Old-fashioned Terms

azzaleaDecember 2, 2012

We were heading to the Amish Market yesterday, and I mentioned to DD that I needed to pick up 'square cheese'. DD didn't know what I meant. American, of course.

Guess that's an old-timey phrase--although how I raised her without ever using it, I don't know.

Have any words or phrases in your vocabulary that the young folks don't recognize these days?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I remember "square cheese".

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a term I use that my mom used but actually, my daughter knows what it means. It is "In two shakes of a little lambs tail".

I have even condensed it down over the years to "In two shakes" and she knows what I mean.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 11:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

OK, I'll bite. What IS 'square cheese'? A block of cheddar? Slices of whatever Kraft whips into "Velveeta"?

Adult conversation could be confusing to a child. Instead of saying a man was 'hot' (today's terminology) my aunt would say, "He can put his shoes under my bed anytime."

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 1:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Square cheese is just American cheese. When I was a kid, that was what you asked for at the deli counter.

Oh, yes, two shakes of lamb's tail--haven't heard that in ages, but remember it from my childhood.

Always liked my mom's, "Everyone to their own taste said the old lady as she kissed the cow".

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of my Moms favorites: "If you don't like my gate don't swing on it."


    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Mom used to say when you asked what she was doing, "the same old six and seven". Once I said, Mom what does that mean? and she said, I don't know. lol

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I said scofflaw the other day in a gathering, & at least one person did not know it is literally one who scoffs at the law, usually by ignoring a law or ordinance.

Joseph Biden publicized another during the VP debate - malarky: "exaggerated or foolish talk, usually intended to deceive"

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When people ask how I am, I often say "Fair to middlin'". Some older people know exactly what I mean, but even doctors sometimes ask me to explain. It's something I heard all the time years ago.


    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mom always used to say "Easy as shooting fish". I heard that it should be "Easy as shooting fish in a barrel".

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Pooh Bear

I know where that phrase "fair to middlin" comes from.

How about being "in high cotton."

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 3:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

googled and found this about my above post

The original phrase was, "the same old seven and six," and it originated in England during the 19th century. It was a common reply in response to an inquiry about the health or affairs of a person, such as, "How are things?" or, "How have you been?" "Oh, the same old seven and six."
The phrase refers to the prevailiing weekly wage among workmen at the time being seven shillings and six pence. It implies that "things" have gone as usual with nothing extraordinary having occured. There have been many variations on the term since.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 4:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I remarked to a FB friend about a baby donkey getting some "ninny" and someone said they hadn't heard that word used in many years. My mother called it "ninny". She said her father, on the farm when she was growing up, referred to little calves "getting ninny". My mother grew up on a farm too...so maybe that is where the word came from.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mom used to say "in two shakes of a lamb's tail."
Her mother would reproach us girls with "Pretty is as Pretty does."

Mom also said--

Come hell or high water. (I am determined.)
With bells on. (all gussied up)
Hell's bells and butterflies! (darn it)

My father would describe an egotistical man as "a self-made man who loves his maker."

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For me I always call a fridge a "icebox" My Mom was from Ireland & that is what they had. When I was a kid the lady next door to us did get a block of ice from the iceman for her icebox. I just can't get out of the habit.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The same aunt I quoted above would say she'd be with you "in two shakes of a dead lamb's tail". (Don't try to rush her!)

My grandmother would ask a friend, "How are you keeping?" She had me completely confused once, on a picnic, when she excused herself from the party, saying, "I'm going to pick some waterlillies." I ran after her, saying I wanted to pick some too...but her destination was an outhouse. (I remember her taking a stick the opening to dislodge any spiders!)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Chisue, I've heard the saying, "I'm going to shake the dew off the lilly pad."

I thought of one today when I was cooking some lima beans. My Mother and Grandmother always said, "Don't thump the beans." Meaning you weren't supposed to keep stirring them while they were cooking because it mashes them.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jkayd - my grandmother used to say she "was at sixes and sevens" when she was harried or upset over something.

some others...

good gravy! (goodness gracious)
were you born in a barn? (when someone would leave the door open)
fiddlesticks! (darn it!)

chisue - My uncle used to say he was going to shake the dew off his lily. (go pee)

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 7:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I remember
Ice Box

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mom and my late husband used to ask for "light bread" to eat at a meal. ....white loaf bread that you buy from the grocery store.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 8:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jae tn "light bread" was for rich people where I grew up.LOL We ate biscuits and cornbread.

I think about the best saying I ever heard and it's self explanatory was "as awkward as a one legged mean at an a$$ kicking". Pretty awkward, if you ask me!

Then there's "I feel like I was sent for and couldn't go and got there and wasn't wanted." A rather hopeless, useless feeling.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I once referred to cream rinse and my granddaughter had no clue.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Jude, my brother liked to say that something was "as popular as a turd in a punch bowl."

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love it, Sheilajoyce!

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Mom use to tell me "I was going to get my mother's little fool in a crying scrape". Which meant if I didn't stop doing what ever it was I was doing, that I shouldn't be doing I was going to end up getting a spanking and end up crying.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When my grandmother thought we were being a bit loud and raucous, she would say, "Don't think gay." I have no idea where that came from, but it worked.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2012 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mother would say,"Well, I swan" and "What in the Sam Hill?" One of her friends used to say that something was "as ugly as Hector's pup." I haven't thought about those expressions in a long time. Now I'm off to Google them. (Wonder how long it'll be before THAT word is outdated!)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 12:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ha! I did google and the expression is supposed to be "since Hector was a pup." Come to think of it, this woman was always mangling expressions...and the English language in general. She once said she was going to start off the new year on a clean foot.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 1:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What do you call the thing that heats your house if you don't call it a furnace? I just looked at my package of filters and it uses the word furnace.

I used the word pocketbook and the younger people thought that was so old-fashioned. I guess they are called a purse (which I happen to think is a funny word) or handbag or just bag.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My mother used a lot of old fashioned sayings. She was born in 1904. One of the things she would say if you asked her if she was ready yet...she would say, "I'm Reddy's calf." If you stood in front of her, and she wanted to watch tv or something, she would say, "You would make a better door than a window"...except she said "wind-der". Another one she would say if someone asked her about someone, she would say, "I wouldn't know him from Adam's off ox." (I guess that meant the offside ox in a team.) If I bragged on my daughter, she would say, "Every mama crow thinks her baby is the blackest." Another saying was "Even a blind hog finds an acorn (ackkern) once in awhile." I am sure there are many more that don't come to mind just now. She was very funny. Everyone loved her because she could sure make you laugh.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What IS it with the 'code words' about urinating? Now I'll have to look up the origin of this one: "Going to see a man about a horse."

In England the stalls once required you to insert a coin to gain access, so a lady would ask another lady if she cared to accompany her 'to spend a penny'. (And WHY did women need company when going to the ladies' room?) There's the business about 'freshing up' in a 'rest room' too. Worse, the 'clever' signs on a lodge's facilities indicating one is for Pointers and one is for Setters. Droll.

A friend was suffering gastric distress while driving between cities in Portugal with her DH. They spied a nice house just off the road, stopped, and my friend asked the lady of the house if she had a bathroom. The homeowner was proud to say that she had two bathrooms and showed my friend to one. The room contained a tub. Seeing my friend's distress, the owner exclaimed, "Oh you want the *toilet*!"

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Ohio great aunts used to say, "You're so purty I could just eat you up!" For furnace, people typically say "boiler" around here (MN).

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Remember the saying when you were blocking someone's view "you're a pain but I can't see through you."

Nothing in my furnace boils. It is natural gas and has a flame. I guess you could call it a burner? IDK

At my library there is a handwritten sign that says "outen the light". Very PA Dutch.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agree about "nothing in my furnace boils"! When I moved here and began to hear people say "boiler" I thought they meant the hot water heater--but no, the furnace. Strange.

One Minnesota-speak phrase I love, finding it very useful for multiple occasions is "Oh, that's different." While neutral sounding and best said in a flat, emotionless tone it indicates general scorn/disgust for whatever is being talked about.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dad talked of draining his potatoes ... but he was nowhere near a stove.

Around here, a furnace used wood, coal, oil or natural gas, plus more recently propane, to produce a flame in a large can, then in early days convection moved air and in later days a fan blew it around the can and pipes carried the air into the area to be heated, with a set of registers in the floor leading to pipes that returned cool air to the lower end of the furnace.

We always had hot air heating, never heated with hot water, i.e using a boiler ... but the first high school that I attended had one.

The fuel(s) heated a tank of water in a boiler, and pipes carried the hot water into radiators in the various rooms, with another pipe from each taking the cooled water back to the lower end of the boiler.

If someone was dealing with some problems, Dad used to say that he was in hot water.

Can't think of others of my Grandma's/Dad's sayings at the moment ... but you've often heard me quote some of them.

Grandma used to speak of someone who would pinch a nickel till the buffalo squealed (which was, I think, stolen from our neighbours to the south - perhaps in later years she referred to the squealer as a beaver, which appears on the back of our nickel) but could be unwisely wasteful on occasion, as being, "Penny wise - and pound foolish" ... though she'd never been in England, where they used pounds.

In referring to someone being frugal, Dad would say that "He'd skin a louse for its hide and tallow!"! Don't recall having quoted that one to my kids ... or I'd likely have had it quoted back to me later.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Anyone remember when cheek blush was called rouge ?? It was usually a bright red and in a little metal or cardboard compact.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dang nab it! There's nothing left except'n the squeal.

The sueaky wheel gets the grease. (If you don't ask, you don't get.)

He could fall into a sewer and come up with and ice cream cone in each hand. (Someone who foils disaster without trying very hard.)

In the cess pool of life, it is the big ones that float up to the top. (It seems as though the most onery persons ends up all the cash.)

As scarce as hen's teeth. (Chickens do not have teeth. Thir food is gound up in the gizzard.)

If you don't behave, I'll tan your hide.

You can expect to get dirty if you wallow with the pigs. (If you run with the wrong crowd, you can expect to be accused of doing the same things they do.)

How far away is it? Hit's a fur piece. (It is a long distance; likely will you a half-day to walk that far.)

He's got fewer brains that God gave green apples. (Meaning: He has less intelligence than an unripe apple, in other words, "Ain't got no brains at'all."

Mr. Lincoln, how long should a person's legs be? He replied, "They should be long enough to reach from your body to the ground."

Keep the dirty side down. (Trucker's lingo developed during CB days, meaning do not overturn the vehicle.)

"Don't get your valves in an uproar." (Teen aged hotrodders meaning cool it, or do not get so mad that you loose sight or reasoning, referring to valve float in an oversped engine.)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Illogical threat from parent to crying child: Stop that caterwalling or I'll give you something to cry about!

See also: Don't BE that way! (Don't oppose MY way.)

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We had a friend who when asked how he was, he replied,"I am
gooder than grits!"

If someone was standing in front of the TV my Mom would always say "You make a better door than a window.

When we moved to Iowa from Florida we always asked for a coke when we wanted a drink. People couldn't figure out why we didn't say soda.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I grew up in MN and the only time a furnace is referred to as a boiler is referring to a commercial building that uses boilers. Otherwise it's always been a furnace that I've heard.

Things kids don't understand these days?
-Value of a dollar

A lot of these said aren't really old-fashioned, rather regional. I couldn't help but laugh when my cousin gave me the "Yeowl care for a Coke?" followed by "What kind would ya lock". This was before the days of Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, Caffeine-Free Coke, etc. Sorry cuz, 7up ain't a Coke product. LOL

BTW, FWIW, Velveeta is Colby, Swiss and Cheddar (blended all together...), that's what Velveeta is!

One of my favorites was a boss who came from Tulsa whose favorite phrase was "Come high hell or water! He was just happier than a coondog on a bare leg using that. "I promised these guys a meeting to talk about this stuff and come high hell or water we're gonna have it!" (I didn't have the heart to say anything.) Years later I thought maybe being from OK and TX perhaps it was regional and he knew what high hell really was! They would get the water! :D

It's a doozy is all I can say.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 3:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Along similar lines, cynic, ever heard, "Lord willin' and the crick don't rise"?

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 8:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Pooh Bear

I didn't think this was old fashioned, but...

I don't wear a watch. I was out in the yard one day by myself
and I wanted to know what time it was. I had the portable
phone (not a cell phone) with me so I called time. Just as
that call ended, our daughter called us. I answered the phone
and she asked what I was doing. I said "calling time."
She asked me, "Do people still do that anymore?"
I was telling a young woman about this story and she asked me,
"What is, calling time?" And I had to explain it.
Gosh, did I feel old after that.

Incidentally, For the time of your life, call 423-265-1411 (EST).

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 9:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

busy as a one-armed paper-hanger

My grandmother threatened unruly grandchildren with "peach tree tea", a switch cut from a peach tree.

Leonard Pitts wrote a column about words brought to the new world by immigrants & enslaved people;
he said that his mother would tell the mother of a fretful baby to "give that child some ninny!" meaning to nurse the baby.

Pitts traveled to Africa (I forget exactly where, but he had a good idea where his family came from...), & he was dumbfounded & thrilled to hear the same word used in the same context.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I remembered another one that my crazy aunt used to say.

It's a wee yander... meaning it's not too far away.

Can't believe I don't remember more as our folk talked funny. LOL

I had an uncle that knowingly would say funny stuff.

Pedestrian - pet a strain

Pentagon - pen tay gen

    Bookmark   December 4, 2012 at 10:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of my friends who had a garden would "Look" her peas before cooking. Meaning she would look to see if there were any bad peas or foreign objects, dirt or whatever to discard.

All and everything..my daddy use to say that after some of his stories.

So and so forth...as above, he would say that after a story or a meaninful sentence.

Awww Shaw!! A explitive of flustration!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, yes...calling to get the time of day! My first thought was sports, calling time(out) by making a "T" with your hands. (Too much football at my house.)

Cynic -- The Velteeta label may say that, but I've watched them make the stuff. It doesn't look like *any* kind of real cheese I've ever seen!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In California, when you wanted to call to get the correct time you could dial POP-CORN.
When I saw the title of this post, the first thing that came to my mind was the politically correct terms for some things. I worked at a state university in CA and they had mandatory training classes for all employees to learn correct terms.
We were taught that "Asian" is correct and "Oriental" should not be used.
We were never to say "handicapped", the correct term was "person with a disability".
"African American" was correct, "black, negro, colored" were incorrect. Etc., etc., etc.
I moved to Iowa 7 years ago and it seems everyone refers to "handicapped parking". People over 70 usually say Oriental instead of Asian.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:21PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Acorn TV
I have signed up for Acorn TV -- it streams English...
Site of the Day Mar 31
Science Daily - news, videos and articles in science,...
My Mother
We just had last rites performed for my mother. Hospice...
ravencajun Zone 8b TX
Best Bra you ever had.
I have tried every bra brand there is, and cannot find...
Sponsored Products
Old World Bone and Wood Desk Essentials - Set of 3
| Dot & Bo
Chrome and Black Golden Gate Nova Floor Lamp
Lamps Plus
American Drew Camden Round Pedestal Dining Table - White - ADL4553
Cathryn Oiled Bronze Three-Light Bath Fixture
$55.00 | Bellacor
Sunpan Hoxton Dining Chair - 44208
$904.98 | Hayneedle
Stickbulb | 6 Foot Torch Floor Lamp
$850.00 | YLighting
28.5-Inch Geneve 6-Light Chandelier
$406.80 | Bellacor
Bougainvillea Bouquet
$525.00 | Horchow
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™