50 Phrases Your Kids Will Never Hear

Image via Flickr user Joe Haupt.

Technology and culture moves quickly, and ideas that were commonplace when we were kids have faded away. Check out these 50 phases that our kids will probably never hear spoken.

As we all get older it can be sobering to think about the ways our technology and culture have changed since we were kids, and how words, phrases, and concepts that were commonplace to us have been left by the wayside. So we got to thinking about how many statements that we might have heard from our parents, or uttered ourselves, will never be said to or by our kids, simply because the technology and our culture has moved on.

Some of these may still be in limited use in some places, of course; Regional culture moves at differential paces. But in general these are phrases, many of them referencing technologies that have been made obsolete in the last 40 years, that we may have been familiar with once, but which our kids will probably never hear. If you have more ideas, please leave them in the comments below!

  1. Beta, or VHS?
  2. What’s your fax number?
  3. Be kind, rewind!
  4. Please insert twenty-five cents for the next ten minutes.
  5. Paper, or plastic?
  6. This is the operator, you have a collect call from, ‘momanddadwemadeitloveyou,’ will you accept the charges?
  7. Flash bulb.
  8. I want to be a Toys “R” Us kid.
  9. Run a batch of punch cards.
  10. The planet Pluto.
  11. I’m watching re-runs.
  12. Would you like to be seated in smoking or non-smoking?
  13. Get off the phone, I’m trying to download a song!
  14. Check the card catalog.
  15. Waiting by the phone.
  16. Make your list from the Sears Wish Book.
  17. Who’s in your top 8?
  18. Hello, and welcome to Moviefone!
  19. Don’t touch that dial!
  20. You sound like a broken record.
  21. I have to check in with my answering service.
  22. Film at eleven.
  23. Insert the disc.
  24. Pass out the dittos.
  25. Clean the chalk board.
  26. Roll down your window.
  27. Drop the film off for processing.
  28. How do I spell [any word]?
  29. I’m out of film.
  30. Would you like to keep your carbon, or shall I tear it up?
  31. What’s your modem’s baud rate?
  32. Eject the cassette.
  33. Checking my pager.
  34. Operator, can you connect me with [insert number]?
  35. Let’s pull over and buy a map.
  36. At the tone, the time will be four thirty and 20 seconds.
  37. Did you pick up this week’s TV Guide?
  38. I’m going to check the classifieds.
  39. I’ll make her a mixtape.
  40. Pick up a Triptik from AAA for our trip.
  41. Here’s a quarter for the payphone.
  42. Let’s stop by Blockbuster on the way home and pick up a movie.
  43. I’m going down to the bank to deposit this check.
  44. Wiggle the rabbit ears.
  45. Listen to the B-side.
  46. Sit in front of the boob tube.
  47. You’ll have to switch the RF modulator behind the TV to make that work.
  48. I think light bulb is burned out.
  49. Wrong Side: Please remove disc and turn over to play program.
  50. Tune in next week!

See also our list of 100 Things Our Kids May Never Know!

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This post was last modified on July 16, 2018 10:10 am

Ken Denmead: Ken is a husband and father from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works as civil engineer. He became the Publisher of GeekDad in 2007, and the owner in 2010. He also wrote the NYT bestselling GeekDad series of project books for parents and kids to share.

View Comments (5)

  • Fun trip down memory lane.

    #8 - :(

    #26 - Roll down your window. I know that virtually no new vehicle sold in the US is available with manual crank windows anymore, so "kids these days" won't understand the origin of the phrase, but what other phrase would you use for this?

    #28 - My kids are in elementary school and I hear this phrase from them all the time (and no, they're not asking a virtual assistant).

    #40 - It's "TripTik". Lots of fond summer family road trip memories thanks to those things. :)

    #48 - Who talks that way? LOL. We still have a few lights in our house using incandescent bulbs, but even those we just say the bulb "burned out". Either way though, they likely won't really understand the origin that phrase either.

    #18 - That's one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes.

    At the rate things are going though, kids currently in elementary school won't even really remember "DVD or Bluray?".

  • #26 - I think perhaps they'll just resort to "open your window?" Or "put your window down." Hard to tell on that one.
    #28 - Interesting point! The kids may still hear it through school, but later, when we all have dictionaries in our pockets, it fades.
    #40 - thanks, I'll update that!
    #48 - You may be a bit more accurate there. I mean, we would always look at a burned out bulb to see if we could figure out why it was dead, but even "burned out" may go away, because LED bulbs won't burn out anymore.

    As for DVD/Blu-Ray, that's a good question. I feel like physical media won't die quickly, especially in schools where the ability to stream stuff in will be limited. But in general, you're right. Someday, they'll be gone.

    • I thought about 411, but the service does still exist on most phones. I wonder how many people use it, though? Same with *69- it works on cell phones!

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