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Terms Which Have Disappeared

Discussion in 'The Golden Era' started by KILO NOVEMBER, Sep 4, 2013.

  1. There are quite a few people who are "equine enthusiasts" in and around our neighborhood as well; a surprisingly large number considering we're in a suburb that's only about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. When I was growing up here there was a woman on our street who had stables and a training ring on her property. She babysat me on occasion, so I was maybe 4 or 5 years old (as best I can recall) the first time I rode...well, "rode" is an overstatement; "sat on" a horse would be more accurate.
     
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  2. She was only the stable man’s daughter, but all the horsemen new ‘er.
     
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  3. Haversack

    Haversack Practically Family

    When I was in the service, a few of us were sitting around shooting the bull. We realized that there were several expressions that referred to the excrement of different animals and used with different meanings. As best I remember, the taxonomy was as follows:

    Apes**t - noun. Meaning - ‘violently crazy’. e.g. ‘going apes**t’

    Bats**t - noun. Meaning - ‘crazy’ - Less violent than apes**t, but more extreme.

    Bulls**t - noun, verb, adjective. Meaning - 1. ‘Lies, falsehoods’. 2. ‘Tall tales’. 3. ‘Informal banter’. 4. The telling of #s 1-3. Usually pejorative but can also used admiringly. e.g. ‘bulls**t artist’

    Chickens**t - noun, adjective. Meaning - ‘Contemptible pettiness’

    Horses**t - noun. Meaning - ‘out-and-out lie, utter falsehood’. As a noun, similar to bulls**t but without any positive connotations.

    Rats**t - adjective, occasionally noun. Meaning - ‘dirty, foul, disgusting’. e.g. ‘a rats**t tasking’.

    How far back these expressions and meanings go, I do not know. I suspect that bats**t only goes back to the mid-1960s and the tv show Batman.

    One euphemism I have heard is 'Horse maneuvers'.
     
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  4. "You can't make chicken salad from chicken s**t." -- my grandmother.
     
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  5. I remember one of my ex-fiancé's grandmother telling me that when she was a teenager in the 20s, "s**t" was the popular swear word among the young generation. She didn't know why, but it was very trendy among the Era's young and hip.
     
  6. I also remember this having a second meaning, as varying levels of cowardice.
     
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  7. It appears no one really knows exactly when or where the term came into use, but several websites mention it's use in the military at some point during the 1950s as an alternate form of "bulls**t" and used in the same context.
     
  8. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

    An expression I hear almost daily in this paranoid and conspiracy-obsessed time is "connect the dots." Yet I haven't seen a connect-the-dots puzzle in many years. Do you think most of the people who use the expression even know what it came from?
     
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  9. Kids still do connect-the-dots in preschool and early elementary years in school.
     
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  10. Inkstainedwretch

    Inkstainedwretch Practically Family

    Maybe that's why I haven't seen any in a while. Quite a few years since elementary school.
     
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  11. In recent years I've heard the "s" word used to connote something akin to "exceptionally favorable," as in "now there's the s***!"
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
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  12. I still use "shindig," not to mean a party, necessarily, but any beyond-the-everyday gathering of more than a few people.
     
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  13. The equivalent in the Era was to say that something is "the nuts." Or "the nertz" if you're a collegian in 1935.
     
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  14. Was it in any way an allusion to male gonads? Or is it just coincidental that "nuts" had multiple and mutually exclusive slang meanings?

    BTW, I've also in recent years heard "tits" to mean the same thing, as in, "if you expect to get top dollar for that place, it had better be tits."
     
  15. "Nuts" as a reference to boy-bubbles goes back to the seventeenth century, so I suspect that was the implication of "it's the nuts." The most vital parts, the best bits, so to speak. The radio networks and the Breen Office understood it to mean that when they banned both that phrase and the "nertz" variation.

    "The cat's nuts" is another version that was popular in the early 20th Century, later minced to "the cat's meow." My mother often refers to anything of excelling quality as "the cat's arse," which would seem to be another variation on the theme.
     
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  16. So how about "nuts" or "nutty" to mean insane, or at least irrational or ill-conceived?
     
  17. It just now occurs to me that "tits" was one of George Carlin's seven words you can't say on television. But that's been, like, 45 years ago. I do believe its status as a "dirty" word has slipped some since. But then, I doubt it always was a taboo word but it assumed that status during one of those occasional moments of anti-sex hysteria we go through every now and then. I took it to be an alternate pronunciation of "teats."
     
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  18. I suspect that's related to the use of "nut" to refer to the head -- "off one's nut" was current in the mid-19th Century, and is probably older.

    As for "tit," that wasn't considered lewd or vulgar in the circles in which I was raised -- in fact, the container with which babies were nursed was universally known, by adults and kids alike, as a "titty bottle."
     
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  19. 3fingers

    3fingers A-List Customer

    Does anybody still give the baby a sugar tit?
    This was also used as an insult for older children who were whining about something.
    "Do we need to get you a sugar tit?"
     
  20. In our local dialect that item was known as a "fuddy." "Go suck a fuddy!" was a popular schoolyard malediction.
     
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