Old Tyme Sayings (we should bring back!)

As I continue to type Dad’s letters, smiling all the while (because it’s fun to imagine my Dad writing them as a 20 year young man), I’ve been gathering remnants of the lexicon that was fashionable in the forties. I will add to this list as I come across sayings we rarely hear nowadays (and please feel free to add ones you might hear from your great, great relatives!):

  • The old duck (a 74 year old European story teller)
  • Chum around together [hanging with your peeps]
  • t’other [as in, you take one, I’ll take t’other]
  • I’m back in the chips again [after being paid]
  • Pretty classy [I suppose we’d say ‘stylish’?]
  • Weather is wetter than babies’ diapers [how’s that for a simile?!]
  • Those so and so’s [i.e., sonsofbitches]
  • Fair to middling [feeling only okay]
  • Full of vim and vinegar [fiesty!]
  • Get dolled up [so you’ll be looking fine for your babe]
  • Terrific [used to express excess or something horrendous ]
  • You’ld think… [an unusual contraction]
  • Methinks… [perhaps he was trying to be “classy”!]
  • ___ will come in mighty handy [fill in, “the dollar you sent”]
  • I’m a’raring to go [so look out, world, I’m ready!]
  • That fellow is really tops [and is probably a swell chap!]
  • Spry young man [lively, energetic, fun]
  • Stepping out [hitting the town, looking for action!]
  • Perchance [quite the elegant way of saying ‘perhaps,’ or ‘maybe’]
  • The laundry “did me dirt” last week…[didn’t come back dirty because it didn’t come back at all! Our much more crass saying today would be, “screwed me over”]
  • Gaily decorated tables [the word “gay” continues to evolve from the original meaning of “bright” or “cheerful”]
  • Someone ‘put us wise’ to an empty barn…[now we might say “schooled us” or “told us about”]
  • So I can’t kick too much [can’t complain too much]
  • On the blink again [not working quite the way it should]
  • All the Gilder Snerds and Vander Snoots of the town…[the upper crust of society–and perhaps “upper crust” is slowly becoming obsolete!]
  • Swell…as in, “You’ve done a swell job on your homework, Jimmy,” or, “The dollar you sent in your last letter was swell!”
  • No soap! [for “it’s not happening,” or “no way”]
  • Umpteen times [I now use the word “kajillion” for large numbers]
  • Here I am hale and hearty [and probably feeling “swell”]
  • Bitching to beat hell [what the fellows did when unhappy]
  • Fellows [dudes]
  • Jalopy [a car which needed lots of TLC to stay running]

I’ll keep my eyes peeled (yuck!) for more swell saying!

 

2 thoughts on “Old Tyme Sayings (we should bring back!)”

  1. HAHAHA–I guess because I spend SO MUCH time with a 79 year old man, most of the “sayings” do not seem a bit dated; they are a part of our everyday conversation!

    1. Good point! Perchance your ears might perk up in days to come, though, when you hear things your kids don’t say! If that should happen, please share!

Leave a Reply to author Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*