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On a lot of American movies I hear actors saying something like
"Olly olly oxen freeze" - what are they saying and what does it mean?
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Comments  (Page 2) 
I agree with what others have said about how it is pronounced and used in the USA; "olly, olly, oxen free" is a nonsense phrase that means "it's safe to come out now" at the end of hide-and-seek.

I read that no one can pinpoint its origin, but it is most likely a childish mispronunciation of a phrase in old English, "all ye, all ye, all come in free." It could have been used in various children's games then, too, or in some sort of military capacity which children of the day mimicked for play time. Regardless of the phrase's original purpose, it seems quite plausible that the current pronunciation is due to the interpretation of a child's ear, and being passed down through many generations.

Wikipedia suggests it descends from the time British and American forces were liberating France in World War II, when they shouted it in the streets to let the citizens know the were finally safe. I find that explanation to be complete rubbish, as neither Brits nor Americans would have used the word "ye" in the mid-20th century. What an absurd assertion! Emotion: rolleyes
I grew up in New Mexico and Nevada and we always said, Olly Olly Oxen Free. I always wondered what that meant! So funny! Makes absolutely no sense at all, but it makes perfect sense to children, playing, having fun! My friend, who grew up in California, said, Holly Holly in come free! It's fun to see how it's evolved. It would be great to see how many ways it is said differently across the nation!
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people usally say it when they give up in Hide-N-Seek. at least that's what i think

Olly olly oxen free

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For the 1978 black comedy film, see Olly Olly Oxen Free (film).

Olly olly oxen free (and variants: ollie ollie umphrey, olly-olly-ee, ally ally in free[1], ally alley ocean free, etc. ) is a catchphrase used in such children's games as hide and seek to indicate that players who are hiding can come out into the open without losing the game, that the position of the sides in a game has changed (as in which side is in the field or which side is at bat or "up" in baseball or kickball), or, alternatively, that the game is entirely over. It is thought to derive from the phrase "All ye, all ye 'outs' in free,","All the outs in free" or possibly "Calling all the 'outs' in free;" in other words: all who are "out" may come in without penalty.[2] However, this may not be the etymology at all--"Olly olly oxen free" is suspiciously close to the German phrase "Alle, alle auch sind frei," meaning "everyone, everyone is also free."[citation needed] Various calls used for such purposes have gone by the collective name of "ollyoxalls" in some places.[3]
The phrase can also be used to coordinate hidden players in the game kick the can, in which a group of people hide within a given radius and a "seeker" is left to guard a can filled with rocks. The seeker has to try to find the "hiders" without allowing them to sneak in and kick the can. In many areas the phrase used is "All-y all-y in come free" which is a way to tell the remainder of hidden players that it is time to regroup in order to restart the game. The phrase is announced by a hider who successfully sneaks in and kicks the can.[citation needed]

[edit] Cultural references

The phrase or its variant appears in the following songs: "Stranger Than Fiction" by Bad Religion, "Papercut Skin" by The Matches, "At the Helm" by Hieroglyphics, "Love the Hardest Way" by HIM, "Ollie Ollie" by Flatfoot 56, "Drive" by R.E.M., "Play with Me" by Extreme, "Spore" by Ramona Falls, "Saint Ex" by Widespread Panic, "It's Ok, But Just This Once" by Gym Class Heroes, and "Olly Olly Oxen Free" by Amanda Palmer.

[edit] References

Cool explanation! Thanks very much
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