Tick a lock

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7 comments on this post.
  1. Wayne:

    Recently had a discussion with old friends about some of the words we used as kids in the 1950’s growing up in New Zealand. “Tick a lock” came up and our use of it as 5-8 year olds was a promise not to cheat in “hide and seek”, you know, start searching for the others before the counting finished or “tag” somebody before they had a chance to get away in a game of, well, tag!
    As New Zealand was a very “English” country, I can only assume that these terms came from England, where most of the people who settled there, came from.
    Another word we used at the time in these games was “paxed”. This word meant, using a modern term, “time out” or “I’m not playing at the moment, pick some one else”.
    Thank you for providing an interesting web site. I hope my thoughts on these old words helps somebody.

  2. Bevan:

    “Paxed” is cool. IIRC it comes from the old habit of forcing young schoolchildren to learn Latin, in which “Pax” (see also “Pax Romana”) means “Peace” in the sense of “Cessation of Hostilities”.

    It was in print in this sense at least as far back as Kipling’s “Stalky & Co.”, where the children would call out “Pax! Pax! Make it Pax!” while being tortured or otherwise put upon.

  3. Outis:

    “Old habit of forcing”? No value judgment there, surely.

  4. John Magee:

    Never heard tick a lock before!! and I have been a locksmith for over 20 years! Even googled it. Google’s first result was “shut your mouth”?? Guess that is not the meaning you are looking for.
    “pick a lock” is very common. But that refers to opening it without a key.
    Thanks for making me research hahaha :)

  5. Angela:

    My grandmother told me it was like a time out or a safe place you go to in hide and seek so you were not ‘it’. Glad I am not the only one who heard of it. Yes, we live in the south.

  6. d'Arci:

    i’ve only heard it on t.v; we don’t use it in the north eastern u.s.
    aunt bee didn’t say it often, though …. BARNEY did :^)

  7. Cathy:

    Growing up in Australia in the 50s and 60s we said it all the time in our games. If we were being chased and we made it home safely we would mime shutting the door and turning the ley while saying “ticalock” to show that the bad guys were locked out. Interestingly we never locked our real doors. The town where we grew up was so safe that it wasn’t necessary.

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