Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Have you heard people talk about hand-me-downs in English?

Do you have any of these items that people have given to you over the years?

There are items that may no longer be good to you, but may be helpful or beneficial to others.

We are talking about such items, and the things that you may hand down over the years, and why this can be such a great point of connection in your conversations.

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Looking At A Common Phrase

So you may have heard the phrase “hand-me-down” used in conversation before.

This is a common phrase that you may hear used a lot, especially these days.

This may be a good thing, particularly when you have kids or you are trying to save some money.

What is a hand-me-down?

This is basically something that somebody else owned or used that they are giving to you to use.

They may have you used this item and now they no longer need it anymore, and so they are handing it down to you.

This extends the use of the item, and it is going into good hands as you are somebody that can now use it and find it helpful.

Do you have any hand-me-downs?

You may expect to get these when you have children, especially younger.

Say you have a baby or a toddler for example, and somebody that you know has a child a little bit older.

If they are done with clothes, baby equipment such as a stroller, or even toys, then they may hand them down to you to use.

It’s a really great way to save money, and it can be very helpful to you if you need a lot of items.

If the item is still in good shape and able to be utilized, then this can be a wonderful way of sharing.

You will find that hand-me-downs can be especially great with kids, as something like clothes are so expensive!

Looking At These As A Positive Thing

Do you think people are ok with hand-me-downs as a part of the culture?

Are they ever looked down upon?

It may be that some people look at hand-me-downs as a negative thing or they turn their nose up at them.

There may be certain people who are snobby about getting items that were once used by somebody else.

People used to look at this as a sign of struggle or as if taking used items somehow diminished their value.

This trend has changed, and now you will find that so many people are excited to get some good hand-me-downs—this can actually be a very helpful and appreciated thing!

People now look at this as a way of saving money, being resourceful, and taking advantage of somebody else’s kindness in a wonderful way.

So the negative stigma has really changed, and now you will find that you really welcome getting hand-me-downs as a beneficial thing.

This may lead you to wonder why are older things special sometimes?

You can use older items such as these as a way of connecting in conversation—oftentimes people love to talk about the things that they have that are older or have stood the test of time.

You can ask somebody about their family heirlooms, and you can share information about your own.

This is great because people have certain things that they really enjoy which are older, but they can be very special.

There is a pertinent quote to look at here which applies to this—”One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

The negative connotation about hand-me-downs and older items has gone away, and now it’s actually a really good thing to have these items.

This is an interesting thing to look at within a culture, and it can make for a great topic of conversation too.

Similar Words To Use

You will find that talking about hand-me-downs may come up often in conversation, particularly if you have kids or are in a position to accept or enjoy them.

There are other terms that you can use to talk about this sort of thing, and they can work well in conversation as well.

These all talk about things that are older, but as you can see they have a more positive spin to them.

These are great to try out when you talk about things that are older, but which have value or benefit to you.

  • Secondhand: This says directly what you are getting, and that is an item is coming to you after an initial use. That means that you will be the second person to own or use it. This means a lot of cost savings and potentially still a lot of use out of it. You might buy something like this at a thrift shop, and the idea is that somebody owned it before you. You might say “I got this secondhand at the store.”
  • Vintage: This is generally something older, though it doesn’t tend to be super ld. This has become a very positive thing within fashion. You will often see hints or cues to certain decades or time periods in things that are in fashion now. You might hear “I love your vintage style. Not everyone can pull off glasses like that.”
  • Passed down from generation to generation: You can almost visualize this as it goes from one generation to another, and it seems to gain in appreciation. These items tend to be quite valuable and therefore the people who receive them really appreciate them. It’s a nice thing to have something passed down to you, and you may want to return the favor to somebody else in your family someday. You might say “Do you like this watch? It’s been passed down from generation to generation in my family.”
  • Heirloom/ family heirloom: This is similar to the idea of something being passed down idea. This may be used more for something that is worth money or valuable. You may think of something older and beautiful like a broach or piece of jewelry, though it can be other things. You might say “This watch is a family heirloom. It’s been in my family for generations.”

Roleplay To Help

In this roleplay, Lindsay has a beautiful necklace and Michelle just complimented her on it.

Lindsay: “Thanks so much! It was my great grandmother’s.”

Michelle: “Wow, a family heirloom!”

Lindsay: “Yeah. I love it. It is passed down from generation to generation.”

Michelle: “That’s great. I don’t have anything like that. Just hand-me-downs from my older sister.”

Lindsay: “You should get some secondhand stuff. It tells a story.”

Michelle: “So true. I love vintage style. Especially stuff from the 80s.”

Lindsay: “Should we go to the thrift shop later?”

Michelle: “Yes!”


This is such a great conversation topic!

Talking about older items, particularly those that have been passed down through the years is such a wonderful thing.

This can be a great way to share information about special items, and it can make for some great connections.

Try talking about hand-me-downs or other vintage items and see how it brings people together.

This has become something with a positive connotation, and so you can enjoy these items and give to others for true value for years to come.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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