phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at


Posted by R. Berg on February 11, 2004

In Reply to: 1900s posted by ESC on February 10, 2004

: : : : : : What does the phrase "The Past Century" mean to you? Does it mean the 19th century or the 20th? Up until about 4 years ago it meant the 19th century and you didn't have to think about it. Now I'm not so sure. Whippersnappers in today's high-tech world are already using the phrase to mean the 20th century, but plenty of references published in the past century use it to mean the 19th century.

: : : : : : Just thought I'd mention it.

: : : : : The past century is the 20th century. But I'm in a time warp and still think the "past" is the 19th.

: : : : And what would you mean by yesterday?

: : : Exactly. Someone quoted a source today (Tuesday) on this forum, and the source referred to a phrase people have been using since "the middle of the last century". Well, the publication date of the source was not given but one could reasonably assume it was published in the 20th century and was referring to the 19th century. But for how long can we assume that? I just think it's an interesting thing to ponder.

: : I think we've just gotta face it. We're a bunch of fogies and we have to shake our old habits and catch up. But it's an interesting point that many books would make reference to the middle of the last century and these books would have been published in the last century (ie. 20th). So does this mean that our kids need this to be translated for them at school? I realise we all hope they're smart enough to figure that out, but maybe it depends on how young and maybe we shouldn't assume.

: : No doubt the same thing must have happened after the clock ticked over into the previous century. But how long will this hangover last? 2010, 2020??

: : I wonder what other similar legacies have been left by the recent change-over (of centuries that is)??? Any thoughts?

: I am confused when I read that something occurred in the mid-1900s. Somehow I automatically translate that to 1800s.

ESC, please keep us updated on any improvement in that symptom. I react in much the same way. Maybe I'm thinking 19th century. (A reference to "the 1950s" is fine, though.)