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cigarjoe

Archaic Expressions in Films

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I enjoy hearing archaic expressions in films of the past, some are decipherable some to me at least are not. 

If you are old enough you'll know the origins of these two:

"I kick started the jalopy", or "I stepped on the starter."

I heard one character telling another that "I'll do him like Dempsey." If you didn't know who Dempsey was you may not get the reference. 

"Jack" Dempsey, nicknamed "Kid ****" and "The Manassa Mauler", was an American professional boxer who competed from 1914 to 1927, and reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926.

here are a few more:

double clutch

smoke wrench

ice box

now you're cooking with gas

dressed to the nines

no-talent hack

slaphappy

do a Brodie

I'll think of others and post them here.

Now how about the rest of you out there, got any?

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I always liked when characters accuse other characters of "being tight," i.e. drunk.  Noir films seem to have quite a few of these fun expressions sprinkled throughout them.

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"A bag full of flounder" - meaning not telling the truth

"He's all four corners on a wheel" - he's a crazy person

"Take a Martha at this Barney" - look at this interesting item that I have found

"Put that monkey in a box" - buy the item or place it back on the shelf, please

"Just call me your Aunt Sandra" - I would be happy to help you move to a new apartment this weekend

"Hottest dog in the cart" - this is the freshest food available

"Tickle my peanut brittle!" - I am quite surprised by your previous comment

"What a porch basket!!!" - That is a lovely person that I am looking at

 

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Laudable undertaking. But understanding the past (I feel) goes a bit beyond aphorisms. There's a world of idiom accessible from the past. It's a whole way of looking at your neighbors. I can't think of any one specific phrase. It's one's whole outlook. :)

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8 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Laudable undertaking. But understanding the past (I feel) goes a bit beyond aphorisms. There's a world of idiom accessible from the past. It's a whole way of looking at your neighbors. I can't think of any one specific phrase. It's one's whole outlook. :)

NOW you're COOKING WITH GAS!  :D

Yeah, know what you mean.  And I think the INTENT of the OP was referrals to things of the past we no longer use or have long ago referred to, or as....

"Icebox" was mentioned(and I've heard some STILL use it!)  Another just recently heard in the also recently broadcast I WAS A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG  when a co-worker of Allen James( how fugitive James Allen "changed" his name)  trying to get him to relax for a bit tries to use that old adage ; "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", but gets interrupted by Allen halfway through, making it; "All work and no play makes JACK!;)  An "old timey" slang term for money.

Sepiatone

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I love 'specialized' languages such as the kind used in certain industries like marine or aviation; or the kind used in the backstage of theatrical productions. (See the 'What are you Reading?' thread where i mentioned the book by Dave Knox). I even like trucker's CB radio slang and wish it was still popular. The books of Damon Runyon or Ring Lardner offer the slang of grifters and hustlers and hobos.

Here's a reference for Navy slang: http://goatlocker.org/resources/nav/navyslang.pdf

Tom Waits inserts dozens of classic slang terms into his songs.

But what I mean in my previous comment was that, its not just any set of terms which makes a decade like the 1930s so fascinating. What I admire was the way men gave courtesy to women for example; tipping their cap or offering their handkerchief.

Did you know that in that era, (let's say, in a hotel) a man wouldnt even visit the room of a lady, solo? If you were in a hotel and wanted to see a woman staying there, you would ask the clerk to announce your name and then wait for her to come down and speak to you in the parlour of the hotel. For the sake of 'appearances'.

And it strikes me as a fine thing, that age when men looked each other in the eye and dealt fairly with one another; settling arguments with a sock-on-the-jaw rather than with Ju-Jitsu or kung fu.

Simpler, more straightforward times.

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in Leon Uris' novel, 'Battle Cry' there's some wonderful military slang like the expression, 'Pogey Bait'.

if your battalion is called a 'Pogey Bait' battalion, someone's gonna get a sock-on-the-jaw!

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15 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

Simpler, more straightforward times.

Do you tend to use outdated expressions in your writing? What about 1950s beatnik talk like "Daddy-O" or "cool cat"? (as in "Blackboard Jungle" or "High School Confidential")

What about surfer dude talk like "gnarly" or calling your friends "Brah"?

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That's a good question Jim. I'll have to give it some thought.

Off-the-top-of-my-head, I would just say that a professional writer must be able to wear many different-types-of-hat :D ...depending on the writing assignment they're undertaking.

For instance, there are clearly defined rules for any kind of 'technical writing'; there are slang phrases and expressions you would never use if writing a legal document, or business correspondence.

Despite the fact that today, many of us use a keyboard or a keypad to 'jaw' with each other over the internet or via texts, these very informal and casual communiques ought not make us forget what formal writing demands.

It takes discipline to write well; one must be keenly mindful that phrases (such as, 'yoh dude')  are inappropriate in 'adult speech'. A job applicant (for example) who submits a 'casual' resume or cover letter will not be hired, at least in any industry I have ever worked in.

I'm not a professional writer myself but being a competent writer, certainly helped make my career happen. I'm sure TopBilled can probably say the same. His film reviews are an example of the pleasure that this skill gives others. He writes them for fun, but look at the command of language he demonstrates. Its a very fine thing to see.

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   "Gimme that piece of chalk with which you mark the baseball score...
    And you shall see the lovely Madeline upon the barroom floor..."

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The last time I watched Murder, My Sweet, I noticed Dick Powell says quite a few old expressions which aren't said much anymore.

(...just wish I could recall some of them right now)

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the best source for old-skool slang are Jack Webb's various tough-talking radio shows. he took his cue from Chandler.

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10 minutes ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

the best source for old-skool slang are Jack Webb's various tough-talking radio shows. he took his cue from Chandler.

OH, you mean like THIS, Sarge?...

 

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I have a few favorites: "Coffee and sinkers".  If you asked for coffee and sinkers today at Dunkin' Doughnuts you would get a blank stare.  Sinkers are slang for doughnuts.

Another one:  "Don't be Ridic".  "Are you sure it won't be any problem having me over for dinner tonight to meet your folks?"  "Don't be ridic. You are more than welcome. I will pick you up at seven."  "Ridic" is short for "ridiculous".

One more:  "Here, have a snifter".  Someone, possibly a hick, another archaic expression not used today, is offering you an alcoholic drink, possibly illegally produced.

 

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On 2/8/2019 at 9:16 PM, cigarjoe said:

"I kick started the jalopy", or "I stepped on the starter."

On cars and trucks as late as the 1950's when you turned on your ignition key nothing happened until you stepped on the starter button down by the floorboards. It was a plunger type lever that engaged the starter motor to the fly wheel cranking the motor. 

P.S. so reading the above it's not hard to see how you could rig an old time car bomb. pull out the starter armature stuff the housing with a some dynamite, and when you'd hit the button the plunger would connect the leads and kaboom.

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Cab Calloway songs are a fun source for word play. In modern life, I get very tired of using the same worn-out phrases... "yo" "hello" "what's up" "hey" "hey there".

Instead of these, I might ask, "What's buzzin, Cousin?" or "What's cuttin', button?"

"What's classy, Cassie?"..."What's kickin, chicken?" etc etc etc. I do it even without thinking.

By the way. 'chicken' was a once-common name for a babe...you can hear it in the 'Martin & Lewis' show, 'My Friend Irma', etc

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22 hours ago, Det Jim McLeod said:

Do you tend to use outdated expressions in your writing? What about 1950s beatnik talk like "Daddy-O" or "cool cat"? (as in "Blackboard Jungle" or "High School Confidential")

What about surfer dude talk like "gnarly" or calling your friends "Brah"?

Man like, that cat wasn't digging on us to start riffing on square jive, man!

He was looking for old timey referrals to things that are today basically obsolete.  Or at least the WORDS....

Like, when was the last time you heard someone call a STOVE a "range"?  or the kitchen sink the "basin"?  

I even heard(though I can't recall the flick) someone refer to their AUTOMOBILE as "the BUGGY!"  ;) 

I too, recall my grandfather( who died when he was 80 in '64) use the expression; "CLOSE the light!"  and sometimes, "CUT the light". (a referral to closing the valve on the GAS LIGHTS in houses in times past). And there too was a time when ALL electric refrigerators were referred to as "FRIGIDAIRES "( eventually shortened to "fridge") .

Sepiatone

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13 hours ago, thomasterryjr said:

I have a few favorites: "Coffee and sinkers".  If you asked for coffee and sinkers today at Dunkin' Doughnuts you would get a blank stare.  Sinkers are slang for doughnuts.

Another one:  "Don't be Ridic".  "Are you sure it won't be any problem having me over for dinner tonight to meet your folks?"  "Don't be ridic. You are more than welcome. I will pick you up at seven."  "Ridic" is short for "ridiculous".

One more:  "Here, have a snifter".  Someone, possibly a hick, another archaic expression not used today, is offering you an alcoholic drink, possibly illegally produced.

 

I've heard "snifter" used today.  It's the name of the glass that the drink is served in.  Often brandy or cognac are served in a snifter.  High ABV beers, like Imperial IPAs, are also served in snifters.  

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The jive, musician talk seemed to be popular back in the golden age era as well.  Bing Crosby's characters often used this kind of slang.  In White Christmas, Crosby tells Rosemary Clooney to "bring the cow" (grab the milk pitcher) when they move to another table.

In the I Love Lucy episode, "Lucy Has Her Eyes Examined," Lucy hires a dancer (Arthur "King Cat" Walsh) to teach her how to jitterbug.  He says things like "that coat's a gasser!" I assume "gasser," means "hilarious" in context of the rest of the scene in the episode. 

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One of my favorite old slang words is "23 Skidoo." It's such an odd phrase. 23 skidoo (sometimes 23 skiddoo) is an American slang phrase popularized during the early 20th century. It generally refers to leaving quickly, being forced to leave quickly by someone else, or taking advantage of a propitious opportunity to leave, that is, "getting [out] while the getting's good." The exact origin of the phrase is uncertain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/23_skidoo_(phrase)

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"Oh, you kid!" is of the same ilk as '23 skidoo'

p.s. cars were sometimes referred to as 'heaps'

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I read the Wikipedia entry you linked to this article.  I'm trying to understand the significance of "23" specifically.  It's interesting.  It's kind of like in restaurant lingo, to "86" something means that the restaurant ran out.  "86 the special" means don't sell any more of the special.

In the same I Love Lucy episode I referenced in my post above, Ethel is dressed like a flapper and she says "Well, call me a taxi!"  Not exactly sure what this means, but I assumed it was in line with Lucy's asking if she were "the cat's pajamas" or "the bee's knees." 

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