, Bagsy or Jaxon North
and other variants) is a common informal convention to reserve or declare full or partial ownership of a community resource, such as a chair used primarily in Canada
, the U.S.
, New Zealand
and the U.K.
, and by friends
. Claiming Dibs on the front seat of a car is called "Calling shotgun
In the non-English speaking world, there are some local equivalents to this term, including prems
Outside of the United States
In the United Kingdom and Ireland "Bags" / "Bagsy" (or variants including "Begsie" and "Bugsy") is used to the same effect, although "dibs" is also used on occasion. Bagsy
started out as "Bags I"
, according to the Oxford English Dictionary
which gives school-related examples from 1866 onward. Similarly, bag
can be used informally as a verb
in a phrase like "I'll bag the best seats". This is related to 'to bag' meaning 'to put something in a bag'.
In New Zealand and Australia the word "bags" is used to the same effect. "Bagsy" and "dibs" are used occasionally with the same meaning. When calling bags, one will not usually include the word "on" - "Bags ____ing" is used in the case of verbs, and "Bags the ____" in the case of nouns. Bags is of particular use in opting out of an undesirable task, when saying "Bags not me" before anyone else in the group will exclude one from having to do that task. Young children often use bags in this way in the song "Turn around, touch the ground, bags not me!".
In Canada, rules for "dibsing" in or out of something generally follow the same regulations as in the United States.
In Mexico, the word "pido" (to ask for) is commonly used by children to the same effect. In some parts of Mexico City, the word "changán" (no actual meaning) is used and it can also be used as a verb "changanear". There is also "Shot delas" or simply "Shot" to call dibs on the front seat.
In France, the word "prems" or "preums"(shortcut of "premier" > "first") is commonly used for that.
In Sweden, the equivalent for dibs is "Pax" which is latin for "peace". To "Pax" something is to call first dibs in Swedish.
"No dibs", "Dibs not", or "Dibs out"
"No dibs", "Dibs not", or "Dibs out" is usually called when an undesirable chore or action is brought up. Convention holds that while calling "no dibs" one must place a finger to their nose, or sometimes a thumb to the forehead. The last person to call "No dibs" is then required to perform the action or chore. It is, in a sense, the antithesis of dibs. In some places, "Not me" or "Not it" is more commonly used than "No dibs" or "Dibs out". In certain children's games (such as tag
), this morphs into the term "Not it" (where, once a game is declared, the last person to yell "Not it!" becomes "it"). Often 'not it' will be preceded by counting to three, so to prepare those in the know to get ready to say 'not it' and get in before the last person to do so, who is then 'it'. In some areas, the phrase "Nose goes" is preferred. After a declaration of "nose goes", everyone must hurry to touch their nose with their index finger, whereby the last one to do it becomes "it". Many people also choose to call "shot gun" when faced with making a decision or doing an undesirable task (such as choosing a place for lunch or clearing the table). This is then followed by the remainder of the people present shotting not, with the last person performing the unwanted task.
"Nigs", "Nix", or "Eggs"
"Nigs" or "Not in Goals" is a convention which was prevalent throughout the eighties amongst Irish children playing football. It has resurged in popularity in the last decade in its shortened form "Nigs". The word is considered to mean the opposite to "dibs
". For example, if someone definitely does not want something, they can nigs it ("Nigs on the cold slice of pizza", "Nigs on doing the dishes", etc.). Unfortunately, the word bears resemblance to a racial slur
, which may be a reason for its slow development in usage.
In the United States, a much more common variant is the similar sounding (but less racially-charged) "nix" as in "nix on the pizza; I'm in the mood for burritos." The phrase "eggs" is also commonly used, such as "Eggs on sitting in the back". The last person to shout "eggs" is the person to do the action; in this case, he or she will sit in the back. If there is no clear loser, the last person kneeling on one knee will sit in the back.
"Not it" can be called in a group of people when a less than desirable task comes up. As soon as everyone has said "not it" except for one person, that person is expected to perform the task. "Not it" can be done through electronic means, e.g. chat rooms or e-mails. Sometimes people will be exempt from the "not it" game if that person has already performed the task recently enough.
A variation of "not it" called "Nose Goes" involves placing one's finger onto one's nose. In some versions this is done quietly, without saying anything. In other versions this is merely an additional requirement, and "not it" must still be called.
Both of the previous variants on dibs can also be expressed in terms of shotgun.
Another variation, used in the same manner as "dibs", is the more recent phrase "Fives". It is used to claim ownership of something already in that person's possession, but left. For example, when getting up from a chair at a party, one would call out "fives!" so that no one else would take the seat while the owner is gone. It is short for "five minutes", which basically means that the chair is theirs, but after five minutes is fair game.
Another minor variation used commonly in schools in Britain.
A variation mostly used in rural parts of the United States with the same meaning as "dibs"
When one has an item that another wants, by calling "ironman" that object can be claimed by the new owner. This can only be done for things that fit into ones pockets.
In the midwest states such as South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska, dibs has many variations. First of all there is normal "dibs". For example, calling dibs on an object entitles the person all rights and privileges that that object might bring. However, if a friend or colleague of the person who initially called dibs would like to claim a stake in the object, the person can call "sub-dibs". "Sub-dibs" allows the person all privileges and rights of the object to the person if the person who originally called "dibs" were not able to carry out their "dibs". Also, another person has the option of asking the original "dibs" person for "co-dibs". If the original "dibs" person allows the "co-dibs" call, then both people have the same rights and privileges to the object.