One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A game in which each player in turn throws a knife or pointed stick from a series of positions, continuing until it fails to stick in the ground.
- ‘I also remember taking our scout knives to school and playing mumblety-peg at recess with other eight and nine year old boys.’
- ‘Some of the sailors played mumblety-peg with their knives (or knives they'd taken from Batcha's kitchen - it angered him so) or played duck and drake with small ice-cold stones they could find beneath the snow.’
- ‘For those who have never heard of it, you play mumblety-peg by balancing the tip of your jack-knife on your palm, or index finger, or other appendage, and then flipping it in such a way that it sticks in the ground.’
- ‘Kids played hopscotch and mumblety-peg in the dirt and built campfires in the summer, but Christmas was her favorite holiday when they cut down the tree and roasted goose for dinner.’
Early 17th century: also in the form mumble the peg, from mumble (sense 2 of the verb), from the requirement of the game that an unsuccessful player withdraw a peg from the ground using the mouth.
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