Who of you still uses the phrase “How’s tricks” on a regular basis?
Never heard that phrase before.
The last time I heard it was probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Even then I think it may have been a throwback to the 1930s or 40s.
What I find strange is that if you Google the phrase, about a dozen dictionary entries come up, but none of them mention that the phrase is no longer used, even though that information is extremely important.
Hi Torsten, I heard it used in the eighties, but I think it has become old-fashioned and some people might even consider this not very lady-or gentlemen like.
For context, I’m 21 years old and a native English speaker. I first saw this phrase in the book Anxious People; it’s the name of a real estate agency. It’s a translation from Swedish, so I wonder what the original phrase was. But not having ever seen this phrase before, I had no idea what it meant or how it was relevant (other than sounding similar to “house tricks”). At least where I live, no one ever, ever says this.
I also wondered what the original joke was.
Samples of the first few pages of the book in both English and Swedish are available on Apple Books.
In English, when a police officer asks the name of her real estate agency, she replies “House Tricks”, which sounds like “How’s tricks?”
The name of the agency in Swedish seems to be some form of “What’s Up.” The joke then appears to be that when the real estate agent is asked the name of her agency, her response sounds like the question “What’s up?”
Of course, I’d welcome a correction by a Swedish speaker.