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Thread: Old sayings and new

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Old sayings and new

    I called an interviewee this morning at 9:45am, the time on my schedule. When I couldn't reach her after repeated attempts, I then re-read my schedule and saw that someone transposed the Eastern time zone and Pacific time zone, so I was calling this poor woman in San Diego at 6:45 her time. My project manager advised me to tell our client that the respondent had simply rescheduled.

    So I said back, "Mum's the word." Then I got to thinking that this young project manager might have no clue what I was talking about.

    What sayings are old fashioned and shouldn't be said without giving away your age? Or what new sayings are out there now that maybe I shouldn't use because I'll be appropriating a young person's phrase?

    Are there rules to using common slang? What slang words or phrases do you use a lot? Do all you guys know what "mum's the word" means?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    "All the rage" and "gaslighting" are back in vogue; hurray! Also "kibosh."

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    I have a friend who uses the expression, "That and a quarter won't buy you a cup of coffee." That's obviously out these days. I suspect that, "Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater," is basically lost now, though I knew a fellow from a large and poor family who used it often. I actually used the word kibosh the other day, which drew some comments. Good to know that it is vogue.

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    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    I was talking to some friends yesterday and expressed my concern that study of the Bible has seriously diminished across the years especially with millennials. My reason for concern is that so many of the common sayings found in the English language came from proverbs or psalms would gradually disappear. If unfamiliar with the source, the interpretation of a reading would fail.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by razz View Post
    I was talking to some friends yesterday and expressed my concern that study of the Bible has seriously diminished across the years especially with millennials. My reason for concern is that so many of the common sayings found in the English language came from proverbs or psalms would gradually disappear. If unfamiliar with the source, the interpretation of a reading would fail.
    I feel the same way about Shakespeare (I know you probably do, too, razz--I know you go to Stratford for shows). There is SO MUCH rich language from Shakespeare that we've used in our speech, but I'm afraid it will fade away over time.


    ETA: haha! as a matter of fact, I just learned in this article that "mum's the word" came from Shakespeare's Henry VI, Part II!
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    People look at me funny when I exclaim, "23 skidoo!" (unless I'm watching a bunch of snowmobiles race by)

    Seriously, I can think of several old phrases. Saying that something "turns your crank" probably is dead because so few things these days need a crank. Some slang gets updated: I've heard that "quarter and a cup of coffee" phrase updates to "That and a buck will buy you a Hershey bar." Calling a grand something "the Cadillac of <whatever>" is passe; now people refer to Mercedes-Benzes or Lexuses.

    My grandfather used to say, "Now you're cooking with gas" to indicate an efficient operation of some kind.

    For sure there are dozens of advertising slogans which were adopted into common usage for a while but which now sound horribly dated, like "ancient Chinese secret" or "Wassssupppp!" I expect "...said no one ever" to follow into that abyss eventually.

    For better or worse, "That's what she said" will date someone as a watcher of The Office, just as none but the eccentric say "Cowabunga" any more (although I still hear "D'oh!" a lot because ... well, maybe because I say it. Safer than a lot of other terms that come to mind.)

    I think the general rule for slang usage is that when you hear 50-year-olds use it, it's time for the young people to find a new term. I'm not sure how I'll react the first time I hear someone in the old age home say they were really "turnt" to go to the Rolling Stones concert next week. In my experience, slang is regional and very transient. Some terms have incredible staying power (Shakespeare's, for example) and others will not ("Bazinga" will be over as soon as The Big Bang Theory is off the air). I wouldn't want to place bets on how long any current slang will stay around.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

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    If you find, as I do, that this sort of thing is interesting, there's a terrific public radio program called A Way with Words that explores where various words and phrases came from.

    https://www.waywordradio.org/

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    I just said hill of beans in another thread...

    Rolodex is dead.

    I still say "tape" when I want to capture something in the DVR. My kids laugh at that...

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    Before DH retired, he worked with a lot of millennial age kids. They had no clue what he was talking about when he used old Texas expressions that have been around forever so he learned to not use them in their company.

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    I am going to put a kibosh on posting in this thread for now. Send it to file 13, as it is full of malarkey. Makes me feel like explaining what a Kojak with a Kodak is to someone knee high to a grasshopper.

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