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  • Paul Anthony Jones

Lobster shift

(n.) an early morning shift; an earlier than normal start to the working day

A lobster, origin of phrase lobster shift

Lobster shift was Word of the Day earlier this week on HH, essentially defined as “an early start to the day”.

Also known as the lobster trick, the term lobster shift is thought to have originated among early-starting newspaper journalists in early 1900s New York, before coming to be used more broadly of anyone whose working day starts early, or who is compelled to start their day somewhat earlier than normal.

Quite where or how the lobsters come in is unclear. One suggestion is that it refers to all those workers whose day begins at the same time that lobster fishermen head out to sea, while another claims it’s a metaphor for the sidling, lobster-like pace of a commute in the wee small hours of the morning.

Regardless of what inspired it, there are still plenty of people who work it.

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