View Full Version : "Aw, Nerts!" Antiquated Phrases You've Heard or Used

04-29-2002, 10:07 AM
I was walkin' down the street yesterday and I heard a fellow talking about his car to another fellow: "I don't care if it breaks down while I'M driving it, but my wife don't know shit from Shinola!"

I gave a little squeak of delight, as I so rarely hear that phrase (though I have had much occasion to use it myself this past month). I sprinkle my conversation with 1920s-era expletives such as "nerts," "ba-nanner oil" and "ain't THAT a load o' clams!" James Lileks recently discussed the phrase "get a horse!" (yelled to people in broken-down cars, c1910), which still pops up from time to time—I yelled it at a friend in the subway, after I'd breezed through the turnstile with my token and he was still re-swiping his Metrocard.

How about you—have you heard, or do you use, phrases whose sell-by dates expired ages ago?

04-29-2002, 11:10 AM
I use "shit from Shinola" occasionally. I say "criminy!" a LOT; I call snobs cake-eaters; when stuff is good it's spiffy, swanky, keen, ritzy, or the bee's knees, and I express shock with "Well I'll be!" and "Land sakes!" I don't think I'm anywhere near your encyclopedia knowledge of antiquated phrases, though. I'll have to work on it.

04-29-2002, 11:12 AM
I meant encyclopediC, of course.

04-29-2002, 11:54 AM
My favorite phrase is:

"And Bob's your Uncle!"

I don't know if it's antiquated or just British (same thing actually).

04-29-2002, 11:54 AM
Oh, your "criminy!" reminded me, I do use "Jiminy Crickets!" a lot, too.

04-29-2002, 12:01 PM
I'll see your Jiminy Cricket and raise you a "yumpin yiminy!"

04-29-2002, 12:02 PM
My grandmother always use to say

"Good Night, Nurse"

whatever the hell that's suppose to mean.


"Well, I swan" I think this is just a regionalism and was never in the mainstream vernacular.

"Stove Up" as in, "I cleaned out the garage yesterday and now I am all stove up."

"Fall out" as in..."she is in the hospital cause yesterday, when it was so hot, she just fell out."

Bathe - rather than wash off or take a bath, one "bathes".

04-29-2002, 12:11 PM
My mother taught me "Cheese and Rice" and "'phooey" - and I use both everyday. People seem to love phooey a lot - I get a lot of comments about that one.

04-29-2002, 12:30 PM
My wife's parents lived a substantial distance from their own parents during her birth, childhood, and youth. One of the first homes they rented was an apartment in the house of the widow who was my great-aunt, who served as an "honorary granny" to her for most of her early life.

A lot of old rural upstate New York terminology got handed down through the two families -- and every so often, fishing for the proper term, we'll hit on one of it, and end up laughing over it.

Some classics:
> "Icebox" (Never mind that it's a frost-free electric refrigerator and that neither of us have ever seen an actual icebox-style food-cooler outside a museum; that's what our grandparents called it.)

> "Wheel" (Apparently exclusive to my paternal grandparents and aunt, this was the term for a bicycle.)

> "Sitting room" (Distinguished from a parlor, this was an auxiliary casual room with couch and armchair, usually smaller in size, where people could go when desiring private conversation while the living room was otherwise occupied.)

> "Down home" (Not the southern usage for "folksy", it merely meant the residence of any grandparent.)

> "Opera glasses" and "binoculars" (two similar but distinct optical instruments) as exact synonyms.

There are easily a hundred others, but those come to mind.

Also, a verbal faux pas committed by my aunt that became a catch phrase -- Referring to the decline in daylight hours and consequently earlier sunsets as fall advanced, she remarked, "It gets late so early these days!"

Lamar Mundane
04-29-2002, 12:35 PM
The midwestern version of "shinola" is "apple butter", as in "He doesn't know shit from apple butter". Apple butter???

I think the upper midwest is the retirement home for antiquated phrases. They're dozens still in common use up there. I think it's the Lutherans. Let me think of some more...

Max Torque
04-29-2002, 12:38 PM
Hm. Can I get any points for "Egads", "Gadzooks", "Ye cats", and "Odd's bodkins", all of which I say regularly? How about "By Gadfrey", as in, "Are you threatening me, sir? For if you are, by Gadfrey, I'll...."

04-29-2002, 12:44 PM
I'm a big time user of "gosh." As in, "Gosh, I don't think I can handle much more today." It's not a profanity substitute; witness today's "Gosh, I hate this goddamned town." There are times when I can hardly start a sentence without it.

Lamar Mundane
04-29-2002, 12:48 PM
Some more I remember from college in Wisconsin -

"By gosh" Verbal exclamation point, as in "He slipped and fell in the hog trough, by gosh!"

"Galoshes" Almost any shoe you wear in bad weather.

"Market" Grocery store, but also a catch-all for almost any type of store, e.g. hardware, liquor, etc.

Clever Hans
04-29-2002, 12:50 PM
Well I use great googely moogely, but lets face facts, I got that one from a commercial for snickers. I still use "hoot" but mayhaps that came back into the mainstream thanks to the efforts of a certain cartoon cow, who will remain nameless.

I see alot of words that I use, and could not help but put a sweedish accent to yumpin yiminy.

04-29-2002, 01:11 PM
"NOW you're cooking with gas!" (Meaning, now you're seeing some success from your efforts, or now you're speeding up your process.)

I don't know if this is strictly North Dakota Norwegian Lutheran (from my mother) or was ever more universally used: "That looks like tunket!" (Awful.) And, "Honey, why are you looking bedottly?" (Sad, downcast.) Oh, and "It looks as though it's going to clobber up and churn!" (Rain.)

And Bob's your uncle! (Yes, Encinitas, I say it all the time too...and I've got people in my office saying it now!)

04-29-2002, 01:34 PM
Right arm!

Jee whilikers, what a keen thread idea!

Jinkines, I'll have to stop giggling now, or my office mates will think I've gone right over the edge.


Bryan Ekers
04-29-2002, 02:57 PM
During an army training course in 1996, I told another student that he was a "rube" because he was all goggle-eyed at Tomb Raider. This became a standard course phrase directed at anyone (including me) who said something dumb or obvious.

04-29-2002, 03:07 PM
I have a fondness for "Heavens to Betsy!", which was a favorite of my late grandmother.

Ukulele Ike
04-29-2002, 03:09 PM
Aw, "rube" isn't all that dated. I like using "jay" to mean the same thing, which goes back to the 1880s at least and NOBODY knows what it means any more. (Although "jay-walker" is still in common use, derived from the the spectacle the poor bumpkin made rushing across the avenue flapping his arms and ducking between the horse-cars.)

I also enjoy calling someone "strictly a square from Delaware."

04-29-2002, 03:24 PM
You can tell some of us hung out with our grandparents a lot.

When I became a mom, I foreswore the swearing and started using grandma-speak. I now say "goodness gracious!" "criminy!" "jeezum crow," and when searching for something which has been in plain sight all the time, "well, if it had been a snake, it'd bit me."

04-29-2002, 03:28 PM
And I totally made somebody's day a couple of months ago by starting a Pit post, "Oh my stars and garters!" :D

04-29-2002, 03:37 PM
I enjoy those prospector-style swear replacements like "dadgum it!" and "consarn it!"

04-29-2002, 03:38 PM
Ike, I had never even THOUGHT of jay-walking orginating from there, but now it makes such perfect sense.

Oh, I also like, "why, bless your little cotton socks!"

04-29-2002, 03:46 PM
"Why, I hope I may never." Translation: "I've never heard of such a thing."

"Oh, go on!" Translation: "I don't believe you."

"Godfrey Daniels!" Translation: "God damn it!"


(your name here)
04-29-2002, 04:12 PM
i guess it's not old, but i say "quite" alot.

i also enjoy saying "poo". not old either, but hardly anyone says it.


04-29-2002, 04:18 PM
One phrase I use frequently is "Sheesh, Louise!"

I am also fond of "Lordy Lou!" which I haven't heard a whole lot of other people use.

I like British exclamations. Although they're not antiquated (at least in Britain), they're not used here in the States much, but sometimes saying "Blimey" or "Crikey" just fits the situation.

Other phrases that I use for comedic effect are "Hubba hubba" "Good night, nurse" and "Nuts and Phooey!"

04-29-2002, 04:51 PM
geez louise
jimminy christmas
deadernadoornail (all one word)
shines like a diamond in a goats ass....(my personal fave)
like buttuh

Clever Hans: I live in Sweden these days....and your yumpin yiminy made my day...*S*

Michael Ellis
04-29-2002, 05:47 PM
"Oh rubbage." (A wonderful variant of 'rubbish' which I picked up from Mark Twain)


Clever Hans
04-29-2002, 06:30 PM
donnat as much as I would like to take the credig Gundy said it first.

Besides, the joy you brought with the goat's ass anecdote more than repays in my book.

04-29-2002, 06:35 PM
"Love a duck!" is one of my favorites, from an old movie version of Pygmalion. Occasionally I'll say the full line "Love a duck! Me beads!"

Bad News Baboon
04-29-2002, 07:08 PM
it's the bee's knees!
it's the cat's meow!
it's just swell!

04-29-2002, 07:15 PM
Many older ladies in Baltimore are fond of saying, Go to war, Miss Molly! to express shock or disbelief. I thought they were saying Goada ward, Miss Molly for the longest time, but once my dear grandma explained it, I started saying it a lot. Still do.

I also like saying Bee's knees![b] and [b]Criminy! as exclaimations.

04-29-2002, 08:08 PM
It's not too old, but the other night, upon witnessing the FIFTH kitten pop out of Miss Cleo, I exclaimed, "SHAZAM!"
My daughter gave me quite a curious look .

But SHE often says, "Geez Louise".

04-29-2002, 08:22 PM
I say "Shazam" as well, but with the Gomer Pyle inflection, so I doubt that counts.

I'm fond of the overly long nigh-expletives. "Great Caesar's Ghost!" and "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in Tinseltown!", but sometimes something ridiculously sacreligious will just pop out involving a method of transportation, such as "Saint Peter on a skateboard!" or "Christ in a sidecar!"

I think I'm just making some of these up, but they certainly sound somewhat authentic...

04-29-2002, 08:33 PM
I say "hunky dory" quite a bit.

If it's not antiquated, it should be.

04-29-2002, 09:56 PM
Now you guys are on the trolley!

Personally, I really like the following phrase, used in context:

I like that song, but it totally sticks in my craw.


04-29-2002, 10:31 PM
Does "hell fire and save matches" count, or is that my mother's own invention?

04-29-2002, 11:16 PM
I like to use the word 'persnickety' to describe folks who are a bit high maintenance.

I'd like to find more opportunities to follow my Grandmother's lead and use the word 'splendid' to describe daily events. Its a nice word.

04-30-2002, 12:18 AM
Ike said Although "jay-walker" is still in common use, derived from the the spectacle the poor bumpkin made rushing across the avenue flapping his arms and ducking between the horse-cars.)

Now I know why they won't let you replace Jill in GQ:D


04-30-2002, 12:27 AM
i've always said that things are "nifty" or "spiffy".

i spent my afterschool moments (and summertime too) at my grandmother's house, so i've picked up a lot of stuff from her. it's "tin foil" even though it's been made of aluminum for god knows how long. if you're looking for something and it's right in front of you, she'll say, "it's knockin' your eyes out!"

i often say "dadgum it" or "consarn it". i love "jeezum crow" and "jumpin jehosophat" and "great caesar's ghost" (remember that episode of the old superman tv show where the editor said 'great caesar's ghost' for the [insert however many times] and the ghost of caesar really appeared?! :eek: ).

i make a point of using old slang. and actually, i've gotten a lot of people around me to use it too. :D

04-30-2002, 12:52 AM
I still use nifty and groovy (not quite 1920s I realize Eve). I grew up with "Ye gods and little fishes!"

04-30-2002, 01:27 AM
My sweet little old Gramma, when she was really mad, said "That sucks canal water" which I always assumed was fairly 1920's (and also assumed was very unladylike language, ;) )

Doug Bowe
04-30-2002, 01:39 AM
Once in a blue moon it would rain and the sun would be shining.
Grandaddy Grimes would look out the porch and say "The Devil's beating his wife."

Green Bean
04-30-2002, 02:26 AM
If I see someone driving badly, I like to shake my fist and yell "Twenty-Three Skiddoo!!" at them.

I don't know what it means, or even if I am using it correctly, but it sure is satisfying.

04-30-2002, 02:53 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Polycarp
Some classics:

> "Wheel" (Apparently exclusive to my paternal grandparents and aunt, this was the term for a bicycle.)

There is a series of novels "the Whiteoakes of Jalna" by Mazo de la Roche. It follows an Ontario family from 1850 to 1950 and she began writing it in the Twenties. I remember particulary a line regarding Finch Whiteoak picking up his "wheel" from the back of the train station.

Personally, I love drat and rats, and I may be the last person standing who uses "perchance" in everyday conversation!

04-30-2002, 09:38 AM
"If I see someone driving badly, I like to shake my fist and yell 'Twenty-Three Skiddoo!!"'at them."

—It means "gettouttahere!" There's an urban myth that the phrase comes from the corner of Fifth and 23rd in NYC, where layabouts would wait by the Flatiron Building to see ladies' skirts blow up in the air (it's a windy corner). But I have seen the phrase used in books as far back as the 1880s, loooong before the Flatiron Building went up.

Oooh, I also just remembered—"that rolls off my knife," for something that disinterests me.

Ukulele Ike
04-30-2002, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by samclem
Now I know why they won't let you replace Jill in GQ:D

Huh? According to your little linkie, the term "jay" goes back to the 1880s, and "jay-walker" is derived from "jay." Both of which I stated in my post.

If you're referring to the patent balderdash of the statement that the word "jay-walker" didn't appear in print until 1917 and the arrival of the horseless carriage, I have some 1905 Winsor McKay comic strips to share with you.

So go peddle yer papers! {insert smiley here}

04-30-2002, 10:09 AM
From those chalk-like Valentine Heart candies, and Daffy Duck cartoons from the 1930's...

"Oh You Kid"

I have no idea why or what it means... yet it's funny to me.

04-30-2002, 10:11 AM
I think the whole phrase is "I love my wife—but oh, you kid!" as said by a big butter & egg man from San Berdoo to the chorine in the Scandals.

04-30-2002, 10:15 AM
When the situation is fine, "everything's Jake!" I also use, "goin' to hell in a handbasket" (which is in someone's sig line). When someone's all spiffed up, they're "dressed to the nines". I've got a lot of these...they'll come to me.:cool:

04-30-2002, 10:20 AM
My dad had a friend who, instead of saying "a big butter and egg man" said, "a big buttock and leg man". That always cracked me up!

Gregor Samsa
04-30-2002, 10:35 AM
I've started muttering "Oh, the humanity" lately when I get frustrated.

I'm not sure if this was a widely-used expression at one time, or just something that popped out of Herbert Morrison's mouth as he watched the Hindenburg go down, but I find it oddly satisfying.

04-30-2002, 11:08 AM
A friend of mine and I refer to movies as "the flickers." We don't know why.

From an old friend ("old" being 74), I've picked up his habit of prefacing his staunch opinions with "mark you..."

"Egads!" is something I actually use fairly often. I'm a bit of an odd duck, so I also use "Zounds!" and the Scooby-Shaggy "Zoiks!"

And I used to hear "Lands!" a fair bit (I think it was from "Land's sake!"). But I can't remember who would say it (probably my aunt.)

I was once dating a guy, and I have no idea why, but guaranteed, whenever I was around him I would at some point end up saying: "No guff!" (As in "No shit!") It's not a particularly antiquated phrase, but it's something not heard since I was 11 yrs. old. He seemed to think I was really weird for saying it.

04-30-2002, 12:03 PM
I use "And now for the $64 dollar question ..." occasionally - more often when I was teaching.

Would "bummer" be considered antiquated? Or just uncool?

04-30-2002, 01:34 PM
There is a series of novels "the Whiteoakes of Jalna" by Mazo de la Roche. It follows an Ontario family from 1850 to 1950 and she began writing it in the Twenties. I remember particulary a line regarding Finch Whiteoak picking up his "wheel" from the back of the train station.

No kidding, zoogirl!?! My father's father's mother, who lived from 1841 to 1937, was born and raised on a farm outside Kingston, Ontario, and may very well have been where this little bit of family terminology came from.

04-30-2002, 02:49 PM
OK, so I see that Rubes and Ruben are being tossed around a bit here, no need to get personal.

I like to say, "I pity the fool..." but don't use it nearly enough.

Judith Prietht
04-30-2002, 03:29 PM
I used "poppycock" last night, as in, "Oh, poppycock!"
There's also "dear" for expensive, which my sister and I used to throw around quite a bit (mocking our English relatives).
My mom occasionally says "Heavens to Mergatroid!", which makes me laugh. She also says "Fuck a priest!" which makes me laugh even harder.

teela brown
04-30-2002, 04:20 PM
My late father, a Texas native, used the phrase "Slicker 'n' calf snot," which I still use in his memory. Also, "Colder 'n' a well-digger's ass."

My mom, who's from the upper midwest, says "Stepped in what?" to express confusion over what you just said. She's the only person I ever knew who used this expression, until I met another older woman from the upper midwest who used it, too. Is it regional, do you think?

And then there's my Iowan girlfriend who says "yeppers," and says that everyone back home says it. I have never heard anyone but her and a guy from North Carolina use this word.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-30-2002, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by Eve
Oh, your "criminy!" reminded me, I do use "Jiminy Crickets!" a lot, too.
I notice that Gary Larson frequently used expressions like "Crimony" in the Far Side, but probably that was just to avoid offending any of the millions of readers of newspapers that carried his work.

There was recently a Foster Farms Chicken commercial in which this one chicken is trying to use a chest expander to work out, and hence appear more like a Foster Chickens chicken should; the exerciser snaps and catches his chest feathers, and he exclaims, "Criminy!". I thought the commercial was a hoot and have caught myself using "Criminy" in a joking way.

Spectre of Pithecanthropus
04-30-2002, 05:05 PM
One of my favorite novels is The Caine Mutiny, set during WWII, and I notice that the characters use several expressions which I remember my parents using when I was a small kid in the 1960's, but they mostly don't use anymore:

"Ye Gods!"
"Don't rush off." (when somone says they have to go)
"We don't want any!" (jokingly, when someone knocks on the door
"Well, hooray for (insert name here)" to express sarcastic contempt for (insert name here).
"Let's blow this joint" (jokingly said by my dad, when we were preparing to leave my grandmother's house

04-30-2002, 05:09 PM
I frequently use, "Scared the bejeezus outta me!" No clue what that means. What's a bejeezus?

My mom used to say, "for the love of Pete".

My sister-in-law says, "I didn't know whether to shit or go blind!" She also has a nickname for the neighborhood floozie: The Town Pump. That just slays me!

Max Torque
04-30-2002, 05:17 PM
Thought I'd pop back in here and note that in this week's issue of The Onion (http://www.theonion.com), the "What Do You Think?" feature quotes a "man in the street" concerning the Robert Blake murder case:
Bonny Lee Bakley was hardly a saint. She was a con-woman, a grifter. A flim-flammer and a bunko artist. This doll had more angles than an octagon.

Clever Hans
04-30-2002, 05:31 PM

Would "bummer" be considered antiquated? Or just uncool?

Why would bummer be uncool, I use bummer, dig, jive, and hip... and I'm a happening dude. Right? .....right?

Anyhoo I've been thinking about trying to bring back "Coolidge in '25" anyone with me?

04-30-2002, 06:30 PM
Originally posted by EchoKitty
My mom used to say, "for the love of Pete".

Oh, hey! I just remembered "Oh, for the love of Mike!" was something my dad used to say whenever he was exasperated. I'd forgotten all about that until EchoKitty reminded me.

04-30-2002, 07:12 PM
At the risk of bragging (or, conversely, showing what a nerd I am) my friends say I have the most unique vocabulary of expletives they've ever heard. A few examples:

"Mother of Trotsky!" a general exclamation.

"Shut your biscuit-trap!" A gentle request for silence.

"Judas Priest!" another general exclamation, although I used to vary it with "Judas Ignacious!" or "Jude the Obscure!"

One that used to irk my ever-grammatically-correct mother was "Perish forbid!" She would remind me that I should say either "Heaven forbid!" or "Perish the thought." Years later, I could have explained to her that the original is just funnier, especially in the ironic sense: [when talking to someone in a hideous outfit] "You -- look ridiculous in that? Perish forbid!"

My grandmother always said swearing was the sign of a limited vocabulary. I grew to believe her. Nowadays, I think it funnier and more potent when someone, especially in a movie, uses a non-swear word (e.g. in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, when his sister knocks the collection can out of the guy's hand, he calls her a "heartless wench!" :D )

Boyo Jim
04-30-2002, 10:43 PM
Sometimes I ask for the "lowdown", sometimes the "skinny".
My Dad's eternal chant, "You'll put your eye out with that!"
I use "verklempt" from SNL. Is it a real word? Also I use, "no big whoop".
Sakes Alive!
Glory be!

Batsinma Belfry
05-01-2002, 12:53 AM
What in the "Sam Hill" are ya'll talking about?
My Dad always said "dagnabbit" and "I'm wore to a frazzle". Or "flatter than a flitter".

Originally posted by InternetLegend
Does "hell fire and save matches" count, or is that my mother's own invention?

My mom's version of this was "sh*t fire and save matches".

"I feel like I've been rode hard and put up wet."

05-01-2002, 11:29 AM
CaptMurdock, your "Mother of Trotsky!" reminded me, I am fond of exclaiming, when surprised, "Holy Mother of Mary Pickford!"

05-01-2002, 02:02 PM
Originally posted by Eve
CaptMurdock, your "Mother of Trotsky!" reminded me, I am fond of exclaiming, when surprised, "Holy Mother of Mary Pickford!"

Eve, you reminded me of one I used recently, inspired by Jack McFarland on Will and Grace:

"Jennifer Love Hewitt on a Popsicle stick!"

More frustration than surprise, though.

05-02-2002, 01:54 AM
nifty, spiffy, swell, boss, neato-keen, groovy = all parts of my daily vocabulary.

I also say "no duh" "no doy" and "Guy" (guy sort of excamatiion/god replacement way, not as in a guy)

05-02-2002, 02:41 AM
I use spiffy, or just "lookin' spiff" but don't know where I got that from. "Rode hard and put away wet" is another I use a lot. Jeez Louise is for polite company.
Family language that's crept into my vocab.: My grandmother called raisins "bitchy bugs" (or bitchybugs, if you prefer). My sister and I still use that one. My father called a nose a "snotlocker" (or snot locker) and prefaced every trip with the phrase ". . . and we're off like a herd of turtles."

Deadly Nightlight
05-02-2002, 03:24 AM
Great Googly moogly
Jumpin Jehosophat
dressed to the nines
For the Love of Snickers!

05-02-2002, 04:09 AM
Surely these phrases aren't so much as antiquated, in the sense of being obsolete...just hip in a different time or place?


A couple of quotes cited here aren't actually the original. Is the emotion is more important than the word specifics?


I'm fond of "That's just ducky" and say it from time to time. I like several of the connotations. It's hard to fault ducks.

05-02-2002, 09:20 AM
aw, partly_warmer, ya beat me to it!
I've lived in PA, VA, ME, CA, LA, MS and WA (after 5 states, I get lazy), and I always get a raised eyebrow when someone asks me how I am and I say "just ducky". Not an affectation-just something I've always said. People bring me rubber ducks for my desk, thinking I'm really into ducks.(nothing against ducks, but my creature of choice is an armadillo) :p

Mr. Singular and I both got hooked on Damon Runyon and the phrase "more than somewhat" stuck with us more than somewhat.

05-02-2002, 11:01 AM
"Oh pshaw!" which you still see occasionally in period pieces.

"I have to see a man about a dog." a phrase with two different meanings -- either it's time to hit the water closet or it's time for a drink.

"You weren't born in a barn." a reminder to children to close the door after they enter the house.

"Don't forget the magic words." a reminder to children to use 'please' and 'thank you' when asking for something. A colleague at work had never heard of the "magic words" and guessed that 'f--- you' was correct.

"What do you want? An egg in your beer?" a Polish expression meaning 'so you want to have your cake and eat it too?' An raw egg served in a beer is a Polish luxury -- and it's tastier than it sounds.

If I think about this for a day, I'll probably find a dozen more that are farm-related. My mother peppered her conversation with them.

G.B.H. Hornswoggler
05-02-2002, 11:47 AM
I'm partial to "Let's blow this popsickle stand," myself.

Since I have two small boys, I also find myself saying "Darn" and "Shucks" a lot.

I had a friend who used to tell bankers to "Cancel that Exchequer," but that was just silly. (He was also the guy who'd occasionally say that we should "Jolson up and go incog-Negro," which I think he also invented.)

Is "If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs -- if we had some eggs" outdated or just regional? (My wife tends to sigh when I say that one.)

Mona Lisa Simpson
05-02-2002, 02:21 PM
"Now we're cooking with gas" is one of my grandpa's, but the thing that confused me until I was older was that although he used it occasionally about getting something working, he used it DAILY in the summer when they stayed at their summer cottage and he was lighting the fire in the cookstove. A woodburning cookstove.

Another one of his which I like, and use to amuse the seniors I work with "If that isn't the oyster's earmuffs", meaning its just perfect, or very cute, or something wonderful.

Grandpa grew up in rural farming area of Suthern Ontario, then became a sailor on the Great Lakes/ St Lawrence Seaway. So his speech was pretty rich with idioms. And little rhymes. And he never ever ever went to bed. He went "to bunk". Even when it was a twin bed with a chantilly lace spread in the rose and green bedroom he and my Grandma shared.

I miss my grandpa.

Jonathan Chance
05-02-2002, 03:38 PM
Eve, you're getting to me.

I just told one of my vendors that I didn't want 'to get him in Dutch with his boss'.

No foolin'.

And I know who to blame.

05-02-2002, 03:46 PM
What about "shits and giggles"? I just realised I use this all the time but I really haven't heard anyone else use it.

If I'm doing something for the hell of it, I'm doing it for shits and giggles.

05-02-2002, 03:48 PM
Hey—don't go blaming ME, or I'll have your guts for garters, you . . . you . . . impertinent jackanapes!

05-02-2002, 04:21 PM
I say "shuzbut" alot (from Mork and Mindy) I know its not that old

My Gram always says "Do you need (or I need) to see Miss Murphy" instead of saying gotta go to the bathroom.....she says its from some old movie but I don't know what one.

05-02-2002, 04:57 PM
Oh, I just thought of another one: "If wishes were horses...."

Used in contexts like "Jane is turning 16 soon and thinks her parents should get her a car for her birthday. Well, if wishes were horses..."

It comes from a Scottish proverb (circa 1630, IIRC) that starts off "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride." I've mostly heard it from those of British, Irish or Scottish ancestry -- rarely ever hear it in North America. A female rock 'n roller I know, whose mom used the expression all the time, gets a lot of flak from people who think she got the saying from a Melissa Etheridge song.

05-02-2002, 05:05 PM
Oh! And another (again, courtesy of the 74 yr. old with whom we regularly have dinner."

"All mouth and trousers." A put down for over-confident asses. My girlfriend has adopted that saying.

05-03-2002, 11:31 AM
1. Saying or doing something for the "umpteenth" time

2. I'd give my "eye teeth" ...

Shirley Ujest
05-03-2002, 02:38 PM
You've Got Moxie, Kid!

b]Ice Box[/b]

Rube Goldberg

And my favorite, " Don't go out without your rubbers on."

Shirley Ujest
05-03-2002, 02:45 PM
Shinola (http://http://www.pottymouth.org/humor/shinola.html)

Mona Lisa Simpson
05-03-2002, 02:52 PM
Here are a couple...I actually used the first two this week...

"Aint nobody here but us chickens"... which I know is a song...but I use when one of my residents want to talk confidentially.

"Everything is tickety-boo"... I am pretty sure its British, but I have no origins on that.

And "a real loose cannon".... describing new troublemaker at work....

05-03-2002, 03:06 PM
"Let's make like a banana and split"
"Why don't you make like a hockey stick and get the puck outta here?' "gibbering in eldritch horror" (nod to Lovecraft)
"Momen-ems" (As in, "My Mother and Her Friends")

05-03-2002, 03:11 PM
I use "Hark" a lot. And "Lo!"... and everything is spiffy.

I'm also insane.


Come by, I'll show you my certificate.


05-03-2002, 03:12 PM
oh... and "mark" too. (as in "I pray you, mark!")

05-04-2002, 11:59 AM
Some of my own personal favorites (please excuse any duplications, but do you know how hard it is to browse through dozens and dozens of antiquated colloqualisms? Can you even say that five times fast? For that matter, can I? But I digress):

"Criminentlies!" (A favorite of my father's, who also liked to exclaim "Christ in the foothills!" It is pronounced cry-min-ent-leez, for those who worry about such things.)

"That's the kind of hairpin I am."

"That suits me down to the ground." (Very Victorian -- in fact I think it lodged in my brain the first time Dr. Watson said it in a Conan Doyle story.)

"That's jake with me."

"Holy underwear!" (No, sorry -- that's a line from Blazing Saddles.)

"Ye Gods and holy catfish!" (I don't say this too often -- you can imagine the looks I get.)

"God willin' and the creek don't rise." (A very strange thing for a man who has spent his entire life on the East Coast to say.)

Miss Creant
05-06-2002, 10:40 PM
ok, I believe I still use just about all of those, but does anyone else ever say, "what a maroon!" courtesy of the Warner Bros. cartoons from the 40's and 50's?

05-07-2002, 12:20 AM
I am surprised to find that some of these are considered old fashioned.

As for myself I have been known to use Yes Madam from time to time (Yes Sir is still common but apparently Yes Madam or Yes Mam is considered quite archaic, at least from the various responses I have gotten from it.)

In the past I also had this awful habit of at random times in a conversation of uncontrollably dropping into Shakespearean English, to the horror of those around me. Thankful I got over that one (after two or three years. . . .)

I still use Thee and Thou, to the horror of any literary teacher that I may have at the time, as they technically cannot find fault with it but it still gives them the shivers. :D

04-11-2003, 03:46 AM
Years back I picked up "You can throw it into the river" from an old woman who was expressing distaste for something. I really have no idea what the original meaning is, or if she just came up with it on her own.

My mother used to say things like "Well I'll be";

"No reason to get your dander up";

"Bucko!" (to call someone down to size);

"For Christ's sake"' (maybe not so obscure but I haven't heard it "in ages");

"Going to hell in a handbasket";

"I'll give him/her the old 'what for'" (I don't know what the 'what for' is though, but it apparently wasn't something you'd want).

Miss Mapp
04-11-2003, 07:05 AM
I often enjoy the curse-words used by 19th-century gentlemen. "Damme!" (two syllables) is a personal favorite.

04-11-2003, 07:28 AM
"Well, I swan" I think this is just a regionalism and was never in the mainstream vernacular.

Not a regionalism, but it has a "country" flavor to it. I was surprised to find Grandma Duck saying it in an old Disney comic.

A friend of mine and I refer to movies as "the flickers." We don't know why.

I don't know why you use that phrase (although I still sometimes call movies "flicks"), but the term comes from the old silent days, when film speeds were much slower and you could actually see the intensity on the screen "flicker". Back around 1960, Jay Ward and Bill Scott (of Rocky and Bullwinkle) did a short-lived show called "Fractured Flickers", in which they cut together old silent films and added their own commentary.

04-11-2003, 07:39 AM
dr_mom_mcl has been known to say Heavens to Murgatroyd. The weirdest one was this guy who worked on my campaign in 2002, of undetermined origin (possibly German or continental French, but definitely not anglophone), whose favourite curse for some reason was " 'Sblood!"

04-11-2003, 08:34 AM
well, I think this thread is the tops!

04-11-2003, 08:52 AM
Originally posted by matt_mcl
dr_mom_mcl has been known to say Heavens to Murgatroyd. The weirdest one was this guy who worked on my campaign in 2002, of undetermined origin (possibly German or continental French, but definitely not anglophone), whose favourite curse for some reason was " 'Sblood!"

Believe that's a shortened form of "God's blood", or maybe "Jesus' blood". (Just like "Zounds!" means "God's Wounds!".)

04-11-2003, 10:20 AM
One of our family's catch phrases is "Well, I should hope to kiss a pig", which seems to shift meaning depending on intonation. Normally used to express (sarcastic) astonishment or disbelief.

When I was visiting my folks a couple of weeks ago, my mom came out with "They played in their usual come day, go day, God bless Sunday fashion" (referring to the AZ Wildcats basketball team, I think). I'd never heard that phrase before in my life.

Day to day, I use "well, that's just ducky!", "ye gods and little fishes", "bloody hell", and a few other phrases I'll no doubt think of as soon as I post this.

04-12-2003, 01:02 AM
You folks are a bunch of weirdos. I'll have no truck with you!

Little Nemo
04-12-2003, 01:29 AM
If you're referring to the patent balderdash of the statement that the word "jay-walker" didn't appear in print until 1917 and the arrival of the horseless carriage, I have some 1905 Winsor McKay comic strips to share with you.

Hey, let's not get personal here.

But to contribute, I recall my grandmother (born 1900) using the phrase "man on the moon" to describe the epitome of ignorance, as in: "He no more knows how to run a business than the man on the moon."

And I was surprised when I heard my brother-in-law, a native Texan, call someone a peckerhead. I had never heard anyone say this with a straight face before. But I guess that's more of a redneck-ism than an antiquity.

04-12-2003, 03:03 AM
I think I must have missed a few pages of the thread somewhere. Here's a few of my favorites that I use all of the time.

And, yes, I do get strange looks ...

Golly Gee Whillikers

As in, "wow!"


As in frazzled.

Me bucko

Informal term of address.


Derisive term from a WC Fields movie.

[Well baloney, Mahoney, Malarkey, you big Kabloona!]

Dang nab it!

Mild oath

Va va voom

Verbal substitute for a wolf whistle.


Replaced by, "cool!"


From MAD Magazine. Old Yiddish idiom. Mild oath.

Left handed catawumpus

Vague descriptor.


Another MAD magazine inarticulate noun.

See you in the funny papers

Informal goodbye.


Bringlish for "garbage!"


Slang for "garbage!"


Slang for "garbage!"

Horse Hockey!

Slang for "garbage!"

Bull Hockey!

Slang for "garbage!"


Slang for "garbage!"

Bull's pizzle!

Derisive Shakespearean comment.

A mare's nest

Legendary yet elusive item.

Hen's Teeth

Legendary yet elusive item.

Here's your hat, what's your hurry?

Derisive goodbye.

Heaven the thought

(Used in conjunction with "Perish Forbid!")




Canuck for the shower stall.

What a duck!

Derisive term for a lamewad.

Hot Dang Dilly!

Emphatic exclamation.

Shuckey Darn!

Emphatic exclamation.

What a wahoo!

A yokel.


See wahoo.

Smart as a whip


Silly goose!

Mild insult.



Christmas List

Roster of enemies.

Holy Moses!

Mild oath.


Inarticulate noun


Inarticulate noun


Inarticulate noun


Inarticulate noun


Inarticulate noun


Inarticulate noun

Humma ding ding

Inarticulate noun

Homina homina

Inarticulate stammer (Ralph Kramden)

The dog's bark


Pull up a chair and sit on the floor.

Informal welcome.

Sit down and make yourself homely.

Informal welcome.

Ver gingle dingin'!

My own inarticulate expletive.

I'll think of some more later.

04-12-2003, 03:11 AM

To inveigle

04-12-2003, 03:25 AM

Mild oath

Mouse nuts

Anything truly minor.

Clear as mud

Something non-obvious.

04-12-2003, 08:20 AM

mild oath

04-12-2003, 11:55 AM

Sodden or drunk

Shoes are too tight

Describing an irritable person

Hoo hah

Outcry or shrugging off of something



To beat the band


Headed south for the winter

Out of commission or departed

On the Fritz


On the blink


Crusin' for a brusin'

Asking for trouble

Bling blanged!

Mild oath


Bringlish for 'garbage!'

04-12-2003, 12:38 PM
..and the horse you rode in on.

peckerhead is the only word I have every heard used both by white people to criticize other white people and by black people to criticize white people. And I mean in a nasty way. I've never head a white person call another person a cracker in a nasty way. And I've never heard a white person call another white person ofay.

Has anyone noticed that the current vogue for Snoop-styel shizzle nizzle is, in addition to being a new element in the ageless tradition of nonsense, a lot like Tin Pan Alley nonsense and the later work of Ish Kabibble, such as "Mairzy Doats"?

04-13-2003, 09:27 AM
I'm fond of both ' You're the cat's pajamas' and 'You're the bees knees'.

I was recently exposed to " too cool for school " and I find that to be acceptable. :)


04-13-2003, 09:32 AM
My brother and I call each other "cracker" all the time.

I used to call my black students "cracker" just to make them laugh. "Now LaQuandra, stop being a cracker." Worked like a charm. Student can't stay angry with you while laughing.

Ooh, and I like "right as rain".