10 Easy Ways to Mess with a Young Mind

Posted on March 22, 2013


For the last few days, I have been stuffing my head with technical bits and pieces, trying to become more comfortable with social media, but sadly some of that knowledge has already leaked out my ears and has puddled on the floor under my desk, waiting for someone to come clean up the mess. While I have trouble retaining some of the modern lingo, surprisingly, there’s many of the “old-fashioned” words that still kick around inside my head. My parents (and some others from that generation) were fond of using these descriptives on us youngsters even if we often didn’t have a clue exactly what was being said. For example:

  1. cahoots – used like “in cahoots with”, scheming (I figured it had something to do with bugs you squished since my dad often pounded his fist on a table when he used this term.)
  2. cockamamie – silly, illogical  (Perhaps pertaining to a pulverized cockroach?)
  3. doohickey – unnamed gadget or trinket (Surely, a piece of clothing with hooks or snaps? Mom always insisted on covering up exposed skin in the wintertime.)
  4. gobbledygook – nonsense, indecipherable writing (The mess that’s left after turkey dinner with relatives. Always leftovers and clean-up.)
  5. higgledy-piggledy – in a disorganized or confused manner (Sounded like something from a Dr. Seuss reader.)

    Orange tabby kitten "confusion"

    Even sideways doesn’t always help.

  6. hornswoggle – to dupe or hoax (The repeat of dinner, unpleasantly, if you caught a stomach bug?)
  7. lambaste – to beat or whip severely, to reprimand or berate harshly (To be covered with gravy for being bad?)
  8. lollygag – to meander, delay (Obviously, what happens when you jam a popsicle down your windpipe, duh.)
  9. malarkey – nonsense (So why does the meaning “nonsense” keep recurring I wonder.) (I figured it was some Scottish food item from my father’s past, like porridge.)
  10. rigamarole – confused talk, complicated procedure (One of many casseroles my mom was always making from leftovers.)

Somehow, over time, their expressions became clear to me, though I rarely used them myself. There’s a quaintness and grass-roots feel still attached to several of these terms. So what’s stopping me from trying to refresh a few of these words in the common vernacular? At the risk of being labelled an ‘ol biddy (go ahead and look it up) prematurely, it might be fun messing with the younger generation’s head space. I’m pretty sure that Tweeting “highfaluting” wouldn’t be popular. But calling someone a rapscallion might raise an eyebrow or two.

English only sign

Just to be perfectly clear …