tig


tig
   The basic children's chasing game in which one child tries to touch one of the others, and whoever is touched becomes the chaser and tries to touch another, is known by various local names. The Opies present a map showing that the main names as found in their research in the 1950s and 1960s are markedly *regional, of which 'tig' is the most widespread, but 'he', 'tag', 'tick', and 'touch' all have broad geographical areas in which they are dominant. The game is simplicity itself, and can be used for a range of variants - 'chain-tig' in which the chasers have to hold hands, 'French-tig' in which the person 'tigged' has to hold the place he/she was touched while chasing the others, and so on. There are also variant words for the person who is doing the chasing, 'it' or 'he' being common, which children use as unselfconsciously as any dialect word - 'We played He and I was had, so I had to be he', or even 'If she hads a person when she is he the person she hads becomes he'. Of all the names noted by the Opies, 'tick' seems to be the oldest, being found in Drayton's Poly-Olbion ((1622), p. xxx), whereas 'tag' is found from the 18th century, and 'tig' and 'touch' from the 19th century.
   ■ Opie and Opie, 1969: 20-3, 62-123.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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