A Family Lexicon – Words That Grow Up With Us

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A lexicon is defined as “the words used in a language or by a person or group of people.” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

As a family grows up together, they develop their own language. Sure, it’s usually with words everyone knows but with a context that’s intimate, a context that says we belong. Family can have its prickly stages, but the language of family is deeply embedded. Even as the children grow up and have their own families, the collective memory of these words, just like with favorite songs, take us back to another time. A time that these words had love, place, and situation wrapped snugly around them.IMG_0040 (3)In the days our children were little (before our third came home to us), this lexicon began to develop. You can even tell the ages of our children by some of our acquired favorite sayings.

Below are some of our Mills Family Lexicon. I wrote them down over the last several weeks, as they popped into our times together. Some the children have outgrown, and we look forward to adding new ones with the next generation of kiddos.

“Breffix, Comptible, Pannicakes, Whatchoosay?” Words we still use even though we’re all grown up…sort of.

“Turn on the Pancake Music” – Vivaldi’s Four Seasons – Saturday morning pancakes were always accompanied by Vivaldi. I’m thinking the kids still all have a strong urge for pancakes when Vivaldi plays.

Bobwhite whistle – We lived in big cities when the kids were growing up (Cairo, Egypt, the biggest). Lots of airports. I wanted to be able to get their attention without words. This worked then….and did for years later. It might have lost its magic now (or with earbuds, who knows), but for years……they stopped whatever they were doing and looked up.

Do not feel sad. Many things cannot fly. Rocks. Trees. Sticks. Spike.” – from the film Land Before Time

“Hold on tight, Knuckles!” – a line off the Sonic videogame; first coined in our family, when cousin Jonathan and our guys were tubing on the river behind Uncle Mark’s boat.

“Charlie Brown” – enough said, about our melancholy guys

“You’re killing me, Smalls!” – from the film Sandlot

“Too hot! Too hot!” – from the film 101 Dalmations

“That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.” – from Charlie Brown Christmas

“I. Am. O.K.” – [Thou Shalt Laugh; Taylor Mason]

“Every lit-tle thing’s gonna be alright.” – chorus of song by Delirious

“This is a sick world we’re living in! Sick people!” – from the film Jingle All the Way

“Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?” – Dad, from the film Rush Hour

“You wubbin’ me the wong way.” – Elmer Fudd, Geico commercial

“Are you dead, Man?” – from the film Cool Runnings

“No, only mostly dead.” – from Princess Bride

“People are idiots!” – from Everybody Loves Raymond‘s dad Frank

“Let’s go shoot buffalo!” – said his buddy Zach Anders at Nathan’s 4th birthday partyBlog - Daniel & Nathan

“Meskeen” – Arabic word meaning “pitiful” or “to be pitied” – resorted to when one of us is throwing a pity party. Other language words also used without thinking. “Malesh” is also an Arabic word meaning “It’s O.K.” or “Never mind” or “No worries”, Daniel’s French interjections sometimes come out of nowhere- including “Quoi?” (“What?”) and “Mafoix” (although I don’t know what it means).

“Either deal with it or die to it.” – again Dad’s short admonition when we keep ruminating over a conflicted situation or relationship

“Do not grow weary in well-doing; you will reap a harvest, if you don’t give up.” – Galatians 6:9 – there are the many Bible verses that were there for counsel and encouragement; this is one.IMG_0003 (12)

“Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite. You either.” – sing-song back and forth at “lights out” while kids were growing up

I know…too stinkin’ adorable, that one – “the Walton’s”, not ours.

What are some of your family’s lexicon words/sayings? Please share them in the comments below.

What Is Your Family’s Lexicon?

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5 thoughts on “A Family Lexicon – Words That Grow Up With Us”

  1. I’m pretty sure we all still turn around if we hear the bob white. 🙂 Hoping I can whistle loud enough to use it with my kids. One more Dad would say – “nunya.”

    1. As in “nunya bizness”? So funny how for you introverts in the family, most of the sayings that stuck are yours. The bobwhite signal was sure a good one. Practice that whistle.

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