r/LifeProTips 10d ago Gold 3 Helpful 1 All-Seeing Upvote 1

LPT: Check in with your kids to make sure they understand your idioms Arts & Culture

I told my 12 year old that she sounded like a broken record because she kept asking for the same thing repeatedly. She gave me a weird look so I asked her if she knew what it meant. She thought a broken record slows down and distorts voices, so I had to explain what it actually meant.

This is just a reminder that some phrases we grew up with might not be understood today.

32.7k Upvotes

u/keepthetips Keeping the tips since 2019 10d ago

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u/teedyay 10d ago Gold

I grew up on a dairy farm. Someone at school said "till the the cows come home" and I thought "OK, till about 4pm then".

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u/sundae_diner 10d ago Gold Coin Gift Starry Wholesome Seal of Approval Spit-take

Pasture bedtime?

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u/hawkian 9d ago

You should write clues for crossword puzzles

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u/superfuzzy 9d ago

You have to go get them though right? They don't come home by themselves?

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u/teedyay 9d ago

A few of the keener ones would start heading in the right direction ahead of time (if they were in the right field where they could), but yes, you'd still have to go out with a dog and a stick to fetch most of them.

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u/Mr_Beefy1890 10d ago

My girlfriends Mum used to tell her that she was a sight for sore eyes, and she thought it meant that her Mum was calling her ugly.

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u/Howard_Drawswell 9d ago

Let’s be clear: the expression means if your eyes are sore, looking at, you would relieve them

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u/ApostrophesForDays 9d ago

Doesn't help I've always seen it used sarcastically in cartoons and such.

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u/Sicarn 9d ago

This is literally how the name Nimrod (a great hunter from the Christian Bible) became synonymous with idiot: Bugs Bunny kept sarcastically calling Elmer Fudd "Nimrod" to mock his lack of hunting skills.

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u/PrimateOnAPlanet 10d ago

My parents taught me never to “swear” so I thought I wasn’t allowed to make promises for basically all of elementary school.

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u/tullytheshawn 10d ago

SAME. I went to a friend’s house and was so confused why that was the rules

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u/raccoonladycarissa 9d ago

When I was like 4 I said "I swear" to my babysitter's kid about something and he immediately runs off telling his mom that I swore. I was too flabbergasted to properly defend myself and got in trouble.

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u/Matt-Head 10d ago edited 9d ago

"I'll always be your friend"

"Always? Do you promise?"

"That would be a big fucking promise! Sorry, no can do, my parents forbade me to swear"

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u/souleaterevans626 9d ago

Good luck getting sworn in as a witness in court.

"Do you swear to say the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?"

"My mom said 'no.'"

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u/Numerous_Budget_9176 9d ago

That's funny when I started High School my mom sat me down and had a conversation with me. She told me if anybody tried to peer pressure me to do drugs to just tell them my mom would be upset and then they would leave me alone.

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u/ShapeFew7245 9d ago

When the song “I swear to the moon and stars in the sky” came out when I was little I thought it was a naughty song but still loved it. So I would sing, “I (pause), to the moon and stars” while looking around cautiously

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u/WCC335 9d ago

Interestingly, this is actually the origin of the term. In the Bible’s Matthew 5:34 (among a few other verses like James 5:12), Jesus instructs that one is not to swear oaths. Of course translations differ, but it’s clear he’s talking about making certain types of commitments, not using dirty words.

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u/RedSteadEd 9d ago

If I remember right, it's something like, "let your yes mean yes and your no mean no." The idea of swearing an oath is redundant when you're already commanded to not "bear false witness against thy neighbour." I think the point is that you should be honest in all dealings, so you shouldn't have to emphasize or insist that you're telling the truth.

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u/439115 9d ago

So i can say the f-word?

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u/krautastic 10d ago

As a child I remember seeing billboards that said 'drinking and driving kills' or adverts on the TV that said 'don't drink and drive.' I'd get so upset with my parents when they'd grab a coke from the cupholder of their car and start drinking from it.

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u/FoghornLegday 9d ago

My brother went to school and told his teacher that his dad drinks and drives all the time. My dad heard about it and was like “I’m highway patrol. Of course I don’t do that. Why would you say I do?” And my brother was like “you drink sprite in the car all the time!”

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u/sentientparsley 9d ago

Haha my sister did the same thing at a doctors appointment- the doctor asked my mom if she ever drank and my sister said something along the lines of all day and night. When my mom tried to explain that the doctor didn’t mean water, my sister just sobbed and asked her why she was lying over and over…not a good look tbh.

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u/FoghornLegday 9d ago

Oof that’s brutal

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u/jenny10002 9d ago

I remember seeing a billboard once about becoming an organ donor, 8 year old me ask my mom if she was an organ donor she said yes. No one told me that you had to die first I thought the hospital would just call her one day and be like “hey we need your lungs” and she would just have to.

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u/MattOLOLOL 9d ago

SURRENDER YOUR ORGANS, DONOR

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u/annieyoker 9d ago

Me too. My dad took a drink of water while driving and I knocked the bottle out of his hand and started screaming crying. He was like wth. Those ads freaked me out.

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u/IzarkKiaTarj 10d ago

Suggestion: if your child has known a pet named Snowball that has since died, maybe don't use the phrase "a snowball's chance in hell" without clarifying that you mean a literal snowball.

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u/Codles 9d ago

Oh no…… poor Snowball

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u/j33205 9d ago

Oh no..... poor Snowball II

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u/furiousmadgeorge 10d ago All-Seeing Upvote

My kid asked me what it meant to "hang up the phone" at the dinner table a couple of years ago. It stopped me in my tracks.

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u/JVM_ 10d ago

I was playing pretend with a 4-year-old. She was sitting in a chair and driving and talking to her husband on the phone (imitating her parents). When she ended the call, she jabbed a button in the center console.

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u/katyandrea 10d ago

My toddler pretends to use the phone by holding her flat palm up to her ear instead of making the pinkie thumb hand gesture

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u/WinWithoutFighting 10d ago

I haven't had a toddler in a long time but the idea that they intuitively immitate the phone differently is really funny.

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u/MateTheNate 10d ago

They also do the take picture gesture differently, like tapping the screen instead of clicking the shutter button

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u/Excellent-Zombie-470 10d ago

I'm rarely around kids, this is amazing to read. I've only come across maps, music and obv streaming as the difference we have with them

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u/Doonvoat 9d ago

The one that gets me is when you give a kid an old handheld games console and they instinctively start prodding the screen and get confused

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u/vidanyabella 9d ago

One big thing I notice with my son is he treats every screen as a touchscreen.

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u/gurnard 9d ago

Whereas the only time it occurs to me that my work laptop has a touchscreen is when I wipe a smudge and drag the Excel window I'm working on away

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u/globglogabgalabyeast 9d ago

I suppose there are some situations where it could be handy, but it just seems like such a useless feature to me. I’ve had both a personal and work laptop with a touchscreen and don’t recall ever using it other than just showing that it’s possible

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u/garymotherfuckin_oak 9d ago

I watched someone in their 20s have a brain fart and try to two finger zoom a photograph

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u/fezzuk 9d ago

I'm 36 and this this with a paper map.... I am not proud of myself.

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u/Tap_Z_or_R_Twice 9d ago

Ive seen elderly people do that aswell.

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u/MickDubble 9d ago

Basically everything will become pantomiming a smartphone

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u/RockerElvis 10d ago

“Roll up the windows” “I’m taping that show” So many sayings that demonstrate how painfully old we are.

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u/kirbyfox312 10d ago

My teenage cousin saw my windows were roll up and thought they were fancy. Like it was a new feature.

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u/tutier09 10d ago

Wait until he sees a car with a cassette deck for the first time. How fancy is that?

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u/MakeRobLaugh 9d ago

When I was a teenager I had an old car with only a tapedeck. All my friends had CD players in their cars. Then MP3 players hit the scene and I could connect mine through a tapedeck adapter while my friends couldn't! I suddenly jumped ahead of them technologically.

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u/Chezuz_Krytzt 9d ago

My uncle has an old "hobby car" that has a damn record player between driver and passenger seat

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u/lankymjc 10d ago

Take a little look at the Save icon in most office programs if you want to see a little computer history.

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u/implicate 9d ago

The floppy disk was like Jesus.

It died to become the icon of saving.

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u/Twistedcinna 10d ago

Really, it shows how quickly our technology has changed in the last 30-40 years, which I think is probably pretty unique looking back.

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u/PinkMelaunin 10d ago

Try 20 years im 25 and remember using cassette tapes, VCR, landlines, etc. Shit changed soooo quick

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u/sanguinesolitude 9d ago

I've got a decade on you and yeah basically going from no computer or cable to the present has been a ride.

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u/Yyamii 10d ago

What do people say other than "roll up the window"? I'm in my early 20s and haven't heard anything different among my peers and younger sibling's friends.

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u/President_Calhoun 10d ago

I'm picturing Cletus from The Simpsons saying, "Push that there uppity-button."

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u/Bempet583 10d ago

My elderly father-in-law used to say, “put some glass in that hole”.

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u/freckledreddishbrown 10d ago

I said something about getting mad and slamming the phone down. Kids were horrified that I’d do that to an $800 phone.

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u/TeutonJon78 9d ago

If the ringer didn't jingle when you did, then you weren't mad enough.

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u/freckledreddishbrown 9d ago

Plastic was tougher back then.

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u/usernameforthemasses 10d ago

Yup. My niece asked me what the sound on my phone was when I took a picture. It's a simulated shutter sound. It occurred to me that she probably has only very rarely seen a camera that isn't part of a phone that would have a shutter capable of making a physical sound.

It's not like parents are regularly dragging their kids to Sears or Olan Mills for family pictures. Do they even do school pictures anymore?

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u/chrisn750 9d ago

"Fun" fact, if you have an iPhone, the camera shutter sound was recorded from a Canon AE-1, a 35mm camera produced from 1976-1984.

https://fstoppers.com/audio/apples-camera-shutter-sound-was-recorded-canon-ae-1-235816

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u/RealTomorrow 10d ago

What did you tell him instead? Genuinely curious? If it’s not to hang up the phone call…?” I’d be stumped at telling him what to do.

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u/vomit-gold 10d ago

I would say that ‘there was a time where phones existed on walls, not in our pockets. They use to be on the wall, with a handle you remove and hold to your ear (show kid the receiver shaped icon on smart phones). Since the phone was on the wall, when you were finished you’d literally ‘hung up’ the receiver. ‘

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u/wrosecrans 10d ago

Fun fact, the idiom actually dates to the 1920's pedestal phones, not wall phones. You hung the ear piece on a hook to disconnect the line.

The idiom was already kind of a fossil by the 1940's when almost all phones were the rotary desk top style where you put the combination earpiece/microphone receiver on top to end the call.

It had a bit of a rebirth in literal meaning when wall phones became popular in the 1960's.

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u/Baba-Yaganoush 10d ago

Kept encountering red stop lights with my parents one day and hit out with "it's like the red light district here" when I was 8 y.o

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u/Maine_Made_Aneurysm 10d ago

I had a situation when I was younger where i had a babysitter after school for a number of years.

Almost always a family member or friend. In the house we lived in at the time my great aunt who previously owned the residence owned a large glass hutch that was quite literally a giant floor to ceiling display cabinet.

My mom just called it the China closet.

I was like 8 at the time and I mistakenly called it "the vagina closet"

And I've still never lived that one down

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u/Araceil 9d ago

No worries, kid me thought it was fascinating that octopuses had 8 testicles.

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u/burke_no_sleeps 10d ago

Called my younger sister a dildo as an insult in front of my mom. I was maybe 11? I might have meant bimbo instead? I had no idea what a dildo was - I'm not even sure where I first heard the word.

I learned something new that altered my perspective on my mother that day.

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u/queermichigan 10d ago

As a kid I used the phrase "attention whore" during dinner, having no idea what whore meant 😂

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u/pissymist 9d ago

I’m imagining a little kid turning to mom and saying, “attention whore I want more mac n cheese” 💀

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u/MechaNickzilla 9d ago

My brother got in trouble for laughing in class when the teacher said he needed to “get his nuts in a row”. When the teacher told my parents about it, they laughed too.

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u/borderline_cat 10d ago

Alright so few stories:

1) apparently I get my sailor mouth from my dad. Especially driving. So when I was young my mom had to go back to work pretty immediately and my dad stayed home with me. So I went everywhere in the car with him.

Well one day, when I was maybe 3, my mom had me in the car and someone cut her off and she hit the horn, I don’t remember if she said anything. But I piped up from the backseat in my car seat and happily shouted “douchebag!”

Dad got a stern talking to. Sorry dad.

2) I’d completely forgotten the douchebag incident when I was 3. My parents and family worked extra hard to not curse around me I think.

So again, I’m in the car with my mom and my brother is with us. I was maybe 9? My brother was talking about this kid from the neighborhood that was a real bully and just not nice kid. I think he called him a jerk or something. Again, from the back seat I excitedly/annoyedly say “yeah, he’s a real scumbag!” Both of them whipped around to look at me and told me never to say that and it was a bad word. I was confused for a long time until I heard douchebag again.

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u/[deleted] 9d ago edited 4d ago

[deleted]

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u/RoastBeefDisease 9d ago

These stories reminded me of my younger brother. When I was 17 we were all in my dad's truck and my brother was about 8 and my dad's buckling up our other brother when the 8 year old just yells "dirty hoe!" And my dad is some very conservative type of guy that even "stupid" and "dumb" are bad words. So this is really bad.

But I had to hold back laughter because I immediately knew what my brother was quoting. I'm not sure if you've seen the 2000s film "Cat In The Hat" played by Mike Myers but there's a scene where he steps on a garden hoe and it hits him in the face and he yells that. So I immediately tell my dad that's where he heard it and he told my brothers they can never watch that again

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u/BranMan11 10d ago

When I was a young teen I was sitting in the passenger seat while my mother drove my sisters and I to school. I was idly rhyming words looking out the window and happened to say the word 'milf'. My mother's whole body language pivoted and she immediately asked where I learned that word with a tone that made me realize I may have done something wrong. Maybe I had heard the word before or maybe I hadn't, but one thing is for sure. I found out what it meant very shortly after from Google.

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u/ELITE_JordanLove 9d ago

Ahhh wow that made me remember when I invented the word “shit” completely on my own. When we were growing up we weren’t allowed to say “shut up,” so as a workaround I came up with “shut it” and then shortened it to “shit,” just to be extra safe that my parents wouldn’t catch on. Needless to say I learned something new that day…

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u/beaversRfake 10d ago

When I was about 8 I spilled a cup of sprite all over myself at a restaurant, and I started crying. My dad was helping me clean up and said "don't cry over spilled milk" and I started crying harder, and said "it's not milk!"

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u/librarianjenn 10d ago

My son was in the back seat, maybe 3 years old(ish) and heard me say to my husband on the phone 'that way we could kill two birds with one stone.' He started crying and screamed 'WHY ARE YOU KILLING BIRDS?!?'

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u/siler7 10d ago

Later: "I want chicken nuggets!"

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u/Pixilatedlemon 9d ago

My nephew cried for like an hour when he was 5 or so when he found out that the chicken you eat actually comes from chickens, he thought it was just a funny coincidence

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u/Pimp_Daddy_Patty 10d ago

This is why I "get 2 birds stoned with one bush"

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u/librarianjenn 10d ago

hahahaha Ricky from TPB: 'get two birds stoned at once'

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u/theabstractengineer 10d ago

It's water under the fridge

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u/UncommonHouseSpider 10d ago

Best case Ontario

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u/Whiskeylipstick 10d ago

Hahaha nice try but it’s always worst case Ontario

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u/t00oldforthis 10d ago

Seriously, it's not rocket appliances

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u/HauntedSpiralHill 10d ago

All for all and one for one

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u/depressedbreakfast 10d ago

What goes around, is all around

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u/librarianjenn 10d ago

When he said 'play us that Diane Sawyer song' after kidnapping Alex Lifeson, I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pop an artery

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u/4477626 10d ago

Way of the road, bubs

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u/Ok-Beautiful-8403 10d ago

My seven year old is such an amelia bedelia, so many phrases to explain.

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u/theallsayer 10d ago

I loved Amelia Bedila. One that sticks in my head is when she reads on a list of things to do"Draw the curtains" lol. And sits in front of them with paint and an easel.

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u/cujojojo 10d ago

For some reason you’ve triggered me. We read Amelia Bedelia books with our kids when they were younger. And of course everybody enjoyed them.

But one night, all of a sudden, I hit my limit. I finished the book, tucked the kids in, and went out to the kitchen and said to my wife, “That girl is a fucking numbskull.”

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u/alaphic 10d ago

Amelia Bedelia: Literal AF

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u/sflyte120 9d ago

Numbskull ... or stealth labor activist? The Secret Rebellion of Amelia Bedelia, the Bartleby of Domestic Work https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-secret-rebellion-of-amelia-bedelia-the-bartleby-of-domestic-work

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u/meltysandwich 10d ago

Hilarious. We call it ‘feeding two birds with one scone’

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u/Pathomer 10d ago

My wife says "petting two birds with one hand" which I just find positively delightful.

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u/Unfortunate_Derek 10d ago

Not an idiom but I dated a girl in high school who used the word "fetish" incorrectly.

She thought it meant something you really like (which I guess technically it does) but I nearly choked on whatever I was eating the first time she said "Puppies are so cute, they're my fetish." She then refused to believe me when I told her thats not how to properly use that word

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u/RIPGeech 9d ago

When I was at University and looking for placement work I used to put in my CV that I was “well endowed” in business studies and graphic design. I just thought it was a fancy word to say “skilled”, I had to be corrected by a very amused careers advisor.

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u/kistoms- 9d ago

I mean, that's not wrong honestly

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u/Aromatic-Bread-6855 9d ago

I have a huge, throbbing thirst for accounting

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u/UristMcRandom 9d ago

To be fair, you could use those graphic design skills to make yourself well endowed

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u/authorized_sausage 9d ago

What's really weird is both my ex husband (49) and my current boyfriend (52) BOTH seem to think this is the correct definition and BOTH pronounce it FEET-ISH.

These two men couldn't be more different and they don't know each other outside of casual meetings vote me and I still ended up with two men who have this weird glitch.

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u/246884 9d ago

I guess you have a type, lol

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u/AdvicePerson 9d ago

One could even say a....

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u/44problems 9d ago

That is a definition of it and I remember hearing older people use it like you would "obsession." But I think the connotation made that use fall out of favor.

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u/Wxfisch 10d ago

Once when I was younger and in the car with my mom and little brother we were stuck behind a slow car in a parking lot. My mom exclaimed “Come on Grandpa!” And my brother from the back seat popped his head up and said “Grandpa! Where?”

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u/whatscrackinboo 10d ago edited 10d ago

I remember being so excited to see a clown when my dad said there was some bozo driving crazy outside lol

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u/iamsheena 10d ago

Not an idiom but I remember my mom calling a bus driver an asshole for whatever he did and my younger sister piped up "you know his name mommy?"

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u/heridfel37 10d ago

My kids are learning to use a computer, and wanted to save a file they had made. I had to try to tell them which icon to click without saying "the picture of the disk" because that meant nothing to them

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u/fezzuk 9d ago

I mean we could replace that with a USB stick but even that's redundant at this point.

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u/boogalow 9d ago

We should just replace it with the S that we all drew in school.

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u/fezzuk 9d ago

.... ya know that makes as much sense as anything.

It's never going to go out of date, still see kids now who do it and think its some new invention they have jumped in on.

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u/lamebeard 10d ago

Watched Mr Bean with my daughter. Had to explain what a TV aerial was first and then why it was funny it reacted to him moving. No reason she’d ever have known those things haha

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u/Zerohazrd 10d ago

I don't even think I've heard of a TV aerial. Is that like an antenna?

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u/fighterpilotace1 10d ago edited 9d ago

Yes. Another name for the same thing.

Edit: apparently there is a slight difference in them. One being a receiver only and the other a receiver/transmitter. Thank you u/sullynator85

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u/cookingismything 10d ago

A few years back when my kid was in middle school she asked me what and encyclopedia was. I told her google but like a book. Then we played this game where I gave her a list of names of items and for her to tell me what their use was for like: a Walkman, antenna, 8 track, cassette, rotary phone, etc. that was hilarious. Oh and explaining how Netflix started as mail dvd service, just blew her mind

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u/AlanMorlock 10d ago

Recently I was talking to my 9 year old cousin who was recently given a phone. I explained to him that I didn't have my own cellphone until I was 19. He asked what games I had back then. I explained that phones didn't really have games back then except for maybe tetris. "Oh yeah I guess back then phones were just for making calls and using the internet." The look he gave me when I explained that there really wasn't the internet on phones either.

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u/cookingismything 9d ago

Yes!! My first phone was at 19 back in 1998-1999 and it was analog. Told her I’d have to step outside and lift the antenna to make the call. “What’s Analog?” And the telling her we memorized 200 different phone numbers. Lmao. It’s insane how much technology has changed on 20-25 years

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u/DUKE_LEETO_2 9d ago

I remember highlighting numbers of my friends in the phone book so my parents could call them quicker

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u/PappyVanPinkhole 10d ago

Last night I told my 4 year old I was going to “jump in the shower” and she got very concerned and replied “daddy that’s not safe” - seeing a lot of other phrases in comments that I use as well, great reminder LPT!

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u/IBetThisIsTakenToo 9d ago

To your credit though, that’s a very safety conscious kid!

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u/probsagremlin 10d ago

Kinda the same idea, but when I was a toddler my parents took me on a car ride to Seattle. When I asked where we were going, they answered, "We're going to Seattle!" My confused response was "Who's attle?" It's been 20+ years and they still bring it up whenever we go on a family car trip.

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u/AlanMorlock 10d ago

I used to work at a foster care facility for teen boys, and frequently was in charge of cooking dinner. One of the meals I cycled through about once a month was Swedish meetballs. After a long while, one night one of the kids, about 15 asks "Why do they call these sweetish? They aren't sweet at all."

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u/webcest 10d ago

When I was really young, maybe about 6 or 7, I was talking with my dad, and he used the phrase "lost his marbles". He paused and asked if I knew what it meant, to "lose your marbles". I confidently responded that, of course, I knew what it meant - that he'd had his balls chopped off!

My parents were pretty open about sex related stuff, in an age appropriate way, so I had known for a while that my dad had had a vasectomy after my sister was born. Clearly, I didn't quite grasp how that worked, but in my young brain, it made perfect sense that a sack of marbles would be used conversationally to mean testicles.

My dad laughed good-naturedly and explained the real meaning of "lose your marbles", and I'm pretty sure he and mum also gave me a refresher on what a vasectomy really involved. 😆

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u/_littlestranger 10d ago

I'm in my 30's and reading this made me realize I don't actually understand that phrase! Obviously a person who has lost their marbles is crazy, but why? What do marbles have to do with sanity?

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u/doshka 10d ago

What do marbles have to do with sanity?

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/have-you-ever-lost-your-marbles

Reader's Digest Condensed Book version: Kids really valued their marbles, and losing one would make you upset. Meaning shifted from angry to crazy over time.

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u/Just-some-fella 9d ago

Reader's Digest Condensed Book

Thank you for that trip down memory lane!

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u/oookkaaaay 10d ago

It’s because they’ve had their balls chopped off

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u/Que_sax23 10d ago

“It’s raining cats and dogs” Mom that’s water…

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u/TurnkeyLurker 10d ago

"Yep, and I just stepped in a poodle."

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u/madbear 9d ago

"Poodle" is actually derived from the German word "pudel," which means "to splash in the water," The breed is a water dog, and that silly haircut they're famous for was meant to act as a natural floating device to help buoy them when they swam!

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u/HokumPokem 10d ago

My wife told my 17 year old son that I was cutting a rug while we were at a wedding - he genuinely thought that I destroyed something

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u/Marshal_Barnacles 9d ago

That must be quite regional, as I've never heard it in my puff, as we say around here.

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u/gbinati 10d ago

as a non English speaker, can you please explain what "cut a rug" means?

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u/TurnkeyLurker 10d ago

To dance. (Even though the dancing might actually happen on a wood or tile floor)

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u/htp-di-nsw 10d ago

When my daughter was two or three, my wife told her "you're driving me crazy." She responded, "No way, mama, I can't drive, yet. It must be dada doing that."

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u/jusGrandpa 10d ago

Auto-reply: "It's a short trip"

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u/BatoutofHell821 10d ago

When my daughter was younger, maybe 10 yrs old, I took her to the doctor. Doctor said she was going to prescribe her a tablet for her illness. Daughter got excited and asked if it would have games on it. Not that kind of tablet, sweetie

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u/Trash2cash4cats 10d ago

I work with young people. We got a bag of old 45 records.
Girl opens bag, looks, funny look on face, pulls one out, “cool, vintage CD’s”. I’m 59 coworker was 62, we looked at her and bust out laughing in tandom!

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u/oppaxal 9d ago

That's fun, because recently records have been outselling CDs in the physical media department.

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u/IHateMashedPotatos 9d ago

I’m in the opposite situation! mostly work with much older people (I’m 20), and almost all of them have independently asked me if I knew what a record is. one in particular did not believe me when I told her yes, I do, and my dad owns several.

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u/BoiFriday 10d ago

Yesterday a co-worker asked what our mobile hotspots look like, I explained it was similar in size and shape to a pager. A nearby intern turned around, looked at me with raised brows and said “really?” I then quickly had to explain that I’m only 32, and while I was indeed alive during their use, I have never used one, and to please be kind to me and my aging sack of brittle bones.

Also recently had a clerk at a natural foods store tell me she got her shirt (which I happened to compliment) at Hot Topic, and proceeded to ask me if I knew what that was….it was then and there that I knew I was no longer youthful and very much a true adult through GenZ eyes.

Fucking humbling.

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u/CurseofLono88 9d ago

I’m 31 and have been asked by a teenager if I knew what hot topic was. There were hot topics around when I was like five years old lol

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u/leapbyflourishing 10d ago

You are playing with fire when you are swimming with sharks

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u/Singer-Such 10d ago

In other words, lay down with dogs, get up with fleas

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u/[deleted] 10d ago

[deleted]

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u/FiftyCalReaper 10d ago

And of course, we'll burn that bridge when we get there.

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u/AgentOrange96 10d ago

I'm 26 and until last month I always thought having your "work cut out for you" meant like it's pretty much already done, it should be easy.

Nope apparently it means quite the opposite and I neither understand why nor how I've gotten this far hearing it so often without getting that.

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u/Son_of_Kong 10d ago edited 9d ago

Pretty sure the expression comes from clothes making, but the cutting out is the easy part, while the sewing is the hard part. Having your work cut out for you means someone has given you a well-defined but difficult and tedious task.

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u/Riktrmai 10d ago

Makes sense; if someone’s already cut it out, all you have to do is put it together!

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u/AgentOrange96 10d ago

That's what I thought! LMAO

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u/Partial_Kredit 10d ago

When my niece was 4 or 5 she was very concerned when I was excited about something and said “That’s sick!” and I had to explain to her that it means something is cool too

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u/Hi_ImTrashsu 10d ago

Funny story, as I remember the opposite interaction. Over a decade ago in elementary school I got a compliment from a classmate during art class. She loudly exclaimed “that’s sick!” as our teacher walked by. She was a nice elderly lady who’s taught for many many years. Anyways, she took great offense and was ready to reprimand the classmate until the class explained to her it was a compliment.

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u/leros 10d ago

When I was a young kid, I thought "getting fired" meant you got killed with fire. I was really worried when my dad said they were having layoffs and firing people at work.

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u/carmium 10d ago

When I first heard the term "fired," I'd just seen a "human cannonball" act on TV. I was pretty sure that wasn't happening at someone's workplace, but found the idea kinda funny.

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u/ManFriday13 10d ago

In second grade I told my teacher that I brought “pot brownies” in for class because that’s what my mom always called them. I thought “pot” was a synonym for “homemade” or “secret recipe”. My mom has never actually made edibles but I guess I overheard her joking with her friends. I was sent to the principal and my mom was called in as well

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u/DaysOfParadise 10d ago

….and your parents!

I asked my teenage son what a MILF was….

Now we’re both scarred for life.

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u/LotFP 10d ago

While in the Philippines my wife and I were watching the news. A report about a local terrorist group popped up and an interview with a high ranking member of the organization was being broadcast. I had to stifle a laugh and my wife asked me what was so funny. The crawl at the bottom of the screen identified the man as a "MILF Commander". My wife had to explain to me that MILF in the Philippines stood for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and I had to explain what MILF meant in most of the rest of the world.

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u/yadseutegnaro 10d ago

3yrs ago I taught my girlfriend’s best friend’s MIL, whom I’d met about 2hrs earlier, what a “queef” was during a game of Cards Against Humanity. Same MIL was at a wedding we attended this summer and ran up to shouting “it’s the vagina fart guy”! Good times.

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u/Niskara 10d ago

And grandparents. My mom and I had a really awkward conversation with my nana about why pornsites were popping up when she tried searching for recipes for "creampies"

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u/Metalhed69 10d ago

It’s funny how when I was a kid, time out meant hold up, let’s pause for a sec. I was playing with my kid one day and I said time out and he busted out crying thinking he was being punished for something. Total misinterpretation of idioms there.

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u/dynamojess 10d ago

I had an elementary school teacher tell me something I was doing was a pet peeve. Didn't know what a peeve was but pets are good right? Kept doing it.

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u/chortle-guffaw 10d ago

It's not just kids, it's non-native English speakers too. Between idioms, colloquialisms, and slang, English must be very hard to learn. We have so many idioms, I bet most of us can't talk for more than two minutes without using at least one.

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u/UmDeTrois 10d ago

My parents neighbors are foreign, learned English as an adult. Neighbor once asked my mom if she could water their flowers while they go out of town. My mom said “of course! Piece of cake” to which the neighbor said “no thank you, we just ate”

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u/Dying4aCure 9d ago

My neighbors got new dogs. My immigrant mother in law came in the house disgusted asking why they named their dog penis.

It was peanuts.

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u/Folseit 9d ago

My father once stood outside for a few hours waiting for the mailman to return because he said "see you later."

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u/thatswacyo 10d ago

It's the same with any language, really, not just English.

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u/airyn1 10d ago

I'm working with a client who speaks broken english at best. I never realized how many idioms I use in basic conversation until I had to type everything I say into Google Translate.

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u/Rhueh 10d ago

I bet most of us can't talk for more than two minutes without using at least one.

About twenty years ago I was sitting in a meeting and was suddenly struck by how much of what was being said was metaphorical. Nearly everything that nearly everyone said was a metaphor of some kind, usually idiomatic, and it just went on and on. Once you see it you can't un-see it.

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u/freckledreddishbrown 10d ago

Shaka. When the walls fell.

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u/ersomething 10d ago

Sokath, his eyes uncovered!

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u/fishling 10d ago

Are there any languages that lack those things though?

I would think it is a challenge when learning any language to fluency. I'm not sure that English is particularly harder in this regard.

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u/deathgaze5 10d ago

In fairness, thats a big problem in learning many languages

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u/avidinha 10d ago

I had to explain to my 12yo nephew that a burn is an insult.

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u/scarecrow937 10d ago

I'm 8 years old riding with my mother in the back seat of her car. I really have to use the restroom. It's becoming urgent.

"Mama, I have to goooooo!!"

"Squeeze your cheeks, we're almost there"

I reached up to my face and squeezed my cheeks.

(Dont worry, I made it safely, but my mother was in tears laughing)

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u/klausmckinley801 10d ago

in 1st or 2nd grade we had a project for learning idioms, every kid had to draw their explanation/definition of their assigned idiom. i got "crocodile tears" and drew a crocodile with big streaming tears. we hung them up in the classroom and went through all of the phrases to learn their meanings.

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u/samaramatisse 10d ago

I was six or seven when my parents had a big argument in the living room. I could hear my mom yelling, so I crept out as far as I dared to hear what was happening. She yelled at my dad "Get off my back!"

I couldn't see them, only hear them, and I thought my dad had jumped on her back like a piggyback ride. It took me a while to understand what it meant.

Also, while not an idiom, it's weird to have lived your life in a time when something "viral" was dangerous, like HIV, and now people are doing their best to go viral.

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u/georgiemaebbw 10d ago

When I was a kid, my grandfather told me a joke. The punchline was 'I left my harp in Stan Frans Disco'. It was a pun on the song 'I left my heart in San Francisco'. He was sad I didn't get the pun.

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u/DoctorNoThanks 9d ago

I’m 6th grade I thought being a virgin meant someone who doesn’t lie. So I would sure everyone they could trust, cuz I was a virgin.

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u/hanshotfirst420 10d ago

I’ve always been sarcastic and joke around a lot, but it wasn’t until my friends son started giving me weird looks when I would say certain phrases that it dawned on me that he probably didn’t understand. He’s a smart kid so I just spoke how I normally would with adults around him. I started asking him if he understood me, and/or would follow up sarcasm with “it’s just a joke, bud” and then with the correct answer (after his dad explained what sarcasm was multiple times over the years being around me). Since realizing that and switching up how I speak to him, now when I use old idioms or phrases he’ll take a second to think about what I’ve said and ask me to explain, and has come to ask me to explain how random things work in general. Crazy how you tend to forget kids don’t have the same knowledge base as you, even if they’re smart.

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u/AlphaBear718 10d ago

One time my dad said his buddy let him borrow a ladder for the weekend.. I said “Oh so like friends with benefits.” There was a long pause

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u/SnooPets8873 10d ago

Also check in with your parents - my mom once mixed up a phrase for wasting time with one for jerking off. While at work, talking to her boss. Luckily he had a sense of humor and understood that English was her second language

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u/jstrandbech 10d ago

In my country, the equivalent to “you’re not to keen on that” would be “you’re not sold on that”. I used that phrase on a five year old and all hell broke loose when she misheard and misunderstood and thus thought I was advocating selling her. Good times.

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u/MechaNickzilla 9d ago

In college I asked my Greek friend to hand me “the whatchamacallit”. He lost his mind and asked me what that was supposed to mean. I was like “you know. A whatchamacallit. Like a thingsmajig? A doohickey?”

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u/roonerspize 9d ago

Oh, man we had a long laughing fit the other day because I mentioned to my daughter that I didn't want something to be an albatross to her. When I asked her if she knew what the meant, the conversation between her and the other kids covered:

Yeah, like the prison.

No, that's Alcatraz.

No, the prison is Azkaban.

I thought albatross was a tuna (Albacore).

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u/ricardo9505 10d ago

Yeah my kid just asks what stuff means and words I use but somehow the other week she totally understood the old African proverb (you know it from Equalizer) "pray for rain gotta deal with mud too".

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u/SomehowGonkReturned 10d ago

I was playing games with my niece the other day and she asked what the “weird box save icon meant”

I had to explain to her what a floppy disk was

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u/I_am_from_Kentucky 10d ago edited 10d ago

This is a life pro tip for unexpected interactions/conversations in general, but definitely helpful for kids given their lack of maturity.

Beyond just idioms, there are basic words kids don’t contextualize the same way because they may have only heard it in one context before.

E.g. if the kids aren’t listening when i say “please don’t grab the cords”, and they keep grabbing the cords, i ask them with a fake inquisitive voice “Hey kids, what’s a cord?”

Now I’ve piqued their interest a bit, likely distracting them from grabbing the cords, and now they get to either confirm they know what a “cord” is and were just ignoring me, or admit they don’t know and they get to learn something that i may or may not have already taught them and they forgot. Of course they may be lying, but i try to give benefit of the doubt.

I feel like a lot of convos with adults are the same. Before getting frustrated with my partner for not following through on something we agreed to, i try to think back to how it was phrased. “Be ready by 5pm” may be interpreted differently depending on what “ready” means; could be interpreted as “be ready to leave the house” or “ready to start helping get the kids ready”. Or it could mean “Be ready [to leave the house] by 5pm [after you helped finish packing everything in the car].” Meanwhile, I’m trying to finish another day in Stardew Valley at 4:55pm because the only thing I need to do to be “ready” is change my shirt, and haven’t even considered if there’s other stuff to be done.

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u/woggle-bug 9d ago

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

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u/rnnikki81 10d ago

A kiddo I've know all her life absolutely HATED when I'd say "there's more than one way to skin a cat." We agreed it was gory, so we started saying there was more than one way to "shear a sheep."

Much less traumatic sounding.

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u/Sipyloidea 10d ago

When I was a kid, someone in my family told me I had real hobgoblin face. I was pretty bummed out about that, not knowing at the time that "Hobgoblin" was the maiden name of my mom. The person tried telling me that I looked like my mom's side of the family.

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u/Lkwzriqwea 10d ago

Your mom's maiden name was hobgoblin? That is very poor luck

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u/SeveralAngryBears 9d ago

"You changed your name to Latrine?"

"It used to be Shithouse"

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u/Lilliputian0513 10d ago

I’ll never forget when I called my stepson a “Debbie Downer” and could not convince him it was a fun phrase, not an offensive term I made up to insult both him and his mother, Debbie.

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u/Steele-The-Show 10d ago

If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

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u/madbamajama1 9d ago

I learned that the hard way when I said, "How do you like them apples?' to my 4-year-old daughter. She had a screaming fit after she asked for an apple and I had to tell to her that there actually were no apples in the house.