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25 Fun Slang Phrases from the Roaring '20s that you've probably never heard

Updated on January 18, 2014

1. Barneymugging: having sex.

2. Boiled as an Owl: drunk.

3. Cast a Kitten: having a temper tantrum ("don't cast a kitten, doll").

4. Cellar Smeller: a person with a nose for free drinks.

5. Choice bit of calico: a sexy dame.

The Milkman, 1925
The Milkman, 1925 | Source

6. Coffin Varnish: low-quality prohibition liquor.

7. Dead Hoofer: a person who can't dance, but tries anyway.

8. Dead Soldier: an empty beer or alcohol bottle.

9. Declaration of Independence: a divorce paper.

10. Electric Cure: death by electric chair or treatment by electroshock.

Chrysanthemum Show, 1925
Chrysanthemum Show, 1925 | Source

11. Face Stretcher: an older woman who tries to look young, but fails.

12. Flat Tire: an uninteresting person.

13. Hit on All Sixes: to perform exceedingly well, or at one-hundred percent.

14. Hope Chest: a pack of cigarettes.

15. To go and Iron one’s shoelaces: to excuse oneself to take a leak.

Three Women, 1923
Three Women, 1923 | Source

16. Jake: just fine. "Everything's Jake."

17. Kick the Gong Around: to smoke opium.

18. Know your onions: to have expertise about a subject or know the details of a situation.

19. Lalapazaza: a good sport.

20. Manacle: A wedding ring.

The Charleston Kick
The Charleston Kick | Source

21. “Now you’re on the trolley!”: “Now you're getting it right!”

22. On a toot: on a drunken bender.

23. Quilt: booze that keeps you warm.

24. Sockdollager: An event of great importance. "Wilson's inaugural was a real sockdollager!"

25. “Tell it to Sweeney!”: "Go and tell stories to somebody else, because I don't believe you."


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