Grandma’s Slanguage


“What a bird! … Oh, go fly a kite … Do a job big or small, do it right or not at all … Goodnight Shirt! …”

Our grandma’s had plenty of words or little sayings. Things that have become sweet memories even though they didn’t make a whole lot of sense when we were kids. That got us thinking about all the slang words and sayings we’ve seen come and go over the years and we thought we’d do some digging and unearth some long-forgotten slang terms that grew up with our grandparents…

“Oh, applesauce!” – When you overhear your friend telling someone she’s 29 when you know she turned 33 last week your response could be “Ohhh APPLESAUCE!!”

Pictured Right: Our Great-Aunt Georgianna and her cousins

“Butt me” – If your cigarette case is empty you can ask a friend to “bum a smoke” by saying “butt me.”

“Cheaters” – Let’s say you’re trying to read the newspaper and can’t quite make out the print, you might say to your sweetie, “Hand me my cheaters, would ya?”

Our Grandma Jane’s “handcuff” and wedding band. 

“Handcuff” – When your girlfriend gets engaged, you might grab her left hand and say “Let me see that handcuff!”

“Gigglewater” – When you’ve had a long day at work, you could ask your wife for a glass of giggle water.


“What’s eatin’ you?” – A friend of your’s seems to be in a sour mood and you want to know what’s wrong you can ask her, “What’s eatin’ you?”

Our Uncle Tony at about 7 years old.

“What a bird!” – A polite way to call someone a class clown or a “nut.”

“Know your onions” – In case you’re ever at a trivia contest and you meet someone who seems to know everything you could tell them they, “sure do know their onions.”  

“Wet blanket.” – If you’re referring to someone who never seems to have any fun, he would be considered a wet blanket.

Our mom, Marianne and her brother Tony

“Let’s take a powder.” – Let’s say you’re at a boring party and you want to leave, you might say to your friend, “Let’s take a powder.”

Tell us: what were your favorite phrases/words from your parents and grandparents? 


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