Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Old words in a new world

My partner and I were recently discussing how people continue to use words and phrases that no longer apply to the context they're used in. For example, I know a lot of people who would say something like 'I saw a film on the weekend', even though most movies use digital cameras instead of film these days. 

We were driving to the shopping centre at the time of this discussion and another example we thought of was 'wind down the window'. Newer cars have electric controls to press instead of a manual window winder.

There's something charming about using old words to continue describing things that have outgrown the meaning of the words we use. Or maybe I'm just nostalgic. I'm sure there's a term for words like this but admittedly I do not know it.

Can you think of any examples?



  1. I'd say "hang up the phone," because a LOT of people have gotten rid of their landlines or use cordless phones that require a push of a button, but (at least here) a lot of businesses still have phones with cords and cradles. Sticking with the phone theme, how many people of your generation have actually heard a busy signal? And what about dial tones? Surely, they're endangered species. Artists and consumers still refer to "records," as in "Adele has a brand new record coming out." Even with the sort-of return of vinyl, physical records are not much of a thing. And, of course, there's "Don't touch that dial," but when's the last time you saw a TV set with an actual dial?

    1. I completely forgot about phones! So true. The library I used to work at switched phones out for head sets a couple of years back and the call centre I'm in uses headsets, but we keep saying 'hang up'.

      What's a TV? Haha I haven't watched television in forever, I don't even own one right now. I watch everything online but still call them 'TV shows'. Having a TV screen to plug into is still great for social viewings with friends though!

    2. 'What's a TV?' Ha, indeed. I stream hockey games on my computer. My wife watches Netflix on her laptop. Personally, I hate the small screen, even if I'm watching something by myself.


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