Abboism #40: And Nine

August 19, 2014 in Abboism, Southern vernacular by

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Abboism #40: And nine

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Abboism of the Week: And Nine

And nine – noun

Definition: the nine-tenths of a cent added to all gas prices in the U.S. and some other parts of the world.

Origin: The origin of 9/10′s at the end of gas prices is somewhat murky (See “Abboism Extra” below.), and very few people even consider it in the cost of a gallon of gas. Rest assured, my dad still does.

Synonym: None

Can you use it in a sentence?

Me: “Gas is cheaper down here, Dad. I paid $3.05 a gallon back home.”

Dad: “Earlier this week, Mac’s had it for $2.99 and nine. Might as well call it three dollars.”

Abboism Extra: Where did and nine originate? Sources agree that the practice of adding the nine-tenths to gas prices originated in the Depression era after the federal tax on gasoline was raised by half a cent. Of course, a half-cent tax on 20 cents is a much greater fractional increase than on, say, $3.00 per gallon. Still, is it just another case of “the man” sticking it to us?

From its origin, the continuing practice of and nine becomes more ambiguous. Many quickly dismiss the practice as oil company greed, calling it a bait and switch (though that term hardly seems to fit). Some believe it is a government tax, and others chalk it up the the marketing gimmick of pricing just below the “real” price to make it appear like a deal. If that’s the case, though, why take it to the thousandths place? Doesn’t $3.09 accomplish this?

I found a variety of reasonable explanations of the and nine practice here.

Have you ever wondered about the dangling nine on gas prices? What reason have you always contributed to its existence?

Do you know anyone who, like my dad, still includes the and nine when quoting gas prices?

Abboism #40: And nine

Photo Credit: jmtimages via photopin cc

Owning And Nine

Supposedly, you have to use a word or phrase three times before you “own it.”  Feel free to incorporate Abboisms like like and nine into your own vernacular.  Use it three times and it’s yours.
Thanks for reading.
For the next generation,
Al Ainsworth
Reminder: Family Story Legacy will be moving over to my site at on September 2. Between now and then, as I work on that site, you can find my postings on both sites.

Abboisms, Vol. 2

#26: Shagnasty

#27: Like Ol’ Butch and Squealer

#28: Flamdoneyer

#29: Pooter Scooter

#30: Pasture PoolAbboisms Cover

#31: Two-Bit Cop

#32: Inctum

#33: Ol’ Inky

#34: Malwambles

#35: Some’rs Another

#36: Stomp Down Good Un

#37: Clam Chowder

#38: Good Honk Irene

#39: Stankin Nigh

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