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19 Old-Fashioned Terms That Folks Hardly Ever Use Anymore

Old Phrases


By Ileana Paules-Bronet, Purple Clover

Throughout history, we've used all sorts of terms to mean different things. It's fascinating to find out what phrases were popular in the past. These words may not be popular anymore, but they're so fun to learn about!


1. Picture Show


Meaning: movie theater or movie

Back when movies (or "moving pictures") were a new thing, people referred to them as "picture shows." So instead of asking a friend if they wanted to go to the movies, you'd ask if they wanted to go to a picture show.


2. Kick Up Your Heels


Meaning: let loose and have fun

This phrase was used to encourage people to cast off their inhibitions and just enjoy themselves. On your next girls night, try telling your friends to "kick up their heels" and see how they react!


3. Know Your Onions


Meaning: be knowledgeable about something

In the past, instead of saying "know your stuff," one might say "know your onions."


4. Pedal Pushers


Meaning: cropped or capri pants

What we refer to today as "capris" used to be known as "pedal pushers," since the term derived from rolled up pants that were worn while biking (so they wouldn't get caught in the bike chains).


5. Jiggery-Pokery


Meaning: trickery, deceitful behavior

This term, first used in the 1890s, was used to describe prank-like behavior. Sometimes, the term was used more seriously to mean dishonest behavior or manipulation.


6. The Bee's Knees


Meaning: the best, excellent

This phrase was used as a compliment — if you told someone they were "the bee's knees," it meant you really admired or appreciated them.


7. Guttle


Meaning: to eat/drink greedily

Today, we might say that someone was gobbling their food or scarfing it down, but back in the day, people would refer to this action as "guttling."


8. Fiddle-Faddle


Meaning: nonsense

This term was used to describe trivial matters. One might say something like, "don't waste your time on fiddle-faddle like that."


9. Giggle Water


Meaning: alcoholic beverage

Back in the day, people would sometimes call alcohol "giggle water." It makes sense, since alcohol often makes people feel extra silly and giggly.


10. Zozzled


Meaning: beliggerently drunk

If you drink too much giggle water, you might get a tad bit too drunk. Nowadays, we might say that someone drunk is "trashed" or "hammered," but back in the day, people would say a person is "zozzled."


11. Tickety-Boo


Meaning: everything's fine/ok

Tickety-boo was a phrase that used to be use to mean "everything's a-okay." You might say, "The meeting was tickety-boo," or "My dinner date went tickety-boo."


12. Gigglemug


Meaning: someone who is always smiling

If someone had a gigglemug, it meant they were perpetually smiling or always happy.


13. Cancelled Stamp


Meaning: shy woman, wallflower

This phrase was used to refer to a woman who kept to herself or preferred to stay in instead of going out.


14. Dewdropper


Meaning: slacker

A "dewdropper" was someone who was very lazy and slacked off. This person often didn't have a job and didn't really contribute to society in a positive or meaningful way.


15. Don't Have A Cow


Meaning: don't get overly upset

Some people still use this phrase today, but it used to be much more common. People use this saying to tell others to calm down.


16. The Cat's Meow


Meaning: remarkable, wonderful

Similar to "the bee's knees," something that is "the cat's meow" is something truly wonderful or lovely.


17. Iron Your Shoelaces


Meaning: to excuse yourself to go to the bathroom

If you had to slip away to use the restroom back in the day, you might tell your friends that you had to go "iron your shoelaces."


18. Get The Icy Mitt


Meaning: to be rejected by a romantic interest

If you were romantically interested in someone, but they rejected you, you might say you "got the icy mitt." If you think of the words themselves, it's like getting a cold slap in the face.


19. Wurp


Meaning: someone who is a buzzkill

A wurp is a term used to refer to someone who is a "Debbie Downer" or party pooper.

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News: 19 Old-Fashioned Terms That Folks Hardly Ever Use Anymore
19 Old-Fashioned Terms That Folks Hardly Ever Use Anymore
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