Old Words

Primp is a word that isn’t heard very often these days. I remember the word being spoken many times growing up. Folks would say, “She’s always in her room primping.” or “I think she went to primp before her boyfriend comes over.” But now primping is called contouring, or having a spa day, or getting a seaweed scrub.

Thinking about this word reminded me of many old-fashioned words that are not heard anymore, but will catapult those of a certain age back to their younger days. One of those words, for me, is chifferobe. When I was five-years-old in Dundalk, Maryland, my mom announced one day after school that we were going to get a chifferobe. I wasn’t sure what that was, but I loved it when it was brought into our house. It looked a bit like this one:


and I thought we were very grand to have such a beautiful piece of furniture.

Another word I remember, that is hardly ever used today, is davenport. That’s what Mom called our sofa, and a much better name it was, as far as I was concerned.


My grandmother did not refer to her purse as a purse or a handbag. No, she called her purse her “pocketbook.” And since one of the first brands of refrigerators were manufactured by a company by the name of Frigidaire, that’s what everyone called their refrigerator, a Frigidaire.


So, people would say, “Would you put this co-cola in the Frigidaire, please?” Oh, and the co-cola could be any brand of soda, such as Pepsi, 7-Up, or root beer, and it still would be referred to as a co-cola, or Coke, as we now say.

One last faded word I have to get off my mind is crinoline. In the second-grade, we would spend time on the playground counting how many layers of crinoline we had on under our circle skirts. Sometimes the crinoline pettiskirts (another antiquated word) were white, but there were also colored crinoline slips. We thought this look was fabulous.


Here’s hoping I can play some small part in encouraging an old word trend.:)



Author: gebbysmith

I am a retired school teacher, school administrator, designer, retail business- owner, writer, fisherman, gardener, music-lover, dance-lover, theater-lover who lives in Mississippi. My husband, four doggies, and I live on a small farm and have fun every day making things and working on our house..

6 thoughts on “Old Words”

  1. Ah, nostalgic. 😊 I think the Filipinos still say Frigidaire 😀 Chifferobe? Is the word used in To Kill a Mockingbird? Maybe I’m confused. That old thing that Mayella Ewell asked Tom Robinson to chop…?? I do miss the old words. There are too many nonsensical words these days like bae, “my bad”, etc. and too much swearing. *shudder*
    Thanks for the trip down memory lane (that’s less daunting than mine recently 😊) 💖


  2. Ah, the memories evoked by your post – though not all are warm and fuzzy. There was nothing I wanted more than crinolines (yep, plural – very fashionable to layer them). Unfortunately, my mother said I was too chubby to wear crinolines & you know what, looking at old photos I discover I wasn’t chubby at all! Ah, not everything was good in the good ol’ days. I still use primp, I love the word chifferobe & where did the word davenport go? Thanks Gebby!


  3. What a charming post! I haven’t thought of the word “davenport” in years. But thanks to you I will now go through the most heroic gyrations to weave it into my next conversation, ha ha. One of *my* favorite old-timey words is “dapper.” Would you award me bonus points for commenting on someone’s dapper davenport?


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