Slang

Some 1920s slang…

  • 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 “oh applesauce!”
  • Beat it: scam or get lost
  • Bee’s Knees: an extraordinary person, thing or idea; the ultimate
  • Beeswax: business, i.e. “it’s none of your beeswax!”
  • Big Cheese: the most important or influential person; boss
  • Bootleg: illegal liquor
  • Bump Off: to murder, to kill
  • Caper: a criminal act or robbery
  • Cat’s Meow: something splendid or stylish, similar to bee’s knees; the best
  • Chicago Typewriter: a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun
  • Clam: a dollar
  • Dame: a female
  • Dapper: a flapper’s dad
  • Dead soldier: an empty beer bottle
  • Doll: an attractive woman
  • Dry up: shut up, get lost
  • Egg: a person who lives the big life
  • Fall Guy: victim of a frame
  • Flapper: a stylish, brash, hedonistic young woman with short skirts and shorter hair
  • Frame: to give false evidence , to set someone up
  • Gat: a gun, short for Gatling Gun. Sorry hip-hop gangstas, you didn’t make it up!
  • Gin Mill: an establishment where hard liquor is sold; a bar
  • Glad rags: “going out on the town” clothes
  • Handcuff: an engagement ring
  • Heater: a gun
  • Hit on all sixes: to perform 100 per cent; as “hitting on all six cylinders”
  • Horsefeathers: an expletive; same usage as applesauce
  • Iron: a motorcycle
  • Jalopy: an old car
  • Joint: an establishment
  • Keen: attractive or appealing
  • Moll: a gangster’s girl
  • Nifty: great, excellent
  • On the level: legitimate, honest
  • Owl: a person who’s out late
  • Pinch: to arrest
  • Pipe down: stop talking
  • Rag-a-muffin: a dirty or disheveled individual
  • Razz: to make fun of
  • Rod: a gun
  • Roscoe: a gun
  • Scram: ask someone to leave immediately
  • Speakeasy: an illicit bar selling bootleg liquor
  • Spiffy: an elegant appearance
  • Swell: wonderful, also a rich man
  • Take for a Ride: to drive off with someone in order to bump them off
  • Tommy Gun: a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun
  • Torpedo: a hired gun
  • 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
  • Zoot Shooters: a swell new sport. It’s the cat’s meow. And how!

Part of this slang list was provided by AACA.

To see even more, check out The Internet Guide to Jazz Age Slang.

© 2008-2017 Zoot Shooters | Website Development