You're the Cat's Meow! - Slang and Culture

A Flapper Girl

"Flapper": The origin of flapper is unclear. It may have come from critiques of the flapper style of dance (like a bird flapping its wings), or from a reference to seemingly out-of-control high-spirited young women.

Why the 1920's? Actualy. many of the hallmarks of the flapper era - wearing make-up, dancing to jazz, or talking more openly about sex - began earlier, in working-class and urban neighborhoods. In teh 1920s, these elements moved into the mainstream of the middle-class, attracting new attention.

Try your hand at some 1920s slang!

  • Alarm Clock: Chaperone
  • Bank’s Closed: No kissing
  • Bean Picker: An individual who attempts to patch up trouble (i.e. picks up spilled beans) 
  • Big Cheese: an important person (originated in this period)
  • Blouse: Go, to go (i.e. Let’s Blouse)
  • Cat’s Meow: Something highly sought after
  • Cat’s Pajamas: Anything good, the best, the greatest
  • Dapper: Flapper’s father
  • Dudding Up: Dressing up
  • Embalmer: A bootlegger
  • Fire Extinguisher: A chaperone
  • Fluky: Funny, different, odd
  • Forty-Niner: Man who is prospecting for a rich wife
  • Gimlet: A chronic bore
  • Handcuff: Engagement ring
  • His Blue Serge: His sweetheart, his girl
  • Hooch: liquor
  • Hopper: Dancer
  • Out on Parole: A person who has been divorced
  • Scofflaw: A lawless drinker of illegally made or illegally obtained liquor
  • Sharpshooter: A good dancer who does not hold back while spending money
  • Snake Charmer: A female bootlegger
  • Weasel: Girl stealer
  • Whangdoodle: Jazz music, jazz band
  • Whiskbroom: Man with whiskers
You're the Cat's Meow! - Slang and Culture