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Thread: Please pass the 'oley'... (archaic language)

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Please pass the 'oley'... (archaic language)

    My grandparents on both sides of the family used to refer to margarine as "oley". I didn't know why until my father explained that back when they first introduced margarine it was named "oleomargarine" or "oleo". Oleo was originally a white-ish paste and a frightened dairy lobby got a bill passed that required manufacturers to include the yellow die seperately to be mixed in by the consumer so that 1. consumers would KNOW they weren't buying real butter and 2. make it look disgusting so folks wouldn't buy it to begin with. Apparently, the law changed afterwards.



    I guess my grandparents never got the memo 50 years ago that said it was supposed to be called 'margarine' (perhaps just as strange is the fact that we say 'pass the butter' at Chez Maister regardless of whether one is referring to butter or margarine).

    My grandfather also used to refer to a couch as a 'davenport' and my great grandmother used to refer to the living room as the 'parlor'. Perhaps these terms are still in common usage and are simply regional variants but my initial impression is that the terms have fallen into disuse (at least in the midwest).

    I wonder what archaic terms I am guilty of using thanks to changing technology and times? It occurs to me that I referred to a word file saved on a 'floppy disk' the other day. They probably don't even manufacture those 5" flexible disks anymore.
    Do/did your grandparents ever use archaic vocabulary?

    Other than the previous example I'm sure I never use any archaic language. Well, I'm off to send a wire to the Prussian ambassador in Siam....
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Wisconsin once prohibited the retail sales of that stuff, resulting in many residents makeing 'oleo-runs' to surrounding states, just like during the 18th Amendment days.

    My late father always referred to the antenna of a TV or radio as an 'aerial'. He said that and not realizing what he meant I would sometimes respond with 'hunh'?

    Also, tell someone that when he/she keeps saying the same thing over and over that he/she "sounds like a broken record".

    Speaking of floppies, I'm constantly surprized to see 90 mm floppies still available in office supply Big-Boxes. I haven't seen the flexible 120 mm ones in years, though. With the increasing capacity and falling prices of flash-memory USB 'thumb' drives (now up to 4Gb for about $80, last I saw), I am fully expecting 'Zip' disks to disappear within the next couple of years, too.

    How many out there even know what a 'fifth' is? It is the old standard sized liquor bottle in the USA, supplanted by the 750 mL bottle in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It was 1/5 of an old USA gallon.

    How many Canadians know what a C$1 banknote looked like or what they were like to use? Ditto C$2 notes for the even younger Canadians.

    Mike

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    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
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    My grandparents used a lot of terms you don't hear much today - a few that come to mind:
    • "Valise" for a suitcase
    • "Dungarees" for jeans
    • A refrigerator was always a "frigidaire," no matter what the brand

    Once in awhile my grandmother would slip and use "victrola" for a record player -- er, a stereo system (guess my own old age is showing there!)

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    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    My dad still calls every soda "tonic."

    That's the lone one I can think of.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

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    Cyburbian Planderella's avatar
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    My mother still calls cd's "albums," or better yet, "tapes."
    "A witty woman is a treasure, a witty beauty is a power!"

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    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Speaking of oleo... I was baking a cake using one of my mom's old recipes. It called for oleo and I had no clue what that was. My wife didn't know either, so I had to call my mom.

    That recipe now has a strikethrough that says "butter/margarine".

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Does anyone ever announce that they are going to "dial" someone up on the telephone? Man, I miss those good old substantial-feeling Western Electric rotary phones one used back when telephone services were provided by "The" phone company!
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Suburb Repairman View post
    Speaking of oleo... I was baking a cake using one of my mom's old recipes. It called for oleo and I had no clue what that was. My wife didn't know either, so I had to call my mom.

    That recipe now has a strikethrough that says "butter/margarine".
    I also anticipate that as time passes, younger USAians will be becoming much more familiar with such measures as grams, liters, etc and much less familiar with the old non-metric ones. Product packages are steadily becoming more and more 'rational' metric and with the increasing globalization of markets, import/export efficiencies, etc, along with the forthcoming EU metric directive (after 2010, it will be verboten to sell a product at retail in the EU if it has any non-metric measures in its size declaration), we will get to the point where our descendants will no longer be able to prepare recipes unless the quantities are given in those units. "Gramma, what's a 'cup'?" "Gramma, what's a 'teaspoon'?" (etc.)

    Mike

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    Cyburbian Fat Cat's avatar
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    Fat Cat

    When I was working for a consulting firm, we had a number of clients in the "hinterlands" and I would hear phrases similiar to these. The one that threw me was "ice box". Since the area had three seasons- winter, July and August. (this is what the locals told me) a lot of visions went through my mind as to what an "ice box" could be. This terminology went back to when they chopped ice from the frozen lakes and stored the ice in ice house and then put the ice in "ice boxes" in the summer to keep food and drink cold. Then I found out that this is now the refrigerator, but still refered to as the "ice box". I also listened to the obituaries on the local radion station. There were no local news papers. Not much else to do when I wasn't working. This was within the last ten years

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    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    How many out there even know what a 'fifth' is? It is the old standard sized liquor bottle in the USA, supplanted by the 750 mL bottle in the late 1970s/early 1980s. It was 1/5 of an old USA gallon.
    I say fifth, but never knew why it was called that.

    I don't use these words unless trying to be a dork:
    davenport or sofa
    blouse
    trousers
    sneakers
    There's more, just can't think of them right now.

  11. #11
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    My grandparents on both sides of the family used to refer to margarine as "oley".
    My parents call it "oleo." Maybe because of their age, and possibly because they're Buffalonians, they call many products and businesses by their old or original names.

    DVD = "tape"
    Bus fare, train fare = "carfare"
    Any store or restaurant name = the name that was used at that location 30+ years ago.
    Nightclub = "casino" (In the 1940s, Buffalo had tens of prominent bars and nightclubs that were named "[Something] Casino")

    Ask someone over 70 what a "safety" is.

    BTW, I've got several old Western Electric phones at home, including a couple of dial phones. Love 'em.

    Metric system: learned it in elementary school instead of traditional English units. When talking with Canadians, I use metric units; they're usually shocked to hear them come out of the mouth of an American. I find that in common speech, Canadians use metric for temperature, both metric and English units for volume, and mostly English for distance and area that involve real estate and personal measurements.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    I love my granpa so much. God bless him he's going to be 89 next year.

    He uses the phrase "It's good for what ails you" in reference to anything I wouldn't eat as a kid.

    I have heard a few references to Caster Oil in the past.

    He still pumps the gas pedal before starting the car, even though it has fuel injection.
    @GigCityPlanner

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Jen's avatar
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    I still call the plastic butter substitute, oleo.

    Go pick out some penny candies, those single candies on the bottom shelf? They are now 10 & 25 cents

    and we have an icebox, but it doesnt need defrosting.

    crikey's, we dial the phone too. None uf us r txtng yet.


  14. #14
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mgk920 View post
    I also anticipate that as time passes, younger USAians will be becoming much more familiar with such measures as grams, liters, etc and much less familiar with the old non-metric ones. Product packages are steadily becoming more and more 'rational' metric and with the increasing globalization of markets, import/export efficiencies, etc, along with the forthcoming EU metric directive (after 2010, it will be verboten to sell a product at retail in the EU if it has any non-metric measures in its size declaration), we will get to the point where our descendants will no longer be able to prepare recipes unless the quantities are given in those units. "Gramma, what's a 'cup'?" "Gramma, what's a 'teaspoon'?" (etc.)

    Mike
    It's no secret that we Americans resist adopting the metric system. But we all know that this resistance to change is quite rational. Why, just the other day I wrote a paper on this very topic. It included a lengthy paragraph, nearly 29 barleycorns long, about how we would be abandoning our unique heritage by adopting the metric system. I grew so upset while writing the paper that I needed 20 drachms of whiskey to calm my nerves. Unfortunately I had no booze around and the nearest liquor store was over 1800 rods away. Even though I could stand to lose a stone or two, I ended up driving the distance.
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Unfortunately I had no booze around and the nearest liquor store was over 1800 rods away.
    The mennonites I worked with used chains and rods to measure everything.

    The other liquor measurement i always wonder about is a "mickey". Then we have 26'ers.


    I say "going to the show" to mean the movies, people find it odd.
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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    I have a great uncle who is in his 90s. He uses the term "trading" instead of shopping, as in "What grocery do you do your trading at?" I'm sure it comes from the time period where people actually traded things like butter, eggs, meat and other stuff they raised for items found in town at the store.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by NHPlanner View post
    My dad still calls every soda "tonic."

    That's the lone one I can think of.
    Don't you mean POP???? It's only Soda along the East Coast.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I don't think I ever met any of my grandparents. But, fortunately for you, my dad is old enough be my grandfather, so I knew all kinds of archaic crap growing up.
    Two examples which come readily to mind:

    In high school, I was the only one in my advanced placement English class full of brainiacs who knew what "husbandry" was -- and that it wasn't about marriage. (duh!)

    I got my arse (note the archaic word for @ss) chewed once for mispronouncing "strap". It is pronounced strop when you are referring to the long piece of leather that barber's sharpen their straight edge razors on. (GET IT RIGHT, GIRL! )

  19. #19
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Pop v Soda

    Quote Originally posted by ssnyderjr View post
    Don't you mean POP???? It's only Soda along the East Coast.
    Ah, 'tis a topic we've enjoyed discussing at length.
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showt...light=pop+soda

    Related to this point, however, I wonder if anyone has ordered a 'sasparilla' down at the drug store lately?

    I once worked at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store and an elderly fellow referred to me as a 'soda jerk' (I've never heard the first word in connection with a description of myself)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  20. #20
    "Party Line" -- nope, kiddos, it doesn't refer to politics or frats/sororities
    "settee"
    "hassey" or "hassock"
    "from away" - May be extremely regional, not sure
    "raise (lower) the glass"
    Je suis Charlie

  21. #21
    Cyburbian cch's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post

    I once worked at a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store and an elderly fellow referred to me as a 'soda jerk' (I've never heard the first word in connection with a description of myself)
    Hey, I worked at Baskin-Robbins too, in high school.

    My grandma calls the couch a davenport, and calls her laundry room the utility room, which always confused me when I was little. My husband and his entire family call vacuums "sweepers", which drives me crazy, cause to me a sweeper is an entirely different thing, that isn't motorized.

  22. #22
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by cch View post
    ...cause to me a sweeper is an entirely different thing, that isn't motorized.
    No...that's a broom.

    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    Does anyone ever announce that they are going to "dial" someone up on the telephone? Man, I miss those good old substantial-feeling Western Electric rotary phones one used back when telephone services were provided by "The" phone company!
    I was just talking about this over the weekend with someone - cosmic.

    We had one of these ten pound phones with the 4 prong plug until I was in high school. I remember dialing my father's office as a kid which was all 8s and 0s. There was nothing more frustrating than your finger slipping while dialing that last 0...

    So, yeah, "dialing" a phone number. Also thought about "don't touch that dial" or "turning the channel" on the TV - dial? turn what now?. I still call CDs albums. I talk about "writing" an e-mail.

    My gradnparents used to talk of the "davenport" or the "chaise" when referring to the sofa and "going to the pictures" to see a movie. Corner stores were generically called the "five and dime"
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  24. #24
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    to further the Mr. Burns speak..

    "am i too late for the 3:30 auto-gyro?"
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian donk's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker View post
    "
    "from away" - May be extremely regional, not sure
    it is definitely a maritime/east coast thing
    Too lazy to beat myself up for being to lazy to beat myself up for being too lazy to... well you get the point....

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