Home - Top Row


Home - Bottom Row

Let's Panic: The Book!

Order your copy today!

How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

Home - Middle Row

Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Because Peter O’Toole isn’t mocked enough. | Main | A brief account of the festivities. »

Twenty-three skiddoo!

When Maggie first told me about her book, No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, I thought, that’s going to be a great resource--for someone else. For the lame-o who can’t come up with a single topic to post about. Not to put those losers down! But such a book—wonderful as it would undoubtedly be—would nonetheless not be of use to myself, the greatest creative mind of the 21st century.

As in most things, I have been proven wrong. It’s a goldmine of inspiration even for the veteran blogger who thinks she knows her way around these parts. In fact it may be even more useful for such a person, who might be feeling a tad blocked these days, who may be thinking, “I’ve been writing this damn thing for two and a half years and I’ve covered every topic under the sun. I DESERVE TO TELL THEM ABOUT MY LUNCH.”

(Leftover shepherd’s pie and a Fun-Sized Twix bar. See? Haven’t you gained something from knowing that?)

The topic I’ve chosen from Maggie’s book is #14, “Watch Your Language,” in which I am to list some archaic words or phrases I wish would come back into popular use. I have many of these, as I find living in the present highly distasteful. Here are a few:

Vo- dee-oh-do. Sometimes “Vo-dee-oh-do-do.” Either way, it’s a winner. This was used to great effect in the Little Rascals to describe some colorful and suspicious individuals. “They were a couple of vo-dee-oh-dos.” According to Google it was also used in "Laverne and Shirley" as a euphemism for sex, but no one wants to imagine either Laverne or Shirley in that way, so let’s go with the former useage.

Jackanapes and cock of the walk. Preferably used together. “He thinks he’s a real cock of the walk, but I say he’s nothing but a jackanapes.”

Conniptions. No one talks about anyone having conniptions anymore. That’s a shame. I myself make it a habit of having a conniption at least once a day, just to give someone the opportunity to use this glorious word.

…see? I believe everyone should end every statement with “see?” It’ll make you sound like a character in Double Indemnity. At the very least, you’ll sound like my Grandpa. Either way I will love you.

What olde-timey words or phrases would you like to come back? Place your requests here!

Reader Comments (178)

Oh! I love this thread! Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Federal case ("Awww, don't make a federal case about it!")2) Bull honky3) Bully for you!4) Neato burrito5) Cool beans6) Knee high to a grasshopper7) Dollars to Donuts8) Gams/Getaway sticks (legs)9) Heavens to Betsy10) Farmer in the Dell! (my mom used to say that when she was mad)11) Just Like Downtown! (another expression from mom when she saw something fancy)
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHalo Askew
Words I'd love to make a comeback:

-Dapper-Groovy-To The Nines-Hot To Trot-Shady (as in not on the up and up)
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commentergina
Good lord and butter! This is often said when my kid is being a pill.
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersteph
My grandmother is 96 years old and she is full of antiquated sayings that aren't always so much charming as racist. But some that are suitable for repetition are:

Swish: adjective meaning swanky, hip, good-looking (Wow, that dress looks SWISH on you!) or even gay (I think he might be a little swish).

Feed the kitty: phrase meaning put coins in the parking meter.

Bring me some heat!: phrase that I originally thought spoke to Grandma's libido, but in reality means to provide a little warm coffee to the cup to heat it up. Pfeh.
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJill

Bloody hell

October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmie
Divan. I want a divan.

Also: "minx." Very popular in romance novels and subsets thereof, but despite that fact I think it's incredibly sexy.

And I like engaging in colloquies and rather than conversations, especially when it's a colloquy I feel to be beneath me.

Describing something as being "of the first water" is a lapidary reference: the comination of color and clarity in a diamond was called the water. Being of the first water was to be of the highest quality in terms of clarity and purity of color, which makes me worry about the water supply of centuries past.

I'll second skulduggery! I like spelling it with one "l" to make things as difficult and counterintuitive as possible.

I am saving this post and all its comments to my hard drive for easy reference. I shall try to work in one ridiculously outdated word or slang phrase per day.

October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterThe Scarlet Pervygirl
Well, let's see, where to begin. Gadzooks and Jeepers are two of my personal favorites. I am also partial to "Holy Guacamole" which no one seems to use anymore. I'm very proud of a phrase that I invented as a young child: HOT PIZZA! This is used to subscribe anything that is fundamentally good, which HOT PIZZA clearly is.
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDiapers To Donuts Dad

"Dear" meaning expensive

October 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjozet
Oh, I love this thread...especially because it makes me feel less weird for using so many of these words.

Fiddlesticks"Get the stink out of your britches"Ails, as in "What ails you?"Lord love a duck

I first saw that last one in the P.G. Wodehouse books, and I was thrilled when I heard someone use it for real.
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjen
'Ornery' is one of my favorite words ever; my Grandpa uses it all the time. Adj for someone being cantankerous(!) or stubborn or just damn fool-headed. :) I just looked it up and apparently it is an alteration of ordinary, so I guess acting 'common'? Love it!

Strumpet is a fabulous wordEar bobs or bob-arettes for earringsGrippers for underwear

Great post idea!
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLindy
When did conniption die? People in my family use the phrase conniption fit on a regular basis. I had no idea we were so behind the times...

People should say the word "affrighted" It means exactly what is sounds like and it is oh-so-fun to say.
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermegan
Well, I'll go to the foot of our stairs. And if you don't behave, I'll get agannoyed.
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichard
My mom and I don't have conniptions, we have apoplectic fits. Yay, apoplexy!

I used the term "foundation garments" today, and my co-worker had no idea what I was talking about. So sad. I hate the words "bra" and "panties." (Panties--EW!) And these days, I need a girdle, but that word is yucky to say, unlike the Victorian and fabulous "foundation garments."

Up with foundation garments!
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commentergrudge girl
p.s. I always thought having the vapors meant that one was, um, plagued with flatulence. Did I make that up?
October 17, 2006 | Unregistered Commentergrudge girl
I miss a word from the early 90's. . .


As in,

"I forgot to pay the phonebill. . .sike!"

(It's like just kidding)

October 17, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMiami
I am really enjoying this wicked cool mosey down memory lane. Some of these phrases still sound pretty gnarly to me. All in all, totally awesome post.
October 18, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLisa in OK
I don't think it's an archaic phrase, but I love the Aussies' phrase "pear shaped" for something gone wrong. "Stella's wallet got nicked and now her holiday's gone pear shaped."
October 18, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermoi
My Mom says sanrich. "now come in and i'll make you a sanrich". Can't figure out why she says it, but I love her for it.I use groovy quite a bit. I also enjoy swell and jeepers. The phrase, "I bout flipped...." is a goodie as well.
October 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBen
Yes, I like gallivanting! And, discombobulated. My husband says gals, trousers, and pedal bike. We both call people miscreants and n'er-do-wells.
October 19, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersunshineinmn
Miami, I think that was to be spelled "psych!" as in "psyching someone out" or using psychological ploys. And my nominee is "How's by you?" as a greeting.
October 20, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRita

we used that (and "conniption-fit") a lot growing up in Brooklyn.

October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel Kallman
Just found this through Out Of Character, but my suggestions would be nifty, swell, groovy, hinky, keen, and I like to use Big Hairy Cat fit rather than conniption. It makes everyone look askance at me. I also like to use "For the love of Pete!" however I don't know if Pete's wife understands how many things have been done for the love of Pete.
October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTom

October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJD
"Fetching," as in "You look absolutely fetching tonight."

My mother used to say, "Oh my cow in a rowboat," or just "Oh my cow!" when a swear word wasn't feasible.

October 22, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJim
I know I'm a little late to comment on this, but I'm behind in my blog reading.

I've always loved the phrase "my dogs are barking" when talking about my feet being sore or tired.

Try to fit it in whenever possible.
October 23, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCarolynne

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>