The 1920s were an age of political and social change in the U.S. It was the time of economic and technological growth, which significantly improved the quality of life of the typical American man. People started buying goods which they previously couldn’t, they listened jazz, and even started using new, urban slang. While many people felt uncomfortable with these changes, for the young people living in the cities, the 1920s were indeed roaring.
The “New Woman”
Women could finally vote and got the chance to take part in the burgeoning consumer economy. The development of birth control made it possible for them to have fewer children, and the technologies like vacuum cleaner and washing machine made household work much easier.
The Birth of Mass Culture
Most Americans had more money to spend during the 1920s, and they mostly spent it on goods like home appliances, such as radios and electric refrigerators. By the end of this age, over 12 million households had radios. People also started going to the movies regularly, at least once a week.
The Jazz Age
During the 1920s, what people really wanted to do was dance. Jazz bands played at radios stations and dance halls, and the phonograph records were extremely popular. While the elderly considered jazz vulgar, the younger people loved the freedom it provided them with.
As for the slang, which was mentioned in the very beginning, it can be said that the 1920s had the best of the slang, with all the misogynist and sexiest content. If you are a twenties lover and have ever wanted to talk like characters from The Great Gatsby, now is your chance. Here are the top 59 slang phrases of the roaring twenties!
- Jack; money
- Johnson brother; criminal.
- Dead hoofe; a bad dancer.
- “Di Mi.”; holy cow!
- Declaration of independence; divorce.
- Creep joint; a brothel.
- Kick the gong around; smoking opium.
- Knee-duster; skirt.
- Lalapazaza; good sport.
- Lens Louise; conversation steamroller.
- Dead soldier; an empty alcohol container.
- Meat wagon; ambulance.
- Air tight; extremely attractive.
- Middle aisle; getting married.
- Mustard plaster; an unwanted guest.
- “Nerts.”; Awesome!
- Burning with blue flame; drunk.
- Coffin varnish; moonshine.
- Cellar smeller; a beer-moocher.
- Bangtail; a race horse
- Bindle punk; lumberjacks or wanderers.
- Beat session; male gossiping.
- Barneymugging; sex
- Blind pig; a venue where illicit alcohol is served.
- Cast a kitten; throw a tantrum.
- Bunny; someone who is lost.
- ‘Cash or cheque?”; kiss me now-or later?
- Bluenose; a prude.
- Blue serge; a sweetheart.
- Bronx cheer; the sound of disapproval.
- “Ish Kabibble” ; Who cares?
- Bug-eyed Betty; an unattractive woman.
- Eel` s hips; The Cat`s Meow
- Fire extinguisher; a chaperone.
- Insured; engaged.
- Hit on all sixes; give 100 percent.
- Hope chest; cigarette pack.
- Fakeloo artist; con man
- Electric cure; electrocution.
- Face stretcher; an older woman which seems young.
- Hen coop; beauty salon.
- Flat tire; a bad date
- Ofay; white folks.
- Off-time jive; inappropriate.
- Quaff; a sexually active female.
- Screaming meemies; the shakes.
- Rock of ages; middle-aged woman.
- Ground grippers; shoes
- Frolic pad; a dance club.
- Torpedo; a hit man.
- Togged to the bricks; all-dressed up.
- Ameche; a telephone.
- Streeted; kicked out of a party.
- Banana oil; very doubtful.
- Ten cent box; a taxi
- Forty-niner; male gold-digger.
- Baby vamp; extremely popular young woman.
- Indian hop; reefer.
- Absent treatment; dancing with a shy partner.