Posts Tagged ‘Languages’

Anyone who knows us, knows that we are collectors.  And we don’t collect new things, only old things.  Our home is filled with vintage furniture, turn-of-the-century games, antique books, collectibles from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  Sometimes I think we are recreating our childhood, sometimes I think we are archiving our generation, sometimes I think we are frustrated dealers.   But most of the time when I look around the apartment I see beautifully designed objects, relics of my youth, and also some obsolete objects which I believe makes them all that more collectible.  Luckily this concept pertains to “smalls” as they are known in the trade.  As I said, we collect things that I see on the website Old Dusty Things.  In fact I think we could be their poster child.

I don’t want to collect obsolete new things, I’ll leave that to  Gen X and Y.   I guess they might collect a Nokia cell phone from 20 years ago  or a 1st generation Kindle,  an early MAC. and a Pac Man game cartridge.  I’ve done a couple of blogs about words and phrases that have fallen from our vocabulary or rather not our vocabulary but their vocabulary.  I hear these phrases in old movies and I remember homilies my mother used to say to me.  They’re gone really, and won’t return.

This blog  came about when my husband showed me something he had squirreled away someplace and he asked me if I knew what it was.  How silly, of course I know what it is but do you?

More than a pencil

More than a pencil

I would love to hear from my readers;  what do you think this is?  If you are over the age of 55, you probably know so don’t post the answer right away.  I do have some Generation X and Y followers, we want to hear from you!

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“Heebie Jeebies” by Louis Armstrong and his Ho...

Image via Wikipedia

One day I said to Peter, “that gives me the Heebie-Jeebies” and he looked at me like I was speaking in tongues.  I couldn’t believe he had never heard the phrase before.  It’s a great phrase and used in the right context the way it rolls off your tongue, it just conveys its meaning.

Heebie-Jeebies means a feeling of anxiety, apprehension or illness. And this type of two-word phrase is known as a Rhyming Reduplication. It is similar to other phrases such as Hocus-Pocus and Mumbo-Jumbo are similar with a bit of the jitters thrown in.

Heebie and Jeebie  as separate words don’t mean anything.  However, in the 1920’s, a bunch of  new nonsense rhyming pairs became popular in the United States.  There was the Bee’s Knees, Okey-Dokey and Zig-Zag.

The term is widely attributed to William Morgan “Billy” de Beck. The first citation of it in print is certainly in a 1923 cartoon of his, in the 26th October edition of the New York American:

You can find Rhyming Reduplications in our everyday language in use starting in the nursery with phrases like Choo-ChooWee-Wee and then as adults there’s Hanky-Panky – today we have Bling-Bling, Boob-Tube and Hip-Hop. The rhyming and reduplication of words dates back to the 14th Century with Riff-Raff and about a thousand years ago Willy-Nilly appeared.

Once you start thinking about these crazy little phrases, you’ll be coming up with your own list.  Here’s a head start:













Isn’t this fun?





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