FC Slang

A

ab-so-lute-ly: affirmative
Abe’s Cabe: five-dollar bill
ace: one-dollar bill
all wet: incorrect
And how!: I strongly agree!
ankle: to walk, i.e.. “Let’s ankle!”
apple sauce: flattery, nonsense, i.e.. “Aw, applesauce!”
Attaboy!: well done!; also, Attagirl!

B

baby: sweetheart; also denotes something of high value or respect
baby grand: heavily built man
baby vamp: an attractive or popular female; student
balled up: confused, messed up
baloney: nonsense
Bank’s closed.: no kissing or making out ie. “Sorry, mac, bank’s closed.”
barrell house: illegal distillery
bearcat: a hot-blooded or fiery girl
beat it: scram, get lost
beat one’s gums: idle chatter
bee’s knee’s: terrific; a fad expression. Dozens of “animal anatomy” variations existed: elephant’s eyebrows, gnat’s whistle, eel’s hips, etc.
beef: a complaint or to complain
beeswax: business; student
bell bottom: a sailor
belt: a drink of liquor
bent: drunk
berries: (1) perfect (2) money
big cheese: important person
big six: a strong man; from auto advertising, for the new and powerful six cylinder engines
bimbo: a tough guy
bird: general term for a man or woman, sometimes meaning “odd,” i.e. “What a funny old bird.”
blind: drunk
blotto (1930 at the latest): drunk, especially to an extreme
blow: (1) a crazy party (2) to leave
bohunk: a derogatory name for an Eastern European immigrant; out of use by 1930, except in certain anti-immigrant circles, like the KKK
bootleg: illeagal liquor
breezer (1925): a convertable car
brown: whiskey
brown plaid: Scotch whiskey
bubs: breasts
bug-eyed Betty (1927): an unattractive girl; student
bull: (1) a policeman or law-enforcement official, including FBI. (2) nonesense, bullshit (3) to chat idly, to exaggerate
bump off: to kill
bum’s rush, the: ejection by force from an establishment
bunny (1925): a term of endearment applied to the lost, confused, etc; often coupled with “poor little”
bus: any old or worn out car
busthead: homemade liquor
bushwa: a euphemism for “bullshit”
Butt me.: I’ll take a cigarette

C

cake-eater: a lady’s man
caper: a criminal act or robbery
cat’s meow: great, also “cat’s pajamas” and “cat’s whiskers”
cash: a kiss
Cash or check?: Do we kiss now or later?
cast a kitten/have kittens: to have a fit. Used in both humorous and serious situations. i.e. “Stop tickling me or I’ll cast a kitten!”
celestial: derogatory slang for Chinese or East Asians
chassis (1930): the female body
cheaters: eye glasses
check: kiss me later
chewing gum: double-speak, or ambiguous talk
Chicago typewriter: Thompson submachine gun
choice bit of calico: attractive female; student
chopper: a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, due to the damage its heavy .45 caliber rounds did to the human body
chunk of lead: an unnattractive female; student
ciggy: cigarette
clam: a dollar
coffin varnish: bootleg liquor, often poisonous
copacetic: excellent, all in order
crasher: a person who attends a party uninvited
crush: infatuation
cuddler: one who likes to make out

D

daddy: a young woman’s boyfriend or lover, especially if he’s rich
daddy-o: a term of address; strictly an African-American term
dame: a female; did not gain widespread use until the 1930’s
dapper: a Flapper’s dad
darb: a great person or thing, i.e. “That movie was darb.”
dead soldier: an empty beer bottle
deb: a debutant
dewdropper: a young man who sleeps all day and doesn’t have a job
dick: a private investigator; coined around 1900, the term finds major recognition in the 20s
dinge: a derogatory term for an African-American; out of use by 1930
dogs: feet
doll: an attractive woman
dolled up: dressed up
don’t know from nothing: doesn’t have any information
don’t take any wooden nickels: don’t do anything stupid
dope: drugs, esp. cocaine or opium.
doublecross: to cheat, stab in the back
dough: money
drugstore cowboy: a well-dressed man who loiters in public areas trying to pick up women
drum: speakeasy
dry up: shut up, get lost
ducky: very good
dumb Dora: an absolute idiot, a dumbbell, especially a woman; flapper
dump: roadhouse

E

earful: enough
edge: intoxication, a buzz. i.e. “I’ve got an edge.”
egg: a person who lives the big life
Ethel: an effeminate male.

F

face stretcher: an old woman trying to look young
fag: a cigarette; also, starting around 1920, a homosexual.
fella: fellow. as common in its day as “man,” “dude,” or “guy” is today, i.e. “That John sure is a swell fella.”
fire extinguisher: a chaperone
fish: (1) a college freshman (2) a first timer in prison
flat tire: a bore
flivver: a Model T; after 1928, could mean any broken down car
floorflusher: an insatiable dancer
flour lover: a girl with too much face powder
fly boy: a glamorous term for an aviator
For crying out loud!: same usage as today
four-flusher: a person who feigns wealth while mooching off others
fried: drunk
futz: a euphemism for “fuck;” i.e. “Don’t futz around.”

G

gams (1930): legs
gasper: cigarette
gatecrasher: see “crasher”
gay: happy or lively; no connection to homosexuality; see “fag”
Get Hot! Get Hot!: encouragement for a hot dancer doing his or her thing
get-up (1930): an outfit
get a wiggle on: get a move on, get going
get in a lather: get worked up, angry
giggle water: booze
gigolo: dancing partner
gimp: cripple; one who walks with a limp; gangster Dion O’Bannion was called Gimpy due to his noticeable limp
gin mill: a seller of hard liquor; a cheap speakeasy
glad rags: “going out on the town” clothes
go chase yourself: get lost, scram.
gold-digger (1925): a woman who pursues men for their money
goods, the: (1) the right material, or a person who has it (2) the facts, the truth, i.e. “Make sure the cops don’t get the goods on you.”
goof: (1) a stupid or bumbling person, (2) a boyfriend; flapper.
goofy: in love
grummy: depressed
grungy: envious

H

hair of the dog (1925): a shot of alcohol
half seas over: drunk; also “half under”
handcuff: engagement ring
hard-boiled: a tough person, i.e: “He sure is hard-boiled!”
harp: an Irishman
hayburner: (1) a gas guzzling car (2) a horse one loses money on
heavy sugar (1929): a lot of money
heebie-jeebies (1926): “the shakes,” named after a hit song
heeler: a poor dancer
high hat: a snob
hip to the jive: cool, trendy
hit on all sixes: to perform 100 per cent; as “hitting on all six cylinders;” perhaps a more common variation in these days of four cylinder engines was “hit on all fours;” also see “big six”.
hoary-eyed: drunk
hooch: booze
hood (late 20s): hoodlum
hooey: bullshit, nonsense; very popular from 1925 to 1930, used somewhat thereafter
hop: (1) opiate or marijuana (2) a teen party or dance
hope chest: pack of cigarettes
hopped up: under the influence of drugs
horse linament: bootleg liquor
Hot dawg!: Great!; also: “Hot socks!”
hot sketch: a card or cut-up

I

“I have to go see a man about a dog.”: “I’ve got to leave now,” often meaning to go buy whiskey
icy mitt: rejection
Indian hop: marijuana
insured: engaged
iron (1925): a motorcycle, among motorcycle enthusiasts
iron one’s shoelaces: to go to the restroom
ish kabibble (1925): a retort meaning “I should care,” from the name of a musician in the Kay Kayser Orchestra

J

jack: money
Jake: great, i.e. “Everything’s Jake.”
Jalopy: a dumpy old car
Jane: any female
java: coffee
jeepers creepers: “Jesus Christ!”
jerk soda: to dispense soda from a tap; thus, “soda jerk”
jigaboo: a derogatory term for an African-American
jitney: a car employed as a private bus; fare was usually five cents, ergo the alternate nickname of “nickel”
joe: coffee
Joe Brooks: a perfectly dressed person; student
john: a toilet
joint: establishment
jorum of skee: a drink of hard liquor
juice joint: a speakeasy
junk: opium

K

kale: money
keen: appealing
kike: a derogatory term for a Jewish person
killjoy: a solemn person
knock up: to make pregnant
know one’s onions: to know one’s business or what one is talking about

L

lay off: cut the crap
left holding the bag: (1) to be cheated out of one’s fair share (2) to be blamed for something
let George do it: a work evading phrase
level with me: be honest
limey: a British soldier or citizen; from World War I
line: a false story, as in “to feed one a line”
live wire: a lively person
lollapalooza (1930): a humdinger
lollygagger: (1) a young man who enjoys making out (2) an idle person

M

M: morphine
manacle: wedding ring
mazuma: money
Mick: a derogatory term for Irishmen
milquetoast (1924): a very timid person; from the comic book character Casper Milquetoast, a hen-pecked male
mind your potatoes: mind your own business
mooch: to leave
moonshine: homemade whiskey
mop: a handkerchief
Mrs. Grundy: a prude or kill-joy
mulligan: Irish cop
munitions: face powder

N

neck: to kiss passionately; what would today be called “French kissing”
necker: a girl who wraps her arms around her boyfriend’s neck
nifty: great, excellent
noodle juice: tea
nookie: sex
“Not so good!”: “I personally disapprove.”
“Now you’re on the trolley!”: “Now you’ve got it!”.

O

ofay: a commonly used Black expression for Whites
off one’s nuts: crazy
“Oh yeah!”: “I doubt it!”
old boy: a male term of address, used in conversation with other males as a way to denote acceptance in a social environment; also: “old man” or “old fruit”
Oliver Twist: a skilled dancer
on a toot: a drinking binge
on the lam: fleeing from police
on the level: legitimate, honest
on the up and up: on the level
orchid: an expensive item
ossified: drunk
owl: a person who’s out late

P

palooka: (1) a below-average or average boxer (2) a social outsider; from the comic strip character Joe Palooka, who came from humble ethnic roots
panic: to produce a big reaction from one’s audience
panther piss/sweat (1925): homemade whiskey
pen yen: opium
percolate: (1) to boil over (2) as of 1925, to run smoothly; “perk”
pet: like necking (see above), only moreso; making out
petting pantry: movie theater
petting party: one or more couples making out in a room or auto
phonus balonus: nonsense
piffle: baloney
piker: (1) a cheapskate (2) a coward
pill: (1) a teacher (2) an unlikable person (3) cigarette
pinch: to arrest
pinched: to be arrested
pinko: liberal
pipe down: stop talking
prom-trotter: a student who attends all school social functions
pos-i-lute-ly: affirmative, also “pos-i-tive-ly”
pull a Daniel Boone: to vomit
punch the bag: small talk
putting on the ritz: after the Ritz Hotel in Paris (and its namesake Caesar Ritz); doing something in high style; also, “ritzy”

Q

quiff: a slut or cheap prostitute

R

rag-a-muffin: a dirty or disheveled individual
rain pitchforks: a downpour
razz: to make fun of
Real McCoy: a genuine item
regular: normal, typical, average
Reuben: an unsophisticated country bumpkin; also, “rube”
Rhatz!: “How disappointing!” flapper
rotgut: bootleg liquor
rub: a student dance party
rubes: money or dollars
rummy: a drunken bum

S

sap: a fool, an idiot; very common term in the 20s
sawbuck: ten-dollar bill
says you: a reaction of disbelief
scratch: money
screaming meemies: the shakes
screw: get lost, get out, etc.; occasionally, in pre 1930 talkies (such as The Broadway Melody) screw is used to tell a character to leave: one film features the line “Go on, go on—screw!”
screwy: crazy; “You’re screwy!”
sheba: one’s girlfriend
sheik: one’s boyfriend
shine box: a bar or club for black patrons
shiv: a knife
simolean: a dollar
sinker: a doughnut
sitting pretty: in a prime position
skee: Scotch whiskey
skirt: an attractive female
smarty: a cute flapper
smoke-eater: a smoker
smudger: a close dancer
snort: a drink of liquor
sockdollager: an action having a great impact
so’s your old man: a reply of irritation
spade: yet another derogatory term for an African-American
speakeasy: a bar selling illeagal liquor
spill: to talk
splifficated: drunk
spoon: to neck, or at least talk of love
static: (1) empty talk (2) conflicting opinion
stilts: legs
strike-me-dead: bootleg liquor
struggle: modern dance
stuck on: in love; student.
sugar daddy: older boyfriend who showers girlfriend with gifts in exchange for sex
swanky: (1) good (2) elegant
swell: (1) good (2) a high class person

T

take someone for a ride: to take someone to a deserted location and murder them
tasty: appealing
tea: marijuana
teenager: not a common term until 1930; before then, the term was “young adults.”
tell it to Sweeney: tell it to someone who’ll believe it
three-letter man: homosexual
tight: attractive
Tin Pan Alley: the center of the music industry in New York City, located between 48th and 52nd Streets
tomato: a “ripe” female
torpedo: a hired thug or hitman
trip for biscuits: wild goose chase

U

unreal: special
upchuck: to vomit
upstage: snobby

V

vamp: (1) a seducer of men, an aggressive flirt (2) to seduce
voot: money

W

water-proof: a face that doesn’t require make-up
wet blanket: see Killjoy
white lightning: bootleg liquor
wife: dorm roomate; student.
“What’s eating you?”: “What’s wrong?”
whoopee: wild fun
Woof! Woof!: ridicule

X

Y

“You slay me!”: “That’s funny!”

Z

zozzled: drunk

FC Slang

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