Old American English

A collection of American English which has fallen out of modern parlance or which has declined in usage. The words each have their definition provided along with the etymology of the word if it is available. In the future these words will be grouped into categories for ease of use.

Bean counter – a bureaucrat too concerned with budgets Ex: Those bean counters in city hall aren’t worth a lick of salt.

Booze – alcohol Ex: They drink too much booze.

Camaraderie – good friendship between people Ex: Soldiers often have a strong camaraderie which stretches beyond service.

Darn tootin’ – to agree with something that someone has said, to emphasize an idea. Ex: I think we should make a car ourselves. Darn tootin’!

Davenport – sofa Ex: Feel free to sit on the davenport. Etymology: A. H. Davenport and Company, producers of a series of popular sofas which led to the word “davenport” being used as a catch-all for sofas.

Heavens to betsy – a phrase conveying surprise Ex: The house exploded, heavens to betsy!

Icebox – a cabinet or cupboard containing blocks of ice used to chill food stored inside Ex: Please fetch some custard from the icebox.

Jalopy – an old car in disrepair Ex: Get the 30’s jalopy out of the garage.

Kibitz (noun-Kibitzer) – advice offered by spectators without solicitation Ex: The kibitzers are yelling for number 1! Etymology: Yiddish

Miscreant – someone who is badly behaved or commits crimes Ex: Get those miscreants out of my house!

Mixtape – a compilation of different music from different sources put onto 1 cassette tape Ex: It’s a great mixtape! It has your favorites, all the hits, a few live tracks and a very nice Happy Birthday collab with 10 artists.

Mosey – to move in a relaxed manner Ex: I’ll mosey on over to the buffet.

Ne’er-do-well – a person who is seen as worthless Ex: These ne’er-do-wells are ruining our schools.

Newfangled – something new Ex: She keeps talking on that newfangled phone she got last week!

Pack rat – a person who keeps things which seem worthless Ex: The accountant was a real pack rat, keeping scrap paper and used tissues.

Petticoat – a long skirt with or without an upper portion covering the chest and waist which is worn under clothing although not an undergarment and usually visible. There are a large variety of sizes and styles. Ex: The roses and lavender on her petticoat were stunning in comparison to the petticoats of the other ladies. Etymology: the translation of the original English version means small coat

Pish posh – an expression to display that something is ridiculous Ex: I heard that our neighbor is going to be in the Olympics. Oh pish posh, he couldn’t win a friendly game of football!

Put up your dukes – get ready to fight, dukes refers to fists Ex: I have had enough, put up your dukes!

Skedaddle – run or get away quickly Ex: After I broke the window I had to skedaddle or else I’d have been in trouble.

Tallywhacker – penis Ex: This is a diagram of a tallywhacker.

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