Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What We Call Things

In a recent visit with a friend the conversation turned to smoking. Something neither of us ever did. I’m such a goody two shoes I never even tried it. But while we were talking I remembered something my mother (who smoked for 50+ years), told me. As a toddler I couldn’t say cigarettes so I called them ciggy socks. I also called pancakes panny cakes. My friend Karen, of German heritage, couldn’t pronounce spaetzle  (delicate little dumplings) when she was small so she called them nefflies. Don't you love it?

I’ve also heard friends, old, new, and long gone pronounce common words in interesting ways. When we lived in our first apartment, in an old farm house, another renter fully admitted she knew how the word breakfast should be pronounced, but it came out of her mouth as brefcust. Another friend from the same era said mayonnaise as mam-aise. And yet another puts the “L” in salmon. She thinks if the “L” is there it should be pronounced. I kind of agree with her. What’s  up with those silent letters anyway?

On another level I’ve always loved the old names for some of the maladies humans have dealt with over the centuries. Like these . . .

Piles – hemorrhoids (think about it)
Consumption – tuberculosis
Rhumatiz – arthritis
Dropsy – edema (bet you didn’t know that one)
Touched in the head – gosh, this could be so many things

And if you’re of British heritage you might say someone has a “dicky heart” which means the thing can’t be trusted so you better opt out of The Queens Quarter Mile Pub Run this coming Saturday. Even if the prize is a couple of free pints and a laurel wreath at the Duck and Chicken right after. Seriously, dude, opt out. 

So – what charming words did  you come up with when you were – say – three? Or what interesting words and phrases did the old folks use to describe the world they lived in? Go back a hundred years or so.

This should be interesting. 

Image: Free Digital Photos


  1. I have a feverish 8-year-old home from school today. I had debated about slipping out with him and going to Starbucks, macchiato for Mama, hot chocolate for him. But he said he wasn't sure about the hot chocolate because he "didn't want to get so warm that he'd get 'hot flushes.'" LOL.

    No menopausal woman wants that, either. :D

    1. Oh, ain't it the truth! Hope Little is better soon!

  2. Jennifer Brown BanksMarch 15, 2015 at 6:01 AM

    ...Interesting thoughts, here. Something to mull over, indeed. :-)

    1. The things that whirl around in a writer's head, huh? Happy mulling!