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15 Silly Old-Timey Words You Need To Start Using Again

Because plenty of the phrases we use today are just a bunch of flapdoodle anyway.

Originally posted on
Updated on
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1. Flapdoodle: foolish words

First known use: 1878

How to use it: Henry thinks he's a genius, but everything he tweets is pure flapdoodle!

2. Claptrap: pretentious nonsense

First known use: 1799

How to use it: Oh, Ethel, we all know you're a trust fund baby — your constant complaining about how hard it is being an artist is just claptrap.

3. Tommyrot: utter foolishness or nonsense

First known use: 1884

How to use it: Every Tinder conversation I have is full of tommyrot and goes nowhere — maybe I should just join Match instead.

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4. Fiddle-faddle: nonsense (often used as an interjection)

First known use: 1577

How to use it: Oh, fiddle-faddle, William! ::throws hands in the air:: How many times did I tell you that I do NOT look good in the Mayfair filter??

Charles Willson Peale / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

5. Monkeyshine: mischievous or playful activity; a prank

First known use: circa 1832

How to use it: Quite frankly, Florence, I'm growing tired of all your monkeyshines, and you need to start acting like an adult.

6. Horsefeathers: foolish or untrue words; often used as an interjection

First known use: 1927


How to use it:
I can't believe Edna canceled on me at the last minute and used the late-at-work-again excuse — she just Instagrammed a selfie with her cat. Horsefeathers, I tell ya!

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7. Applesauce: nonsense

First known use: 1704


How to use it:
Yeah, we broke up — I just couldn't take all his applesauce anymore, especially after I found out he still had an active OkCupid account.

LiliGraphie/LiliGraphie

8. Codswallop: nonsense (British)

First known use: 1963

How to use it: I was deathly hungover on Friday and said I had a stomach virus, but everyone knew was 100% codswallop — I should've never geotagged myself at the bar Thursday at midnight!

9. Blatherskite: a person who blathers a lot; nonsense

First known use: circa 1650

How to use it: Johnny's a real blatherskite on Facebook but I never hear two peeps outta him IRL.

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10. Bafflegab: gibberish; gobbledygook

First known use: 1952

How to use it: Cut the bafflegab already, Beatrice, and talk to me in plain English instead of cryptic texts. I have no idea what smh means.

11. Stultiloquence: senseless or silly talk

First known use: circa 1913

How to use it: I went on a date with this smart and witty dude I follow on Tumblr, but our conversation was full of a bunch of stultiloquence. Maybe he was just nervous?

Author Unknown / Creative Commons / Via commons.wikimedia.org

12. Taradiddle: a fib; pretentious nonsense

First known use: circa 1796

How to use it: Listen, Carl, I've had it up to here with all this taradiddle about how you're best friends with Harry Styles. He favorited your tweet, like, eight months ago and THAT'S IT.

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13. Jiggery-pokery: dishonest or suspicious activity; trickery

First known use: circa 1892


How to use it:
Hank and I were best of friends until all that jiggery-pokery he pulled when he hacked into my Facebook account and posted pictures of penises on everyone's page.

14. Piffle: trivial nonsense

First known use: 1890

How to use it: I am SO over Mildred's Snapchats! They're total piffle — I could not care less about what she has for dinner every night.

15. Humbuggery: false or deceptive behavior

First known use: 1750

How to use it: I fell for this hottie's humbuggery on Tinder — and ended up being catfished by my best friend. Sigh.

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Want more thoughts on fun words and the way we communicate online? BuzzFeed's former copy chief, Emmy Favilla, wrote a book, and you can preorder it now!

Inside A World Without “Whom”: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age, out November 14, you'll find word-nerdy advice, thoughts on language, memes, and emojis, and even snippets from BuzzFeed quizzes and lists (like this one)! Get it from Amazon for $17.68, Barnes & Noble for $18.02, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.
Bloomsbury Publishing / Via amazon.com

Inside A World Without “Whom”: The Essential Guide to Language in the BuzzFeed Age, out November 14, you'll find word-nerdy advice, thoughts on language, memes, and emojis, and even snippets from BuzzFeed quizzes and lists (like this one)! Get it from Amazon for $17.68, Barnes & Noble for $18.02, or a local bookseller through IndieBound here.