Counting seconds

1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi

If you need or want to count in seconds, do you put a words between the numbers? For example 1 [word], 2 [word], 3 [word] etc.

I usually use Mississippi as the in-between word, but have tried others, such as elephant and hippopotamus. Elephant doesn’t really work as it doesn’t have enough syllables, but hippopotamus works well.

I remember seeing television programmes involving parachuting in which people count 1 thousand, 2 thousand, and so on before opening their parachute.

Another alternative is Piccadilly, according to this video:

There are various places named Piccadilly in England, including a street in central London, an area of Manchester, and a hamlet in Warwickshire, and also places in Australia and Canada.

What in-between word do you use (if any) in English or other languages?

5 thoughts on “Counting seconds

  1. I don’t think we have an equivalent in French.

    I even remember a scene in American series where it was not adapted in the French dubbing: they just said “un Mississippi, deux Mississippi…”

  2. I remember in high school that the coach would say, “1 one thousand, 2 one thousand”. If you are speaking quickly, it’s a pretty good approximation. Main problems are that if you *don’t* talk quickly, the wording takes a little longer than one second each, and it doesn’t work so well after 10. Like, “17 one thousand” takes a little too long. But, it you were trying to be more accurate, I suppose after 10 you could start over at 1.

  3. There was this PSA in Turkish TVs for following distance in traffic. It said that, “to determine the distance between the car in front, count like 78-79” (or a similar kind of number choice)

  4. I learned a couple of ways growing up in Dixie:

    1. One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, etc. After hitting Ten Mississippi, you start counting over at One Mississippi; just be sure to remember which tens you’re on when you finish counting.

    2. One One Thousand, Two One Thousand, etc. Again, starting over at One One Thousand after hitting Ten One Thousand.

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