Colorful Lingo from the Jazz Age

Photo courtesy of Karen Bonnano Photography
Photo courtesy of Karen Bonnano Photography

I have been neglecting my blog lately and I feel truly bad about it. But I have a good excuse. I have been researching the 1920s for my novel, and it is like falling down a virtual or literary rabbit hole every time I come across something new. One of the engrossing “rabbit holes” I fell into recently is called “Bright Young Things: A Modern Guide to the Roaring Twenties”. The section that highlights words and phrases invented by flappers made me smile, and in some instances laugh out loud, so I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you:

Appleknocker = a hick

Bank’s Closed = no petting or kisses allowed

Barney-Mugging = love-making

Cake Basket = a limousine

Corn-Shredder = a young man who treads on one’s feet when dancing

Dingledangler = a persistent caller on the phone

Duddling Up = dressing up

Gimlet = a chronic bore

I wish people were this clever with words now. I know, I know – people make up words all the time, but they are rarely this colorful. If you know of any other great lingo from the 1920s, please share it in the comments. I am planning to share more tidbits from my research in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

3 Comments

  1. Deanna says:

    So much fun, Cindy! Can’t waaaaait to hear more.
    By the way, i finally watched the Artist last weekend and really enjoyed it.

    1. Thank you Deanna – glad you enjoyed it. I knew you would like THE ARTIST – honestly, what’s not to like?

  2. Meg Spinella says:

    My mother said, besides the Charleston, she loved to do a dance called ‘the black bottom”, which I guess is named after a section of Chicago. As I child the name intrigued me. Who knew that 5 decades later there’d be something called You Tube where I could watch old clips of dancers doing this wilder version of the Charleston!

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