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Archaic Expressions in Films


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8 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

"Eye teeth" referred to your upper canine teeth. They were (are?) thought of as the most "important" teeth, as it's hard to tear into food without them. The upper canines vertically line up roughly with the eyes. They also have very long nerves, and when pulled or infected, their "pull" could be felt in the lower eyelids and eyes, and in more primitive times it was believed that those teeth were actually connected to the eyes. So saying that you'd trade your eye teeth for something meant that you thought that something was very valuable.

 

Well, certainly to vampires they are, anyway.

(...if you happen to believe in this sort of thing, of course)

 

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Well yeah, I knew claiming to want to trade your "eyeteeth" for something meant you thought whatever it was had value.  But was just wondering why those teeth were used in reference.  And I appreciate the information.  Thanks. :)

Sepiatone

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taking it on the lam or going on the lam, lam was an expression meaning flight.

In The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, J.E. Lighter defines the term as prison lingo for ''an act of running or flight, esp. a dash to escape from custody.'' In his 1886 ''30 Years a Detective,'' Allan Pinkerton, the first ''private eye,'' explains an operation of pickpockets: ''After he secures the wallet, he will utter the word 'lam!' This means to let the man go and to get out of the way as soon as possible.'' Lighter cites do a lam, make a lam and take a lam early in this century, finally emerging as the passive state of being on the lam.

Lighter speculates that it may be rooted in the dialect Scandinavian verb lam, as in the 1525 ''his wife sore lamming him,'' meaning ''to beat, pound or strike.'' Mark Twain used it twice: ''lamming the lady'' in 1855 and ''lam like all creation'' in 1865, both clearly meaning ''to beat.'' The suggested connection is that to avoid a feared lamming (related to slamming), one lams.

or....

The term came from 1682 when a group of Quakers were going to be arrested on their flight to America so instead of taking their group along a road they had the ship pick them up in the middle of the night to escape from the Red Coats and The Church of England. The ships name was the Lamb. This ship was part of the William Penn's flotilla. The group that was on the Lamb was headed by Cutberth Hayhurst, his wife and kids, his brother and wife and kids, and his sister and husband, along with a few others. These folks were my forefathers. There is plenty of info on the ship called the Lamb, their escape, and the Hayhurst's. Hence the term on The Lamb.

or possibly.... 

Some associate it with American gangsters during the depression and 1950's. Therefore i'm more inclined to go with Herman Lamm. Herman k. Lamm was a german born bankrobber who lived between 1890 and 1930. He is considered to be the father of modern day bank robbing.

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From the Popeye cartoon on TCM this morning- "Brother, you've cheated with the last cracker."

5d372b4a-6d90-4a58-8393-19df4605b2a4.jpg

I'm not sure what it's referring to but I think it means "this is the last straw."

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I would like someone to explain this odd issue people in the 20's and 30's had with their necks.  A comeback phrase might be "Oh go wash your own neck!"  I've asked all sorts of people what was the deal with people's necks in the 30's?  At this point I know no one is going to give me an answer, so I just save it for those special moments when whoever I'm with is pondering something else unanswerable.  No one knows!

I've seen it lots of times in old movies (Stage Door - the maid is on the phone and says it like "Oh yeah? Well...go wash your own neck!" and slams the phone down (not a direct quote).

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When you search for it, it comes up as a Japanese expression meaning to wash your own neck before you get your head chopped off. Maybe it's something similar to meaning coming clean before the consequences catch up to you. 

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Today, while watching MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON, GUY KIBBEE'S movie kids, trying to fill him in about Jeff Smith, has one of them tell him, "Aw, you're ALL WET Pop!"

Now, I know "wet behind the ears" refers to one being young and inexperienced, but this phrase refers to someone being MORE wet than just behind the ears, and with no age limit. And seeming to infer that someone is ignorant about vital information about someone or something.  So, why "all wet"?  Why not "Aw, You're BONE DRY Pop!"? 

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On 5/9/2019 at 1:13 PM, Dargo said:

"Adam's off ox"

The only time I've ever heard this expression, it was said by this guy in this one particular Christmas perennial...

sheldon-leonard-itsawonderfullife-4.jpg

I don't know the origin of this expression, but I certainly heard it when I was growing up in the South. By the way, a circuitous route, and by extension a long-winded story, is "going all the way around Robin Hood's barn."

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16 hours ago, lhowe said:

I would like someone to explain this odd issue people in the 20's and 30's had with their necks.  A comeback phrase might be "Oh go wash your own neck!"  I've asked all sorts of people what was the deal with people's necks in the 30's?  At this point I know no one is going to give me an answer, so I just save it for those special moments when whoever I'm with is pondering something else unanswerable.  No one knows!

Don't give up hope!  
"Neck" was basically the clean radio/movie term you could substitute for other humorous colloquial body parts you couldn't mention....Eg. "A horse's neck", "If this goes wrong, it's gonna be my neck!"

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cannon -- pickpocket probably a good enough one who works alone rather than as a team. "a loose cannon"

A Pickpocket’s Dictionary (some modern terms also)
Fanning: lightly touching a pocket to see if there’s money or a wallet in it
Cannon, Hitter: a pickpocket
Stall: a partner who distracts a victim
Vic, Mark: the victim of a pickpocket
Jostling Squad, Po-Po: the police
Players: fellow pickpockets.
Hide: a wallet
Looping: when a pickpocket goes from one end of a train line to another, transferring back and forth for hours

 

gunsel --  meant a younger gay man or boy who kept by an older man. Supposedly hobo slang, dating from 1914 and derives from a German phrase meaning "young goose" (through Yiddish). Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, in ''The Maltese Falcon.'' Spade in ref to young bodyguard Elisha Cook Jr. of Sydney Greenstreet, ''Keep that gunsel away from me.''

 

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He got off scot free - is from the Old Norse word “skot” meaning something to the effect of “payment” or “contribution”. In English, “scot” initially just meant “tax”. The phrase scot free was first used in reference to municipal tax levies.

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Now, just need help with being "IN Dutch"  meaning being in big trouble.  ;) 

And now too, wondering about food used in descriptive employ of someone's character.  Like someone who's also known as a "square Joe" is also considered a "good egg".  You often hear eggs being used to define a person.  

In MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON you often hear  JEAN ARTHUR's Saunders call Thomas Mitchell's "Diz" as an "egg".  :huh:

Sepiatone

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2 hours ago, Sepiatone said:

Now, just need help with being "IN Dutch"  meaning being in big trouble.  ;) 

And now too, wondering about food used in descriptive employ of someone's character.  Like someone who's also known as a "square Joe" is also considered a "good egg".  You often hear eggs being used to define a person.  

In MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON you often hear  JEAN ARTHUR's Saunders call Thomas Mitchell's "Diz" as an "egg".  :huh:

Sepiatone

Add egghead and egged on to those

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How about a "rotten" egg as in "last one in the pool is a rotten egg"?

(I bookmarked that phrase origin page-thanks!)

My favorite phrase was uttered by Betty Hutton in some movie, "He's got more nerve than a bad tooth!"

Betty-Hutton-2.jpg

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Couldn't locate the earlier thread, and had this to add....

 

Recently, while watching TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY on Movies! channel the other night, there's a scene in which both RUTH ROMAN and STEVE COCHRAN  are joining each other in a shot of booze.  Ruth raises her glass and says something I've heard in other old movies and in real life, but not for some time now.  And it always made me wonder.  She said;

"Here's mud in your eye!"  

!

Really???   MUD in my eye?!?   Well,  NA ZDROWIE to you TOO,  B!TCH!!  :angry:  Who would ever think that was a nice way to toast someone?  And if you wanna be nasty about it, don't stop at MUD!  Like.....

"Here's DUNG in your eye!"  or, "P I S S! "  ;  Glass, thorns, bleach, ammonia or anything else that isn't nice.  ;) 

How did THAT one come to be I wonder.....

Sepiatone

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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, so the MOVIES! channel shows LAUREL & HARDY shorts on Sat. mornings.  and this morning, in a couple of them, were some old and(fr as I know) long unused phrases.....

In HOG WILD('30)  the boys attempt to put up an "aerial" for Ollie's radio.  What was also referred to as an antenna, which became the more common term still used to this day.  However, I do remember when I was a kid, my GRANDMA used to refer to the TV "aerial".  ;)  

And in THICKER THAN WATER('35) an angry Mrs. Hardy( Daphne Pollard)  digs a large skillet out of the cupboard and walks into the living room where Stan asks her, "Are you going to cook something?"  and she replies, "Yes!"  and turning to Ollie says, "His GOOSE!"  

The reference to cooking or a cooked goose is one I've not heard for many a moon outside of some old "classic" movie......... 

cook (one's) goose

To interfere with, disrupt, or ruin something for someone.News of my involvement in this scandal will cook my goose for sure.
See also: cook, goose
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cook someone's goose

Fig. to damage or ruin someone. I cooked my own goose by not showing up on time. Sally cooked Bob'sgoose for treating her the way he did.
See also: cook, goose
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

cook (one's) goose

 Slang
To ruin one's chances: The speeding ticket cooked his goose with his father. Her goose was cooked when she was caught cheating on the test.
 
Sepiatone
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Not an expression but interesting anyway. Watching Pickup On South Street notice that Thelma Ritter wets her pencil every time she writes a name down. Any body know why? Did pencils have to be I guess you could call it "Charged" with saliva at one time to get them to write better? 

And here is a good risque expression from the same film;

Skip: Hows the whip?                                                                                                                                      Cop: Always in the pink.

My my what they could put over on the square johns.....

 

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Anyone else notice(if they were watching...) on BROTHER ORCHID the other day, EDWARD G. ROBINSON's character told DONALD CRISP's "Brother Superior" that.....

"I've been giving this place the DOUBLE O.... "  which was  a way of saying he'd been looking closely at it.  My guess is that a "double O" indicates his eyes were wide open....?   

Sepiatone

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On 6/16/2019 at 10:32 AM, cigarjoe said:

Not an expression but interesting anyway. Watching Pickup On South Street notice that Thelma Ritter wets her pencil every time she writes a name down. Any body know why? Did pencils have to be I guess you could call it "Charged" with saliva at one time to get them to write better? 

And here is a good risque expression from the same film;

Skip: Hows the whip?                                                                                                                                      Cop: Always in the pink.

My my what they could put over on the square johns.....

Yeah, I too wonder why people lick the pencil lead? Licking a finger before turning the page makes some sense, but the pencil? Good catch.

Your second one, though-wow.

My grandmother had Alzheimers when I moved here to take care of her. She LOVED The Simpsons and Futurama and laughed whenever Bender came on. I asked why and she said "because his name". ??

She then explained "Bender" meant "a drunk". ??  "You know, an ELBOW bender!" and gestured bending her elbow to bring a glass to her mouth. First time I ever heard that.

(our corner bar is called Tip A Few-love that name!)

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4 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

My grandmother had Alzheimers when I moved here to take care of her. She LOVED The Simpsons and Futurama and laughed whenever Bender came on. I asked why and she said "because his name". ??

She then explained "Bender" meant "a drunk". ??  "You know, an ELBOW bender!" and gestured bending her elbow to bring a glass to her mouth. First time I ever heard that.

I've heard the expression "going on a bender" for being drunk, now I know where that came from, thanks.

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19 hours ago, cigarjoe said:

I've heard the expression "going on a bender" for being drunk, now I know where that came from, thanks.

Yup. I learned a lot from my grandmother who was a true flapper back in her wild years... fascinating tales of speakeasys, bathtub booze, rolling your stockings, etc. She left out the sex & drug stories, though.

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On 6/16/2019 at 9:32 AM, cigarjoe said:

Not an expression but interesting anyway. Watching Pickup On South Street notice that Thelma Ritter wets her pencil every time she writes a name down. Any body know why? Did pencils have to be I guess you could call it "Charged" with saliva at one time to get them to write better? 

Pencil leads are a mixture of graphite and a binder. The clay used as a binder in cheap pencils would dry when exposed to the air. This meant that the first line would be as if you are trying to write with a brick. It would not mark well or it would be crumbly and might fall off the paper. Licking the end caused the particles of clay to separate and go into suspension so that they would come off the point with ease and carry the graphite particles with them.

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