we used to mitch, and the truce words I heard were maclusky or pararusky. Dylan Thomas talks about "playing mwchins" in Under Milk Wood.

Ray


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: GUEST,Desi C
Date: 26 Aug 15 - 07:28 PM

When I went to school in Birmingham in the early 60's it was known as 'Wagging it' or 'playing the wag'
Knockin on the door and running away was 'Knock down Ginger'


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Childhood words for truanting?
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 27 Aug 15 - 01:51 AM

'Wagging', or 'Playing the Wag' here in the Backwoods of Lincolnshire too, Desi C.


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