5 Everyday Expressions That Are Actually Much Older Than You Think

Language is constantly changing and evolving, with new expressions created almost daily. Some expressions, however, have stood the test of time and have actually been around for many, many years. Here are a few expressions that might seem new, but are actually much older than you think.

1) OMG

This phrase feels like it was made for Twitter. It saves us characters and, when spoken aloud, saves us time. But the first documented use of this phrase was actually 100 years ago.


The phrase first appeared in a letter Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher to Winston Churchill. In that letter, he writes, “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis—O.M.G. (Oh! My! God!)—Shower it on the Admiralty!” The big difference today, of course, is that we don’t need to explain what each letter means when we use it.

2) Xmas

Some people think that Xmas is a way to take the religion out of this holiday, but that wasn’t the original intent. Instead, the “X” is actually a shorthand symbol for Jesus.


The “X” here is the symbol for the Greek letter “chi,” which is the first letter in the Greek spelling of Christ. It’s been used for about 1,000 years by various Christian writers with no ill intent.

3) LOL

This seems like a phrase, like OMG, that was invented for the internet. Its actual history, however, begins in the 1960s.


It did not, however, mean “laugh out loud” or “lots of love,” but instead meant “little old lady.” It was used by doctors in their notes, such as “LOLINAD,” meaning “little old lady in no apparent distress.” NASA also had “LOL memory” used on the Apollo missions, which a nod to old textile workers (little old ladies) who wove fabric, just as the copper wires used in the mission are woven together to create the software used in the space mission.

4) Freelance

Some people might believe that the term “freelancer” came about relatively recently, as freelance writers and other independent workers became more common. In fact, the term is much older than that.


The term actually dates back to the Middle Ages and referred to a knight who had no particular allegiance to any one king or lord. They would take their lance and fight for whoever paid them the most money. The term came back into style recently, but its origins go way back.

5) Twerk

This one may surprise people since this seems like a relatively recent word. The first usage of twerk was actually back in the 1800s when it was spelled a little bit differently and had a slightly different meaning.


It was spelled “twirk” back in the day and first appeared in writing as early as 1820. Back then, it was actually used as a noun to describe a jerking or twisting movement. It wasn’t until the 1840s that it was first used as a verb. The word was we know it actually came out of the “Bounce” scene in New Orleans in the ’90s. The first use came in the 1993 song “Do the Jubilee All” by DJ Jubilee.

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