Slang Of The 1920’S

Posted: January 29, 2014 in General


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!
Take a look and see how many you remember I bet there are more than you thought, these are just a few that I can remember I hope I got this right, if I didn’t then you can always leave a comment and let me know so I can correct myself. If you can think of any other slangs than leave them in a comment also. Hope you enjoy this tid bit of a huge brain storm I had this morning over coffee or maybe a bit to much caffeine,



Ab-so-lute-ly – 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."
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."
Big Cheese – The most important or influential person; boss. Same as big shot
Bimbo – a tough guy
Bird – general term for a man or woman, sometimes meaning "odd," i.e. "What a funny old bird."
Bluenose – An excessively puritanical person, a prude, Creator of "the Blue Nozzle Curse."
Bum’s rush – ejection by force from an establishment
Butt me – I’ll take a cigarette
Caper – a criminal act or robbery
Carry a Torch – To have a crush on someone
Cash – a kiss
Cash or check? – Do you 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
Clam – a dollar
Crush – An infatuation
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 up – shut 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
Flat Tire – A dull witted, insipid, disappointing date. Same as pill, pickle, drag, rag, oilcan
Frame – To give false evidence , to set up someone
Fly boy – a glamorous term for an aviator
Gams – A woman’s legs
Get a wiggle on – get a move on, get going
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
Hayburner – (1) a gas guzzling car (2) a horse one loses money on
Heebie-Jeebies – The jitters
High-Hat – To snub
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
Java – coffee
Joe – coffee
John – a toilet
Joint – an establishment
Juice Joint – a speakeasy
Keen – Attractive or appealing
Kisser – Mouth
Left holding the bag – (1) to be cheated out of one’s fair share (2) to be blamed for something
Level with me – be honest
Line – Insincere flattery
Live wire – a lively person
Middle Aisle – To marry
Moll – A gangster’s girl 
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
Piker – (1) a cheapskate (2) a coward
Pipe down – stop talking
Pushover – 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
Sap – a fool
Says you – a reaction of disbelief
Scram – Ask someone to leave immediately
Sinker – a doughnut
Stuck On – Having a crush on
Swell – Wonderful. Also: a rich man
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
You slay me – that’s funny

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