In the last quarterly update to the Oxford English Dictionary, more than 900 new words were added (and, thus, 900-plus ways to modernize your vocabulary). And with every new word that enters the cultural lexicon, another is bound to fall by the wayside. (Yes, that's why you're unlikely to hear complaints about “whippersnappers” and “courting” practices among today's courting young whippersnappers.) So, before you bewilder your younger friends and coworkers by trotting out a barrage of woefully antiquated terms, ditch these outdated words that will instantly age you. And for some terms you should use, check out these 30 Latin Phrases So Genius You'll Sound Like a Master Orator.
While you may hear this used by your younger friends in jest when someone’s doing something particularly unsophisticated, referring to something as “classy” in earnest only makes you sound older. Your grandmother may call wearing a string of pearls a “classy look,” but you rarely hear billionaires boasting about their “classy” 17th century villas in the south of France. And, as many a linguist will agree, there’s virtually no word that makes you sound less sophisticated like this one.
You may claim to put your slacks on one leg at a time, but for the vast majority of people who don’t live in the United Kingdom, those garments with two legs that fasten at the waist are called pants. And for more fascinating insight into our collective cultural dictionary, check out these 30 Words That Have Different Meanings Throughout the U.S.
Whether you’re referring to something that’s cool or calling your friend who once admitted to smoking pot a “dope fiend,” using this word in virtually any context will immediately make you sound older than you actually are. And for more insight into our collective vocabulary, learn The Fascinating Origins of These 30 Common Slang Terms
Most people watch TV shows. Your grandmother still subscribes to TV Guide so she can find out what time her stories are on.
While “scrub” may be a term well-known by kids who grew up listening to TLC in the 1990s and 2000s, using this term to describe a less-than-desirable guy or girl just makes you sound like you’re struck in the past.
Your purse is where you keep your phone, keys, and wallet. Your pocketbook is where your grandmother keeps her checkbook and handfuls of hard candies.
Unless you’re trying to sound significantly older than you actually are, it’s high time you ditched “necking” from your vocabulary. To people born in the past 50 years, it’s “kissing” or “hooking up.” And for more terms the kids are using to describe romance these days, learn these 20 Online Dating Terms Older People Don’t Know.
There are plenty of good ways to describe someone you find attractive, but, unless you’re trying to make yourself seem woefully out of touch, “hottie” shouldn’t be one of them.
9. “World Wide Web”
Considering that most websites no longer need users to input the “www” prefix, describing something as living on the world wide web is more than a little unnecessary.
The go-to of excited ‘90s skaters around the world, saying “stoked” today does little more than tell people you’re old enough to remember Reagan’s first term in office.
She may be a “great gal” to you, but odds are she’d prefer being referred to as a woman instead.
While its homonym is still a popular lunchmeat throughout the United States, this antiquated term has long since been replaced with “fake news.”
Unless you’re quoting some centuries-old piece of literature, you can just refer to them as breasts, like everyone else born since the McCarthy hearings.
Of course, pictures are still a thing—after all, what else is Instagram for? However, calling movies “pictures” automatically makes you seem older.
Virtually nothing that’s happened this side of the ‘70s should be described as “groovy” anymore. And for more words from that decade that haven’t pass the test of time, learn these 20 Slang Terms From the 1970s No One Uses Anymore.
While many members of the LGBTQIA community have reclaimed this term, if you’re using it to refer to something unusual, don’t be surprised when you get some strange looks.
The icebox was a very specific thing: a means of keeping food cold using ice. Unless you were born in an era that predated household electricity, it’s probably time to start calling them what everyone else does: fridges.
Sure, the Duggars still refer to it as such. However, unless you’re trying to convince someone you’re significantly older than you actually are, “dating” tends to be the preferred term.
Yes, pantyhose are still a thing, but those flesh-toned stockings are certainly less common today than they were 30 years ago. And no, despite what some people of a certain age might insist, the term isn’t synonymous with “anything that covers your legs but doesn’t quite meet the criteria for pants.”
The good thing about using this term when you’re surprised by something? Those sweet senior citizen discounts it’s bound to open up.
While Twin Peaks may have made the word “percolator” known by a whole new audience, most people just call these coffee makers today.
The writers and actors on Broad City can use this term as a means of referring to women. Most people, however, should not.
23. “Cool beans”
Respond “cool beans” to a member of Gen Z and enjoy the blank stare and giggling that commence.
While generally intended as a compliment, this ‘90s slang not only has the potential for offense, it definitely makes you seem like you haven’t updated your vocabulary in a good 20 years.
Enjoy the perplexed look you get when you ask someone under 40 to TiVo something for you when you just mean DVR.
Why swear in frustration when you could use this adorably antiquated expression instead?
While videotapes still exist, if you’re calling filming something on your iPhone “videotaping,” you’re definitely not making yourself seem any younger (or more technologically literate).
Paramore is a band. Paramour is about the most outdated way to describe someone you met on Bumble.
Northern California’s alternative to the word “very,” this word is h*lla antiquated.
A word only used by grandmothers and cartoon characters.
31. “Going steady”
It’s not exactly like exclusive dating no longer exists, but referring to it as “going steady” has largely gone the way of the dinosaurs.
32. “Boob tube”
Ah, the good old boob tube. Or, as people born in the last 60 years call it, the TV.
If you’re using this word to describe something fashionable or cool, it probably doesn’t apply to you.
While the word “happy” probably won’t go out of style anytime soon, don’t be surprised if people stare at you like you’re wearing a poodle skirt and bobby socks when you refer to yourself as “tickled” over something.
There’s no lack of cheap, low-quality booze in this world, but there’s definitely a lack of people under 65 who still call it “hooch.”
With so many words for sex out there, why limit yourself to a word most commonly-associated with a cushion that imitates the sound of flatulence?
Galoshes and Mackintosh, by today’s standards, sound more like a pair of British detectives than they do an outfit that will keep you safe from the rain.
When nobody’s helping you on your frantic search for the “clicker,” it might help if you referred to it by the more modern “remote” instead.
Tight: a descriptor for those skinny jeans you have to lie down to get in. Tight, in your grandparents’ day: what you might become after having a few too many martinis.
While the word is still used in some contexts, like the defrocking of a priest, it sounds adorably old-fashioned when you’re using it to describe what’s better known as a dress.
41. “Stepping out”
Unfortunately, the act of stepping out hasn’t gone away, but most people born this side of the bicentennial just call it cheating.
Carbon monoxide is a gas. Your grandma’s friend Herb, who she also refers to as a “gas,” is just funny.
No matter what you’re calling a rubber—boots, erasers, or condoms—using this term makes even a young person sound like they’re old enough to remember Eisenhower’s presidency.
Refer to that beater in your driveway as a jalopy and you’ll give the folks on Craigslist even more incentive not to buy it.
45. “Mobile phone”
The last person to use this phrase and sound cool was Tupac, and he’s been dead for 22 years.
Whether you wear them skinny, baggy, or boot-cut, if you’re calling your jeans “dungarees,” you’re definitely dating yourself.
If you still have one of these on your desk, you might want to consider upgrading to its modern counterpart: the smartphone.
Today, typically what people use to play poker and other games with. If you’re stuck in the past, however, this seems like a perfectly acceptable way to describe your hilarious friend.
Don’t be surprised if that call bell goes unanswered for a significant amount of time if you’re still using this term to refer to flight attendants.
Whether you’re using it to explain that someone or something is terrible or saying it to describe an abundance of something—“New York is lousy with hot dog carts,” for example—you’re definitely making yourself sound way older than you actually are. And for more info on our ever-aging collective lexicon, here are 40 Things Only Older People Say.
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