Derryl Murphy, a writer and editor who lives in Prince George, BC, and writes the blog Cold Ground, has a post about a couple of curious usages he’s noticed among the kids of his neighborhood:

It’s now proper to tell kids who jump the queue not to budge. Don’t budge in line. Hey, no budging.
Also, when teams face each other in a sporting event, or when there is any other sort of contest, it’s now Us verse Them. I versed him shooting hoops today. We’ll verse the Lions in soccer tomorrow.

He asks “Is it a Prince George thing?” and I’m curious too: is anybody familiar with either of these innovations?


  1. I’m from Winnipeg and I was using those words in the late 70’s to mid 80’s
    To me it’s not an innovation but normal speech from my childhood.

  2. e morris says

    “Budge” in that sense is established “Wisconsin speak.” Perhaps it simply percolated north.

  3. David Quidnunc says

    When I was in school in suburban Boston from the late 60s to the late 70s, the equivalent was “Hey, don’t cut in front of me,” or “Hey, no cutting in line.”
    Come to think of it, I don’t think I actually know of any other word to use.

  4. The “verse” thing is common kids’ speech. Every kid uses it here. (Well, I never did, but I was a little prescriptivist.)

  5. I haven’t noticed the “verse” thing but “budge” was pretty standard when I was growing up in Minnesota in the 60s and 70s. Also “you budger” was a frequent insult hurled at one who committed said crime. Used interchangeably with “butt (in)” and “butter” or “bud in” and “budder”

  6. Ben Zimmer says

    The usage of “verse” as a back-formation from “versus” has become widespread even among adults. The Usenet archive suggests that the verb found popularity amongst gamers and then spread to wider usage in the mid-’90s:
    Date: 1995/02/13
    Newsgroup: alt.games.sf2
    Its a fairly pointless exercise, Versing characters from different arcades against each other anyway…
    Date: 1995/09/23
    Newsgroup: rec.games.video.sony
    When versing the black car, remember that the first is a warmup lap…
    Date: 1996/01/22
    Newsgroup: rec.motorcycles.dirt
    So if I’m right, the next one should be on 1/28 at 3pm est on ESPN2. Unfortunately, it’s versing the Superbowl!
    Date: 1996/06/10
    Newsgroup: alt.tv.babylon-5
    I have noticed one thing, there seems to be a lot of “B”s versing “S”s.
    Date: 1996/09/27
    Newsgroup: alt.sports.hockey.rhi
    I saw a game with them, but I don’t know who they were versing …

  7. Growing up in Minnesota in the 50’s-60’s I don’t remember “budge”. “Butt in” was pervasive though.

  8. I heard the verse thing growing up in Southern California, though it has always sounded wrong to my ear. We’d say ‘cutting’ for, uh, cutting in line. Other variants I’ve heard are ‘butting’ and ‘skipping.’ (There’s a question about this on the latest version of the Online English Dialect Survey, but I don’t think we have a geographical distribution figured out with all 4 variants yet.)

  9. Budging was the word in the 1970s in Vancouver, BC.

  10. Andrew Dunbar says

    In Australia, queue jumping has always been called “pushing in” but most people would be aware that “cutting in” is the American equivalent. I can’t think of a term for a person who pushes in and I don’t know if the kids today have any new terms for it.

  11. Rick Grimm says

    I grew up in Calgary, AB. In my elementary years (1980 – 1986), we commonly used the term ‘to bud (ahead) in line’. As such, he or she who performed the ‘budding’ was labelled the ‘budder’. Now, of course, this pronunciation could simply be a deformed variety of ‘butt’, as in ‘butt in line’ /t/ > /d/, in my very elite Bowness patois.

  12. As a child I lived in Victoria BC from 1975 to 1981. As I recall, kids would yell “no butting”, but it could have been “budging”.

  13. ‘Push’ in is still standard in Southern England; I don’t hear the alternative ‘barge’ so often.
    Mind you the traditional discipline of queuing in itself seems to be crumbling.

  14. I’ll be damned — they’re both more widespread than I would have thought. But then I’m aware colloquial speech has left me far behind. (“Butt in” is, of course, familiar to me — it goes back to the 19th century — and I imagine “bud in” is a mishearing/misinterpretation thereof.)

  15. I always thought the usage of “verse” noted here was long popular w/ kids in many places. I used/heard it extensively growing up as a kid in Pennsylvania in the ’70s.

  16. With the Australian push in, the person doing it becomes the pusherinerer.
    And me and my friends tend to say Canadia for Canada, much like Palestinia for Palestine. It’s catching on, and pretty soon I’m sure Canadians and Palestinians really will come from Canadia and Palestinia.

  17. Budging in line (the action and the usage) was common in my childhood, Minneapolis suburbs, 1980s-1990s. Also budding/butting in line, not so often cutting.

  18. During my Northern Virginia soccer career 1984-1988 we commonly versed others, but the parents usually watched us play them.

  19. I always thought that the ‘budge’ thing was a false politesse substitute for ‘butt’ used at schools that have universal proscriptions against ‘bad words’. Regardless of origin, both of these are commonly used in Southern Ontario by children of my little brothers’ (age 14) age group and younger, although I don’t remember them being used when I was little.

  20. Interesting. I grew up in Edmonton and never heard budge before, but it seems by the comments that it was largely a N/NW thing for the US, W thing for Canada. Winnipeg, Vancouver, now Prince George, Minnesota in the US, and seems to be spreading E in Canada (S Ontario). Rick from Calgary, I don’t doubt that what you heard as “bud” was actually “butt.” W Canadians tend to be lazy with their end consonants.
    Thanks, all.

  21. In California we always said “cut in” or (IIRC) “skip”. “Butt in” meant something quite different, namely “Put your nose in [someone else’s business]”.

  22. When i was a kid in southeast Michigan (late 80s/early 90s), people ‘cut’ in line and ‘butted’ (or, rarely and probably later ‘barged’) into conversations or others’ business.
    Don’t recall hearing ‘verse’—usually we just ‘play’ed each other. . .
    heard ‘Canadia’ a few times as a joke when I was in high school, but I think more when I was at Oberlin College in Ohio 2000–2002.

  23. I’ve never heard of ‘budging’ – it’s always ‘cutting in line’ here in Southern Ohio. Also, the term I’ve seen used in theme parks is ‘line jumping’.
    ‘Verse’ is pretty common here though.

  24. ThePedanticPrick says

    I don’t see how “budging” is so unusual. I’ve heard it before in other contexts, eg “We pushed and pushed but it wouldn’t budge.” A perfectly cromulent verb, IMO.

  25. I’d have to echo the many above in that I grew up thinking “no budging” was normal. I hadn’t heard “us verse them,” though.
    I grew up in Surrey, BC; same province as Prince George, but really not very close at all.

  26. David Quidnunc says

    Come to think of it, I think I did hear “No butting!” when I was a kid in line (waiting my turn of course). But I can’t be sure — wow, I’m getting old.

  27. I don’t see how “budging” is so unusual. I’ve heard it before in other contexts…
    Well, yeah, everybody’s heard it before in other contexts; it’s this context that’s unusual. In case that wasn’t clear.

  28. Both terms were unknown to me here in Montréal, QC.

  29. I seem to recall using ‘verse’ as a child (in Montréal, QC – and given that I’m 21 years old, not too long ago) simply because I never understand how to properly use the word. Video games had given me the impression that ‘versus’ was a verb (in the same contexts that Ben had pointed out). This effect appeared in daily speech when discussing competition: “I’ll verse you in basketball”. For some reason, that seemed the proper way to conjugate ‘versus’. Maybe it’s a West Coast thing.
    I can’t say I’ve ever heard of ‘budging in line’…

  30. Harbinger says

    I’m British and I’ve been using it for a while (can’t remember how long): “Budge up” when I want to sit on an occupied settee (sofa). “Verse” is new to me though.

  31. Budging in has been used in northern England for as long as I can remember (admittedly, not that long).
    I always presumed that if you “verse” someone, you beat them emphatically – ie. you teach them how it’s done (teaching them the verse or something – it made sense at the time).

  32. In central Ohio, the standard term for line-jumping/pushing in/budging/cutting, etc. is ‘dishing’ or ‘ditching.’

  33. I’ve been curious about budge since we moved to Vancouver, BC in 1999 and I heard a daycare teacher and subsequently lots of children use it: “no budging at the snack table” and “don’t budge in line.”
    I’m from Montreal and it was always: no butting-in, etc. I had never heard budge.
    When I recently came across the word in Andrea Levy’s “Small Island” (Whitbread, Orange prize winner) I began to think that it must be an English (England) colloquialism. Is it? Levy uses authentic period (1940s) dialogue in her novel. Here’s the quote: “…I shouted, “Budge up” before I was pushed over.” p. 345. Here it’s used in a “move away” sense.

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