To ditch = To cut in line
Posted: 09 December 2008 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Greetings.  Does anyone have any information about the verb “to ditch”, meaning “to cut in line”?  I used to hear and use this expression as a kid in the late 60’s to early 70’s but then I forgot about it until a new employee came to my workplace and said it one day.  I grew up in an area that straddles the urban/suburban line of metro New York, in New Jersey.  A quick and casual googling today only turns up one use of “ditch” in this sense, from a story about a guy cutting a pizza line and getting arrested, on a TV website in Cleveland.  In England I believe they call this “barging the queue”.

I have a hunch that it is from the southern U.S. and may be primarily an African-American expression.  I’ve been wondering about this for years.

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Posted: 09 December 2008 10:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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More properly, in Rightpondia, we’d “barge into” a queue (or rather, we wouldn’t, of course - we’re all far too polite ...). We might also, rather less violently, “cut in to” a queue, with the “to” forming an important part of the expression, if we could cope with the tutting and frosty looks of the other queuers ...

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Posted: 09 December 2008 11:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have nothing on ditch in this sense, I’ve never come across it.

The British expression is barging in to rather than simply barging. The more usual expression is jump the queue.

Pipped by zythophile.

[ Edited: 09 December 2008 11:05 AM by aldiboronti ]
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Posted: 09 December 2008 03:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In Australia, the most common term would be “to push in”.

Edit: added -ralia, in case someone thought I meant the small village in England called Aust.

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Posted: 09 December 2008 10:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Yes, push in is also used in the UK, I’d forgotten that one.

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Posted: 10 December 2008 03:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Been around the States and never heard ‘ditch’ used in this context.  The strangest I’ve heard is here in upstate New York, ‘budge.’ Any where else in Leftpondia “don’t budge” means don’t move; in usptate New York it is sometimes used to mean “don’t cut in line.” Thinking about it, it might derive from ‘barge’ spoken non-rhotically.

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Posted: 10 December 2008 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Grant Barrett has dealt with this use.  Summary: it’s especially common in Ohio, and the origin is unknown (though there are theories).

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Posted: 10 December 2008 06:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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tutting and frosty looks of the other queuers

Zythophile, you obviously don’t live in my neck of the woods.  Here, you’d have a hard-faced bunch of friends and relatives meaningfully edging you back whence you came.  If you were lucky, that is.  If you weren’t, you’d be getting to know the family much more intimately - at some later stage, and in some darkened place.

That having been said, it does encourage politeness and fair play.

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Posted: 10 December 2008 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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LH, thanks for the link.  And apologies to the folks from Rightpondia.  I could’ve sworn Mr. Smoketoomuch said “barging the queue” but apparently I heard it wrong.

Further research here at work and on a local website turns up only two other people who have heard of “ditch = cut”, both of whom are from my hometown.  Other people scattered about the small state of New Jersey have never heard of it.  So that leaves the state of Ohio and the town of West Orange, New Jersey where this usage is common.  Interesting.

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Posted: 10 December 2008 09:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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I’m not a native, but have lived in southwestern Ohio for the last 23 years, and have never heard “ditch.” But it’s a large state--perhaps Clevelanders ditch lines whenever they can.

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