"pull the chain" and other archaic sayings we still use

I’ve not used a toilet with an actual chain flush for years, but I still say it.

Do you have any sayings that are actually kinda obsolete when you really think about it?

“Don’t just stand there like one of Littlewoods’, come and give me/us a hand with this.”


I’ve never heard it for littlewoods, only as Lewis’s (which some say is about the mannequins and some say is about the sex workers who used the lewis’s arcade)

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“phone is ringing off the hook”

even in the landline days, I never really had a phone that rested on a hook…

also ‘dial a number’: we definitely had phones with actual dials in the 80s and 90s, but everything has been buttons or touchscreen for years and years now.

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I always assumed it referred to mannequins, rather than the other thing, crikey.

One of my school teachers used the variation “one of Marks’” - evidently he was more middle class

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“Just off to spend a penny”

It’s brass monkeys

Using Blackpool Illuminations as the go to for a lot of lights


My daughter has been using the phrase “nearly went for a burton” when she stumbles, I have no idea where she picked it up - my working theory is that she’s friends with the ghost of a WW2 pilot.


Not a saying, but the international signal for “may I have the bill please” when nobody has popped their signature down to pay for something this millennium


Type. Cut. Paste. Cc

Still happens in the US, couldn’t believe it when i went to San Francisco and they didn’t have chip and pin yet. Didn’t have my signature on the back of my card when were needed to pay the bill in a restaurant so I had to write it on my card at the same time as signing the bill.


Some shops in the US have terminals for credit card payments where you have to sign on a screen, using your finger.

I remember having the opposite experience in France in the 90s, where they had chip and pin but we didn’t in the UK. I’d gone to a Supermarche and the poor woman on the till was trying to ask me in French to put my card in the machine, but I didn’t understand and it wouldn’t have worked even if I did put it in.

Cheques in France are still very much the norm. Paying for groceries takes an age whilst the person in front pays by cheque.