Age-Defining Expressions

Age-Defining Expressions

I talk to people on the telephone almost every day. I never see their faces. I never see their homes. But in less than a minute, I could tell you more about them than they probably know about themselves.

I recently began to realize how quickly and definitively we date ourselves by the words and expressions we use.

The following is a list of words and phrases that are rarely used by anyone other than octogenarians, unless you still live in the same county in which your grandparents were born, and have rarely traveled more than fifty miles from where you live.

  • scallywag
  • bamboozle
  • finagle
  • smarty-pants (or the Yiddish variant: “Mr. Schmarty-Pants”)
  • feisty
  • frazzled
  • discombobulated
  • rapscallion
  • Carpet-bagger (but not tea-bagger, or carpet-muncher)
  • hoodwinked
  • spry
  • reprobate
  • peckerwood
  • pecker
  • you ‘uns
  • colored
  • schnockered
  • spring chicken
  • anywhoo
  • horse feathers
  • bushwhacker
  • tallywacker
  • hankering
  • negro
  • do lolly
  • thing-a-ma-jig
  • naysayer
  • flimflam
  • charlatan
  • a rat’s patootie
  • hornswoggle
  • snake-oil salesman
  • tarnation
  • dad-gum
  • dad-burned
  • dagnabbit
  • court-and-woo
  • okeydokey
  • la-tee-dah
  • fixin’ to (or the African-American rural version: “fin-to”)
  • harrumph
  • golly
  • gosh-all-mighty
  • gumption
  • get-up-and-go
  • curmudgeon
  • ballyhooed
  • factotum
  • outlandish
  • shanghaied
  • gall-darned
  • loopy
  • be-Jesus
  • bent over a barrel
  • corn-holed
  • corny
  • sacrosanct
  • bedraggled
  • fiddle-faddle
  • a fiddler’s fuck

And you are probably a “Baby-boomer” if you use words or expressions like:

  • far-out
  • hey, man…
  • gnarley
  • spaced-out
  • what a trip
  • head-trip
  • power trip
  • laid back
  • peace (as a greeting or a farewell), rather than Peace Out as a farewell
  • balled or ballin’ (engage in sex)
  • military-industrial complex
  • the man
  • pig (a policeman)
  • cop-out
  • rip-off
  • riffs or riffin’ (originally a guitar solo, but later to express oneself verbally)
  • cop (to obtain, usually in reference to drugs)
  • groovy
  • good vibes (not Lionel Hampton)
  • bad vibes (definitely not Lionel Hampton)
  • heavy (no reference to weight)
  • acid (no relation to Ph)
  • mama (as in reference to your “old lady”  but not your mother)
  • old lady (see above)
  • old man (you get the idea)
  • one mother of a…(fill in the blank)
  • the powers that be
  • the power structure
  • bogart
  • roach
  • roach clip
  • “Dave’s not here…”
  • tasty
  • tripping (on drugs)
  • tripped out
  • tripping over….
  • trippy
  • bummer
  • bummed out
  • My Axe (i.e. your guitar)
  • turkey (as an insult, or to set fire to the last part of the roach while it is held in the roach clip so as to inhale the very last of it)
  • the feds or the federales (somewhat still in use)
  • I’m Hip
  • square (no reference to geometry)
  • capitalist
  • brother, or ‘bro (but no relation to you)
  • sister (also no relation)
  • spare change
  • happening
  • macramé
  • macrobiotic
  • solidarity
  • solid
  • freaked out
  • freaky
  • keep on keepin’ on
  • keep on truckin’
  • head (acid head, a person who gets high in general, Dead Head, etc.)
  • pad (one’s domicile)
  • feed your head
  • crash (to sleep over, or to “come down” from your high)
  • shoot (inject drugs)
  • needle freak
  • shooting gallery (place where needle freaks shoot up)
  • funk or funky
  • afro  or ‘fro (as a hair style)
  • ‘fro comb (very widely-spaced teeth with a long handle, sometimes an angel-food cake cutter was used)
  • rock on
  • burn-out

Admittedly, I rarely hear a few of these expressions in the course of conversation, especially on the telephone, and I suppose I got a little carried away, but every once in a while I feel like I’m either in the middle of a Cheech and Chong movie or talking to a modern-day Rip Van Winkle who overslept the day after Woodstock, and just woke up to answer the phone.

In another twenty years, this will be the jargon of the new octogenarians.

 

 

14 Responses to “Age-Defining Expressions”

  1. Oh my! From now on my lips are zipped… 🙂

    • Please understand, I am by no means an “ageist”….
      The original post was intended to simply deal with my amusement concerning the colorful but decidedly dated expressions of the octogenarians with whom I was conversing lately, but just before I posted it, I gave a thought or two about the “boomers” who are also just now beginning to show up on the Medicare radar…some of those expressions are even more “whack” (you see what I did there?)….
      I have two sons in their twenties, and a sixteen-year-old who still lives at home. Sometime after the eighties (I may research that jargon next) it seems as if the only slang in use is Hip-Hop related, and even that is dated to the nineties for the most part.
      My point, (if indeed there is one) is that we identify ourselves by our choice of words and expressions. I have had a long-standing on-going love affair with imagination, wit, and humor that is not limited by how many birthdays (or “mango seasons”) one has experienced…”so rock on sister”, or “you go girl” as you please…your secret (f you feel you need to keep it) is safe with me. 😉 Chazz

    • I am so with you girl. 😀
      Closed-lips here…
      lol
      xox

  2. Military Industrial Complex cracked me up. That word is a a ghost in my mind, an apparition of a childhood with older sibling and parent protesting. Thanks for the smile. Jayne

  3. Thanks, Mr. Chazz for making me smile…
    xox

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