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Pickle Me This

November 23, 2005

Knock Down Ginger?

Since March 15 2003 (and I know the date for a fact, because the issue was raised by this article), we at Pickle Me This have been embroiled (and our former roommate Matthew may also have been involved if I remember correctly) in a debate regarding the name of the activity wherein you knock on door only to run away, leaving the door’s owner to an empty front step. Zoe Williams in the Guardian called it “Knock Down Ginger”, while Stuart claimed it was called “Knock a Door Run.” But I knew it as “Nicky Nicky Nine Doors” which made even less sense than Zoe Williams’ suggestion. I was excited tonight to come across this article– a list of Canadian regionalisms of which number seven is:

7. Nicky Nicky Nine Doors/Knock On Ginger
The Canadian Oxford Dictionary team took it into their heads to ask Canadians the crucial question of what they called the activity of knocking on someone’s door and running away before the door is opened. It seems that mischievous young Ontarians call this “nicky nicky nine doors” whereas western pranksters call it “knock on (or down, or a-door) ginger.” Each group thinks the other’s name is ridiculous.

I am pleased this issue has been given the consideration it deserves by the dictionary people, though of course this doesn’t mean the debate is settled. Oh no it doesn’t.

2 thoughts on “Knock Down Ginger?”

  1. Crissy Calhoun says:

    it’s definitely nicky nicky nine doors. no question. how do i buy the book of haikus?

  2. Angela White says:

    In the south of England, it is called ‘Knock Down Ginger’. Apparently, the name derives from a 19th century rhyme:
    “Ginger, Ginger broke a winder
    Hit the winda – crack!
    The baker came out to give ‘im a clout
    And landed on his back.”

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