23 Baby Boomer Expressions That Baffle Today’s Youth

Baby boomers have a unique way of expressing themselves. Their language and style of speaking reflect the difference in the generation gap. While the younger generation adopted a lot of words and phrases from baby boomers, there are still some that fell out of style. Today, we will be looking at such phrases that only boomers understand.

Burning the Midnight Oil

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Baby boomers poetically use this phrase for anyone who works late at night. This phrase dates back centuries to when oil lamps were the only source of light.

Word from the Bird

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This phrase refers to a person being honest or for real. In other words, if someone doubts something you tell them, you can use this phrase to generate a sense of trustworthiness.

Wig Chop

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Wig chop is a 1950s slang phrase baby boomers used when getting a haircut. They would often say, “It’s time for a wig chop.” It is not clear how or when the phrase was invented, but it became really popular in the ’50s.

That’s Groovy

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Baby boomers use the phrase “that’s groovy” when they find something fantastic. This catchphrase was iconic in its time, but now, no one really knows what it means.

Far Out

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“Far out” was a phrase used to describe something excellent or unbelievable. This phrase has its roots in the psychedelic culture of the ’60s and ’70s, which symbolizes the hippie and colorful influence on baby boomer slang.

Right On

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This phrase was used as a symbol of affirmation or a nod of agreement, something like “Good for you.” Back in the day, almost every baby boomer used this phrase.

What’s Your Bag?

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If you ask someone, “What’s your bag?” you are asking, “What are you interested in?” or “What’s your problem?” This slang is an everyday way of asking someone about their interests, specialties, or preferences. It was quite popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

Catch You on the Flip Side

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This phrase was used to bid someone goodbye or imply that you will see the person later. The “flip side” originally referred to the other side of a vinyl record, suggesting that once the song was over, you would catch them on the flip side. The phrase originated in the 70s and was a popular slang among DJs and the general public.

That’s Solid

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Baby boomers would declare something “solid” when they showed confirmation, agreement, or reliability to something. It is similar to today’s generations saying something like, “that’s great,” or “that’s strong.”

Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

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Baby boomers often use it as a self-deprecating phrase to express their resistance to change or embrace new ideas. This phrase is one of the oldest idioms in the old English language. First used in 1546, it became increasingly popular in the boomer era.

Keep On Truckin’ or Keep Your Chin Up

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Both the phrases, used interchangeably by baby boomers, reflected a tone of encouragement. Baby boomers often use this term as a metaphor to encourage a person to stay optimistic and determined despite adversity.

A Penny for Your Thoughts

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“A penny for your thoughts” is a charming old-fashioned way of asking what a person thinks about. It is an exceptionally friendly and polite expression baby boomers use to show interest in other people’s thoughts and opinions.

The Ball Is In Your Court

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Baby boomers use this phrase when they turn to someone else to make a decision or take action. The word was borrowed from tennis, where players hit the ball back and forth, and boomers use it metaphorically to indicate that someone has the responsibility or accountability to respond to things.

Close, But No Cigar

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This phrase refers to someone almost reaching their end goal but falling short. The phrase is claimed to have originated from carnival games where cigars were often given as prizes for someone almost achieving their goals.

In a Pickle

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When baby boomers use the phrase “in a Pickle,” they usually mean that they are in a challenging or troublesome situation. The phrase likely came from an allusion to a botched pickle-making process in which food cannot be easily saved once something goes wrong.

Wet Rag

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Baby boomers call someone a “wet rag” when they find them boring. It is often a way of goading someone to go out and have some fun.

You Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

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This is one of the most common phrases baby boomers use today, which means one can’t have it both ways. Compromises are necessary; sometimes, it’s best to prioritize one thing over the other.

Bite the Bullet

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To “bite the bullet” means to face something unpleasant or difficult. It comes from the old practice where patients, during surgery, were asked to bite on a bullet to help them bear the pain. It’s often a way for baby boomers to encourage someone to face a challenge head-on.

Come On, Snake, Let’s Rattle

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This phrase has two meanings depending on how one uses it. It can mean asking a girl to dance or challenging someone to a fight. The “rattle” part likely refers to a rattlesnake’s tail, which makes a rattling sound as a warning before it strikes.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

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This phrase switches the focus of a story from one scene to another, especially to show simultaneous events. It was quite popular among baby boomers. It’s still used in movies, books, and storytelling to shift attention away from the main action to what’s happening elsewhere, often introducing a subplot or contrasting the main storyline.

Mind Your Ps and Qs

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Baby boomers use the phrase to remind someone to be careful about their manners and behavior. However, you mentioned “Mind your Ps and Rs,” which seems like a variation of the original expression. It typically refers to minding your “pleases” and “thank yous” (or “pints” and “quarts” in other historical interpretations related to keeping track of drinking tabs).

Bug Out

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This refers to leaving a place quickly, usually due to an emergency or sudden, urgent situation. Originally military slang, it was used to describe a quick withdrawal or retreat from a position to avoid danger or a tactical disadvantage. Over time, it became a term to suggest a quick departure from any dangerous or stressful situation.

Getting Fried

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Baby boomers informally use this phrase to refer to someone being under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the point of impairment. It reflects the era’s relaxed and frequently indulgent approach to substance use.

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