Did your grandparents (parents?) have weird names for things?

With 90+ year old relatives on both sides, lots of these are familiar (dinner, supper, dungarees, clicker, TV set, billfold, pocketbook). My maternal grandmother called earrings “earbobs”.

My late husband always said icebox, but if he was still alive he would only be 44. I always thought of it more as a southern term than an older person thing (he’s from the south, I’m a northern girl).

We have iceboxes, billfolds and clickers in my family too, but it was a long time growing up before I realized “chester drawers” were a chest of drawers.

Stop. You’re kiilling me. I’m the age of your parents and grew up using these terms. :slight_smile:

My understanding is that dinner refers to the larger or more formal dining experience of the day, regardless of what time it is eaten. Lunch is a quick or informal mid-day meal, and supper is a less formal evening meal. When one takes a date out to dinner, it’s typically in the evening. However, Sunday dinner (or Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner for that matter), is often served around noon or early afternoon. You might eat a light lunch because you plan to have a nice dinner after work that evening.

That said, in rural areas, particularly in the farm belt, the big meal of the day was served around noon. The farmhands would work all morning out in the fields and then come in for a good meal (dinner) around mid-day. After getting fed and refortified, they would go back out and work until dark, when they would come back in for a light supper and then go to bed.

Now, I don’t know if I’ve ever had that formally explained to me, or if I just made it up out of whole cloth from personal observations, but that is what seems to make the most sense to me. YMMV.

Grandparents called the porch the piazza.

In our family lunch was called dinner and dinner was called supper.

My mother, who did not drink, would say she felt “groggy,” which was kind of head-achy, I think. Sometimes she’d refer to a headache as a “grog.”

My father’s parents were like that. They had all these weird words I didn’t recognize.

Turns out they were speaking French.

My dad says chester drawers, too. And his mother said “divan” for sofa. She was from Minnesota…not sure if that’s a thing there.

Homework was “lessons”, and you don’t brush your teeth, you scrub them. Mom was from Utah, so it might be a Utah thing.

In my house growing up (and in my grandparent’s), the sofa was the divan also, and whenever the parents brought us a present, it was called a sursy.

Service Porch - between the kitchen and back door.

AKA…laundry room.

My grandmother also called it the Frigidaire. Glad to hear she wasn’t the only one.

Was your mother scottish?

That was going to be my response - they had Low German names for everything. Hey, if you want a word for when you choke on your own spit, that’s “ferschlooking” yourself. :smiley:

We used to call mechanical pencils “eversharps.” I wish I still could; it’s so much shorter.

We also used to call parking garages “parkades”, but everyone here does that. :slight_smile:

A few older relatives used the phrase, “I swan!” or, “I swanna!” It meant something along the lines of “how about that!”

My Polish great-grandmother called a colander the “macaroni stay, water go away.”

My grandma would call the microwave the zap oven or the zapper.

“Fire reels” was what my Grandmother called fire trucks.

“Carfare” is a term I’ll sometimes use myself, even though I haven’t lived in a city with streetcars for some years now. But I did grow up in Toronto, which has streetcars (and has had them for years, and on more routes than it has now); and “carfare” was the catchall term used in our family for “enough money to ride the bus, streetcar, or subway, as appropriate.” It came from my parents and grandparents, I guess. It does cause a few weird looks when I use it locally–I have to consciously remember to say “bus fare.”

How about “safety” for condom?

A few my parents used that haven’t been mentioned:

  • Carfare = bus fare
  • Tape = DVD
  • Bureau = dresser
  • Casino = nightclub
  • Boyfriend = male friend (e.g. “Are you going out with your boyfriends tonight?” “MOM, I’M NOT GAY!”)
  • Ditto = photocopy
  • Ethel = premium gasoline
  • Agency = car dealer
  • Hamburg = hamburger
  • Section = neighborhood or ethnically homogenous part of town (e.g. “the Parkside section”, “the Italian section”, “the colored section”, etc.)
  • Colored as a noun = black person. (e.g. “Look at that colored.”)

There’s also the translation of 1950s business names to the present. My grandmother called Kmart “The big Kresge’s”.

My parents called the refrigerator a Frigidaire, because that was the brand it was. Consequently, I never thought it odd. :stuck_out_tongue:

My grandmother kept her money in her coin purse. She did not own a wallet.

My mother still calls a wheelbarrow a wheelbar. I have no idea where that comes from.