Oct 31, 2011

Old Timey Word of the Week

This week's Old Timey word is "Bucket."  My first thought when I hear the word bucket is something like this...

But, the use of the word I am thinking of is referring to something like this...

Or, something like this...

In the 1920's it was common to refer to a car as a "jalopy" or a "bucket."  These terms usually referred to a lower priced model car that was worn out.  You would not have called a Rolls Royce or a Cadillac a bucket.  Over the years, the term has stayed pretty much the same.  When someone calls their car a bucket, it usually means it is a cheap old car in poor condition. 

Researching these terms has revealed to me that gangsters of the 20s and 30s used a lot of great terms that were adopted by the Hip-Hop and Rap artists of the 1990s.  I can think of more that one time where I have heard Ice Cube proclaim that he was going to "Jump in the bucket!"

Oct 18, 2011

Old Timey Word of the Week

My dad used to say that it was time to "deep six" something when it was time to throw it away.  "Hey are you going to finish that sandwich?" I'd ask.  "No. Go ahead and deep 6 it."

Not to be confused with the G.I. Joe character, Deep 6,

or the band (of which there only seems to be five),

the phrase originates from nautical roots.  It referred to the depth of water measured in fathoms.  Six fathoms, or 36 feet, referred to the depth at which a lost item would be too difficult to retrieve from underwater.  This was, of course, before advances in diving equipment would have made 36 feet an easy depth to work in.

Over the years, the phrase evolved into a saying used for getting rid of something.  In "gangster" terminology, to deep 6 someone was to kill them. 

James Cagney (courtesy hollywoodgoldenera.com)
Phrases like deep 6 make our language more colorful and descriptive.  It adds "depth" to our communication.

Oct 12, 2011

Old Timey Word of the Week

A close cousin to shenanigans, hijinks, and ballyhoo, tomfoolery is this week's old timey word.  The other day, my wife looked at me and a friend and said, "oh, you guys and your hijinks!"  It immediately struck me a as a great old timey word and it got me thinking about tomfoolery and ballyhoo.  Watch the first 20 seconds of this scene from "Good Will Hunting" (1997):

Tomfoolery's first documented use was 1812.  The dictionary definition is "playful or foolish behavior."  Apparently, there was a man named Thom Foole who was described as "mentally deficient."  His name became an adjective for goofy behavior.  As usual, here are some images I discovered while researching. 

Hi Jinks -- Salt Lake City, Utah


Oct 6, 2011

Old Timey Word of the Week

Ever given or received The High Hat?  I am not talking about part of a drum kit.  This week's old timey word refers to treating someone in a snobby or condescending manner.  When someone ignores you or generally snubs you, you have just received the "high hat."  I first heard this term used by comedian Artie Lang.

Artie Lang
Artie was telling a story about fellow comedian David Cross. 

David Cross

Apparently, Artie had introduced himself to David for the first time and received a very cold response.  Artie said that David had given him "the high hat."  A little research shed some light on the origins of the phrase.  It seems that it originally referred to someone from the upper class who may wear a tall hat and look down his nose at the lower class.

As usual, I found some great images while searching.