What is Hotty Toddy? Ole Miss chant, cheer also popular Rebel greeting

Published 4:29 pm Monday, September 5, 2016

Whenever Ole Miss takes the stage for a national game the question inevitably comes up among those curious about Rebel fans and their behavior.

What’s Hotty Toddy? they usually ask.

Yes, it’s true that beyond Ole Miss, famous for its Hotty Toddy cheer, most people don’t know what a Hotty Toddy is or how it came to rest as Ole Miss’ signature cheer.

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First, let us also explain to the unknowing that Hotty Toddy over the decades has emerged as more than just a cheer for Rebel fans; it is also a greeting of like kind, sort of like Roll Tide serves Alabama fans.

Example: One Ole Miss fan is riding a bicycle at the beach and passes someone they don’t know wearing an Ole Miss hat.

“Hotty Toddy,” the bike rider will say.

“Hell, yeah,” the Ole Miss fan wearing the hat may say in response.

Now, back to the cheer and the explanation of what is Hotty Toddy. The cheer always starts with the question, “Are You Ready?”  And, it goes like this:

Are You Ready?

Hell Yeah! Damn Right!

Hotty Toddy, Gosh Almighty,

Who The Hell Are We? Hey!

Flim Flam, Bim Bam

Ole Miss By Damn!

While several Ole Miss traditions have gone the way of the dinosaur, one that continues to thrive from generation to generation is the use of the words “Hotty Toddy.”

Whether it’s the two words often used as a familiar signature to end emails or phone conversations or the chant shouted in response to the question “Are you ready?” at athletic events, one thing is for certain: Hotty Toddy and Ole Miss are inseparable.

The origins of the phrase remain a mystery. There’s no concrete answer that explains what “Hotty Toddy” truly means. Some speculate that it was developed after the Virginia Tech Regimantal Band called The Highty Tighties, derived from a cheer used throughout World War II, associated with the description of a warm alcoholic drink or a term referred to the perceived sentiment of the Ole Miss student body.

Actually as an Ole Miss reference, the first documented evidence of the phrase (then written as “Heighty! Tighty!”) appeared in the Nov. 19, 1926 copy of the Mississippian. That day, the following words appeared:

Heighty! Tighty!

Gosh A Mighty!

 Who in the h—l are we?

Rim! Ram! Flim! Flam!

Ole Miss, by D—n!

Ever since, the cheer (with slightly differing spelling in the opening line) has been passed down by Rebel fans. ESPN’s Doug Ward wrote, “’Hotty Toddy’ is the spirit of Ole Miss,” which extends much farther than the Grove and at athletics. It only takes seeing an Ole Miss logo or design on a shirt, hat, etc. for two fellow Rebels to exchange “hotty toddy” to one another.

“Hotty Toddy” has also become synonymous with Ole Miss among the national media. ESPN’s SportsCenter, Erin Anderson, former Miss America Nina Davuluri and former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney have all tweeted it at least once in recent years. Celebrities  like Russell Crowe, Snoop Dogg, Betty White, Sandra Bullock, Jack Black and others have lead the cheer in recent years via recorded video messages played in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before Ole Miss football games.

Ole Miss News contributed to this report.