When you get to be a certain age, as I have, you may find that many words that you regularly heard and used in your youth seem to have faded from contemporary vernacular.
The word I selected for today’s One-Word Challenge, “skedaddle,” is one such word. I mean seriously, have you ever told anyone to skedaddle? Have you even heard anyone else use that word since, say, 1960?
Skedaddle means to flee or run away hurriedly, similar to another old phrase rarely heard today, “hightail it,” which means to hurry, rush, or scamper. And speaking about scamper, another word you don’t hear that often these days, that also means to run or go hastily or quickly.
Apparently there are quite a few words that you rarely hear anymore that essentially mean nonsense. Words like “claptrap,” “tommyrot,” “fiddle-faddle,” “balderdash,” and “piffle,” which means trivial nonsense, as if there is such a thing as consequential nonsense. And when someone was speaking nonsense or was full of shit, they were said to be “horsefeathers,” which also happens to be the title of a very funny Marx Brothers movie.
Monkeyshines was a term for pranks or mischief. Seriously, monkeyshines.
Do remember actors like Humphrey Bogart referring to classy, beautiful women as “dames”? Other interesting words describing women were “fishwife,” a coarse-mannered, vulgar-tongued woman, “tart,” a prostitute or promiscuous woman, and a “floozy,” a woman of ill-repute.
Men of dubious character used to be referred to as “scalawags,” “scamps,” or “rascals.” Unprincipled men were referred to as scoundrels, and criminally-inclined men were called “hoodlums,” “hooligans,” or “ruffians.”
“Rascal” can also be the name for a mischievous kid, and a young and inexperienced person considered to be presumptuous or overconfident used to be called a “whippersnapper.”
And with all that said, I think it’s time for me to hop into my jalopy and head over to the old flophouse.
Can you think of other now-out-of-fashion words you’d like to share?