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Old 05-15-2019, 12:35 PM
Rusalka is offline
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When did the term "curio shop" fall into disuse, and why?


I remember when I was a kid in the 70's and 80's reading Nancy Drew books, the term "curio" was already archaic and not used to refer to shops, at least not in the U.S. The only reason I knew what it meant was from reading these books that I knew were written a generation or two earlier. Other terms in disuse included words like "jalopy". Anyone know why and when the term "curio" became outdated? I rather like it.

Last edited by Rusalka; 05-15-2019 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:52 PM
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"curio" actually seems to be on the upswing since the 80s. Although the results look a little different if you make it case-insensitive (changed dates for clarity)

Last edited by MrDibble; 05-15-2019 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:57 PM
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I have a curio shelf at home. It's built into a wall in the front room, lots of little shelves, mirror backed. I figure the previous owner had it put in during the 50s for displaying little porcelain figurines. It now has all sorts of little curios, new & old. A carved jade cabbage, matchbook from the 30s with my last name on it, a small pewter statue inherited from my grandfather, a Lego figure, some small bronzes.

Antique curio cabinets show up often enough, too.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:28 PM
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They all became antique stores and started charging more?
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:20 PM
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When did the term "curio shop" fall into disuse, and why?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusalka View Post
I remember when I was a kid in the 70's and 80's reading Nancy Drew books, the term "curio" was already archaic and not used to refer to shops, at least not in the U.S. The only reason I knew what it meant was from reading these books that I knew were written a generation or two earlier. Other terms in disuse included words like "jalopy". Anyone know why and when the term "curio" became outdated? I rather like it.


Isn’t that where she got that elephant necklace ...

SPOILER:
that had healing elixir hidden in the tusk?

Last edited by Blue Blistering Barnacle; 05-15-2019 at 07:20 PM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by TSBG View Post
They all became antique stores and started charging more?
Kind of an IMHO answer, but take off the question mark, and you've nailed it.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:06 PM
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One thing to consider is that Nancy Drew dates from the 1930s. Questions about the curio shop sound similar to my confusion at the Hardy Boys always referring to cars as jalopys.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:10 PM
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I know the owners of nancy drew/hardy books about 5 or 10 years ago decided to "update " all the previous stories ...but i thought curio shops and antique stores were different ......as in curio shops could sell new items from far off places...
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:14 PM
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"Curio" is a modern word, dating only from about 1850 and originating in the US. It's an informal abbreviation of "curiosity", in the sense of a thing which is interesting because of novelty or strangeness (a sense which is documented back to the mid-seventeenth century).

The OED's earliest citation for "curio-shop" dates only from 1920, though there are earlier citations for "curio-hunter", "curio-dealer" and similar terms. "Curiosity shop", of course, is older - Dickens published The Old Curiosity Shop in 1840, and there are earlier citations.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
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The OED's earliest citation for "curio-shop" dates only from 1920
The Google results cited above have several pre-20s examples of "curio shop". One, Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly from 1891, has a whole article on "Curio shops and curio stalls of Japan"
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:01 AM
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Jalopy is out of use? I still use it, as well as bomb and hooptie, depending on mood and situation.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:09 AM
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"Curio" implies something minor, of little importance or value. I can understand why shopowners would want to stop using the word for their merchandise.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:30 AM
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Jalopy is out of use? I still use it, as well as bomb and hooptie, depending on mood and situation.
Word!



I always picture a jalopy as Archie's car.
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:44 PM
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I dunno about "jalopy", but "roadster" has maintained popularity (Tesla has a "Roadster" model, I remember Miatas being marketed that way, as well as the Hardy Boys riding in one.). I just saw "roadster" used in a 1936 Nero Wolfe novel, along with references to Fanny Brice, Texas Guinan and a hot blonde who Archie referred to as a "pippin".

Last edited by Jackmannii; 05-17-2019 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:14 PM
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You don't want to confuse a "roadster" with a "cabriolet". In the classic car era, a roadster had a folding windshield and side curtains instead of glass side windows, and a cabriolet had a fixed windshield and glass side windows. Modern convertibles are more like cabriolets than roadsters.

Last edited by Rocketeer; 05-17-2019 at 11:14 PM.
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