Olly Olly Oxen Free | What Does This English Term Mean?

Have you ever heard someone use the term ‘olly olly oxen free’ and wondered what they were talking about? We are going to take a look at what this phrase means and how it can be used in day to day conversation. We will also look at the history of the term and where it originally came from.

Olly Olly Oxen Free

“Olly Olly Oxen Free” Meaning

The meaning of the term ‘olly olly oxen free’ is that those who are hiding in a game such as hide and seek are now free to reveal themselves and come out from their hiding spots.

Origin of this idiom

The phrase ‘olly olly oxen free’ derives from an old term which had the same meaning from centuries ago, this phrase was ‘all ye out come in free.’

“Olly Olly Oxen Free” Examples

Examples in Statements

This is a statement being made by a child playing hide and seek.

  • ‘OK, I give up, olly olly oxen free.’

Here is a statement which is being made by a teacher.

  • ‘The students were playing hide and seek but when break time was over they called olly olly oxen free.’

Conversation Examples

If you are curious to know how the term ‘olly olly oxen free’ would work in a conversation. Here are some examples of things you might hear.

The first conversation is taking place between two parents at the playground.

  • Person 1: “The children are playing hide and seek.”
  • Person 2: “Yes but I don’t think that little Billy will find all of his friends.”
  • Person 1: “He can always call olly olly oxen free if he wants to give up.”

This conversation is happening between some children.

  • Person 1: “Shall we play hide and seek?”
  • Person 2: “OK, you hide. one, two three, ready or not here I come.”
  • Person 1: “You’ll never find me.”
  • Person 2: “You’re right, olly olly oxen free.”

Other Ways to Say “Olly Olly Oxen Free”

There are other ways in which you can express the meaning of the term ‘olly olly oxen free.’

Here are some examples of things you might say which would mean the same thing.

  • You can come out now
  • All ye out come in free

What Is “Olly Olly Oxen Free”? | Image

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