Thursday, November 8, 2012

Slang of the 1940's

Would you like to read something that is killer-diller? Or how about something that is hotsy-totsy? I know I always do hehe Those words sound a little odd don't they? Well, that is because it is slang from the 1940's!

Ever wonder how those guys and dames spoke? I think language is a powerful medium and slang takes that medium to the masses.

Here is a brief taste of the words our grandparents may have used over seventy years ago!
  • Take a powder – to leave
  • Eager beaver – enthusiastic helper
  • In cahoots with – conspiring with
  • Doll dizzy – girl crazy
  • Ducky shincracker - a good dancer
  • Above my pay grade – don’t ask me
  • Cook with gas – to do something right
  • Killer-diller – good stuff
  • Stompers – shoes
  • Flip your wig – to lose control of yourself
  • Pennies from heaven – easy money
  • Gas - either a good time or something that was really funny
  • Grandstand – to show off
  • What’s buzzin’, cousin? – how’s it going?
  • Hi-de-ho - hello
  • Applesauce – an expletive; same as horsefeathers, As in “Ah applesauce!
  • Broad- a woman
  • Carry a Torch – to have a crush on someone
  • Cat’s Meow – something splendid or stylish; The best or greatest, wonderful
  • Dame- a woman
  • Gams – a woman’s legs
  • Hard Boiled – a tough, strong guy
  • Hooch – bootleg liquor
  • Hoofer – dancer
  • Horsefeathers – an expletive; same usage as applesauce
  • Hotsy-Totsy – pleasing
  • Jalopy – old car
  • Joint – a club, usually selling alcohol
Well, what do you think? It's a gas isn't it? I'd like to study 1940's slang a little more and use it on occasion. Why not? I consider myself a 1940's dame in the making, might as well whoopee (have a good time) with it!

If you are interested in learned more about slang of the 1930's, 1950's, or 1960's let me know! By the way, I did research some 1960's slang and learned that we use a lot of those words still today. And I have always used slang words like "groovy", "cool", and "drag". Words are such fun aren't they???



  1. My girls say a couple of things that I love and are kind of vintage.

    Nail Polish- Polish another is I have sleep in my eyes, cracks me up.

  2. love it!! Have you ever seen Ball of Fire with Barbara Stanwyck? I think its on Netflix. It's so funny and there's a lot of talk about 40's slang. I said "broad" the other day and made one of my coworkers totally crack up. He said he said "so you dress and talk vintage, huh?" lol!

  3. Maybe its a southern thing but I still say, In cahoots with, above my pay grade, cooking with gas, and Hi-de-ho. Or maybe its just that Im old! lol

  4. When I saw "Hi-de-ho", I had to think of Betty Boop:) Ducky Shinecracker that is so funny. I wonder where this came from? I think if you said the word "hoofer" to a woman nowadays she'd be totally offended. lol

  5. Jeez, I use a lot more 1940's slang than I realized! Cook with gas, Killer Diller (i love this one!), Broad, Dame, Cat's Meow, gams, carry a torch, in cahoots with, hooch and eager beaver are all part of my regular vernacular! lol

  6. I absolutely love 1940s slang. A lot of today's slang in the US was from the 20s to the 40s. I use some of these and there's a lot I use from the 30s as well.

  7. So glad you dames loved this post! Its a hoot isn't it! hehe xox

  8. I definitely say 'in cahoots with' and jalopy! And I've heard people say gams (um, how embarrassing here would it be to admit it was on the Golden Girls? hee), and grandstanding. I admit to having a mouth like a truck driver but one of these times I want to bust out with "horsefeathers"! lol

  9. Yes, words are fun. My siblings and I used to kid around with words for old movies.

    What about "There's a tomato in the potato locker" line from the Abbot and Costello movie In the Navy (1941)? I never could figure where they came up with the word tomato for a female. Got any good explanation?

    I enjoyed reading your comment today on reasons to be thankful.

    :) Hope

  10. Wooow so apparently I use a lot of 1940s slang and didn't even KNOW it. I got it from my mom and she must have gotten it from her mom and so forth lol.

    Let's see, I most commonly use "eager beaver" and "in cahoots" and "hi-de-ho" and "broad" and "dame" and "gams" and "hooch" and "joint" (actually, this is the word I use almost every day to describe places, haha).

    Thanks for this post. It's cool to know where my phrases come from! And now it explains why I've noticed people give me strange looks or make fun of me when I say some of them. :D

  11. Fabulous post, dear Bunny! I use some of these swell vintage terms/words in my daily speech, especially "the cat's meow". A couple of other great yesteryear phrases that I enjoy using are "the bee's knee's", "putting on the ritz", "the whole hog", and "the whole kit and kaboodle".

    ♥ Jessica

  12. I just adore all you gals! How neat that you use these words in your everyday speech! I just love it! Thank you all for posting! xox


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