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1920's Slang Terms

  • Absolutely: Yes

  • All Wet: Bad Idea or Individual

  • And How: I Agree

  • Applesauce: Expletive, Nonsense, foolishness

  • Babe/Baby: Sweetheart

  • Bangtails: Racing horses

  • Bean-shooter: Gun

  • Be on the nut: Out of Money

  • Beat One's Gums: Talk About Nothing

  • Beef: Having an issue

  • Bee's Knees: You are the best

  • Behind the Eight Ball: In a difficult spot

  • Bent Cars: Stolen vehicles

  • Berries: Like bee's knees, used to describe something as very good

  • Big Cheese: An important person, a leader

  • Big One or Big Sleep: Death

  • Bit: Jail Term

  • Blow One Down: Murder someone

  • Bluenose: A prude or puritanical person

  • Bo: Pal, friend

  • Boob: Dumb Person

  • Boozehound: Drunkard

  • Bootleg: Illegal alcohol

  • Bop: Murder Someone

  • Broad: A Lady

  • Bruno: A Rough and Tough Man

  • Bum Rush: To be Thrown Out

  • Bump Guns: To waste time talking about something

  • Bump Off: Murder Someone

  • Button Man: Assassin

  • Butt Me: Give me a Cigarette

  • Butts: Cigarettes

  • Buzzer: Cop's Badge

  • C: One Hundred Dollar Bill

  • Cabbage: Cash

  • Cake-Eater: A ladies' man

  • Can: Prison

  • Can-Opener: Someone who opens or cracks a safe

  • Carry a Torch: To have a crush on someone

  • Cat: Man

  • Cat's Meow: Something Really Fashionable / Cool

  • Cat's Pajamas: You are Super Awesome

  • Cheaters: Shades, Eyeglasses

  • Chew: Eat

  • Chicago Lightening: Gun Fire

  • Chicago Overcoat: Coffin

  • Clam: A Dollar

  • Clammed: Doesn't Speak

  • Clubhouse: Police Station

  • Cooler: Prison or Jail

  • Copper: Police

  • Croak: To Murder Someone

  • Cut Down: Murdered

  • Daddy: A Young Girl's Lover

  • Dame: Woman

  • Dance: To be Hanged

  • Dewdropper: A lazy person

  • Dingus: Thing

  • Dish: Pretty Lady

  • Dive: A Cheap, Dirty Place

  • Dogs: Feet

  • Doll: A Pretty Lady

  • Doll Dizzy: Crazy about women

  • Drum: Speakeasy

  • Dry Up: Get Lost

  • Duck Soup: Easy, Piece of Cake, Something easy to do

  • Egg: A person who lives the big life

  • Fire Extinguisher: Chaperone

  • Flat Tire: A Dull Person, A boring or disappointing date

  • Flapper: A young, rebellious woman known for her bold fashion and attitudes

  • Fry: To be Electrocuted

  • Gams: Legs

  • Gasper: Cigarette

  • Gat: Gun

  • Get Sore: Get Angry

  • Getaway Sticks: Legs

  • Giggle Water: Alcoholic beverage, Liquor

  • Glad Rags: Fancy Clothing

  • Gold Digger: A woman who pursues men for their money

  • Grifter: Con Artist

  • Gumshoe: Detective

  • Hard Boiled: Tough, strong

  • Harlem Sunset: Fatal Injury by Knife

  • Hatchet Men: Assassins

  • Have the Bees: To be Wealthy

  • Heater: Gun

  • Heebie-Jeebies: The jitters

  • High-Hat: To Snub, be Snotty

  • High Pillow: Boss

  • Hinky: Suspicious

  • Hoofer: Dancer

  • Horsefeathers: Expletive

  • Hoosegow: Jail

  • Hotsy-Totsy: Perfect, the best, Pleasing

  • Ice: Diamonds

  • Iron One's Shoelaces: To excuse oneself for the restroom

  • Jake: Okay, fine

  • Jalopy: An old car

  • Jazz: Music style, also used to describe something lively

  • Joint: A place, could be an establishment of any sort, Place

  • Juice Joint: Speakeasy

  • Keen: Attractive or appealing

  • Kiss: Punch

  • Kisser: Mouth

  • Knock Off: To Murder

  • Lammed Off: Escaped

  • Lead: Bullets

  • Looker: Pretty Lady

  • Made: Recognized

  • Mark: Victim of a Swindle

  • Moll: A Gangster's Girl, Girlfriend of a gangster

  • Nerts: An exclamation of disdain or disbelief

  • Newsie: News Reporter

  • On the Lam: Fleeing from the police

  • Oyster Fruit: Pearl Necklace

  • Paw: Hand

  • Peepers: Eyes

  • Pinch: Arrest, Capture, To arrest

  • Pushover: A person easily convinced or seduced, A Push Over

  • Rags: Clothes

  • Razz: Make Fun Of

  • Real McCoy: The real thing, genuine

  • Ritzy: Luxurious

  • Sap: Dumb Person

  • Scram: Leave quickly

  • Scratch: Cash

  • Sheba/Sheik: A woman with sex appeal/a man with sex appeal, A woman/man with sex appeal

  • Skidoo: To leave quickly or be forced to move on

  • Slug: Bullet

  • Speakeasy: A hidden bar or nightclub where alcohol was sold illegally during Prohibition, An illicit liquor store or nightclub, Illegal bar that serves bootlegged liquor

  • Spill: Talk, i.e., spill the beans

  • Square: Honest

  • Swell: Cool

  • Swanky: Fashionable or luxurious

  • Torpedo: Hired Gun

  • Upchuck: To vomit

  • Weak Sister: A Push Over

  • You Slay Me: You're Hilarious

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