21 Things Grandma And Grandpa Say That Kids Won’t Understand

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Each generation has its own terminology and jargon that only certain groups will understand, and we, the Baby Boomer grandmas, are no exception. While we may not understand all of this “cringe” and “IYKYK” business, we have our secret code of sorts that includes these 21 things that go straight over this younger generation’s head:

Wet rag

Wet rags photo
Flickr/astrid westvang

Yes, a wet rag is a – well, a rag that is wet – but more importantly, it is a person who is no fun, boring, or just plain negative. How did we come up with this saying? I don’t know, but it is a term I still use today!


Kid wearing Finker shirt

Did anyone else have younger siblings who were finks? Me, too. They liked to fink (or tattle) on me for the smallest things, like tying up the party line when I was supposed to be doing literally anything else. 


Squares and cubes

While we can laugh about it now, I used to think my younger siblings were so square (uncool). 


Coat and flannel

Can kids today not figure out what “threads” refers to? No, it isn’t a literal thread you sew with, but rather a broad term for clothes! Get it? 


Someone pumping gasoline into vehicle
Flickr/Mike Mozart

This isn’t your regular state of matter or the fuel that powers your car – this kind of gas means something fun or exciting! (Listen to the Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” to learn how to use it in a sentence. What do you mean by “What are the Stones?”!)

Flip a wig

Dog wearing a wig

You don’t know what this means? Don’t flip a wig, as I am getting ready to tell you! Flip a wig means to get angry or upset about something. (In hindsight, this is one of those sayings that doesn’t make sense, and I am not sure how we came up with it in the first place. Regardless, please keep your wig un-flipped!)

Wig chop

Boss in wig disguise at desk
Flickr/Mark Turnauckas

Speaking of wigs and not really having anything to do with them: a wig chop was our little way of saying haircut. 


Groovy Volkswagen van
Flickr/Michel Curi

I have noticed younger people using this term ironically, but to my generation, there was nothing groovier (AKA cooler) than this word and the era when it was both coined and most used. Speaking of groovy…


Guy holding up "peace" sign
Flickr/Joshua Rappeneker

…it was SUPER groovy to throw up a deuce (peace sign)…

Slug bug

Volkswagen bug car
Flickr/R. Miller

…while driving around in your slug bug (AKA, your VW Beetle or – if you were really lucky – van)! Can you dig it?

Dig it

Kid digging in the dirt
Flickr/Shyn Darkly

Oops, sorry! Dig it was a way groovier way to ask if someone understood what you were asking or saying. 

Hacked off

Blades of a hacksaw
Flickr/Francesco Foianesi

With horror movies as graphic as they are now, many may hear the term “hacked off” and think it refers to a gory flick. Not so! To grandma and grandpa, hacked off means mad or angry.

Old lady (or old man)

Elderly woman's ring
Flickr/Bev Sykes

Don’t you dare say, “Isn’t that you, grandma?”! In my day, calling someone your old lady/man was a term of endearment for your significant other, no matter their age. 

Jeeper’s creepers!

Girl with a surprised look

Jeeper’s creepers = oh my gosh! How to use it correctly can be summed up by the Louis Armstrong classic, in which he sings, “Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers? Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?”( WHAT DO YOU MEAN WHO IS LOUIS ARMSTRONG?!)

What a fry

French fry close up
Flickr/David Kessler

No, I didn’t ask you if you wanted a fry – I said, “what a fry,” which means someone who is weird. 


Cat photo

Yes, we, too, call four-legged felines cats. When we were kids, however, the word cat had two meanings, with the other referring to a cool man.


Flip flop/thong footwear
Flickr/Ryan Albrey

I wish you could have seen your grandpa’s face when he first heard the word “thong” in reference to ladies’ underwear! The correct definition for a thong isn’t uncomfortable panties, but rather a sandle with a small strap that contains the foot (which you may better know as a “flip flop”). 

Come on, snake, let’s rattle 

Snake in the grass

This is one of those sayings that had two very different meanings (let’s dance or let’s fight), so you had to be extra careful in how you came off whenever you said it.

Razz my berries 

Raspberries on the stem
Flickr/Liza Lagman Sperl

C’mon, isn’t this one as plain as the nose on your face? It means something excited you! It razzed your berries! (Honestly, having to explain all of these is equal parts berry razzing and wig flipping…)

What’s your bag?

Bag/purse with quilt pattern

What’s my bag (or problem), you ask? It is the fact that kids today don’t understand what any of these fun old sayings mean. Now stop dipping in my Kool-Aid!

Stop dipping in my Kool-Aid 

Kool-Aid packets
Flickr/Jason Brisch

Being nosy or overstepping.

We know what you’re thinking (“Okay, Boomer,” right?), but we really did have the best lingo that is also – dare I say – timeless! I hope that reading these old sayings in terms made you smile and brought back fond memories. 

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