Slang of the 1920's

The twenties were the first decade to emphasize youth culture over the older generations, and the flapper sub-culture had a tremendous influence on main stream America; many new words and phrases were coined by these liberated women. Many of these are still used today!


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Absolutely
affirmative
All Wet
describes an erroneous idea or individual, as in, "he's all wet."
And How
I strongly agree!
Applesauce
an expletive same as horsefeathers, As in "Ah applesauce!"
Attaboy
well done!; also Attagirl!
Baby
sweetheart. Also denotes something of high value or respect.
Balled Up
confused, messed up
Baloney
nonsense!
Bank's Closed
no kissing or making out - i.e. - "Sorry, Mac, the bank's closed."
Bearcat
a hot-blooded or fiery girl
Beat It
scam or get lost
Beat one's gums
idle chatter
Bee's Knees
An extraordinary person, thing, idea; the ultimate
Beef
a complaint or to complain
Beeswax
business, i.e. None of your beeswax."
Bell bottom
a sailor
Berries
That which is attractive or pleasing; similar to bee's knees, As in "It's the berries."
Bible Belt
Area in the South and Midwest where Fundamentalism flourishes
Big Cheese
The most important or influential person; boss. Same as big shot
Big six
a strong man; from auto advertising, for the new and powerful; six cylinder engines
Bimbo
a tough guy
Bird
general termfor a man or woman, sometimes meaning "odd," i.e. "What a funny old bird."
Blind Date
going out with someone you do not know
Bluenose
An excessively puritanical person, a prude, Creator of "the Blue Nozzle Curse."
Bootleg
illegal liquor
Breezer
an convertible car
Bronx Cheer
A loud spluttering noise, used to indicate disapproval. Same as raspberry 
Bull
(1) a policeman or law- enforcement officer including FBI (2) nonsense (3) to chat idly, to exaggerate
Bull Session
Male talkfest, gossip, stories of sexual exploits
Bum's rush
ejection by force from an establishment
Bump Off
To murder,To kill
Butt me
I'll take a cigarette
Caper
a criminal act or robbery
Carry a Torch
To have acrush on someone
Cash
a kiss
Cash or check?
Do kiss now or later?
Cat's Meow
Something splendid or stylish; similar to bee's knees; The best or greatest, wonderful.
Cat's Pajamas
Same as cat's meow
Chassis:
the female body
Cheaters
Eyeglasses
Check
kiss me later
Ciggy
cigarette
Clam
a dollar
Copacetic
Wonderful, fine, all right
Crush
An infatuation
Daddy
a young woman's boyfriend or lover, especially if he's rich
Dame
a female
Dapper
a Flapper's dad
Darb
An excellent person or thing (as in "the Darb" - a person with money who can be relied on to pay the check)
Dead soldier
an empty bear bottle
Deb
an debutant
Dick
a private investigator
Dogs
feet
Doll
an attractive woman
Dolled up
dressed up
Don't know from nothing
don't have any information
Don't take any wooden nickels
Don't do anything stupid
Double-cross
to cheat, stab in the back
Dough
money
Drugstore Cowboy
a guy that hangs around on a street corner trying to pick up girls
Dry
upshut up, get lost
Ducky
very good
Dumb Dora
a stupid female
Earful
enough
Edge
intoxication, a buzz. i.e. "I've got an edge."
Egg
a person who lives the big life
Fall Guy
Victim of a frame
Fire extinguisher
a chaperone
Fish
(1) a college freshman (2) a first timer in prison
Flat Tire
A dull witted, insipid, disappointing date. Same as pill, pickle, drag, rag, oilcan
Flivver
a Model T; after 1928, could mean any old broken down car
Flapper
A stylish, brash, hedonistic young woman with short skirts & shorter hair
Fly boy
a glamorous term for an aviator
Frame
To give false evidence , to set up someone
Gams
A woman's legs
Get a wiggle on
get a move on, get going
Giggle Water
An intoxicating beverage; alcohol
Gin Mill
An establishment where hard liquor is sold; bar
Glad rags
"going out on the town" clothes
Gold Digger
A woman who associates with or marries a man for his wealth
Goofy
in love
Hair of the Dog
a shot of alcohol
Handcuff
an engagement ring
Hard Boiled
a tough, strong guy
Hayburner
(1) a gas guzzling car (2) a horse one loses money on
Heebie-Jeebies
The jitters
High-Hat
To snub
Hit on all sixes
to perform 100 per cent; as "hitting on all six cyclinders"
Hooch
Bootleg liquor
Hood
hoodlum
Hoofer
Dancer
Horsefeathers
an expletive ; same usage as applesauce
Hotsy-Totsy
Pleasing
It
Sex appeal
Iron
a motorcycle
Jack
money
Jake
OK, as in ,Everything is Jake."
Jalopy
Old car
Jane
any female
Java
coffee
Jitney
a car employed as a private bus. Fare was usually five cents; also called a "nickel"
Joe
coffee
John
a toilet
Joint
an establishment
Juice Joint
a speakeasy- A club, usually selling alcohol
Keen
Attractive or appealing
Kisser
Mouth
Middle Aisle
To marry
Mrs. Grundy
A priggish or extremely tight-laced person
Moll
A gangster's girl
Neck
Kissing with passion  
Nifty
great, excellent "Now you're on the trolley!"Now you've got it, now you're right!
Nobody Home
Describes some one who is dumb
On the lam
fleeing from police
On the level
legitimate, honest
On the up and up
on the level
Orchidan
expensive item
Ossifieda
drunk person
Owl
a person who's out late
Palooka
  1. (1) a below-average or average boxer
  2. (2) a social outsider, from the comic strip character Joe Palooka
Pet
Same as neck, but more so
Piker
  1. (1) a cheapskate
  2. (2) a coward
Pill
1) a teacher (2) an unlikable person
Pinch
To arrest
Pipe down
stop talking
Push over
A person easily convinced or seduced
Putting on the Ritz
after the Ritz hotel in Paris; doing something in high style
Rag-a-muffin
a dirty or disheveled individual
Razz
to make fun of
Real McCoy
The genuine article
Ritzy
Elegant (from the hotel)
Sap
a fool
Says you
a reaction of disbelief
Scram
Ask someone to leave immediately
Sheba
A woman with sex appeal (from the move Queen of Sheba) or (e.g. Clara Bow)
Sheik
A man with sex appeal (from the Valentino movies)
Shiva
knife
Sinker
a doughnut
Speak easy
An illicit bar selling bootleg liquor
Spifflicated
Drunk. The same as canned, corked, tanked, primed, scrooched, jazzed, zozzled, plastered, owled, embalmed, lit, potted, ossified or fried to the hat
Spiffy
An elegant appearance
Spoon
to neck, or at least talk of love
Struggle Buggy
the backseat of a car. A parent's worst nightmare
Stuck On
Having a crush on
Swanky
Ritzy
Swell
Wonderful. Also: a rich man
Take for a Ride
To drive off with someone in order to bump them off
Tin Pan Alley
the music industry in New York, located between 48th and 52nd street
Tomato
a female
Torpedo
A hired gun
Upchuck
To vomit when one has drunk too much
Wet Blanket
a solemn person, a killjoy
What's eating you?
What's wrong
Whoopee
To have a good time
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