There’s no doubt that many expressions we use in everyday life come straight from the silver screen or from television.
To be stepforded is to be secretly replaced with a submissive robot. It comes from the film The Stepford Wives, in which all the wives in town are turned into compliant and submissive women by their husbands. A recent newspaper article said “Make sure you don’t get stepforded when you join the salesforce team…”
The term gaslighting has been used colloquially since at least the late 1970s to describe efforts to manipulate someone’s sense of reality. It comes from the 1944 film Gaslight in which Ingrid Bergman plays a woman who believes she is losing her mind because her evil husband denies the gas light is flickering when it is.
Who hasn’t used groundhog day to describe a situation in which events appear to be repeated. It comes from the 1993 film Groundhog Day, in which the lead character experiences the same day repeatedly.
Fictitious people are also used to describe character traits. An optimist might be called Pollyanna, a well-behaved girl could be Mary Poppins, and a foolish or incompetent person is a muppet, from TV’s The Muppet Show.
An adventurer could be an Indiana Jones and a spoilsport or killjoy has to be a Grinch. A person who lacks skill in a particular area is a muggle, from the Harry Potter series.
Before the film The Full Monty came out in 1997, the full monty meant ‘the whole thing’. There are many theories of how the phrase came about, one of them being the full cooked breakfast insisted upon by Field Marshal Montgomery. The film has popularised the expression, now also used to mean ‘full nudity’.
And who could forget Tom Cruise shouting Show me the money from the 1996 film Jerry Maguire?
What can I say but Hasta la vista, baby!