11 Old-Fashioned Expressions People Still Find Charming
A lot goes into what makes a person charming, from their personality, to their unique quirks, to the way they treat other people. So it's important to keep in mind that, as long as you're being yourself, you're likely already coming off as likable and endearing. But it's also possible — as well as really fun — to boost the dazzle-factor a little by adding charming and old-fashioned expressions to your daily life.
If you have a friend who says things like, "that's the bee's knees," then you already get it. People remember cute phrases like these because they're quaint, and they're not used very often. But these expressions also have a way of vividly describing feelings and moments in a way our average, everyday words can't.
They're also old time-y in the best way. "They make you think of a time when life was simple and unhurried," counselor Heidi McBain, MA, LMFT, LPC, RPT tells Bustle. "These sayings get to the heart of what truly matters, which are the people you love and the experiences you have in life together."
Here are a few of the best old-fashioned expressions you should consider adding to your everyday phraseology, so that you can be even more charming than you already are.
1. "That's My Cup Of Tea"
The next time you're really feelin' something, you can say it's "your cup of tea." This adorable phrase, which originated in the UK, is used most often when someone really likes what "they're being served or are interested in the topic of conversation or activity that is being discussed," spiritual counselor and psychic Davida Rappaport tells Bustle. It can also be applied to people, so feel free to tell someone they're your cup of tea, too.
It can also be used in the negative. You can say, "'that's not my cup of tea,'" lifestyle expert and author Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. "It's a rather nuanced way to say you're really into or not into something."
2. "Kick Up Your Heels"
On a Friday night, when you're heading out on the town with friends, say you're ready to "kick up your heels." As Rappaport says, "When someone says 'kick up your heels' they generally mean that they cast off any inhibitions they may have to just let loose and enjoy themselves. This can also mean to just enjoy yourself without holding back." Think of it as the old-fashioned way of saying, "turn up," if you will.
3. "I'll Be There With Bells On"
This expression, which was used quite often in the late 19th century, "was used in conjunction with an invitation to a party or event," Rappaport says. "When someone was invited to a party and said, 'I’ll be there with bells on,' this was an indication of their excitement about the party and that they could hardly wait to go." So the next time you're invited out, charm everyone by showing your enthusiasm with this old time-y phrase.
4. "I'm Head Over Heels"
We've all heard this phrase at one point or another. But how often do you actually use it yourself? "The expression 'head over heels' was used to tell someone that they were madly in love with them or someone," Rappaport says. Although originally used to express feeling out of sorts, it's eventual relation to the feeling of love makes it a sweet, old-fashioned way of adding emphasis while telling someone you care.
5. "You Look Happy As A Clam"
To say someone is happy as a clam "refers to them being happy and content," Rappaport says. But why, exactly, are clams so darn happy? "The original expression was 'happy as a clam in high water.' When a clam is in high water, they are generally safe from predators. So being happy as a clam means you are happy and content, with no worries or fears about your safety."
To incorporate the expression into your own life, you can say your cat looks happy as a clam when she's sleeping in the sun, or that your partner looks happy as a clam when they're tuck up comfortably in bed. Charming, right?
6. "Pardon My French"
The next time you bust out with a curse word, excuse yourself by quickly saying "pardon my French." Or, you can use it in the lead up to dropping a few four letter words, as another way of excusing yourself.
As Rappaport says, "This would often be used in what was termed 'mixed company.' It was felt that the words that were going to be uttered were too harsh for [someone] ... or so as to not offend people in general." Of course, it didn't undo the fact the words were said, but it was a charming way of remaining polite, and adding a bit of humor to some less savory word choices.
7. "Carpe Diem"
This Latin phrase, which means "seize the day," can be a charming thing to say when someone in your life needs a little encouragement. "When someone says 'Carp diem,' their intention is to take charge of the day, live in the present moment, and not worry about tomorrow or the future," Rappaport says. "A good friend might tell someone to 'Carpe diem.' This allows them to be proactive; by doing so, they may actually reach their goals and also live their lives in the present rather than in their head."
8. "Bring Home The Bacon"
Another one we've all heard, but definitely need to say more often, is "bring home the bacon," which means to bring home a paycheck. As Rappaport says, bringing home the bacon is "used to refer to the fact that someone goes to work (steady employment) and brings home money to pay bills." So when you and your partner go to work, you don't get a paycheck; you "bring home the bacon."
9. "Be Still My Heart"
Another sweet one is "be still by heart," which has a variety of uses. "You can think of it as an adrenaline rush of ... excitement when you see the person you are in love with or may be lusting after," Rappaport says. "It can also mean that someone needs to calm down because they are too upset, excited, or distressed." A once poetic exclamation from the Romantic period, it can now be used to add a little extra flare when your hearts skips a beat.
10. "You're The Bee's Knees"
To say something's the "bee's knees" is to say you admire it greatly, or think very highly of it. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the expression was first used in 1921, so it has that great, old-fashioned style that's so important when it comes to laying on that Gatsby-era charm.
11. "You're The Cat's Meow"
Similarly, you can say someone or something is "the cat's meow," which is a slang term that means someone is wonderful or remarkable. You can also use the term "the cat's pajamas," which means the same thing. These classic phrases sprang up around the 1920s, and still have that old time-y charm as a result.
By adding a few of these expressions into your everyday life, you can increase your charm factor, all while inspiring others to bring back fun, old phrases from decades gone by. They're just so darn adorable — and super useful — so we shouldn't leave them in the past.