I am looking for a phrase that describes a really crappy mobile phone, which has become so dysfunctional that it is ready to be thrown away

  • I would call it an 'aged phone', or a 'phone past its half-life'
    – Othya
    Sep 9 '14 at 12:56
  • disposable probably works.
    – SrJoven
    Sep 9 '14 at 13:24
  • Or straight out dispo-phone Sep 9 '14 at 22:48

Let me explore some industrial terms that are applicable for equipment or manufactured products.

  • Defective: self-explanatory
  • Zero scrap value: Not worth keeping
  • Negative scrap value: costs extra money to dispose
  • Zero/negative salvage value: as in scrap value
  • Deprecated: outdated
  • Deteriorated: self-explanatory
  • End of life: self-explanatory
  • Expired beyond the bathtub curve: an industrial statistical term describing the phenomenon where badly made products fail-early, or normal products failing at end-of-life.
  • junk yard: where scrapped products or equipment go
  • junk bin: a database/log-book category for stuffs to be moved to junk yard.
  • disposal contractor: self-explanatory
  • dispositioning: making a decision about that to do with the defective stuff.
  • past expiry date: self-explanatory
  • hazardous material/equipment: self-explanatory

I am guessing your dad/brother gave you his old cell phone, and you wish to make very strong and offensive statement about that cell phone. Or you are trying to convince your wife to let you buy a new phone.

This piece of deteriorated junk is deprecated in functionality, has negative scrap value and is beyond salvage. It has deteriorated beyond its bathtub expiry date, that its continued use beyond its long past end-of-life is considered hazardous and therefore may invite lawsuits through inadvertent use by someone other than yourself. I am dispositioning it to the junk bin.


There are a few, although 'broken', 'dead', 'unusable' or 'rubbish' would do.

I'd use the word 'borked'.

  • 1
    Regarding "borked," would you please explain? Thanks. Sep 9 '14 at 15:37
  • It's probably not strictly a real word, but it's one I've picked up from a colleague of mine. To my mind it's onomatopoeic of something being irrevocably broken. Containing a large plosive and a clipped ending. Basically, I like how it sounds.
    – AJFaraday
    Sep 10 '14 at 10:58

I can think of several possible phrases

  • I need to replace my old/crappy/shitty mobile.
  • I'm chucking this away
  • It's ancient (implying that the mobile is so old you need a replacement).
  • It's ready for the junkyard/scrapyard.
  • It's past its sell-by date.

While technically defunct implies the phone is no longer functioning at all, to say "almost defunct" or "about to be defunct" will get your point across. I also suspect that if speaking in an informal, hyberbolic manner, you can get away without the modifiers, such as "D@#%ed this defunct phone, I can never get a signal."


I know this doesn't really 100% fit what you are looking for but it's pretty good: burner


The term "burner phone" is a slang that refers to cheap, disposable pre-paid cellular phones. Burner phones are often associated with illegal activities; however, people can use burner phones for legitimate temporary phone numbers.

I know the context is overly specific for what you're looking for - but if you refere to your phone as a burner people would get the idea that you could possibly chuck it at anytime.


There's no phrase specific to mobile phones that I'm aware of. You might say it is dead, kaput, or knackered, depending on what tone you're going for.

  • 1
    But all these expression mean the mobile is broken or not working. In the OP's case, the mobile is old, crappy, and faulty but it still functions. Knackered is probably the best term, it doesn't necessarily imply the phone isn't working.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 9 '14 at 12:07
  • 2
    But knackered only works in BrE. In AmE we'd probably say used up or spent, but more likely outdated or obsolete. Still more likely: "I junked my shitty old phone and got a new one."
    – Robusto
    Sep 9 '14 at 12:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.