File 13

File 13

File 13 is a euphemism for the trash can. The phrase is especially used in the U.S. military, and is less common outside of the United States. In the United Kingdom, for instance, the expression "round file" or "circular file" is more common (in reference to trash cans typically being round). Expressions such as "I'll place that memo in file 13" are often heard in offices as a joking way of saying, "I'm going to throw away that memo."

Army Regulation 635-200 (Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations) Chapter 13 covers Separation for Unsatisfactory Performance. When a Soldier is removed from the military under this chapter and the paperwork is filed the slang term "File 13" refers to the action of filing the paperwork. Later, this term was adopted as a way to describe getting rid of a bad person or action. To File 13 paperwork was to get rid of it.


The first known citation of "File 13" was in 1941. The phrase's origins may perhaps be traced to 13 being a supposedly unlucky number, although the exact source is unknown. According to Slangsearch: Air Force, "File 13" refers to an aircraft's garbage can.

Usage in popular culture

File 13 is one of the simple games distributed in Dragon magazine. In this board game, players assume the roles of game publishers and each attempts to develop and market "hot item" games before the others.

There is an independent record label named File Thirteen Records, based originally in Little Rock, AR and now in Chicago, IL.

There is a song by the band AFI called "File 13," on the album Very Proud of Ya, which contains the lyric, "Someone should throw me away/Feel like a garbage can."

File 13 is a female fronted rock band in the Denver, CO area.

File 13 was a heavy metal band from Monaca, PA in the early to mid-1990s.

File 13 was used as a band moniker by Doug "Double Dee" DiFranco of Double Dee and Steinski and record producer David Witz when they released a 12" single on Profile Records in 1984 called "Taste So Good." The track was built with samples from phone sex tapes and too racy for radio airplay although it was a minor hit in dance clubs. Witz revived the File 13 name again in 1988 for a 12" single called "Party Line" also on Profile Records. This track similarly used samples recorded from party lines which were fairly common in older telephone systems. This track failed to chart or sell well and Witz retired the File 13 name for his dance tracks.


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