Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I wrote a few weeks ago that we were playing "Hangman" at a restaurant. Playing a word game with the goal of avoiding the hanging of a stick man made me wonder "where in the hell did THAT come from?"

There's not much information available about its origins, beyond the Wikipedia entry), but here's an excerpt:
The origins of Hangman are obscure, but it seems to have arisen in Victorian times," says Tony Augarde, author of "The Oxford Guide to Word Games" (Oxford University Press).

The game is mentioned in
Alice Bertha Gomme's "Traditional Games" in 1894 under the name "Birds, Beasts and Fishes." The rules are simple; a player writes down the first and last letters of a word for an animal, and the other player guesses the letters in between.

In other sources the game is called "Gallows", "The Game of Hangin'", or "Hanger".

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