Huckleberries Online

Hi-Noon: A Failure To Communicate

English is a moving target. Like all languages, it never stops changing. Words drop in. Words drop out. The longer you live, the more words you need to retire from your speaking or writing because they are unknown to newer portions of the population. For instance, we went to a fast food shop the other day and the clerk asked me if I wanted chopped onions in my chicken salad. "Hold the onions," I said.The clerk looked at me with a hint of alarm in her young eyes. She thought I actually meant she should hold the onions in her hand or in her armpits or something. I quickly realized that what we had there was a failure to communicate. She was working in a restaurant but she had never heard the old hash house (a restaurant) slang "hold the onions." She didn't know that meant leave out the onions/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More to come.

Question: Hall goes on to say that a grocery clerk referred to his wife recently as "your old lady"? Do you ever use that expression for your wife or "my old man" for your husband?




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D.F. Oliveria
Dave Oliveria writes the Huckleberries Online Blog for North Idaho readers and the Huckleberries print column.

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