One of the wondrous thing about traveling to visit family in various parts of the country was hearing the different expressions used by our family. It went beyond the whole soda vs. pop vs. coke debate (although we did have that discussion on a regular basis and for the record, the correct term is “pop”).
Even my Cleveland relatives, while not even a day’s drive away, seemed to have different names for things. Grandma didn’t have a couch; she had a davenport, which to me sounded more “damport.” She didn’t have a purse, she had a pocketbook. And most of her sentences were punctuated with “and all that.”
In the South, things were a little different, too. Aunt Muriel wished everyone a “good mornin’” no matter what time of day it was, and Aunt Chula was always “off to the racetrack,” no matter where we were going. I still love hearing Uncle Jack’s iconic “Lord knows” in that lovely southern drawl. And when we were hungry, we were told to look in the icebox instead of the fridge.
The East Coast cousins were forever “bustin’ my chops” for my Midwestern accent. But of course we didn’t have an accent; it was clear that they were the ones who talked funny. We all know that “car” has an r on the end, and it’s not pronounced “cah.” And who has pie for dinner? Oh wait, they’re talking about pizza.
What about you? What were some of the interesting expressions or names for things your family used? Share them with us, and more importantly, share those memories with your family. And for a cool survey of some of those expressions and names that vary from region to region, check out this map.
About Juliana Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 16 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.