One of the sure-fire signs of ageing is the ‘turn of phrase.’ Despite protestations to the contrary, I cannot but help but throw them into conversation despite, if I’m honest, not really understanding what a large slither of them actually mean.

It’s a generational thing without a doubt: Only recently, when attempting to teach about conglomerates or some other exciting business topic, I explained that a particular company had their ‘fingers in a number of pies.’ Oh, how the students laughed as they couldn’t believe this old codger would come out with such tripe, and I spent a disproportionate amount of time explaining why it was more apt than the phrase ‘to put all your eggs in one basket’ (which they had heard of).

Recently a list of ‘slang’ phrases, nay, insults, was released by a ‘Gen Z’ member that are on the verge of extinction. Not wanting to believe that I was quite ready for the linguistic knacker’s yard, I read on with trepidation.

Apparently, insults are now to be called ‘put downs’ which is a saying of our generation anyhow. Nitwit, git and numpty are however alien to the new fangled, tight-jean wearing man-bunned generation. Half of recipients in the 2000-person study had never heard of the word ‘cad’ whereas 60 per cent had not caught wind of the classic: ‘berk’. Among the other top 15 insults that are destined for obsolescence in the next decade, there are some corkers and, also, sadly, some which maybe haven’t lasted the test of time such as ‘prat’. It's not an insult I have ever much particularly enjoyed, and I stopped using it when I was unreliably informed it actually means a ‘pregnant fish’ (I really should Google it but can’t be bothered).

Scallywag makes the list but, again, is now too ‘nice’ a word to deploy with wanton abandon, as today you would instead be castigated as a little s*it’.

‘Plonker’ would be a sad miss, more so as it means that the viewing figures for the greatest TV comedy of all time are sadly on the wane although I wouldn’t shed a tear for ‘toe rag.’

I never understood the term: and what on earth is a toe rag? A rag you clean your toes with? Tosspot was always a classic, now coming in as the seventh most likely for imminent extinction, although I will gladly see the back of ‘drip’, which is a word that did a Manchester United and struggled to make the top six.

‘Ninny’ at number four is a term I remember fondly, as my grandfathers used to utter it, along with ‘blighter’ (a classic) and the number one: ‘lummox’.

There is an insult that makes the list that really leaves me nonplussed however, and feeling a little like Benjamin Button as I don’t believe I have ever heard of it: I genuinely have no idea what it means and subsequently I do not understand when you would find the opportunity to use it in a sentence.

The word is ‘bampot’ which, at number two, must be some kind of northern word like ‘apeth’ or ‘brew’. To me it sounds like a dish: ‘Ill take some of your finest hand cut wedges and a bampot please landlord.’ In that context it does not sound out of place but maybe, instead of writing about imaginary pies, my time may be better served by sticking my fingers in some…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher