40 Words That Will Instantly Reveal Your True Age

Keep your jargon in the 21st century by striking these ancient words from your vocabulary.

40 Words That Will Instantly Reveal Your True Age

Keep your jargon in the 21st century by striking these ancient words from your vocabulary.

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“Last year’s words belong to last year’s language,” wrote T.S. Eliot in Four Quartets. “And next year’s words await another voice.” By that measure, if you’re someone who regularly uses any of the following bits of language, you’re not living in last year. You’re living in last century. If you know what “Sunday shoes” are and find yourself calling dinner “supper,” then beware, you’re using words that are actually revealing your true age. And for more on outdated terms, check out the 100 Slang Terms From the 20th Century No One Uses Anymore.

words that reveal your age

1
Ditto

Long before “me too,” the coolest of the cool in the 1960s would say “ditto” when they agreed with someone. Pretty groovy, right? And for more 60s terminology, check out the 20 slang terms from the 1960s no one uses anymore.

words that reveal your age

2
Sunday shoes

Ah, these were the special pair of fancy shoes only worn on Sundays for church. Nowadays, church attire is usually less frills, more casual. (And you can get away with the same flats you wear every day.) And ladies, pay attention. “Sunday shoes” is probably an excellent candidate for the 40 Things Women Over 40 Should Stop Saying.

first date questions

3
Go with

Nowadays, when we’re coupled up, we either wholeheartedly embrace it or categorically deny the relationship at all costs. The half-heartedly ambiguous “go with” is a thing of the past. If you think you want to go with—sorry, date—someone, try out any of the 40 First Date Ideas That Will Guarantee A Second Date.

couple on a bad first date. bad first date questions were asked

4
Wishy-washy

We’re no longer “wishy-washy.” We’re on the fence.

How to write a check with a fountain pen up close; over 40, things old people say

5
Checkbook

Have you heard of Apple Pay? Venmo? Credit cards? Unless you’re paying bills or rent, put this away.

words that reveal age

6
Soda pop

Some regions still address the sugary, carbonated drinks as “soda pop” or just “pop.” Soda pop used to be what you ordered at a soda fountain, a counter in a shop where you could purchase root beer floats and other ice cream-drink hybrids—during the Eisenhower administration.

rolodex

7
Rolodex

Also rendered unnecessary by the smartphone. A Rolodex referred to a metal box that sat on your desk and would turn around and around. It was full of contact numbers, usually professionals. The modern-day Rolodex is just the contact section of your phone.

dictionary

8
Dictionary

Sure, dictionaries still exist. Like, in libraries and stuff. But nowadays, you hear “look it up in the dictionary” much less than you hear “Google it.”

words that reveal age

9
Making whoopee

In 2017, we quite literally just say, “have sex” or, if we want to get mysterious and ambiguous, “hooked up.”

words that reveal age

10
Nincompoop

In today’s day and age if we want to insult someone, we usually resort to “stupid” or some variation of a cuss word. “Nincompoop” as an slur was most popular in the early 1940s.

answering machine

11
Answering machine

You mean, my iPhone’s voicemail? Answering machines are a thing of the past—AKA the ’90s.

maps, things old people say

12
Mapquest

We don’t use Mapquest anymore, guys. We have GPS for that—and no, not navigation systems that adhere to our dashboards. We have GPS literally in our phones and in our cars! And speaking of Mapquest: Also check out these 15 Tech Terms from the 90s No One Uses Anymore. 

words that reveal age

13
Calculator

Irrelevant. Your phone has that now.

words that reveal age

14
Milkman

Up until the mid-1960s, the milkman was the guy who showed up at your house in the morning to deliver the day’s milk. Now, we just grab a gallon at the grocery store.

words that reveal age

15
Supper

What’s for supper? used to be a common question in the household, but in more recent years, “dinner” has become the colloquial expression for our evening meal.

vhs player

16
VHS

Actually, add DVD to that, too. VHS is an acronym for video home system and refers to a bulky video recording on a cassette tape. (Add “cassette” to the list, too.) VCRs were usually accompanied by a VHS rewind system because once you watched the movie, you had to rewind it to play it over again.

words that reveal age

17
Operator

Why use operators or dial 4-1-1 when we have Siri at our disposal at all times? TGFS. (Thank God for Siri!) And for some great fun with Siri, check out these 20 Questions You Can Ask Her That Elicit Hilarious Responses.

words that reveal age

18
Mixtape

Make the person a banger of a Spotify playlist and call it a day. The gesture’s the same.

words that reveals age

19
Pay phone

If you say “pay phone,” you better be referencing the Maroon 5/Wiz Khalifa collaboration from 2012. Or be in a museum or something.

words that reveals age

20
Perm

A terrible hairstyle in which women (or men) added a permanent wave or curl to their hair by using chemicals and heat to redo the hair’s chemical structure. Prevalent from the 1930s to the ’70s, but (hopefully) dead anytime after that.

freezer, things old people say

21
Ice box

Ice boxes first came on the scene in the 1930s and let’s leave them there. We have refrigerators and built-in freezers now.

words that reveal age

22
Up your nose with a rubber hose

Popularized by the 1970s show Welcome Back, Kotter, John Travolta’s character used to retort, “up your nose with a rubber hose” as his signature comeback.

words that reveal age

23
Token

Whereas we get on the train with the wave of a ticket (or better yet, a digital e-ticket downloaded on our phones), tokens used to be the magic currency with which a person took public transportation or played Tron at the arcade.

words that reveal age

24
Pickle

You can say “pickle” if you are eating a pickle as in, “I hope my grilled cheese sandwich comes with a pickle.” But you cannot say “pickle” if you happen to mean an extenuating circumstance—as in “We are in a pickle here.”

words that reveal age

25
Fuddy-duddy

Today, a fuddy-duddy might be referred to as an “old fart.” It describes a person who is out-of-touch and old-school. (Two things the term itself has inevitably become!)

words that reveal age

26
Surfing the web

We don’t surf it, we search it. We Google things but it never involves a surfboard. Leave the surfing to the open waters.

words that reveal age

27
Landline

Um, have you met your cell phone? Yeah. Guess what? It also makes long-distance calls, too!

words that reveal age

28
Little black book

Rendered immobile (as many things were) by the invention of the smartphone. A little black book used to be a tiny book full of contacts, phone numbers, and lists. Nowadays, we just keep that in our phones.

words that reveal age

29
Galoshes

Another old-school nickname for rain or snow boots. Nowadays, people either say “rain” or “snow boots” or they call their boots by their specific brand name, like Wellingtons or Hunters.

words that reveal age

30
Just one more thing

It was a phrase popular in the 1970s popularized by the television detective Columbo, who would interview a suspect, leave, and return saying, “Just one more thing…”

words that reveal age

31
Carbon copy

You put a piece of carbon paper underneath what you were going to write on and that’s what made a copy. Nowadays, we have printers for that. Or better yet, we take a picture with out iPhones.

words that reveal age

32
Have a canary

This is likely a phrase your grandma still says in reference to someone who’s freaking out but it is likely not a phrase you’d hear in the halls of a middle school.

words that reveal age

33
Walkman

Whether it was a Walkman with a cassette or a CD player, you can barely find those things around today. We have phones for that (and wireless ear buds, too).

words that reveal age

34
Slide rule

Gone are the days when kids need to use one of these complex gadgets to help figure out their math homework. A slide rule (also known as a slipstick) was a mechanical analog computer used for aid in multiplication and division and other facets of trigonometry.

words that reveal your age

35
Rabbit ears 

Not when referring to rabbits, of course, but to the TV antennae that very few people actually use anymore. And for more words millennials never use, here are 40 Things Only Older People Say.

ice tray

36
Ice trays

As in, the aluminum kind. If you’re not living in the 1950s, chances are you don’t even use ice trays anymore (especially aluminum ones) to make ice cubes. Your refrigerator likely does that for you at the push of a button. (And it also spits out filtered water for you, too.)

words that reveal age

37
Flash bulb

In order to take a picture with flash, all you have to do is press the flash button on your phone’s screen. But a flash bulb used to be a separate photography device you had to attach to the top of your camera in order to achieve that flash of light.

words that reveal age

38
Chill pill

No one’s demure about mental health anymore. Instead of accusing a fraught, disheveled person of needing a “chill pill” in order to calm down, one might say, “Take a Xanax.” If all this was a rush to your head, here are 40 Ways to Feel Younger After 40.

39
Rubbers

“Rubbers” was an endearing nickname for rain boots, courtesy of your grandmother.

words that reveal age

40
Typewriter 

Uh, seriously? It’s a computer.

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