Tuesday, May 25, 2021

No Slang Like Old Slang, Unless It's New...Part Five!

We haven’t played this game in awhile, so let’s have another round of No Slang Like Old Slang…Unless it’s New, the Nineteenteen game show where you have to identify whether a word or turn of phrase was used in the 19th century, or has a later (20th century) origin. I’ll post the answers in the comment column...in the meanwhile, happy guessing!!

1. Elbow room (Sufficient space to act in): My clumsy cousin Fred avoids our town’s assembly rooms, saying that he never feels he has enough elbow room there…for which the rest of our town is quietly grateful.

2. Down in the Dumps (low-spirited, melancholy): Amelia has been down in the dumps ever since Captain Toploft failed to show up for the dance he made her promise to save for him.

3. Look down one’s nose (to regard with a feeling of superiority): As he is known to look down his nose at any girl who isn’t at least a viscount’s daughter, she should probably not be surprised.

4. Tight (drunk): But my brother said that the captain has an unfortunate tendency to get tight before most assemblies, so she likely had a lucky escape.

5. In clink or in the clink (in prison): As it turns out, Captain Toploft and three other friends spent the night of the assembly in clink for public drunkenness.

6. Blot one’s copybook (disgrace one’s self): Papa said that if he continues to blot his copybook in such a fashion, he’ll have to resign his commission.

7. Shortchange (to cheat someone by giving them incorrect change or treat unfairly by withholding something of value): That dreadful Mrs. Pinche at the sweet shop shortchanged my little brother when he went there to spend his birthday money.

8. Conniption (a fit of rage or hysterics):  As he had a conniption right in front of her shop just as the mayor was walking past, I doubt she’ll do it again.


Marissa Doyle said...

1. Elbow room: Old! It’s there in the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue.
2. Down in the dumps: Old! Another entry from the 1811 Dictionary.
3. Look down one’s nose: New! From 1921.
4. Tight: Old! From around 1840, though the practice predates that. 😉
5. In clink: Old! Another entry in the 1811 Dictionary…and dates as far back as the 16th century.
6. Blot one’s Copybook: New! Ca. 1935, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
7. Shortchange: New! First usage appears to be 1903 (for the incorrect change definition), according to Merriam-Webster.
8. Conniption: Old! American slang dating to 1833.

QNPoohBear said...

Always interesting to read! I thought "blot one's copybook" was old slang! It's in all the novels! I also guessed elbow room was newer because people didn't wear short sleeves or discuss elbows in the 19th-century. The others I guessed correctly.

Marissa Doyle said...

It never fails to amuse/astonish me how some phrases which sound very modern are not, and others that sound old are really quite recent. Glad you enjoyed it.