"Dial" as a verb: Words that survive despite obsolete origins

I can’t recall the last time I saw a rotary dial on a telephone, but everybody still understands, “Dial now! Operators are standing by!”

Got any others?

I still “tape” something I want to watch later and then “rewind” the DVD to see something again

“Hanging up” a phone.

Bubblejet, laser or photographic “printing,” which doesn’t involve a (verb-from) press.


“Hold on–somebody’s on my other line,” is kinda funny considering I have only had a cell phone for years. (It’s also funny that i still occasionally pick up my cell phone and hold it to my ear, listening for the freakin’ dial tone.)

I know a ten year old who had never heard a busy signal til a couple of months ago. He thought something was wrong with the phone. Will the “busy signal” hold on indefinitely? :smiley:

My parents still call the remote control “the clicker” even though I’ve never seen a remote control that makes any kind of clicking sound.

That’s not really obsolete. It’s engine power based on how many (standardised) horses would be necessary to match it. It’s just as relevant, and makes just as much sense now, as when the term was created.

“Log” as in “log on” is actually a doubly obsolete usage by now: we don’t sign a paper journal to access a computer, and we don’t tow a treetrunk behind it to measure and write down how far it’s travelled.

And “film”. Film hasn’t been a thin coating of anything for a while now.

We still “type” on the computer, even though we are not causing pieces of metal with raised letters (i.e., type) to strike paper.

Similar to what Larry Mudd said about “hanging up a phone”, how about a phone is “off the hook”?

Unless you’re a photographer, in which case it’s still a gelatinous film of photo-sensitive emulsion on a plastic base. :cool:

Then there is “eFilm”, which is in fact flash memory, but that’s pure marketing. :rolleyes:

Speaking of photography, even in digital cameras which do not have mechanical shutters, I still occasionally hear someone talk about snapping a photo.

And in the field of firearms, people talk about clips of ammunition, even though most modern firearms use removable box magazines, and not ammo clips, where the bullets were all attached to each other until the gun was loaded (or, in some cases, until it was actually fired).

This one is specific to the military, whenever an enlisted person receives a promotion, they get their ranks “pinned on” by their friends, coworkers, and generally anyone within line of sight, even though the ranks are almost always sewn on before they come to work. Basically, this entails everyone lining up to punch the new rank as hard as they can, presumably to make sure the “pin” holding it on is in good and deep.

Of course, that’s in the Air Force where we still wear our stripes on the sleeves. Do soldiers in the Army now punch each other in the sternum to celebrate promotions?

[QUOTE=Scissorjack…and we don’t tow a treetrunk behind it to measure and write down how far it’s travelled.[/QUOTE]

Goddammit! now you tell me.

Ageing myself but I well remember a couple of TVs with a remote that involved several small cylinders within that were thumped by a bar released much like the trigger of a single-action pistol. The varied cylinder lengths produced varied frequencies and it was that noise, a “clicking” sound, that performed the function. While noisy, it required no batteries whatsoever, just ‘thumbpower.’

While we still “iron” our clothes, the only ones I see anymore actually made from iron are in antique shops and holding open parlor doors. I’m guessing they’re now stainless steel or some other alloy.

Although we “cc” people in e-mails and with printed letters, carbon paper is not used for the process any more.

Do the police still record arrests in a “book”?

Of course, who wants to hear “Add 'em to the offender database, Danno”?

You “drive” a car even though it is not drawn by horses or oxen.

You “sail” a diesel- or gasoline-powered ship or boat.

You “fire” a gun even though the process does not involve putting a burning fuse to the powder-pan or touchhole. (That one is debatable, as the trigger causing the hammer to strike the cartridge does produce a form of “fire”.)

We still measure time in “quarters” and “halfs,” though it’s no longer measured on a clockface circle.

Computers and software still get “bugs,” and we still “de-bug” them, even though there are no longer real moths getting caught and fried in switches.

Most people don’t “roll down” their car windows anymore.

Slight hijack: In movies or on TV there will be a scene in a club or bar. Someone says something inappropriate and the music suddenly stops to the sound of a needle scratching across an album. Why do they keep using this sound and how much longer will it be relevant before kids start asking, “What the hell is that?”

You don’t have to have a clock face to divide hours into fractions.

I don’t “dial” the phone. I punch.

Punch someone in Pomona.