browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.


I love Old School phrases. I love quirky, rarely heard English. I’ve made my living for over two decades largely with speaking and writing. This means I used up all the normal words a long time ago. This blog reflects that predilection. From time to time these terms will pop up in this blog.

What makes a word old school?

The other day I discussed politics with a friend. He referred to a certain politician as a “rumdum”. This is so much better than the word stupid, even though they’re synonyms.

I will now pause so sharper readers can briefly make the observation that not only are rumdum and stupid synonyms, but rumdum, stupid and politician are all synonyms. Moving on…

Rumdum is a great word because when you hear it, it doesn’t fly right through your head. It’s old school quality makes you savor it. It’s the difference between mindlessly smoking one cigarette after another and savoring a good cigar.

These Old School terms will be listed below, along with a few in-house terms in red to make following Old School Rules easier



Bum’s rush

an abrupt dismissal or swift eject from a place, sometimes using physical force.


A more polite sounding way to call someone on their stupidity


personal bearing or conduct, simply put, the way a man “carries himself”

Cowboy up

Remember you’re a man and act like one. Quit whining.


An expression that comes from one of the patron saints of this blog, the late great Bob Neff a.k.a. Bull. When Bob referred to a situation as being “downtown” it meant it was all good.


From 1250-1300 AD (when Old School was just Middle Aged School), “May God prosper you”


When referring to my home, I typically use the word homestead. Homestead has the connotation of 19th century American settlers arriving at a new home and not just living there, but also cultivating the land and making the land productive.


Occasionally I take great joy in writing a post which is 99-100% prevarication or, as P.T. Barnum might have said, “humbug”. Because I write these for entertainment, not profit, I feel little if any guilt about this. These posts will always be placed in the blog’s humbug category.


A disliked person, a jerk

Nancy boy

A Nancy boy is a guy who is soft, a sissy. While a technically pejorative, it is usually used to encourage, not insult. Example, “Son, you’re not a Nancy boy. Carry your own luggage.” While some sources define this word as “homosexual”, that is not our usage here.

Ne’er do well

an idle, ineffectual, lazy person. A slacker.


A local talk show host was interviewing professional wrestling legend, 75 year old Bruno Sammartino. The host asked him about his current workout schedule. He replied that he lifts weights three days a week and does “roadwork” three days a week. Not jogging. “Roadwork.” Great word.


A stupid or ignorant person


“Son, you look sharp.” When you tell your son he looks sharp, you’re telling him more than he looks good. You’re telling him he projects confidence and competence. Sharp usually involves a tucked-in shirt and at least two properly placed creases.


The official curse word of It was good enough for the apostle Paul, so it’s good enough for us! It is Greek and translated as the word “dung” in Philippians 3:8

Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them but dung , that I may win Christ.

In other words, skubalon is what you scrape off the bottom of your shoe.


Two minutes ago my mother-in-law told my three year old his shirt was snazzy. Great word. She meant his shirt look nice and ever so slightly flashy.


I have a female friend who often begins endearingly begins sentences with the phrase, “Oh, sugar…” It is frequently voiced with a tone of affectionate exasperation. Good Old School verbiage.

Supralapsarianism (an over-the-top-big-word)

This term is here not so much for the meaning of the word, but a specific use of the word. A pastor friend of mine, Shaun, will let this word occasionally crop up into his conversation as his default over-the-top-big-word.

Me: How did the mens Bible study go?
Shaun: It was good. Attendance was up.
Me: What did you talk about?
Shaun: We covered chapter four of Horton’s The Law of Perfect Freedom and spent fours hours debating supralapsarianism.

I know this reads flat but conversationally it’s very funny. The unashamed use of an obscure word for the primary purpose of amusement and the secondary benefit of getting someone to look it up is Old School quirky.

Theology Thursday (in-house term)

Discussing religion in a blog dedicated to Old School Rules feels like discussing with a widow the $100,000 her late husband owes you. Sure, it needs to be done, but that doesn’t make it any less potentially awkward. The path of need versus awkwardness can be all too familiar territory when someone has a faith and tries to take it seriously. I’ll try to walk this path honestly and with consideration. In light of that, I’ve created Theology Thursday because 1) I love the Lord and 2) I like a little alliteration, too. Not every Thursday will be a Theology Thursday, but most theology posts will be on Thursday.


This term has meanings both aeronautical and sport-related. Nowadays the term refers to a role that a person may take when a friend needs support with approaching potential partners. A wingman is someone who is on the “inside” and is used to help someone with relationships.

In this blog, the term wingman is used to describe the proper role of sons with their dad. A son should frequently be at his dad’s side (like a wing on a bird) at work, play and travel from an early age. The Old School dad knows he can’t afford to miss opportunities to infuse Old School Rules into a boy’s character.



1,201 Responses to Jargon

Leave a Reply