Biz- Fraternity Folklore

Informant: Jimmy Lonergan. 21 years old. From Chicago. Student at USC and member of a fraternity.

Informant:  “When I pledged a fraternity, we were told by the older members in the house we weren’t allowed to say the number ‘5.’  Instead of saying the number ‘5’ we had to say ‘Biz.’ For example: “It’s Biz o’clock, I have Biz siblings, etc. The origins of Biz is actually a very funny story. There is a popular drinking game called beer die. The game involves four people standing on opposite sides of the table. There are two beer cups at each corner and a player throws up a die in the air, attempting to hit the opponents side of the table. The die is supposed to bounce off and the opponent has to catch it. If the die does not leave the table, the die lands on a number. If it lands on 5 then the team who threw the die has to drink because in the game, the number 5 is forbidden so.

Collector: “So why BIZ?”

Informant: “So this alumnus from the fraternity whom I never met decided that because the number 5 is forbidden in the game, he would say ‘BIZ’ instead. I don’t remember why he chose BIZ specifically. Since then, it has become a part of my fraternity culture. In the fraternity, BIZ has become part of the everyday vocabulary. When someone forgets the rule, for example, people humorously scream BIZ at them!

Thoughts: This fraternity lore is very interesting. It is fairly recent and it is crazy that one individual literally created the custom of saying BIZ instead of 5. Since pledges follow most orders, it comes as no surprise that Biz would quickly replace 5 in their vocabulary.