Monday, April 23, 2018

T is for Twenty words that show your age

or T is for Ten Words Today and Ten More Tomorrow

While on this link caught my eye, Words (and Phrases) That Will Show Your Age. Of course, I clicked on it to see what they considered old. Some I agreed with and some I didn't. Half of the list is below with my comments. I'll share the other half tomorrow.  See what you think.*

1. Making whoopee: This comes from a 1920s Eddie Cantor song and means having sex. Although I've heard this phrase a lot, it seems old even to me. 

2. Wet-blanket: This means put a damper on things and comes from putting out a fire with a wet blanket. It's been used since the 1800's and still seems relevant to me today.

3. Little black book: And while I understand that most people, especially the younger ones, don't carry an address book or the little black book version of one that list potential dates, this is a phrase that I still hear used and most people understand it.

4. VCR and videotape: This is definitely old technology, but it is still around. Who knows?  The Millennials may understand it someday when VHS tapes come back like vinyl records have. (Note to self. Need to get the VHS family movies transferred onto DVD's or whatever the latest technology is.)

5. Long-distance call: This is probably a phrase that does show you are older if you use it. Extra charges for calling out of your area code are a thing of the past. Texting, Skyping, Face Timing, etc. are probably used more than phone calls in the younger group.

6. Davenport and Chesterfield: These are both names for sofas derived from Davenport who commissioned the first leather sofa and Chesterfield a furniture maker. They were popular in the early and mid 1900's. I have never heard of a sofa called a Chesterfield, but I have heard of a Davenport and always wondered where that name came from. I agree with the article. These are probably old terms and becoming obsolete.

7. How’s tricks?:This phrase was used in the 1950's and 1960's by men asking women how they were. The phrase probably had origins from men who were managing women turning tricks. I still hear the phrase occasionally and didn't realize that it was a one way question. If this phrase is not becoming obsolete, I think it should be because of its origin.

8. “Dear John” letter: This phrase became popular in World War II when a girl would write to a serviceman and tell them their romance was over. The article suggest that John is an old fashioned name and maybe it should be updated with something like "Dear Lucas". I think that's just silly. Most people know the phrase and what it means and it is still used. However, they also suggest it could be replaced with an emoji. I don't like that idea but I will concede that emojis are taking the place of a lot of words and phrases these days.

9. Web surfing: They say this term was more prevalent when the internet was newer and we don't need a term for this any more. Slightly different meaning, but I would say that Googling would be a better substitute.

10. Fuddy-duddy: This one means stuffy and old fashioned. Maybe this is a bit out of date, but is it really that much worse than using Old Fart as they suggested as a more modern phase? Not in my mind.

You've heard my perspective on this list but I am a Baby Boomer, i.e. an older person. For a different perspective, I asked my Millennial son, Theo, what he thought of these words. He read them over and said the only one that he hears used regularly is Wet blanket. I don't know if he's representative of his age group, but I did find that interesting.

Tune in tomorrow for the other ten words and phrases that are considered old fashioned.

*Blogger and I aren't getting along again. I couldn't get rid of the white background in the time I had.


  1. If you're talking about the white background behind the text you copied from, you can copy and paste it in "Notepad" first, if you use Windows. This will remove any formatting. Then you copy it from there and paste it in Blogger. That should do the trick. However, you'll lose all formatting from the original text. You might also be able to do copy, then right click and select "paste as plain text", depending on what system/browser you use.

    I'm from Generation X. I know all of those expressions. I did know that as Chesterfield was a piece of furniture, probably from watching all those episodes of Antiques Roadshow. I would expect both Davenport and Chesterfield to be used in museums or antique shops. I'm pretty sure my Daughter and I spotted a Davenport at the museum in Columbus GA last month, but I just checked and I didn't take any pictures of it.

    I know "Dear John" because of the TV series with Judd Hirsch, named "Dear John". I used to really like this show and the opening credits explained perfectly what a "Dear John" letter was.

    I do like the expression "web surfing" although I don't use it myself. But I do see the internet as a vast ocean of knowledge and when I use it, I google but I also use a lot of bookmarks and follow rabbit trails. So in that sense, I use it like a surfer, sometimes letting it carry me where it may, instead of looking for specific information. But I call it "piddling on the internet", lol.

    "Little black book" definitely shows one's age, I think. I myself had a little brown book that I kept up until 2011, when I first got a smart phone. I did start keeping a little notebook with the phone numbers of Greg, the kids, my BFF and my French family members in it, because I don't know what their numbers are off the top of my head! I just click on their names on my phone and it dials them. I have no clue of what Greg's phone number is. My BFF, one day, was meeting me somewhere and her phone died and she was running late, was lost, and had no way to get a hold of me because she didn't know my phone number either! Since then, we've both kept a piece of paper with such phone numbers in our cars and in our purses! YS does not know his OWN phone number because he never gives it out to anyone, lol.

    My kids definitely know what a VCR and videotapes are since we were still using them until they were preteens. I still have all my Disney movies on VHS and I have a VCR that still worked the last time I tried it. I also need to transfer some movies from an older format (including VHS) to digital format. It's so expensive and I worry that the tapes will be lost or damaged, so I had decided to just play them on my TV and tape them with my digital camera. I did that with several movies of my kids when they were little and I put them on YouTube (privately) so they could view them. But it's time consuming and there can't be any noise in the house. Needless to say I haven't resumed that particular project since we got The Kittens. I'm afraid that some of the tapes will start deteriorating soon so I really should get started again.

    I don't think my kids would know what a long distance call is. I remember when I first moved here and our only free calls were those we could place without having to use the area code. Back then, it was only Clermont and a couple of smaller nearby cities! But Walt Disney World had arranged for calls to their internal phone numbers to be free from many surrounding areas since Cast Members lived all over the metropolitan Orlando area and we used to have to call in to get our schedules, call in sick or late, etc. Back then, almost no one had the internet and you wouldn't have been able to communicate with your employer that way anyway.

    This was a fun post. I look forward to part 2!

    1. I didn't copy anything from except the URL for the link. I tried the Notepad thing a couple of times with the same result. I'm not sure what was going on and maybe later I'll figure it out.

      I never thought about putting home movies on You Tube. I'm not sure if I want to do that or not. I'll have to look into it.

  2. Live & Learn,

    I'm a late Baby Boomer born in 1961 so I do know many of these outdated phrases and most of these I do not hear today unless DH or I used them. I'm always saying, "Don't be a wet blanket". All of three of our kids are Millennials and they were brought up hearing many of these phrases but I'm sure they or their friends do not use them. I enjoyed reading through your list. Happy A2Zing!

    ~Curious as a Cathy
    A2Z iPad Art Sketch 'T' Turtle Couple

    1. You're right. A lot of these phrases I don't hear today unless I use them. Certain ones I just like to say like Fuddy, Duddy.

  3. I love your list! I'm a Gen-Xer and those are all part of my regular vocabulary - except maybe "how's tricks?" It does remind me of something though. There's a guy who used to teach guitar at the music school that I ran, who I still keep in touch with through Facebook. He's a bit of a character - an aging rocker who still worships Jimi Hendrix as a once living god. Anyhow, he posted something on Facebook that went something like: "So I'm sitting at a bar and this cat next to me starts..." And I'm thinking "Why on earth would anyone bring a cat to a bar?!?" Took me a while to realize that "cat" used to be a word that cool people used to refer to a guy. :-)

    My grandmother always referred to the couch as the Davenport - it's nice to know where that one comes from. And CatMan & I used to perform the song Makin' Whoopie... still one that makes me chuckle - not to mention the wonderful internal rhyme scheme: "He's washin' dishes, and baby clothes. He's so ambitious, he even sews! Let's not forget folks, that's what you get folks, for makin' whoopee!"

    1. I only know the "making whoopie" part of the song. The rest of the lyrics are fun for their time. And you're cat confustion is too funny, but totally understandable for the people involved.

  4. I was born in '65 so it depends on whose definition you go by whether or not I'm a boomer or a Gen X. I guess I'm just a fringe element. :) Making whoopee, little black book, and how's tricks seems older than my generation. My mom referred to the couch as a davenport and I never really thought about the origins of the term.

    I occasionally use the term "wet blanket" and VCR, web surfing, and long-distance call are definitely terms I associate with my age group. I think "fuddy duddy" is fun to say, as I get a strong visual when I use that term.

    I have no idea the best way to preserve your VHS tapes, although we still have some. My brother somehow tried to put them on DVDs many years ago (not sure how ... not sure how legal his methods were ... not sure I want to ask!!!!) and the picture and sound quality were poor to non-existent, for what it's worth. Many of the classic older movies can be purchased as DVDs or Blue-ray inexpensively so it might be just as cost-effective to buy new. I think that's a great question for your young-adult sons! If you come up with a good solution, I'd be interested in hearing it.

    1. There are services that will do it. I have looked into Costco for it, but it always added up to be very expensive. Each tape gets a new DVD no matter how long it is. There is no putting several tapes on one DVD. It seems as if I did have this discussion with my sons and husband a couple of months ago, but I can't remember what they told me. Time to do it again, I guess.

  5. My grandmother had a real Davenport, so that is what she always called it. Amazingly I never called any couch but hers a Davenport. I am familiar with each of the terms but then I am a Baby Boomer. Son2 was here and I asked him about them. He was familiar with most of them, not from his use, but he still knows them and how to use them in context if he chooses. His comment about Making Whoopie was "Anyone who is moderately well versed in music should know that"

    1. A real Davenport. That's pretty cool, she says using dated language.

  6. I'm a baby boomer, too, and knew the words on your list. I don't know if my daughter would know some of them, although, she knows video tapes. I still have some VHS tapes and a dual DVD/VCR player. Looking forward to tomorrow's list!

    1. A few years ago, I gave all of our Disney VHS tapes and our VCR to a friend to have when her grandkids visited. That worked great for all of us.

      I bet your daughter knows most if not all of these words, but it would be interesting to find out.

  7. I remember my paternal grandmother referring to her sofa as a Davenport. She also had a 'couch', but neither item of furniture was leather. I always assumed it was her way of designating which was which for the grandkids -- a naming, of sorts. Now I know where the term came from! :)

  8. Unfortunately, I've heard of and used all those. I guess that means I"m old as the hills.


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