Friday, March 12, 2010

The Fam-Bam Vocab

It could have been worse....


Years and years and year and years (you get the idea) ago, before children, HOB and I were playing Pictionary with a couple friends and it was one of those rounds where it was an All Play. I picked up the card which instructed me to draw out the word "Jab." Now, even without of the aid of any liquor, I managed to mangle my instructions. Instead of saying, "It's an All Play," I announced, "It's an All Jab."

This sent us all into laughter and we went on to another card, but for some strange reason the term "All-Jab" stayed with us. It came to signify something we all did together. "Hey, we were thinking of going out to dinner tonight. Want to make it an All-Jab?" "How about an All-Jab hike this weekend?"

The friends with whom we shared this term moved to another state about the time our children came along, but the phrase remained firmly embedded in our vocabulary. "It's an All-Jab to the grocery store. Everybody in the car." "We are going to Grandma's this summer. It's an All-Jab." "It's garage clean-up day and it's an All-Jab."

When Sonny Boy was in high school he came home one day, confused. Apparently, he had used the term "All-Jab" with his friends and they had no idea what he was talking about. He had insisted to them that it was a real term that meant everyone participates. "Why don't they know what it means?" he asked.

OH OH. We had to explain to him that it was a family term, not one recognized by the larger society. He threw up his hands, "Well, thanks for telling me! What other words do we use around here that no one else understands?" We had to think. To be honest, I am sure there are others, but we couldn't differentiate them quickly.

In my now-contorted mind, All-Jab is now the perfect word to indicate an all-inclusive activity. I have to be careful not to use it in my English classes, especially in my lower-level ones where I am also teaching vocabulary.

On second thought, perhaps this is my chance to make a real contribution to the growth and development of the English language. I could begin the process with my unsuspecting students and watch the term flow across this great land....hummmmm....


What terms or sayings do you have in your family that are exclusive to it? In what ways have you managed to caress or mangle perfectly good words to suit your familial needs? What is the story behind the term/saying?

You've got your assignment.
The comment box is open.
And, yes, it is an All-Jab.

19 comments:

Brian said...

As I recall, Patton employed an all-jab at the Battle of the Bulge. No, I can't think offhand of any similar terms in our family usage. The baby talk and bathroom epithets died out long ago. We do use very obscure lines from film and television(such as, "Special attention is paid to cleanliness," and "Propane and propane accessories"), and like a certain colleague of yours we pepper our language with Nadsat phrases ("eggi-wegs with lomticks of toast," or "a cup of the old chai?"). Also, one says, "I'm going to bring the laundry in, and then I'm going to bring the Mondrian." That one predates the kids.

JennyMac said...

hahaha...all jab..love it. And love pictionary. We have some great stories in our family too from game nights. Have a great weekend BB.

Ann said...

I can't think of a single thing used exclusively by my family. Sure enjoyed your story though.

Anjanette said...

We always say "go take a tub" when we want the children to bathe. It doesn't matter whether or not they get in the tub or the shower.

I know we have others, but I'll be darned if I can remember a single other at the moment...

Linda said...

We all have family type words. We have a whole language..It's funny to hear. We've used at big gatherings of people. Disney world for example. It means nothing, just sounds. You would think we were from somewhere else in the world. We have a good time with it.
Thank you for your comment. Spring is definatly here. I saw Robins today.

Michelle said...

I say you see how far you can spread the use of that phrase!! I would, lol I can't think of any our family has though I am sure they exist.

Kitty said...

We heat things up in the beep beep.

Erin said...

As mom said, there's the beep-beep, as well as the probably common shaubby(sp?) for strawberries. Also, I was in high school before I learned that prestoopnik was not a real English word. Boddibot was the terrible curse word employed when my sister was very angry as children. Bread from a day-old bread store was "used bread".

Anonymous said...

you should put in on Urban Dictionary.
pg

liz said...

Sometime during my college years, I picked up the word, "bogart", meaning to borrow or steal. I still use it, and conjugate it as needed.

fraizerbaz said...

Well, my mother told me that when she potty-trained us kids, she would teach us her own made-up euphemisms for certain functions that other parents would call "poo poo" or "pee pee."

The reason behind this is that whenever we were out in public, she didn't want to have us loudly announce to a room full of strangers that we had to go "poo poo!" and embarrass whomever was with us.

So, she designated the words "to to" and "boogie" for the two functions.

Imagine my surprise when a few shorts years later, during the disco era, another word for dance was now called "boogie"!

To this day, every time I hear that song, "I love the nightlife, I've got to boogie on the disco 'round, oh yea" it STILL makes me cringe.

Shannon E. Kennedy said...

hmmm..... okay, (tiny tears) I can only think of Kerry. Number 1 of course, is "MOOOONKEY CHOW" and "LOTS Oh CHOPS" and a silly way of saying "Sadturday"

MOOOONKEY Chow - it was a bird food mix that we used to feed our nightingale (back in my bird days). I used to crack us up. We'd say it over and over and over again! MOOOONKEY CHOW. Now, I've incorporated it into a silly game for Kerry's son. I tell him I'm hungry and he yells "oh no, not monkey chow" he'll run but he can't hide. I catch him and then I eat his belly. He's ticklish so it creates this wonderful high pitched laughter. :)

Lots oh Chops - is my failed attempt at making breaded pork chops. they were terrible and Kerry looked at the packaging and said "lots oh chops?" and laughed. for some reason the family thought it was bizarre that I would purchase such a silly sounding meat. they were right. the chops were chewy (not in a good way)

Sadturday - was something my father said to someone in the background during a football game that Kerry was playing and I was videotaping. He stutters sometimes and he had a hard time getting "saturday' out... okay, this sounds cruel but we still (I still) pronounce it that way - with a deep voice (I sound sort of smashed when I say it)...no one understands but I know Kerry is smiling down at me.

Thanks for being there bossy! and for reading my posts. and YOU crack me up!
xoMonkeyMe

Mellisa Rock said...

Only one comes to mind...Bubbie -- this is the term used to describe one of male children -- I don't know how it started but my mom and sister's think it's weird...Hubby and I think it's a term of endearment!!

Lindy MacDuff said...

Great story!

No special terms in our family come to mind, but I can think of two phrases.

The first was said to me directly by my husband's aunt approximately 20 years ago, after I had made a negative observation about similarities between hubby, hubby's dad, and hubby's uncle. Auntie said, "Your first mistake was marrying a (our last name)!" Hubby and I have repeated this phrase on numerous occasions since, always ending with a huge laugh.

The second phrase just came up a few days ago when we visited hubby's dad for his 85th birthday. Mother-in-law #2 made a comment that father-in-law goes out of his way to worry her. I commented, "The nut doesn't fall far from the tree!" My hubby let out a huge laugh and reminded me that the correct phrase is "The APPLE doesn't fall far from the tree!"

Well, I guess you had to be there...

Alissa said...

We've always used the term Jitty-Jet to refer to window washer fluid. Not sure where it comes from. Perhaps an obsolete brand name, but I have learned that it is not a universal term after perplexing some guys at the autoparts store.

A friend of mine in high school coined the term "Woah Jody" (we didn't know anyone named Jody) as a sort of catch-all exclamation used in the same way one would use "OMG". Anyway, I didn't know she had coined the phrase and used it when I was in college only to have everyone ask who the hell Jody was. I tried explaining it, but no one seemed to get it.

Rebecca said...

My Mother has always had an attraction to French. When she was a little kid her grandmother would yell at her grandchildren in French (Ferme le tres grande bouche!!!! - shut your big mouth). As my Mom grew up she added many French phrases to her vocabulary, her favorite the common merci boucoup. Over the years this has been completely butchered... mercy buckets. I thought the phrase was mercy buckets growing up and put my own spin on it... mercy buckitos.

My father would always say ass-per-a-gus and bull-og-na. And, because my Mom thought bathroom references were vulgar, he turned pee-pee into wee. I need to go wee. Weeeeeee!!!! Every time I see a kid going down a slide... weeeeee... bleh.

TT is a total turnoff (even though it is fair to say total turnon).

Shisk-ka-bob is a term of wow or omg or just huh.

Nippy in the skippy means its cold out.

Geeze is never complete without Louise.

And the best is yeppa doodle scoodle, which can extend to yeppa doodle scoodle my oddle diddle doodle.

Fun times!!!! Ya I'm so not weird.

YogaforCynics said...

The term "dimbus head" had quite a bit of currency among my brothers and myself...though my younger brother disliked it intensely, since it was invented to insult him, so it's since fallen out of use...

Eyegirl said...

Off the top of my head I can't think of any family words, but I'm sure we have them. Your post did remind me of a funny pictionary story though. When I was in optometry school I was playing with a classmate. My word was taste buds, and I drew a tongue with little bumps and my friend kept shouting "papillae" over and over. When time finally ran out and I told her the word we both found it hysterical that she was unable to dumb it down and come up with the word taste bud. She said she knew what I was trying to get her to say, but she just couldn't remember the non-medical term. I'm sure reading it isn't that amusing but it had us doubled over in fits of laughter and it is still a fond memory all these years later.

Sara said...

I grew up calling those gray, roly-poly bugs, "potato bugs." Nobody else called them that, but I figured that because I'm from the sticks, so I probably say things a bit differently. It wasn't until a year ago that my siblings and I were chatting with my mom, and she claimed that she never taught us to call them potato bugs and she had no idea where that came from. But all four of us learned that name, so we're pretty sure that she's just conveniently changing her story after all these years.

I also am the only person I know (other than my dad ) who calls that compartment in your car a "jockey box." It's an actual term, but I get the oddest looks when I say it.