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1920’s Slang

I love the glitz and glamour of the 1920’s. Everything just seemed so dandy as everyone hobnobbed and jazzed around everywhere. Even the language managed to capture that sense of freedom and fun. So I’ve compiled a list of some really swell slang from the 20’s. Why not try some out and brighten your day?

All wet – a ridiculous idea or individual

‘Oh God, he wants to go out in the rain without an umbrella. He’s all wet.’

And how – expression of firm agreement

Applesauce – used as an expletive

‘Oh applesauce! I’ve forgotten the applesauce.’

Attaboy – Well done

Balled up – confused or messed up

‘You’ve balled up all my socks. Now I can’t find the ones I want. You’ve got me all balled up.’

Bank’s Closed – no kissing or ‘funny business’

‘I have a sizeable cheque I’d like to deposit in your account.’

‘Sorry, but the bank’s closed.’

‘I wasn’t talking about the bank.’

‘Bank’s closed.’

Bird – general term for a person but sometimes meaning odd, as in ‘funny old bird’

Butt me – To ask for or accept a cigarette

Caper – criminal act

Cat’s meow/pyjamas – fantastic

‘I’ve compiled every cat video on YouTube into the one video. Isn’t that just the cat’s pyjamas?’

Croak – to kill

Daddy – a young woman’s boyfriend or lover, especially if he’s rich

‘I saw Cynthia making out with her daddy. Isn’t that just the cat’s pyjamas?’

Dry up – shut up, get lost

Daisy – not very masculine

Dapper – a flapper’s dad

Glad rags – clothes for going out on the town

‘I’ve got my glad rags on and am ready to have a good time, as long as the bank isn’t closed.’

Grilled – questioned

Handcuff – an engagement ring

Keen – attractive or appealing

‘Now you’re on the trolley!’ – ‘Now you’ve got it/Now you’re right!’

Piker – a cheapskate or a coward

Rag-a-muffin – a dirty or dishevelled individual

‘Oh applesauce! Those rag-a-muffins have spilt applesauce all over my glad rags! The bank will certainly be closed tonight; I don’t care what my daddy says.’

Razz – to make fun of

Spiffy – an elegant appearance

Upchuck – to vomit from having drunk too much

‘Oh I shall razz my daddy something fierce. He’s upchucked all over my glad rags. I could croak him right now.’

Wet Blanket – a solemn person, a killjoy

You slay me – that’s funny

‘What? You’re going to stake me in the heart? Oh, you slay me!’


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