EIGHTY-SIX or 86 is a common AmE expression in restaurant jargon that means a food item is no longer in stock. “The tuna salad is 86” means there isn’t any more tuna salad in the kitchen.
“86 the steak! 86 the red snapper. We 86’d the chicken.”
It can also mean to cancel an order or remove an item from the menu.
“86 the ham and eggs for table two.”
“I’d like a BLT, but please 86 the tomato.”
Outside of the food industry, it is used to mean to:
1. do away with or get rid of something or someone.
“Dude man, 86 your girlfriend, she is so lame.”
“86 your shoes, they don’t match!”
It can often mean to dump a partner or cut someone off from contact.
“He’s gonna be 86 if he doesn’t call me back!”
“She was cheating on me, so I had to 86 her.”
2. reject, discard, throw out or cancel.
“We finally had to 86 that old printer after it jammed one too many times.”
“The passwords will be 86ed by next October.”
3. throw out or lock out of bars or other establishments.
“Darrell crashed Ron’s party and was eighty-sixed.”
“The bouncer 86’ed a few drunks who tried to put up a fight with him.”
BE EIGHTY-SIXTED, 86’d, 86’ed or 86ed, means to be banned from a place.
“Joe counted cards and was 86ed from the casino.”
“Calm down, cowboy or you’re gonna be eighty-sixted.”
There are a few schools of thought behind where the saying came from, the proposed origins are all dated before the 1950s. Some have more legs than others, such as those of the restaurant industry but to this day, there is still no official etymology.
“86 MW Prime (We are out of medium well prime rib).”
“The tuna on the menu has been 86’d. We sold out of it.”
The term 86 is most often used in American restaurants for an item that has been removed from the menu and is no longer available. 86, all out, none, zero, no tengo, sold out! No more, done with, we have no more!
“Inform the staff that the mushroom ravioli is 86. Make sure that they are not mistaken with today’s special fettuccine risotto.”
Regardless of whether it was the first to coin the phrase, the restaurant business in the 1930s was one of the main incubators for its usage and development.
“The raw oysters were 86’d by the time we got seated for dinner.”
“I want a BLT but could you 86 the bacon?”
It later evolved into a code that restaurants and bars used when they wanted to cut someone off, because they were either rude to a server, broke, or drunk; had put up a fight, walked out on a tab, etc.
“The restaurant 86ed us because we didn’t fit the dress code.”
“86’d the tattooed bozo at table 3 ‘cuz he’s an ass!”
By extension, if someone is 86, they’re not welcome or popular. When gossiping about a mutual acquaintance, “Aw, he’s eighty-six!” means that in the opinion of the speaker he is no good.