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jca2's avatar

What are some words or phrases that your grandparents or parents used, that are not common any longer?

Asked by jca2 (5300points) 3 weeks ago

I just thought of this question (which is a repeat of a similar question that was asked here years ago), when reading an email from a friend tonight. She mentioned having some work done in her apartment, and that it would be a shambles. I was thinking about how my grandmother would use the word “shambles” but it’s not something that you hear used very often anymore.

What are some words or phrases that your parents used that you don’t hear too much now?

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33 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Please and thank you.

YARNLADY's avatar

iron lung

seawulf575's avatar

My wife and I were talking and the phrase “drop a dime” came up. That may not be totally gone from our language these days, but it’s origins sure are.

ragingloli's avatar

“Danzig wird immer Deutsch bleiben!”

stanleybmanly's avatar

Jumpin Jehoshaphat

tedibear's avatar

Icebox for refrigerator.

jca2's avatar

@tedibear: I used to have a friend that called the refrigerator the “Frigidaire.” hahaha

jca2's avatar

@ragingloli: I knew why. It was funny though.

seawulf575's avatar

Bee’s knees
Smoke a fag
Gay Old Time
spooning
See ya later, alligator
After awhile, crocodile
He’s such a square

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Groovy
Sock Hop
Drive-in Theater
Two short subjects and Main Feature on Saturday Matinee
Wringer washer
Clothes line
Party line

Dutchess_III's avatar

“If at first you don’t succeed….keep on a suckin’ till you so suck a seed!”
“Cat fur, for to make kitten britches out of.”
Both said by my Dad’s mom, who died when he was 13. He grew up in Texas and had that twang. Whenever he said “fur,” for “for” Gramma would rattle of the Kitten Britches thing.

Brian1946's avatar

The wheel ain’t good for nothing. Just ‘cause it’s round, don’t mean it can walk! ;-p

rebbel's avatar

“Here, have a cigarette, that’ll relax you a bit.”

ucme's avatar

Eeeh, why arl gan to the foot of owa stairs.

Yellowdog's avatar

(1) What @tedibear said. Icebox for Refrigerator. No one has used an Icebox since 1940, but the word was still used in conversation for ‘refrigerator’ throughout the 1970s though seldom in writing. The term ‘Icebox’ became obsolete in the early 1980s. My parents still use the term.

(2) When something was about to happen, we used to say it was ”“fixing to happen.’. I really haven’t heard this term since the 1980s.

(3) When something topples over or knocked over, we used to say it got ‘tumped over,’ I heard this term a lot in my 1960s / 1970s childhood but never in college or later, in the early to mid 1980s—though very rarely the term is still heard but very, very seldomly. The word ‘tump’ and ‘tumped’ have never been accepted by any spellcheck because they are almost never used,

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Don’t accept any wooden nickles.

zenvelo's avatar

“Write your grandmother a thank you note, and we’ll drop it in the mail”

How long to get this roll of film developed?

“Lick the stamp”.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Better than a kick in the ass with a frozen boot.
Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

JLeslie's avatar

I love @zenvelo’s answers. I identify with all of those.

Some are Yiddish, which are probably still said in some Jewish families and some parts of the country. Some are the same (or similar) in German. Phrases like Gott in himmel (God in heaven) and gay shlafin (go to sleep) or shlafin cup (sleepy head). Other Yiddish expressions they used are now used by everyone. Hollywood has helped that along I think. Like Yutz, nosh, Schmuck, were only my family, but now it’s everyone.

Do people still say “uncle” when they want someone to stop doing whatever they are doing?

Is pocketbook old school, or just regional? My mom still says it. I use it once in a while.

“Hand be my pipe tobacco.” Or, “hand me a pipe cleaner.” Not to many people smoke pipes anymore. I haven’t heard those words since my maternal grandpa died.

Alleyoop (is it two words). I guess that also has a sex reference now that isn’t very nice.

- Ishkabibble
– Tease your hair (it’s still done)
– I’ll ring you later (I still use it)
– Phonograph
– Frankfurter (probably still used in Europe, I still say it sometimes)
– shift (dress)
– beauty parlor
– coiffed

jca2's avatar

My grandmother used to say things like “quicker than you can say Jack Robinson” and “quicker than two shakes of a lamb’s tale.” She’d also say “don’t dilly dally.”

I hear people use the word “shenanigans” and it sounds old-school to me.

I still say “pocketbook” which I know is outdated. Everyone says “handbag” now.”

My grandmother also used to sing “Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?” Another phrase she’d say is “What do you think, my name is Fink and I press pants for nothing” which sounds to me like something that would have been said in a Jewish neighborhood. She was Czechoslovakian and I’m sure when her family came from Czechoslovakia, they probably lived in an area in NY/NJ that had a lot of Jewish immigrants.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca2 You just reminded me…is saying slacks outdated? I still says slacks and pants interchangeably.

LostInParadise's avatar

Wouldn’t touch that with a ten foot pole
Keep your cotton pickin’ hands off of that
Not for all the tea in China
Heavens to Betsy!

Do people still use fag to refer to a cigarette? Does anyone use two bits to mean 25 cents?

jca2's avatar

Good reminder about Heavens to Betsy, @LostInParadise.

This is like a walk down Memory Lane.

zenvelo's avatar

@JLeslie I used slacks just yesterday, took some to the cleaners to be laundered and pressed, that’s what I called them for the man at the counter.

In this part of Northern California, major highways were known by their names, not their route numbers, until about 30 years ago. Now people look at me funny when I say “take the Nimitz” or “traffic was heavy on the Bayshore”.

Aster's avatar

You’d better get a move on !
You’d better get crackin!
Who do you think you are? The Queen of Sheba?
It’ll be like Coxie’s army! (or Grand Central Station)
Now I miss my mom.

Aster's avatar

@Yellowdog In Texas “fixin to” is still spoken. Not by me!

LostInParadise's avatar

Between you, me and the lamppost
Between a rock and a hard place
On a slow boat to China
Six of one, half dozen of the other
Even Steven

ucme's avatar

All of them, because they’re dead.

jca2's avatar

“Slower than molasses in January.”

jca2's avatar

I used to have an aunt that would say that something “stinks to High Heaven.”

JLeslie's avatar

^^I haven’t heard that in a long time.

emorris24's avatar

Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about.

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