Words… That you don’t hear anymore…
I came across this phrase yesterday ‘FENDER SKIRTS.’ A term I haven’t heard in a long time, and thinking about ‘fender skirts’ started me thinking about other words that quietly disappear from our language with hardly a notice like ‘curb feelers’ and ‘steering knobs.’ (AKA) suicide knob, Neckers Knobs.
Since I’d been thinking of cars, my mind naturally went that direction first. Any kids will probably have to find some elderly person over 60 to explain some of these terms to you.
Remember ‘Continental kits?’ They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.
When did we quit calling them ’emergency brakes?’ At some point ‘parking brake’ became the proper term. But I miss the hint of drama that went with ’emergency brake.’
Here’s a phrase I heard all the time in my youth but never anymore – ‘store-bought.’ Of course, just about everything is store-bought these days. But once it was bragging material to have a store-bought dress, suit, or a store-bought bag of candy.
‘Coast to coast’ is a phrase that once held all sorts of excitement and now means almost nothing. Now we take the term ‘world wide’ for granted. This floors me.
On a smaller scale, ‘wall-to-wall’ was once a magical term in our homes. In the ’50s, everyone covered his or her hardwood floors with, wow, wall-to-wall carpeting! Today, everyone replaces their wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors. Go figure.
When’s the last time you heard the quaint phrase ‘in a family way?’ It’s hard to imagine that the word ‘pregnant’ was once considered a little too graphic, a little too clinical for use in polite company, so we had all that talk about stork visits and ‘being in a family way’ or simply ‘expecting.’
Apparently ‘brassiere’ is a word no longer in usage. I said it the other day and my daughter cracked up. I guess it’s just ‘bra’ now. ‘Unmentionables’ probably wouldn’t be understood at all.
Most of these words go back to the ’50s, but here’s a pure-’60s word I came across the other day – ‘rat fink.’ Ooh, what a nasty put-down!
Here’s a word I miss – ‘percolator.’ That was just a fun word to say. And what was it replaced with? ‘Coffee maker.’ How dull. Mr. Coffee, I blame you for this.
I miss those made-up marketing words that were meant to sound so modern and now sound so retro. Words like’DynaFlow’ and ‘Electrolux.’ Introducing the 1963 Admiral TV, now with ‘SpectraVision!’
Some words aren’t gone, but are definitely on the endangered list. The one that grieves me most ‘supper.’ Now everybody says ‘dinner.’ Save a great word. Invite someone to supper. If they show up, feed them! 🙂