Author Topic: Slang from the 20s  (Read 768 times)

Offline DeaconKC

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Slang from the 20s
« on: December 01, 2023, 08:45:33 AM »
Brent McKay published this on the Art of Manliness. Here are some no longer used slang terrms from the 20s:
Big house. Federal prison.

Bird. Person, either male or female, but frequently female.

Bite an egg. Take breakfast.

Blow. To leave.

Bo. Generic address; guy; jack; pal.

Booby-hatch. Mental hospital.

Bull. Cop.

Butter and egg man. Sugar daddy; implication is one fairly free with his money.

Buttons. Cops.

Buzzer. Police badge; identification.

C-note. Hundred-dollar bill.

Chicago overcoat. Coffin.

Chiseler. Low-life; hanger-on; somebody chiseling money from others.

Dance on air. Hang, as from a noose.

Darb. A person with money, who can be relied upon to pay a check.

Dead soldier. Empty liquor bottle.

Deadpan. Bodyguard; tough guy; gunny with a sheen of respectability.

Dip the bill. To have a drink.

Dish. Attractive woman.

Draw a lot of water. To have a lot of influence; to exert great influence.

Drop the arm. Arrest; nab; apprehend; snatch.

Dry-gulch. To ambush; surprise; sneak attack or attack from behind.

Dumb onion. A fool; dupe; idiot.

Dust. Take a hike; get lost; drift.

Fakeloo artist. Conman; faker; liar; pretender; deceiver.

Fin. $5 bill.

Flatfoot. Detective; shamus.

Flim-flam: Dupe; deceive; trick; take in.

Floaters. Corpses in the water; people dead by drowning.

Fog. Riddle someone with bullets.

Gat. Gun.

Gee. Man; fellow.

Gill. A drink.

Go fry a stale egg. Get lost; go jump in a lake.

Goose-berry lay. Stealing clothes from clotheslines.

Gumshoe. Detective/private dick/PI/etc.

Gunny. Hired gun; thug.

Gunsel. Hired gun.

Hackie. Taxi driver.

Hard boy. Tough guy; bodyguard; hired thug.

Hard number. Tough guy.

Hay. Useless scrip/fake bills/etc.

Heel. Jerk; low life; scumbag.

Heeled. Packing; carrying a gun.

How’s tricks? A greeting, akin to “How’s it going?”

Jake [also jakeloo]. Fine; okay; acceptable; no big deal.

Jasper. Man; handsome fellow.

Keyhole peeper. Detective/private dick/PI/etc.

Loogan. A guy with a gun.

Lug. A guy; generic address for a man; connotation of thick-headedness or limited ability/usefulness; not necessarily connoting goon, thug.

Lulu. A good-looking woman.

Make with the feet. Get lost; scram.

Mauler. Brass knuckles.

Mickey Finn (mickey). A surreptitiously adulterated drink (or the drug added to the drink to make it so) given to somebody for the purpose of rendering them insensible or unconscious.

Miscount the trumps. To overlook something.

Moll. Gangster’s girlfriend/woman/partner.

Mugg. A man (sometimes referring to dumb ones), guy, person; possible connotation of not being entirely on the up-and-up.

Muggle-smoker/muggle. Pothead; druggie.

Nevada gas. Cyanide.

Newshawk. Reporter.

No soap. No luck.

Nuts to you. Go to hell (mild).

Pie-eyed. Very drunk.

Piker. Amateur; small-time operator.

Polish an apple: Talk up; chat up; suck up to.

Prowl car. Police car.

Real cream. A good person.

Rodded. Carrying a gun (rod).

Rooster. Man who picks a fight, or somebody who carries himself like a rooster; confrontational.

Sap. Fool; fall-guy; love-struck sucker.

Sawbuck/double sawbuck. 10 dollars/20 dollars.

Shamus. Detective/private dick/PI/etc.

Sharper. Detective; private operator.

Sitting on dynamite. In the crosshairs; in the middle of a (figuratively) explosive situation.

Slip (one’s) clutch. Losing it.

Smart little egg. A fool; dupe; idiot.

Sneezer. Jail.

Squibbed (off). Killed.

Stool-pigeon. Rat; fink; an informant; criminal who talks to the cops.

Take a flutter (at something). To make a passing attempt.

Twist. Woman, with possible connotation of girlfriend, or somebody seen on the side.

Typewriter. Machine-gun.

What’s the score? What’s going on; what’s up; etc.

World-beater. Somebody better than the rest; capable of taking on the world; a person in high esteem.

Yard. One hundred dollars.
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Offline Trailrider

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2023, 02:30:53 PM »
Chicago typewriter = Tompson sub-machinegun (Tommy gun)
Drop a dime = report someone to the police
Fin = five dollar bill
Sawbuck = ten dollar bill
Double Sawbuck = twenty dollar bill
C-note = $100 bill
"Shoot, it's your nickel!" - Go ahead and talk, I've got the time! (When pay telephones took a nickel.)
Call me on the Amechi = Call me on the phone. When actor Don Amechi played Alexander Graham Bell in the movie.
Ride to the sound of the guns, but watch out for bushwhackers! Godspeed to all in harm's way in the defense of Freedom! God Bless America!

Your obedient servant,
Trailrider,
Bvt. Lt. Col. Commanding,
Southern District
Dept. of the Platte, GAF

Offline Major 2

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2023, 04:23:51 PM »
22 skidoo = leave in hurry (also 23 skidoo used in Ney York)
also take a powder means to leave abruptly

Cement shoes or Chicago overcoat = loosely to murder inferring Lupara bianca a Mafia term
 in that the body is sunk in a body of water not to ever be found.

Lupara bianca  is an Italian meaning for a vendetta
It also used to refer to a sawed-off shotgun of the break-open type.
when planets align...do the deal !

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #3 on: Today at 06:05:01 PM »

Offline Major 2

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2023, 08:41:29 AM »
Here are some more... I did not cut and paste these, I was half woke up this morning remember this thread and though of the letter F go figure  ::)

Flivver = a cheap beater car
Flapper = a young woman
Flop = your residents, cheap room. flophouse
Fiver = a 5-dollar bill

Jig = all over  " the jig is up !"

paperhanger = passing bad checks

when planets align...do the deal !

Offline Baltimore Ed

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2023, 11:42:01 AM »
  Taking the fall = what Spade tells the femme fatale of the Maltese Falcon when he gives her to the cops for killing Miles Archer.
"Give'em hell, Pike"
 There is no horse so dead that you cannot continue to beat it.

Online Reverend P. Babcock Chase

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2023, 10:40:48 PM »
Howdy Zootists (first comment),

Does anyone remember "cheese it, its a rosier with a dropsy on the snide"?

Scram, there's a cop with a hidden gun.(i think I remember).

Rev. Chase

Offline Galen

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Re: Slang from the 20s
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2023, 05:20:46 AM »
it's a cinch, a lead pipe cinch.

 

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