What does "this will date me" mean?



What does the phrase "this will date me" mean?

I searched for it here on "English Language Learners" and on Google but I could not find the meaning.


Posted 2016-06-22T12:25:28.150

Reputation: 441

Have you tried looking date up in a dictionary? That might be the best place to start. – Damkerng T. – 2016-06-22T12:31:12.697

It the same sense (of the verb to date) as when we use the past participle to say something (a word, custom, etc.) is dated (of the past, old-fashioned). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica – 2016-06-22T12:44:47.323

7Is it this meaning: "to show the age of; show to be old-fashioned"? Does it have the meaning "This will make me look old" or something like this? – Mohsin – 2016-06-22T12:51:21.023

1Some more context would help. – Federico Poloni – 2016-06-23T14:33:34.920



The phrase "this will date me" is often used when referring to something that you would/could only know about if you are old. "This" is referring to whatever example or topic you are about to say. It's almost always used before referencing some kind of outdated technology, method, or historical event.

See definitions 16 and 17 here.

  1. "Date" (verb): to ascertain or fix the period or point in time of; assign a period or point in time to

  2. "Date" (verb): to show the age of; show to be old-fashioned

For example, if you are going to talk about how to play music, you might say, "This will date me, but we used to have to place a needle on the physical record. Now you can just tap your phone and music will play."

It's like a kind of joke about your own age. It's equivalent to saying "this will show how old I am". It plays off of the idea that people, in general, like to appear young or youthful. The phrase is sort of "admitting" that you are old before outright giving it away by the example you are going to use.

When talking about the "undo" feature on a computer, "This will date me, but when I was using a typewriter I had to be very careful about making mistakes."


Posted 2016-06-22T12:25:28.150

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1OK I get the idea, but I am still not sure how to translate it to my language.. Can you say instead "This will make me look old" or something like this to give the same meaning? – Mohsin – 2016-06-22T12:54:30.760

5@Mohsin Well, I can't speak to how something will sound in your language, but yes that's the idea. Although (just being picky), it's not exactly making you "look" old- it's more showing how old you really are. At its core, the phrase plays off of the idea that people, in general, like to appear young or youthful. However, the person is admitting to being old by using the phrase as a setup for the outdated example they are about to use. – elmer007 – 2016-06-22T13:14:24.527

@Mohsin I've edited the answer with a link to the definition of "date" as it is used in the phrase – elmer007 – 2016-06-22T13:16:48.530

Thank you very much, your comment really helped (and of course your answer!). Now I think I can translate it :) – Mohsin – 2016-06-22T13:48:23.070

7@Mohsin Archaeologists will talk about "dating an object"-- meaning determining the age of something they found. – user151841 – 2016-06-22T15:59:45.250

12I don't think there's anything at all wrong with the answer, but I think it's worth noting that it's not quite the same as "this will make me look old" - it is "this will show how old I am". Generally, that means showing that the person is old, but not necessarily ancient: "this will date me, but I remember when I was a teenager and punk music happened". I suppose hypothetically you could also get "this will date me, but I remember playing Minecraft as a toddler" showing how young the person is (but that'd be atypical). – PeterT – 2016-06-22T16:39:08.007

2@PeterT Yes, I think 'this will give away my age' might be a better translation? Like, one example I've heard is people talking about how giving their children a very currently popular name will 'date' them in the future, which sounds pretty weird if translated to 'will make them look old'. – seasnake – 2016-06-22T17:50:55.773

2Agreed, the nuance I understand is something like "This will give you a good approximation of the date of my birth." – Sabre – 2016-06-22T18:36:46.793

6I don't think that the idea that it indicates only an age is correct. If a 10-year-old said, "This will date me, but..." then I think people would laugh at them (similarly to a 10-year-old saying "back in the day"). I think that the common usage of the phrase does, in fact, indicate an old age, and not just any specific age. This is shown when people use the phrase, then in the same conversation, use an even older example and preface it with "Now, this is really dating me, but {example}". The "really" stresses how old they are, not how specifically they can be dated from the example – elmer007 – 2016-06-22T19:27:50.090

@elmer007 So I understand that the phrase can only mean "This will show that I am at least so-and-so old" and it cannot mean "This will show that I am at most so-and-so old"? - As in a young person saying "This will date me, but I have no idea what a (slide rule/land line phone/ ...) is" – Hagen von Eitzen – 2016-06-22T20:51:52.643

@HagenvonEitzen I'd agree with that. The hypothetical example I used above would indeed be not just atypical but contrary to the generally received meaning. – PeterT – 2016-06-22T20:55:44.910

@HagenvonEitzen I agree also. You wouldn't say "This will date me, I know the names of all the characters on {new cartoon show for kids}" to try to show that you're not older than 10 (or whatever age watches the show). It's usually used to say "I'm so old that I know/used/remember {some old example/thing/event}", thus setting a minimum age for yourself – elmer007 – 2016-06-22T21:34:03.630

2I think the reference to archaeologists dating their finds is particularly appropriate, because they are generally looking at very old artifacts. The phrase doesn't just mean, it'll reveal my age, but it'll reveal what era I'm from. – Adrian McCarthy – 2016-06-22T23:42:47.893

@HagenvonEitzen Kind of, but also it could mean to get a general idea (within 10 years) of when they are born - not just that they were born before a certain date. For example, if the person then says what they're favorite band was in high school and the band was only popular for a small period of time. – daboross – 2016-06-24T05:26:20.240


Another way to phrase it would be, "My knowledge of this may indicate my age."


Posted 2016-06-22T12:25:28.150

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3It doesn't need to be knowledge; it can be an opinion. For example, "This may date me, but I still believe that the best way to see a movie is in a movie theatre." Or "... outdoor sports (like baseball and football) should be played on real grass (and not on artificial turf). – Scott – 2016-06-23T00:12:27.033

1This doesn't really answer the question; it's probably better suited off as a comment. – haykam – 2016-06-24T04:05:24.033


It's just like when you are inspecting an antique to work out its authenticity. Imagine you are presented with a silver spoon of unknown age.

Well, in England, silver spoons have a makers mark called a 'hallmark'. The word hallmark is used to describe the defining characteristic of something. Cristiano Ronaldo's hallmark is his super free kicks, speed and skill.

A hallmark on a silver spoon will have a number of symbols. One of the symbols identifies the marker. One identifies the date.

When we say "this phrase will date me", it means, that what is being said can identify the persons provenance. Quite like when you want to work out whether the painting you are buying is an original, you seek to establish it's provenance, and you would do this by 'dating' the art. Work out how old it is...

Donal Mee

Posted 2016-06-22T12:25:28.150

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