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Author Topic: household phrases
martha
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Do you have a phrase that you use with your family or friends that means something to them but not to anyone else?

I came across this quotation: "I had a friend who used to say 'Iím on the rollerskates' to mean her period, as a reference to those daft Tampax ads where the actress skated around in white jeans." And it seemed like something I want my fictional characters to say someday when I get around to writing a novel.

In my family, we refer to the "as-you," which is the place you put things when they're on their way somewhere but you're not going to bother bringing them there now. I.e. Dad puts newspaper clippings at the bottom of the stairs, and the next time someone goes up, they bring the newspaper clippings up. Or we put mail in the as-you by the front door.

Some of these, because of the Internet, become mainstream very quickly -- "google" as a verb, for instance.

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Noemon
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Years ago I was living with a woman whose little sister, when she was learning to speak, would say "wheezit" as a contraction of "where is it". It became a regular part of our idiolect (duolect?), though its meaning changed slightly from "where is it" to "where is" (ex. "Wheezit the remote?).
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Tante Shvester
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"I heard from Uncle Laze" means "I have to use the bathroom", because my husband's father likes to excuse himself to the bathroom by saying, "I have to go see my brother [John]". So, if it's his father's brother, it must be my husband's uncle. Whose name is "Laze".
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Lisa
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My partner came with two odd words that I think are unique to her family. Ziggly knifes are serrated knifes, and mekking is the sort of whining/crying that little babies do. "Eh..eh.." that sort of thing.

From my family... well, a moroff is one step lower than a moron, I guess.

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Uprooted
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*head reeling from all the father's brother husband's uncle stuff*

So . . . is there really someone named John? and is he also named Laze?

Yes, this is among the more important questions that I must have resolved today! ;-)

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Tante Shvester
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There is no Uncle John. I think it'd from "Frere Jacques" (Brother John), "John" being the euphemism for toilet.

Uncle Laze is called Julius outside the family, but never John.

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Tante Shvester
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("Laze" is the nickname for "Eliazer", which really is his name).
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Noemon
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While they aren't referred to frequently, the plates on a stegosaurus's back are referred to as "stegs" in my family.
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Belle
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In my household we have "on what planet." It's evolved from "On what planet do you think that is a good idea?" Now, it's just been shortened.

So, a kid is eating a popsicle in the living room - a location in which popsicle-eating is forbidden. I look at said kid and say "On what planet?" And kid sheepishly slinks off to the kitchen, a popsicle-safe zone.

That happened yesterday.

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Uprooted
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Thanks, Tante, now my poor mind can be at rest. ;-) John as toilet I got, but it was the "see my brother" that threw me off--thought his brother really was named John, hence his use of that phrase!

I can't think of any phrases unique to my family, but I know we have them. My mother is particularly known for folksy expressions that probably originated in the Midwest (where she never lived, but her parents did) and no one else has ever heard. But I can't think of any of them offhand!

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Noemon
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That's one that I think I'd understand the meaning of almost immediately, Belle (I'm guessing that the tone of voice used in your example would make it even more abundantly clear to me [Smile] ).
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Uprooted
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Oh yeah, one of my mother's bathroom euphemisms: "I have to see a man about a horse."
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Sterling
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Warning- extremely inpious:

NPR had a piece talking about the phrase "Allahu akbar" in relation to the acts of Muslim extremists; the phrase is sometimes translated as "God is greater", both offering an act to God and (in some cases, apparently) excusing extreme actions on the premise that God's power makes even extreme acts seem small in comparison.

Anyway, long and short- we've taken to quietly murmuring "Athena akbar" to one another when our daughter is around other children to mean "our daughter is cuter..."

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rivka
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[Big Grin]
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Corwin
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[Big Grin]
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ambyr
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We use kersmoogled to mean something wrinkled or generally in slight disarray.

"Glub you" means "I love you."

Father used to refer to his copies of the magazine Foreign Affairs as love letters from his European girlfriend (as in, "I'm having a foreign affair.")

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Alcon
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Whenever I hear or see the phrase "Allahu akbar" all I can think is "Admiral Akbar?"
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Lisa
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Oh, we call those bazillapedes "wugs".
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Alcon:
Whenever I hear or see the phrase "Allahu akbar" all I can think is "Admiral Akbar?"

::nods:: It's a trap.
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anti_maven
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"Woofer is a flying dog!"

It means I love you - the wonders of having a 3 year old in the house...

[Wink]

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Lupus
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When my brother in law was a kid, he could never say his brother's name correctly "Christopher." It always came out at critter. It sort of stuck, and now over 20 years later Chris is still known as Critter, much to the chagrin of his mother (who never approved of the nick name).

Also, my sister and I call my mother Bean. Her real name is Jean, which lead to Jean Bean, which was eventually shortened to Bean.

Those are really nicknames rather than phrases, but they always seem to get strange looks from people outside the family.

The phrase that people in our family use that puzzles people is "shooting a bunny" means to pass gas.

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CaySedai
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My sister's ex-husband is Mexican, and they spoke a mixture of English and Spanish when their kids were little. I'm not sure why they started saying "cabeza de melon" but it quickly became "melon head" as in "move your melon head" when someone's head is between the speaker and the TV screen.

Oh, and the remote is "the push" as in "where's the push, I want to see what else is on."

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Alcon
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quote:
When my brother in law was a kid, he could never say his brother's name correctly "Christopher." It always came out at critter. It sort of stuck, and now over 20 years later Chris is still known as Critter, much to the chagrin of his mother (who never approved of the nick name).
Woah, one of my friends little brother's is named Chris and nick-named Critter. Wonder if the same thing happened there. Wonder if that's a common nickname for 'Christopher'?
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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by CaySedai:
Oh, and the remote is "the push" as in "where's the push, I want to see what else is on."

We call the remote control either the "hoobie doobie" or the Moat Troll.


The Christopher/Critter thing is reminiscent of Theodore/Beaver from "Leave it to Beaver".

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amira tharani
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My dad uses to "nationalise" meaning to steal or borrow without permission. The only other people I've ever heard use it are his brothers and sisters, but I guess it might be a reference to East African independence.
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Hank
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My brother's version of "nationalise" is "tactically acquisition".

The family I nanny for refers to kisses as "mooches"--a bastardisation of "smooch".

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Glenn Arnold
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When my kids were younger we used to have a phrase "That's an orange question." It means that the kids have asked a question that mixes things up in such a way that they're asking me to compare "apples with oranges." I don't remember the question that originated the phrase, but I remember working out the logic with my son until it came out "an orange question."

Actually I haven't heard an orange question in many years.

My kids also know when they've asked too many questions when I start answering "because God made it that way."

My daughter's name is Emily, which through many iterations became "Bump" in which the "p" is silent.

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breyerchic04
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I was about to post about the same Critter that Alcon did. At least I assume it's the same one, it would be much weirder if it weren't. I always assumed it came from someone not being able to say his name.
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Tinros
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Instead of saying, "Whatever floats your boat" or the like, I've always said "whatever flips your twiddle." Also, my mom has always called me Erin Baron. No idea why.

Also, I've always used this exchange in certain occasions:

"Are you sure?"
"I'm sure."
"Are you positive?"
"I'm positive."
"Only fools are positive."
"Are you sure?"
"I'm positive. ... ... I FELL for it!"

I didn't realize until recently that this particular exchange comes from the move Fern Gully, which I loved as a kid and watched for the first time in a long time about a month ago.

We also call our dog, Sadie, "Sadie baber."

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ketchupqueen
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In my family, we have "bag cheese." It's the individually wrapped slices of American cheese. When I was two I apparently asked one day for a snack, and when asked what I wanted to eat, "Bag cheese." So "bag cheese" or "baggy cheese" it has become ever since (sometimes even when it's sliced American that is not individually wrapped), and even my husband says it now.

We also have "cow cheese", which is how my daughter asks for Laughing Cow spreadable cheese product (tm) since there's a cow on the front. And "cow milk" does not refer to just any milk from a cow-- it refers to either one of two brands of milk products with a cow on their packaging. But those are a little more understandable than "bag cheese."

Also, there's "Do you have a BANANA in your EAR?" Which means, "Are you deaf/not listening?" It came from a Robert Munsch story on a tape we had when I was little.

Also, "Good plan, king!" I think that's from an episode of Sesame Street. I'm not sure, though.

And finally, "The comedian's a bear!" This is usually a response to the exclaimation "Good grief", though sometimes it replaces it. That would be from The Muppet Show (the sketch was on either the first or second record, both of which we had...) "Good grief, the comedian's a bear!" "No he's-a not, he's-a wearin' a neck-a tie!"

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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Also, "Good plan, king!" I think that's from an episode of Sesame Street. I'm not sure, though.

Most definitely Sesame street. The king is trying to have a picnic, but because there's no planning, people keep bringing fifty of the same thing. Near the end of the skit the king starts telling different people to bring different things, and they start saying "Good plan, king!"- which turns into a chant.
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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Also, there's "Do you have a BANANA in your EAR?" Which means, "Are you deaf/not listening?"

We used to do that too, although we haven't in years.

In my parents' house, the plural of spouse is spice and the mailman is the perchildperchild. Also, my father signs his emails DoD (for Dear ol' Dad).

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Tstorm
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My parents have an intriguing set of terminology centered around plants and animals. I know these aren't phrases, but I think they're worth sharing.

When outside chopping weeds, for example, there's "rabbit tobacco", which is a large, towering plant with silver, velvety leaves. I've long since forgotten the scientific name for that plant. Come to think of it, I chopped a bunch of rabbit tobacco this past weekend. [Smile]

At the bird feeder, they're not "Grackles", they're "Jeckels." Do a search for Heckle and Jeckle, if you want the point of origin. My grandmother gave us that one. [Smile]

One year, we had an incredibly friendly rabbit that hung around our house. We trained it to eat from our hands, and it loved to eat dandelions. We coined the term, "Rabbit pasta" for dandelion stems, and the name stuck. If you've never noticed, rabbits have an interesting way of eating dandelion stems. They bit them off at the base and basically "slurp" them up, similar to the way a human eats spaghetti (but with more chewing). [Smile]

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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Sterling:
quote:
Originally posted by ketchupqueen:
Also, "Good plan, king!" I think that's from an episode of Sesame Street. I'm not sure, though.

Most definitely Sesame street. The king is trying to have a picnic, but because there's no planning, people keep bringing fifty of the same thing. Near the end of the skit the king starts telling different people to bring different things, and they start saying "Good plan, king!"- which turns into a chant.
I remember it as "Right on, King!".

You bring to potato salad!
Right on, King!
You bring the watermelon!
Right on, King!

I loved that sketch. I wonder if one of us is misremembering it, or if they dubbed "good plan" over it between the time that I would have watched it in the early to mid 70s (when the phrase "right on" would have had more currency) and when you guys watched it.

Wasn't there a Bert and Ernie sketch involving Ernie's not being able to hear Bert because he had a banana in his ear?

KQ, your thing with the "bag cheese" is pretty cute. When I was tiny, we had relatives over for a picnic, and were eating pie. An uncle of mine noticed that I'd eaten the pie filling from my piece, but had left the crust. He asked me if I were going to eat it, and apparently I said "no, I don't eat the board". After that, pie crusts were pretty much always referred to as "the board" in my family.

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rivka
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
Wasn't there a Bert and Ernie sketch involving Ernie's not being able to hear Bert because he had a banana in his ear?

Yup.
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martha
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A friend of a friend had a pet turtle that lived in an aquarium in the bathroom. The turtle's name was The Major. The household euphemism for "I'm going to the bathroom" was "I'm going to visit the Major."

Kale and I were given a Santoku knife for our wedding. We got married at the height of the Sudoku puzzle craze. We call it the Sudoku knife.

Mike (my brother) picked up a bit of Russian when he was in the circus, so our family uses the Russian word for "rotten," as well as some English phrases spoken with Russian accents.

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BlackBlade
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My mom is famous for juxtaposing two phrases that don't belong together to make a new one that makes no sense. She doesn't realize she is doing it at the time.

"That guy is off his whack." (Off his rocker + out of whack)

"Watch out she's always got a crank up her arm." (trick up her sleeve + prank + c?)

I don't know that we have special phrases or words that we use in everyday speech to mean a specific thing, we definitely have words only we know about. I do however have specific dialects of English for every single one of my siblings, of varying complexity. My older sister has the most simple, and my youngest brother has the most complex. The result, you can always tell which sibling I am addressing when they are grouped together.

My wife also has her own dialect, but it's still expanding. We do call the cellphone, "cellie" and my wallet, "wallie." And the following,

"crocheted bluie" = the blanket she made me

"big bluie" = the large winter blanket we keep stealing from my parents to cut back on utility costs

"expensive bluie" = her engagement and wedding rings"

There are about 4 more bluies but I can't recall them right now.

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Teshi
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I use silly words (like 'wishdosher', for dishwasher) but it's not really a dialect since I'm the only one who uses it.

I also say 'slices' of paper, instead of pieces.

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Artemisia Tridentata
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We use Fulana instead of "old what's her name" when we can't remember a name. (Fulano for a guy) It's a forshortned version of the Spanish "Fulana de tal". As I get older I find that I use it more and more.
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I use silly words (like 'wishdosher', for dishwasher)

What about "show snuvel"?
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Sharpie
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Tinros said: "Also, my mom has always called me Erin Baron."

Heh, I called my son Aaron Baron for a looong time. I have no idea why [Big Grin]

Artemesia's Fulana/Fulano: Our family has the same use for Petunia/Petunio. We also use those names for unborn children.

We use "the war" to refer to a family secret. We got it originally from a Fawlty Towers episode where Basil says "don't mention the war! I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it" (or something like that). Tomatoes are a subcategory of family secrets -- so much so that when people mention tomatoes, someone will say, "do you mean tomatoes or tomatoes?" And they will mean it.

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Uprooted
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When I was a child, my comfort blanket was my "corner." So called because the satin binding on one corner of the blanket had a place where the stitching was coming out and I'd insert one thumb in there while stroking the soft satin and sucking the other thumb.
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Sterling
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
I remember it as "Right on, King!".

You bring to potato salad!
Right on, King!
You bring the watermelon!
Right on, King!

I loved that sketch. I wonder if one of us is misremembering it, or if they dubbed "good plan" over it between the time that I would have watched it in the early to mid 70s (when the phrase "right on" would have had more currency) and when you guys watched it.

I started watching Sesame Street around 1979, and I only remember "good plan, king." (shrug) While I can find a fair number of links on Google for "good plan king", "right on king" as you might expect hits a whole lot of driving instructions, no matter how many exclusions I put in the search, which makes it hard for me to completely confirm or deny. And no luck finding a video clip.
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Teshi
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quote:
What about "show snuvel"?
Never used that one. When my sister was very little, she used to say 'doiloiloiloi' for 'doll', because the l was so difficult. She also said 'puter and 'wursty (for university), but these words have fallen out of use as her vocal ability improved.
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scifibum
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We say "squdge" sometimes which means "squeeze and hug." And our babies can all "speak chubbinese" because they have chubby knees (and now I'm grinning, because my little girl's chubby knees are SO cute).

My oldest often asks for "jumpy hugs" which means he wants me to pick him up and carry him. When he was smaller I made a game of picking him up where I'd help him jump higher and higher until he "jumped" as high as my shoulder, at which point I'd hug him close. But he thinks of any pick-up-and-hold action as a "jumpy hug." Jumpy hugs are getting harder as he is getting bigger.

For some reason we started calling the dishwasher the "dishwashy." that's pretty obvious though. Also in the obvious category, the remote is often the "R. Mote." No explanation.

I sing the song "How much is that doggy in the window" to my kids every night at bedtime (it was a desperate ploy to make an absolutely consistent bedtime routine so the oldest would go to bed without freaking out, which worked, but he's continued to insist on the exact same routine - I'm sick of that song, let me tell you), anyway one of the lines is "I must take a trip to California, and leave my poor sweetheart alone." Now our middle child says "Daddy go to California?" when I go to work each day. It's pretty cute.

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Mike
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The Russian word martha is referring to is "skeese", which really means something like "sour".
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katharina
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"deenteen"

It is slang for "stinky" which is slang for both being physically dirty and for being naughty.

For instance: When the parents come from a night out, they would ask us, concerning our behavior, "Were you deenteen?"

If we have been playing outside and want to come in: "Go wash yourself off with the hose; you're deenteen."

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Dan_raven
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"This is mighty fine chocolate."

This translates to, you just said something really personal, or that I could turn into a really dirty joke, but instead I'll ignore it and focus on something else. Originally the something else was some chocolate we were enjoying.

As in:

Husband(upset): Sometimes lady, you get me so upset I want to bend you over my knees and give you the spanking you deserve.

Wife(joking): And sometimes love, I think I'll let you.

Friends sitting around: Mmmm, this is mighty fine chocolate here. (avoids looking at husband and wife)

Can also replace "thats what She said."

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ketchupqueen
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quote:
Originally posted by Noemon:
quote:
Originally posted by Teshi:
I use silly words (like 'wishdosher', for dishwasher)

What about "show snuvel"?
We say "evalator" quite a bit.

And to my four year old, if you're doing the right thing, you're not behaving, you're "being have." (That's have to rhyme with save, not have with a short a.) As in, "That big dog is pooping on the sidewalk. He is not being have. The little dog is on a leash. He is being have." (Real life example there!) Also as in, "Emma, if you don't start behaving, you will not get to watch a movie after dinner." "I AM being have!"

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_raven:
"This is mighty fine chocolate."

This translates to, you just said something really personal, or that I could turn into a really dirty joke, but instead I'll ignore it and focus on something else. Originally the something else was some chocolate we were enjoying.

As in:

Husband(upset): Sometimes lady, you get me so upset I want to bend you over my knees and give you the spanking you deserve.

Wife(joking): And sometimes love, I think I'll let you.

Friends sitting around: Mmmm, this is mighty fine chocolate here. (avoids looking at husband and wife)

Can also replace "thats what She said."

We have something similar for the kitchen table that we stole from the movie While You Were Sleeping. Anybody can process a soft reset of the conversation at hand by saying, "These mash potatoes as so creamy!"
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