"Use Your Words"...When did this phrase become popular?

My husband uses it with me, but not mockingly. My issue isn’t being flustered but my ADHD (inattentive type), especially if I’ve forgotten to take my adderall. My thoughts will go so fast that I’ll brainfart on a word, but struggle to think of the word because my train of thought just keeps barreling on, so it’s like going back to fix something that passed on an assembly line while also keeping pace with the rest of the line.

“Use your words” forces me to pause the belt, fix the mistake, and then start back up. Otherwise I just get frustrated because that one word is messing it all up and slowing everything down, dammit!

In direct contradiction to the OP, I first started hearing it with my sister and her kids, born 1981 and 1984.

I’ve only heard it used on adults who are fumbling a sentence or drunk dialing.

This is a phrase that’s on my list of “Things I Won’t Say to My Kids When I’m a Parent.” The SENTIMENT is fine, but the phrasing is so odd. “Use words” is so much more elegant.

It’s used in the Andy Samberg / Rihanna song “Shy Ronnie 2: Ronnie and Clyde”


JD said it on Scrubs-
JD: Use your words!
Biker: Warlord…burn…mouth!
JD: Yes you did- tiny sips! Napkin on your lap, Satan’s Valet…
(from memory, but surely close enough)

This is where I heard it from first, as I don’t hang out with toddlers. I use it on occasion in similar situations (although hardly ever with biker gangs).

This is the way my mom, a former preschool teacher, used it. I remember her saying it in the early to mid 90s when there were toddlers around, although she could have said it to me in the 80s when I was small. I think she may have gotten it from some class or seminar. It was a prompt to get the kids to say “I don’t like it when you do ____” as they’d been taught, instead of hauling off and slugging the other kid.

Ugg. I have no idea when it first started, but in the past 12 months it’s been picked up by quite a few friends of mine in the context Jackdavinci pointed out: an adult is excitedly trying to say something, but can’t articulate it due to their mind being blown or drunkenness (or both, often). It drives me nuts (the phrase, not drunken people trying to describe the thing that blew their mind).

I never liked that term, I heard it a fair bit in the early 90s when I was doing a lot of babysitting/nannying. When my son had a speech delay I would encourage him to to talk in other ways.

IE grocery store, him in the cart. mmmuh-huuh uhhhhhnuuuh… wildly waving and pointing to the grapes over 5.00 a pound in January of 2006.

Do you want GRAPES, I said holding them out.

more wild pointing and muhh uh uhs

Say “grapes” and we will have some.
Poor little guy screwed up his mouth and eyes and honestly had the “I’m constipated and pushing for all I am worth” face. “Pape!”

Very good. We bought grapes.

My son knows and loves this story. Sometimes now when he is being cute he will bring me something, point, make the face and say in babysounding words “Mario Party for the Wii” or something like that. It gets a laugh but not the game.

Yeah, but then you don’t have that motherly feeling like in similar phrases, like “Eat your dinner,” “Wash your plate,” “Clean your room,” etc.

I think the idea behind the phrasing is to teach kids to think of words as tools; at least that’s why I’ve used it.