Top 10 Popular Expressions Terms of the Past

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If you’re a real hepcat, you know all the latest lingo. But what if you were to time machine-it back to another point in history? How would you be able to say things with savvy? You’d need a list like today’s Top 10 on hand!

10. Groovy [adj.] Cool, wonderful. (c. 1960s – 1970s)
“I got a new lava lamp for my pad. It’s really groovy.”

9. “You snooze, you lose.” Idiom meaning “if you wait too long, someone else will beat you to it.” (c. 1990s.)
“Oh, you wanted the last cookie? Too bad! You snooze, you loose!”

8. Antsville. [n.] A densely populated place. (c. 1950s)
“Antsville is getting to me. Let’s take my wheels for a spin in the country.”

7. “Zoinks!” [interj.] Used to express fright. (c. 1970s)
“Did you see that ghost, Scooby? Zoinks!”

6. Big cheese. [n.] Big shot, boss. (c. 1920s)
“Listen to his ‘refined’ talk about Roquefort and Beemster Graskaas. Who does he think he is, the big cheese?”

5. “You slay me!” An expression meaning, “You crack me up!” (c. 1920s)
“Did you really just dance the funky chicken on national news? You slay me!”

4. “Eat my shorts.” A general comeback. (c. 1980s)
“What’s that? You say you make a better mac ‘n’ cheese? Eat my shorts!”

3. On the stick. [adj.] Intelligent, prepared. (c. 1950s)
“Thank goodness you brought an umbrella! You’re really on the stick.

2. “Can you dig it?” A saying for “Do you understand?” (c. 1960s)
“It’s useless trying to plant this tree without a shovel. Can you dig it?”

1. “…NOT!” [interj.] Used at the end of a sentence to indicate falsity. (c. 1990s)
“I have a pet dinosaur named Zelda… NOT!”

Which old (or new) expressions make you laugh?


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  1. Avatar
    Katelyn Likes This 05/26/2010 at 11:46 am #

    This is new, and I hear people say it all the time: “Shake ‘n’ Bake!” (from Talladega Nights)

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    Maggie 05/26/2010 at 4:52 pm #

    I’m quite a fan of:

    Most excellent! (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure)
    Nifty and the bee’s knees (50’s slang)
    Huzzah! (Ye olde English)
    Crikey! (Steve Irwin)
    : )

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    Julie 05/26/2010 at 5:13 pm #

    Haha, most excellent is great. Not too long ago, my roommate revived “Zang” as a punchline after anything that makes you think/leaves an impression? I don’t know where it originated from. Nonetheless, it’s entertaining.

    And then how about, “Sticks and stones may break my bones..”? A classic elemtary school phrase.

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    Brigitte 05/26/2010 at 5:49 pm #

    Gonesville, as used by Elvis, indicating that something is so “outta sight” that it is “gonesville.”

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    Bri 05/27/2010 at 12:43 am #

    “oh snap” is one i hear now and again. some kids tried to make “frosh” (like fresh?) happen. so sad.

    and “smell you later”, from the 90s i am guessing, was pretty big

    and does “thats what she said?” count?

  6. Avatar
    Hilary 05/27/2010 at 3:07 am #

    Good work Maggie, I totally agree with you love of ‘Huzzah!’

    I’ve recently pickup a habit of saying ‘Booyah!’ to proclaim excitement, circa 1990s(?). Bit of a fav.

  7. Avatar
    Hannah (ModCloth) 05/27/2010 at 10:09 am #

    @Hilary – How could I have ‘booyah!?’ that was such a good one… haha.

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    Heather 05/27/2010 at 1:36 pm #


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    Christen 05/27/2010 at 3:53 pm #

    Haha, I LOVE #7, Hannah, I’ve always been a die hard Scooby Doo fan =D

  10. Avatar
    Hilary 05/28/2010 at 12:43 am #

    @ Hannah – Yeah, it’s a bit of a fav. Don’t actually know where it began. Any ideas?

  11. Avatar
    Hannah (ModCloth) 05/28/2010 at 11:24 am #

    @Hilary – Good question, haha. It’s a real puzzler. According to Wikipedia, “booyah” is also the name of a stew-like food that originated in Wisconsin, but something tells me that has nothing to do with it….

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    Melanie 05/28/2010 at 4:22 pm #

    my personal favorite out-of-date term to use is “Smooth move, ExLax!”

    i try to use it as often as possible.

  13. Avatar
    Sophie 05/30/2010 at 5:17 pm #

    one of my faves: “SIKE!” (or “psych!”… up for debate)
    I also use “huzzah!” on a regular basis

  14. Avatar
    Em 05/31/2010 at 11:19 pm #

    My friend’s grandma says the best comeback of all time…
    “Go fry ice!”
    I have no idea if it was actually a saying… But I love it!

  15. Avatar
    Ariel 06/06/2010 at 3:35 am #

    “Zang” is from Wayne’s World! Cantonese?

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