Slang of the 20's

  • All in: Physically exhausted
  • All wet: Foolish or gravely mistaken
  • Altar: Toilet, toilet bowl
  • Artist: A skilled criminal
  • Baby/Baby Vamp: A popular and’ or attractive girl
  • Baked Wind: Idle talk
  • Balloon: Bedding, especially if carried in a roll; applied to transients
  • Balloon Juice: Idle or exaggerated talk
  • Banana Oil: Idle or exaggerated talk
  • Bat: Prostitute
  • Bell—polisher: Boy who lingers in the lobby after dropping off a date
  • Bent: Criminal
  • Berries: Anything very good
  • Big Guy: God or an important official or criminal
  • Big Man: The Pinkerton Detective Agency or one of its men
  • Bird: An aviator or a popular girl
  • Biscuit: A flapper willing to engage in “petting”
  • Black Bottle: Poison
  • Blow-out: Big meal
  • Blurb: The advertising matter on a book jacket
  • Board Stiff: A sandwich (advertising) man
  • Bonehead: A fool
  • Boob: An idiot
  • Brace, to: Ask someone for money
  • Break One’s Guts: Breaking the spirit of a prisoner by flogging
  • Breeze: Trivial or useless talk or information
  • Breezer: A convertible car
  • Broker: A drug dealer
  • Brush Ape: A country youth
  • Buck: A Catholic priest
  • Bull: A cop
  • Bull-Wool: Cheap
  • Bull—buster: One who assaults the police
  • Bull—simple: Fearful of police
  • Bull, to: Lie or talk big
  • Bundle, to: To steal
  • Bunk: Synthetic liquor, or false goods
  • Bunk, to: To conceal or fool
  • Burn-up, to: To defraud
  • Buzzer: Policeman’s badge
  • Cacker: Clerk (uncomplimentary)
  • Cake—eater: A ladies’ man
  • Can-opener: Cheap car
  • Candy Leg: Rich and popular young man
  • Cannon: A gun
  • Carry a flag: Travel under an assumed name
  • Carry the Banner: To wander the streets aH night
  • Cellar Smeller: A person who enjoys drinking
  • Chair Warmer: A wall flower, or a man who does not pay his own way
  • Charge: Narcotic injection
  • Cheaters: Eyeglasses
  • Cheese it: Look out! or Run!
  • Chew the fat: To talk
  • Choice bit of Calico: A lovely or popular
  • Choker: Cheese
  • Chopper: A machine gun or its user
  • Chronic, to: To investigate
  • Cinder Bull: Railroad detective
  • Circus Bees: Body lice
  • Claw, to: To arrest
  • Clean, to: To rob
  • Clem: A fight or riot
  • Clothesline: A person who collects and spreads gossip about his or her neighbors or the gossip itself
  • Clown: A country man
  • Copacetic: Good or pleasant, trouble-free
  • Crack down: Work hard
  • Crap: Anything foolish or worthless
  • Crasher: One who attends parties uninvited
  • Crawler: A legless beggar
  • Crumb: An unpopular girl
  • Crush, to: To escape from prison
  • Curtains: Death
  • Curve: Beautiful woman
  • Cushions: Luxury
  • Dame: A woman
  • Damp bourbon poultice: A drink
  • Damsel: A girl
  • Dewdropper: A malingerer
  • Dim-box: A taxicab
  • Dirt: Money or gossip
  • Doll: A girl
  • Drive: A drug induced thrill
  • Dude: An undergraduate
  • Dummy up: To become silent
  • Dyna: Liquor
  • Earwigging: Eavesdropping
  • Eats: Food
  • Egg: Male who lets a girl pay for his dance hall ticket
  • Fake—aloo: A hard luck story
  • Fall down: To fail
  • Fall Guy: A scapegoat
  • Feds: Federal law enforcement officers
  • Fifty Cards in the Deck: Insane
  • Fin: A five dollar bill or a five year sentence
  • Finger, to: To identify to the police
  • Fire-alarm: A divorcee
  • Fire-Bugs: Electric lights
  • Fireworks: Gunplay
  • flat: Broke or penniless
  • Flat Tire: A deflated scheme
  • Flesh-and-Blood Angel: A popular girl
  • Flickers: Motion pictures
  • Flirt/Floosey: A girl
  • Fly Ball: A detective
  • Frame: To falsely accuse or concoct evidence against an innocent man
  • Fresh Bull: An enthusiastically honest policeman
  • Fresh Cat: An inexperienced transient
  • Fresh Cow: A person with a recently acquired venereal disease
  • Frisk: To search a person
  • Frolic: Lawless activity or entertainment
  • Fuzz: A detective
  • Gall: Courage
  • Gee: A glass of liquor
  • Gee-whiz: All—purpose meaningless interjection
  • George, to: To be aware
  • Get One’s Hooks On: To obtain or seize
  • Get the Gate: Be discharged
  • Gigglewater: Booze
  • Glom: To seize or snatch
  • Go Over Big: To succeed
  • Gold Brick: To defraud
  • Gold Dust: Cocaine
  • Gold Mine: A young man who spends freely
  • Goof: A sweetheart or boob
  • Gravy: Profit
  • Gun Mob: A gang of crooks
  • Habit: A drug habit
  • Hack: A night watchman or policeman
  • Half-baked: Semi—educated
  • Have the Impuck: To be mildly sick
  • Heat: Trouble
  • Heater: A revolver or any kind of gun
  • Heifer Den: A brothel
  • Hep: Well informed
  • High Hat: A false air of superiority to “give someone the high hat” was to snub them
  • Hobo Short Line: A suicide in front of a train
  • Hot: Wanted by the police
  • Hot Tongue: Sexually aroused woman
  • Hurry Buggy: A police van
  • Jack: Money
  • Jack Full of Money: A wealthy man who spends freely
  • Jake: Good, fine, as hoped for
  • Jazz-hound dance fiend:
  • Jolt: A potent drink
  • Kayoe, to: To achieve great success
  • Kick it Apart: To elaborate or fully explain a plan
  • Kick the Gong Around: To indulge in ille— gal drug use
  • Kiss the Eye Teeth: To hit in the mouth
  • Knock Over: To raid or arrest
  • Know Your Onions: To be hep, wise, or sophisticated to know what’s what
  • Leary: Damaged goods
  • Legger: A bootlegger
  • Lemon: Undesirable person
  • Lifeboat: Reprieve
  • Long Rod: A rifle
  • Lying Dead: In hiding or retirement
  • Mess: A dull person
  • Michael: Hip flask
  • Moll-buzzer: A pickpocket who targets women
  • Mooch: Beggar
  • Moron: An idiot
  • Murk: Coffee
  • Nines: Absolute limit
  • Number, Get One’s: To understand one’s motives
  • Off One’s Trolley: Badly mistaken, crazy
  • Offay: A person who is hap, with—it, in the know (from French au fait)
  • Old Ned: The devil
  • Old Stuff: Out of date
  • On: Mentally sharp
  • On the spat: Marked for death
  • Once-Over: Penetrating glance
  • Out on Parole: Divorced
  • Parlor Leech: A young man who doesn’t take his date out
  • Pathfinder: Police spy
  • Percentage Bull: A policeman who accepts bribes to look the other way
  • Pipe: Simple task
  • Pistol Route: Death by gunshot
  • Plute: A wealthy man
  • Pork: Corpse
  • Puff: An explosive or explosion
  • Pussyfoot: A prohibitionist
  • Put the Skids Under: To get rid of
  • Razz, Get the: To be made fun of
  • Reach, to: To bribe
  • Reader: Arrest warrant
  • Ripley, That’s one for: In reference to “Believe It or Not” cartoonist Robert Ripley, could be said of anything strange or bizarre
  • Ritzy: Stylish
  • Roar, to: To complain
  • Rubber Sock: Delicate person
  • Sag, to: To beat, as with a club
  • Scram: Run away
  • Scratch: Money
  • Shackles: Soup
  • Shag: Organized pursuit
  • Shed: Closed automobile
  • Sheet and Scratch Man: High class forger
  • Shellacked: Drunk
  • Shroud: Suit of clothes
  • Siberia: Harsh prison, originally said of Clinton Prison, New York
  • Simp-Trap: Employer—owned store
  • Snow: Cocaine or heroin
  • Soft Heel: Detective
  • Sour: Anything unwanted or worthless
  • Spear, to: To arrest
  • Tamp Up: To assault
  • Tip Up: To inform the police
  • Torpedo: A thug
  • Vic: Convict
  • Wind Tormentors: Whiskers
  • Wipe the Clock: Stop working quickly
  • Wire: A pickpocket
  • Woody: Insane
  • Works, the: Unpleasantly inflicted death
  • Yegg: A thief

Slang of the 20's

Concerning the late Roger Carlyle munkybut