For those of you who do not currently have a small child, you may be completely and blissfully unaware of what I’m about to tell you.

But you deserve to know.

A disturbing replacement has happened in vocabulary as we know it. A brainwashing, actually, has taken place.

The term “Indian-Style”, in regards to the seated, cross-legged position, can no longer be found in the English language.

I know. Shocking.

It has been replaced with a much sillier, much less logical, much more obnoxious phrase.

Criss-Cross Applesauce.

That’s right. APPLESAUCE.



Say it out loud. Isn’t it annoying? Isn’t it urbane?? What the heck does APPLESAUCE have to do with a seated position?!

I researched it, and found two things:

1. The origin of criss-cross applesauce: it comes from a nightmare-inducing children’s poem:

Criss Cross Apple Sauce
Spiders crawling up your back
Spiders here, Spiders there
Spiders even in your hair
Cool breeze, tight squeeze
Now you’ve got the shiveries

…because Ali needed more things to have nightmares about.

And, I also discovered…

2. The demise of Indian-Style: it was what I expected: it is no longer politically correct.

Just like all of the “insensitive” baseball teams with names that seem to be celebrating, certainly not putting down, Native Americans, we must now forget that Indians taught us how to sit in that comfortable position at the first Thanksgiving meal (okay, maybe not), and instead, refer to it by a completely unrelated apple byproduct.

I personally am 1/16th Indian, and although I understand that doesn’t give me a full opinion on the matter, surely I get at least 1/16th of an opinion, and, with my allotted fraction, I would like to officially declare that I am not in the least offended by the term “Indian-Style”.

Surely there are 15 more of you out there with the same heritage as I that could join me to make up a full opinion?

But, just in case I’m the only one that doesn’t understand the insensitivity of the phrase, I’ll fall into cultural line, try not to think about spiders crawling in my hair, and say “Criss-Cross Applesauce”. At least when around impressionable (and brainwashed) young children.

And, I guess I should go ahead and complete Ali’s brainwashing to remove any other potentially offensive terms from her vocabulary…

I think I’ll teach her that Oriental Rugs are actually called Furry-Purry Peanut-Butters.

French Fries – well, they’ll be Crispy-Lispy Tuber Goobers.

And Hamburgers – I definitely don’t want to offend the people of Hamburg, so let’s call those Grisly-Greasy Cow Carcasses.

You know, just to add one more thing to her growing list of nightmare topics.

46 thoughts on “Modern Day Vocabularic Brainwashing.

  1. I always assumed the kids were sitting "cris cross," and the "applesauce" part was simply added at the end as a way to instill a silly rhyme.

    As for "Oriental," that word is actually correct — politically, or otherwise. However, Oriental refers to items or food, not people.

      1. Hello, Erin. Please understand that the term you are using is one of oppression. You may not understand this as you have been brainwashed with 3rd wave feminist propaganda. You have assumed this person is a man, how do you know this? By their name? How do you not know if you are misgendering them? By feminist logic (oxymoron) do you not see how this is deeply problematic? The term “mansplanation” is in fact, not real. To say this to someone is simply to censor and silence them by shaming them but in fact you are not being oppressed by men, I know that this makes you sick to the stomach and want to have your victim card but women have never had a better time to be alive, the buzzword you used, proves this. The fact feminism has gained so much power and is seeping into every aspect of life shows that there is no opposition, people are becoming scared of being called “sexist” even when they are not, people are being fired by feminists using bullying tactics. This topic has nothing to do with gender and the fact you think you can shame this person who is simply giving their opinion shows how cancerous feminism has become and how real the damage is. I hope you come to your sense and stop playing a fake victim so you can realise how discusting your behaviour is, you are damaging the most racially and gender eqaul society to ever exist (there are studies I can provide to prove this by the way) so, stop being a social justice bully.

        1. Mansplaing has been in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2014. You might want to look that up before you reply like this again, as it is not exclusive to men, just often. Obviously you feel passionate about women policing other people’s word choices, which you choose to express by policing the words of women. I don’t know if you are a man or a woman, but I do know that you don’t have the word hypocrite in your vocabulary, which makes at least 2 flash cards you should put into rotation.

          See how I did that there? That was a woman mansplaining the word mansplain to a person without regard for their gender.

      2. While mansplaining is a thing, I am a feminist, too. It doesn’t apply here. It only applies when a man is trying to explain a woman’s experience to a woman.

        Matt is correct as far as facts goes.

        I feel like people clinging to “Indian style” or are upset about being politically correct are actually nostalgic for a time when people could be openly racist. Surprisingly, as proved by this past election, there are more of them than I thought.

    1. I’m with you on the cross cross part. And I feel that it’s silly that this person would think that being 116th anything gives them a right to say anything about that cultures subjugation.i know that you may not agree with me but that’s okay because I value any thought you have on the matter. But like you believe the saying has everything to do with it just rhyming with the way they’re sitting and am okay with the saying seeing as it doesn’t have anything to do with the incorrect labeling of a race of people I guess what I mean is it doesn’t have anything to do with the anything to do with the incorrect labeling of a race of people as Indians when they are Indians. If you’d like to verify any typos I made I’d gladly agree because my cursor has changed and some of what I meant to say may be weirdly worded since my cursor has changed position oddly as I’m typing this out on a phone

  2. I love your new names for everything!

    When I was in boot camp, they called it simply "right over left". Not once did any instructor ever say Indian style…As a 1/8th Native American myself, I throw my opinion in with yours bringing it up to 3/16th of an opinion!

    On a related note American cheese offends me. It is the least yummy cheese! We need more PC cheese names!

  3. One of the best alternatives for 'hamburger' was from the Coneheads movie: "Charred mammal flesh"

    I still use it to this very day. Sounds tasty, doesn't it? :D

  4. Well I was more annoyed that "pipe cleaners" were labeled as "chenille sticks" when I got to the US. Then I got back to Australia… and found it happening here. It's a disease!

    But I've never used "indian-style", everyone here calls it sitting "cross-legged", as far as I know.

      1. Though I think it’s a bit hyperbolic to call that fuzz chenille…

        Fuzzy wire? Furry snake sticks? Braided rainbow bristle twists?

  5. I laughed out loud at your additional new names! What is wrong with "cross-legged" for goodness sake?

    Kyle—have you seen the ad for American cheese that implies that it is patriotic to eat it? Let's rename it "gooey flat square slice".

    I am also tired of made up words that add "ista" to the end.

  6. okay….definitely learned that I do not like the sp!der$ thing….eww…I am also part indian so it doesn't offend me at all…I mean, lets give the Indians credit for it! :)

  7. I am 1/16th too! We have so many weird little things in common. Having been in and around education for the past 10 years I am very used to criss-cross applesauce but I had no idea about the rest of the poem. Yuck. We always called it indian-style when I was little.

    I know several full blooded "Native Americans" who prefer to be called "Indians".

  8. I just had a classroom of five year olds correct me when I started singing one little, two little, three little Indians. Go ahead. Roll your eyes. I did.
    From what I gather, a lot of people call indigenous groups Indians and nothing bad is meant by it. I don't know. I guess I'm just naive – and glad.

  9. I only know indian style and am not going to call it anything else. Cris-cross makes sense but applesauce? I agree with AJ what does applesauce have to do with sitting?

  10. Goodness, I'm going to be afraid to speak soon. When did everyone get so sensitive and assume these terms mean bad things? Lighten up, world. Love the new vocabulary! Now that's describing something. Very insightful while being PC.

  11. I said Indian-Style the other day in Eden's Sunday School and they all looked at me like I had 7 heads. I looked back at all the 3 year olds like they had 7 heads when I realized they didn't understand what I was saying.

  12. Agreed and agreed. Crazy the things we have to take out of our vocab these days … although I agree with about one in 10 of them from a sensitivity point of view. NOT THIS ONE, THOUGH.

  13. Unbelieveable. I really am speechless.

    Of all the things we should be worrying about nowadays- action is taken on the least important matters. Sheesh.

  14. I seriously think you are ready to be a…
    S T A N D U P C O M I C

    And, I really know you could. I seriously needed your vocabularly verbage today. It's's pouring…and, forget the rest of that crap. I dislike the rain:
    1. No sunshine
    2. I hurt when it rains
    3. To quote my mother & other
    old people (of which I am
    now one) "I get stoved up!"

    And, yes, Rach…I know we need it for the flowers, trees, blah blah
    blah. I did not share my feelings about the rain with my children when they were young. I do love rain in the night..and in, Maui. Because in Maui when it rains, it stops and the sun comes out. And, then there is ALWAYS a rainbow!

    You made my day. I shall have to peruse your blog later for more fun stuff and to see Ali. ;)
    Hope you're feeling well, little preggars. ;)

  15. "French Fries – well, they’ll be Crispy-Lispy Tuber Goobers."

    No no, French fries are freedom fries, remember? And for breakfast, it's freedom toast, not French toast. Because it is (or was) politically incorrect to dignify a nation that didn't agree with out glorious, perfectly conservative ex-president on Iraq.

  16. Cute post, Rachel! I nearly choked years ago when I first heard someone much younger than myself refer to curtains as window treatments! I DON'T think that one has anything to with political correctness though!

  17. I am 100% indian.. (the country India => that indian :) ) and here Its just called sitting :)

    I think the style came down to us from the grandfathers of our grandfathers, of our grandfathers,(and a few 1000 generations in between), of those grandfathers who practices the same style when sitting next to the great gods meditiating in the Himalayas…

    If I tell anyone to “Please sit ‘Criss cross applesause’ “, I am sure the very immediate reaction would be, “oh no no no… Theess ij a brand neew saree I am wearing, I will not sit on any ‘sauce’ … you please give me a clean place to sit please..” …

    yea yea.. that could happen :D

  18. Did you also know that the indians use “indian style” not for sitting.. well not the regular one at least … :D

    “Indian style” refers to the Indian Squat Toilets :D

    Maybe thats why they started calling indian style sittng as criss cross.. It would have been too difficult to have all kids sitting ‘indian style’ all the time if they found out the power it held :D

  19. I don’t find “criss cross applesauce” annoying, although I can see how it can be perceived as a bit too PC.

    But I have to push back on your comment about sports teams: “Just like all of the ‘insensitive’ baseball teams with names that seem to be celebrating, certainly not putting down, Native Americans,” As a Cleveland-area resident, I find the Indians mascot horribly offensive. If it were a black person, it would be called Sambo and immediately changed. As an alumn of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, I protested Chief Illiniwek because, although students said it was to “honor” the Illini, Native Americans themselves they found it offensive and asked that it not be used anymore. And my spouse is a lifelong Washington Redskins fan. The term “redskins” was and is a racial slur. It would be akin to calling the team the Washington N*****s. .

    Sometimes we go to far in trying to be politically correct, yes, but sometimes we need to consider the perspective of those we are trying to honor — particularly when they are standing at the gates of the stadium before every game protesting said “honor.”

  20. I always assumed Indian style referred to India, not Native Americans. Native Americans are not Indians. There are billions of people already using that term from India. Yoga is practiced frequently in India and it’s a sitting position often used in yoga, hence Indian Style. I guess Yoga Style would be more appropriate. However I’m sure there’s some Yoga term already in place that I’m not aware of.

  21. Many – many years ago, I traveled to Hamburg in Germany and decided to ask for a Hamburger. It created confusion since nobody in the restaurant knew what it was. Delving into this a bit deeper is when I discovered from the locals that hamburger was NOT named after Hamburg.

  22. I wondered what ever happened to
    the phrase ” Indian style”! Criss cross applesauce is a horrible replacement! It makes zero sense. I mean the criss cross part I can handle….it’s the applesauce part that doesn’t fit in. And if it’s that confusing to adults…just think how confusing it is for young children. It just makes me think of food. How are you going to get a child’s attention if you just put an image of food in their mind?! …. It just seems to be the signs of the times. Nothing and nobody seems to be called what it/they truly are in reality, but are being renamed/reborn as something/someone else. I can’t help but laugh! I think I will be a new creation today! That way I can be 100% “Indian”! And, “no”….I’m not offended by the term “Indian style”!

  23. My kids were playing a chase game with a ball at school (well, until the teachers noticed) and I said ‘oh, you were playing smear the queer’. My hope is that next time they play it they call it that…because I don’t live my life in a self conscious box worrying to death over how each individual interprets every utterance I make; seems a little arrogant and full of myself to do that.

  24. Milk cartons say, “may contain milk”, pnut butter jars warn us it may contain nuts, & bread may contain wheat. To all you people that must be warned that hot coffee is hot, please untwist your sensitive panties & whine over something useful. Or go sit “indian style” in the corner & pout, I mean criss cross f***** applesauce. Are apples offended??

  25. If you really want to blow their minds, inform them they are stripping the cultural heritage of India from yogic poses adopted for comfort and health. Culturally appropriating, and failing to acknowledge the origin of a common activity? For shame!

  26. “Indian-style” doesn’t actually refer to any Native American tribes at all – it’s a reference to a little country called ‘India’, where adults sat cross-legged and the British said “what a wonderful idea!” and adopted it. If even referring to people from India is going to be offensive now, I don’t see why they didn’t just use “cross-legged.” That’s been equally common for decades.

    Personally, I plan on telling every child I hear call it “criss-cross applesause” that that term is offensive and very rude; it’s built on erasing our cultural heritage from India, and that’s racist. Fight fire with fire.

  27. It’s INDIAN STYLE. Always has been, always will be. Why is “Indian” even considered anything negative to begin with? “Native American” is BS anyway; were they really the first people to ever live on the North American continent? Don’t think so…Keeping “Indian” in our lexicography if nothing else reminds us that they were and still are a part of our American culture — good, bad, or otherwise. To remove the phrase is just stupid.

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