Thought Catalog

59 Quick Slang Phrases From The 1920s We Should Start Using Again

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Get ready to “know your onions,” readers. If you’ve ever wanted to talk like characters from an old movie or the folks from The Great Gatsby, now’s your chance. For the twenties lovers among us, here are 59 of the era’s best slang phrases. Now you just have to practice talking really, really fast.

Flickr/Sam Fam
Flickr/Sam Fam

1. Ankle: to walk

2. “Applesauce!”: “Horsefeathers!”

3. “Bank’s closed!”: what you tell someone to stop making out

4. Bearcat: a lively, spirited woman, possibly with a fiery streak

5. Berries: like “bee’s knees,” denotes that something is good, desirable or pleasing. “That sounds like berries to me!”

Flickr/pcgn7
Flickr/pcgn7

6. Bimbo: refers to a macho man

7. Bluenose: term for a prude or individual deemed to be a killjoy

8. Bubs: a woman’s boobs

9. “Bushwa!”: “Bullshit!”

10. “Butt me!”: “I would like a cigarette.”

Flickr/Homini
Flickr/Homini

11. Cancelled stamp: a shy, lonely female, the type one would describe as a “wallflower”

12. Cash: a smooch

13. Cake-eater: in the 1920’s refers to a “ladies’ man”; later, slang for homosexual

14. Cheaters: Glasses or bifocals

15. Choice bit of calico: a desirable woman

Flickr/TruckPR
Flickr/TruckPR

16. Darb: something deemed wonderful or splendid, similar to “berries”

17. Dewdropper: like lollygagger, a slacker who sits around all day and does nothing, often unemployed

18. “Don’t take any wooden nickels!”: “Don’t do anything dumb!”

19. Dumb Dora: an unintelligent woman

20. Egg: a person who leads an absurdly wealthy, extravagant lifestyle (see: Gatsby’s “West Egg”)

Flickr/john.murden
Flickr/john.murden

21. Four-flusher: someone who mooches off the money of others in order to feign wealth

22. Gasper: cigarette, “fag” (also of the 1920s)

23. Giggle water: liquor, alcoholic beverage

24. “Go chase yourself!”: “Get out of here!”

25. Handcuff: engagement ring

Flickr/deflam
Flickr/deflam

26. Half-seas over: shitfaced

27. Hayburner: a car with poor gas-mileage, a guzzler

28. Hotsy-totsy: attractive, pleasing to the eye

29. Icy mitt: rejection from the object of one’s affection, as in: “He got the icy mitt.”

30. Iron one’s shoelaces: to excuse oneself for the restroom

Flickr/aldenjewell
Flickr/aldenjewell

31. Jake: okay, fine, as in “Don’t worry, everything’s jake.”

32. Jorum of skee: a swig of alcohol, particularly hard liquor

33. Know your onions: to know what’s up or what’s going on

34. “Let’s blouse!”: “Let’s blow this popsicle stand!”

35. Manacle: Wedding ring

Flickr/EthelRedThePetrolHead
Flickr/EthelRedThePetrolHead

36. Mazuma: Dollar bills, cash, money

37. Mrs. Grundy: an uptight or very straight-laced individual

38. Noodle juice: tea.

39. “Now you’re on the trolley!”: “Now you’ve gotten it right!”

40. Oliver Twist: an extremely good dancer.

Flickr/photolibrarian
Flickr/photolibrarian

41. On a toot: on a bender

42. Ossified: drunk

43. Quilt: an alcoholic beverage that keeps you warm

44. Panther piss: whiskey, particularly homemade whiskey

45. Petting pantry: a cinema or movie theatre

Flickr/photolibrarian
Flickr/photolibrarian

46. “Phonus balonus!”: “That’s nonsense!” or “That’s horseshit!”

47. Pull a Daniel Boone: to upchuck

48. Reuben: a hick or redneck

49. Rub: a dance party for college or high school students

50. Sheba – someone’s girlfriend; or a sexually desirable woman

Flickr/aldenjewell
Flickr/aldenjewell

51. Sinker: a doughnut

52. Sockdollager: an event or action of great importance

53. Spifflicated: inebriated

54. “Tell it to Sweeney!”: what you say when you believe something to be untrue; “Tell it to someone who would buy that!”

55. Tomato: a woman

Flickr/Duke Yearlook
Flickr/Duke Yearlook

56. Upstage: arrogant, snobby

57. Whoopee: to have a good time, “make whoopee”

58. Wurp: wet blanket or person seen as a buzzkill (see: Debbie Downer)

59. Zozzled: shitfaced TC mark

image – Flickr/deflam

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      Reblogged this on The World Without Us.

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      Reblogged this on Bubba's Blog and commented:
      This list is the cat’s pajamas!

    • http://theblogisthething.wordpress.com tdavis77

      A much needed revival. I’ll take these over “awesome” and “epic” any time!

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      Reblogged this on Polymnia Blues.

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      Reblogged this on CJR Writing and commented:
      I belong in the 20s and 30s anyway, so I am absolutely going to start using some of these.

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