Understanding the History and Significance of ‘Hotty Toddy’

Rapper Snoop Dogg leads the Hotty Toddy cheer on the video board inside Vaught Hemingway Stadium before an Ole Miss football game. Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Sports Productions.

Rapper Snoop Dogg leads the Hotty Toddy cheer on the JumboTron inside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium at a football game in 2003.

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 via recorded video messages played in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium before Ole Miss football games.

Here’s what Ole Miss students had to say about “Hotty Toddy” a few years ago:

Hotty Toddy, everybody!!