Old School Phraseology

In a land of totes, sammie, and delish (I like Rachael Ray as much as the next foodie, but the things that nice lady has done to the English language…), I’ve noticed a peculiar trend. We keep making up, shortening, or plain old misspelling words (I’m looking at you, pwned…), and society just gives in and adds them to Webster’s Dictionary.
Ermagherd.
Bromance.
Cheappuccino.
Let’s face it.
The arteries of our vocabularies are as hard as rocks.
Why are we doing this?! There are hoards of old words and idioms that have fallen out of favor that we could simply resurrect.

Well, since it’s the first day of spring, I thought now would be a good time to mention a few of my favorite phrases and words of yesteryear.

  1. A lick and a promise” : I believe this refers to a job hastily done… but don’t let this stop you from using it at work. Go ahead… give those financial reports a lick and a promise.
  2. “Trollop”, “Strumpet”, and “Slattern“: Really, you shouldn’t be calling anyone these names, but I think “skank” has more than worn out it’s welcome, don’t you?
  3. “If it pleases you“: A deliciously classy way to say, “Sure, whatever.”
  4. “Vexed”: You’re not mad. Dogs go mad. People in strait jackets are mad. You are vexed. When you really start to lose your temper, throw a “quite” in front of it and watch the fur fly.
  5. Dandy”: This word is an embarrassment of riches. Don’t say “fine”, you’re not just “fine”, say DANDY! That insanely well-groomed male is not a “metrosexual”, he’s a DANDY! See?! No verbal fortress is left unassailed!
  6. “Somewhither”: It’s just like “somewhere”, except you’ll have the giggly pleasure of watching people assume that you mispronounced it.
  7. “Zounds“: If you’re thinking about swearing, say this instead. I’ll give you fifteen extra points if no one laughs when they hear it.
  8. “You’re a brick.” or “You’re a good egg.” : Masonry workers prefer the first. Chickens prefer the second.
  9. “Eight to the bar”: This is ragtime for, “I’m doing quite well, thank you.”
  10. “So’s your old man”, “You’ll get it in the neck”, “Your mother wears combat boots”: All delightful things to yell during a fight, although I have to confess that I’ve just thrown the first at people for no good reason. Bear in mind that the second can be construed as a threat, so please do not say this to teachers or police officers.

So, which phrases will I be working into any and all conversations, you ask (awash in curiosity)?
Saved the best for last, I did.
From now on, any time I wish to express astonishment, I plan to shout, “WELL, ROCK MY SOUL IN THE BOSOM OF ABRAHAM!”
I think it will add more spice to my speech.

 

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2 thoughts on “Old School Phraseology

  1. Ha! I use “So’s your old man” all the time. And I’m particularly fond of the word “slattern.” It has a kind of rhythm or precision to it.
    I would love to use “zounds,” just as I would love to use “bloody,” “gad zooks,” and many other such old-fashioned and Britishly epithets, but they all derive in some way from swearing by various bits of Jesus (as opposed to just His name, which is all anybody seems to know how to do nowadays): “God’s wounds,” “God’s hooks [i.e. hands, nailed to the cross].” Alas, all the good epithets are out of bounds. I solve my problem by making up my own (“Squill” and “Mike Wazowski” are two particular favorites).

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    1. *sigh* Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned, clean swear words?! I took to saying “Pretzels” for awhile… I may have to go back to that.

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