Vintage Vernacular

As part of this year’s Project Challenge, teams will be connecting with a senior partner and asking them questions. Well,  jeepers, I think this is a dandy opportunity! I love talking with seniors. They’re the bee’s knees… and many of them have knowledge to share and great stories to tell.  I also love certain phrases that some seniors use, especially those that we don’t utilize  often. Hearing them makes me feel like I’m a character in a classic movie or novel, and that’s no hill of beans.  Although some seniors I know say they don’t understand some of the ‘newfangled’ words and phrases young people use, I have to remind them that sometimes their vintage phrases makes us whipper snappers ask “What does that mean?”!

Here are some of my favorites (with their definitions!):

1. Six of one, half-dozen of the other: The same amount (six in one hand, half dozen (6) in the other hand).

2. The whole kit and caboodle: To get everything included. A kit is a set of objects, as in a toolkit, or what a soldier would put in his kit-bag. A caboodle (or boodle) – is an archaic term meaning group or collection, usually of people.

3. Dollars to donuts: A fake bet in which one person agrees to put up the same amount of dollars to another person’s donuts (back when you could buy a lot of donuts for a dollar…)

4. Now you’re on the trolley: Now you’ve got it, now you’re right! A trolley car is an electric tram or streetcar.

5. Cat’s pajamas: describing someone who is great, incredible or special. Usually indicating stylishness or innovation.

6. Knee high to a grasshopper: A phrase referring to being very young or back when you where just a kid.

7. Don’t take any wooden nickels: A saying used as a reminder to be cautious in one’s dealings, and may come from the 1930’s in America when wooden nickels were often issued by companies as promotions.

8. Close, but no cigar: Carnival games of skill, particularly shooting games, once gave out cigars as a prize. A contestant that did not quite hit the target was close, but did not get a cigar.

9. A stitch in time saves nine: A little effort expended sooner to fix a small problem, prevents it from becoming a larger problem requiring more effort to fix later.

10. Happier than a clam at high tide: To be contented, happy. A clam can’t be dug up at high tide.

This has been more fun than a barrel of monkeys! If you have any vintage phrases you’d like to share, let me know.
Catch you on the flip side!