RIP in Advance: Outdated Expressions that Haven’t Died Yet, But Need to Soon

Hard working middle class Canadian families come to the table with a laundry list of pocketbook issues when deciding how to cast their ballot.

That sentence is chock full of politician-speak clichés that nobody else ever says in any other context. Listen to the speeches, and you’ll hear that everyone running for office is ostensibly concerned about the average person’s “pocketbook.”

Nobody I know has ever met anybody who’s related to someone who carries anything they refer to as a pocketbook. We also don’t list our laundry. Could you just be real for a change, instead of speaking in the tired, dated idioms that you think are safe?

We all do it, of course. I was writing an article about unsuccessful job interviews for a career website I contribute to just last week. I originally titled the piece “Signs that you shouldn’t wait by the phone.” (Because, y’know, the employer isn’t going to call.)

But that expression just shows how outdated my idioms are, as well. Nobody waits by the phone anymore. We carry our phone with us wherever we go now. It’s always with us or right in our pocket.

It turns out that there are a number of phone-related expressions that have to go. We still talk about dialing a phone number – even though there hasn’t been a dial on phones for probably thirty years now.

Similarly, at the end of a conversation, we might refer to hanging up the phone. Nope, you don’t hang it up. That’s a retro phrase from when people would put the handset back in the cradle to end the call. Now, you just press ‘End’ and put your phone back in your pocket.

On the flip side, repeating myself too often is going to make me sound like a broken record.

Wait. What?

Oh, sorry. In the olden days when people used to listen to recordings on vinyl records, there was different content on either side of the disk. Side B was the flip side to side A, and so on the flip side became an expression for providing an alternate point of view.

A scratch in the record could make it skip, causing the needle to play the same piece of audio over and over again. Hence referring to someone repetitive as sounding like a broken record.

However, unless you are a hipster or 70 years old, you have probably had limited exposure to vinyl records.

When we’re streaming a movie or a TV show and you want to go back and rewatch a scene that you missed, there’s seems to be no other way to say it other than “rewind.” Of course, this is a holdout from the days of video cassettes where you would literally wind the tape backwards to play it again. Somehow, we got through DVDs and into digital streaming without finding a new way to say rewind. (Fast forward still works.)

When you copy someone other than the main recipient on an email, you CC them. That’s also pretty retro. CC stands for Carbon Copy. In the old days of written letters, people would put a piece of carbon paper, followed by another sheet of white paper under the one they are writing on in order to produce a ‘carbon copy’ of their correspondence. So, this predates computers, word processors, and photocopiers. Yet somehow, it’s still the term for including somebody on an email.

Speaking of word processors, I’m saving this article as I write by clicking on the floppy disk icon in the top corner of the screen. Do millennials even know what that symbol is supposed to be? (Author’s confession: I recently cleaned out my garage and finally threw out a box of floppy disks I have saved since university. It’s been at least 15 years since I had a computer that could read floppy disks.)

I have a savings account and a chequing account at my bank. I don’t write or even have cheques. It’s just called that. My paycheque goes into that account. My paycheque is also not a cheque. It’s just money that goes into my account. Actually, it’s not even money. It’s really just numbers that get added to the account balance – y’know, increasing the value of my pocketbook for the laundry list of expenses that I have.

We just say stuff.

Also: Seriously, why do we still measure cars in horsepower? Does that mean anything to people anymore. “Wow! Your car is as powerful as 150 horses! That’s a lot of horses.”

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