I am not quite H. Rider Haggard's She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, but I have my magic powers. "Get me a pop, please," I said to Mr. Nemo yesterday.
"You know, soda."
I'm bilingual: We called Pepsi and other soft drinks "pop" when I was growing up. Sometimes I tease Mr. Nemo by reminding him of my midwestern roots. Everywhere else it's soda, which sounds more elegant. I would not dare request "pop" east of Indiana. It might be code for something dangerous.
There are hundreds of obsolete words, expressions, and slang. They come and go, and you barely miss them. At some point every person is old enough to wonder, When did that change? A kind of Standard English has evolved because of our communal watching TV, Netflix, and other live-streaming services.
When I was growing up there was actual dialect. We said "warsh" for "wash," until a teacher corrected us. And how about "garsh" for "gosh?" But no one says "gosh" anymore, ergo there is no "garsh."
Then there's the "Kleenex" vs. "tissue" issue. Smart teachers keep a box of Kleenex on the desk, because schools are pestilence pots even when it is not a Covid year. From November to April, every student has a cold, bronchitis, or walking pneumonia. If you think you are immune, you are wrong. You will sniffle with the best of them.
And so providing free Kleenex encourages a minimal practice of hygiene. They will raise their hands and ask, "My I have a Kleenex, Ms Blah-blah?" And then they walk to the front of the room, pluck a Kleenex, and amble back to their desk. On the east coast, the phrase is "May I have a tissue?" That is more accurate, since not every tissue is Kleenex, but it doesn't sound right to my ear.
Do you xerox or photocopy? Probably neither anymore. But I still use xerox as a verb, though doubtless the copy machines at the UPS Store are some other brand these days.
Did your mother say "washcloth," "washrag,"or just "rag"? The latter two dropped out of my mother's vocabulary after years of watching The View.
Here are some obsolete slang expressions, most of which are similes. We used these cliches often once upon a time.
Hot as Hades (but did I actually hear Haiti as a child?)
cool as a cucumber
To do something "like it's nobody's business."
raining like cats and dogs
high as a kite
wouldn't be caught dead
ugly as sin
beautiful as the dawn (my friends and I got that one from literature)
quiet as a mouse
slow as molasses in January
crooked as a dog's hind leg
crazy as a loon
laugh like a hyena
thin as a whistle. (This one stumps me.)
"could care less" (for the more proper "couldn't care less." I thought the less proper "could care less" was kind of a cool thing.)
What are your favorite out-of-fashion dialect words or slang words?