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What's the origin of File 13?

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:05 am
by Archived Topic
Does anyone know where the term File 13 came from?

Joseph S.
USA
Submitted by ( - )

What's the origin of File 13?

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:20 am
by Archived Reply
Perhaps someone with access to the OED might enlighten us? From my research of the net, it would appear that its origin has been relegated to File 13.
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)

What's the origin of File 13?

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:34 am
by Archived Reply
It's considered a slang so it isn't in the OED. But luckily Random House comes to our rescue.

It has the ordinary verb 'to file' being used to mean 'to throw away' since 1934.

1934 Weseen Dictionary of Slang 334.

File 13 doesn't appear til about 1941, with Random House giving it a Millitary origin, meaning 'a wastebasket'.

1941 AS (Oct.) 165: File. a waste basket. (It appears that they somehow left out the 13 bit).

Where the number 13 come from is anyone's guess. Perhaps it's nothing more than the next installment in the continuing saga of that particularly unlucky number.
Reply from Doug Gilbert (Chai Yi - Taiwan)

What's the origin of File 13?

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:49 am
by Archived Reply
Unlucky? I consider 13 to be one of my lucky numbers Doug. BW was born on the 13th of October, and many good things have happened to me on that day. I suppose I am not superstitious about that particular number, as well as black cats, walking under ladders, etc. I do avoid stepping on cracks in the sidewalk so that I will not break my mother's back, however.
Reply from Charles Becker (Murray KY - U.S.A.)

What's the origin of File 13?

Posted: Sat Mar 06, 2004 6:03 am
by Archived Reply
A guess would be files 1-12 are for the months, and at the end of a year... Ian Patrick, Ottawa, Canada
Reply from ( - )

File 13 meaning; the meaning does in fact refer back to a trash can but as some people don’t know it is kind of odd how.

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:02 pm
by TXSoldr3720
Archived Topic wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:05 am
Does anyone know where the term File 13 came from?

Joseph S.
USA
Submitted by ( - )

The term came from the fact that the smaller metal trash cans are 13 inches in diameter and 13 inches in height; therefo

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2018 10:05 pm
by TXSoldr3720
Archived Topic wrote:
Sat Mar 06, 2004 5:05 am
Does anyone know where the term File 13 came from?

Joseph S.
USA
Submitted by ( - )