The Concise A to Z guide to 1920’s slang for flappers
Ella Hartung recorded this dictionary of 1920’s slang words for the Flapper in 1922.
- Absent Treatment- Dancing with bashful partner.
Anchor- Box of flowers.
Apple knocker- A hick, a hay-shaker.
Apple Sauce- Flattery; bunk.
- Barlow- A girl, a flapper, a chicken.
Bank’s Closed- No petting allowed; no kisses.
Barney mugging- Lovemaking.
Bee’s Knees- See Cat’s Particulars.
Bell Polisher- A young man addicted to lingering in the vestibule at 1 a.m.
Berry Patch- A man’s particular interest in a girl.
Biscuit- A pettable flapper.
Big Timer (n. masc.)- A charmer able to convince his sweetie that a jollier thing would be to get a snack in an arm-chair lunchroom; a romantic.
Billboard- Flashy man or woman.
Blushing Violet- A publicity hound.
Blouse- To go.
Blow- Wild party.
Blaah- No good.
Boob Tickler- Girl who entertains father’s out-of-town customers.
Brush Ape- Anyone from the sticks, a country jake.
Brooksy- Classy dresser.
Bun Duster- See Cake Eater
Bush Hounds- Rustics and others outside of the Flapper pale.
- Cancelled Stamp- A wall flower.
Cake Basket- A limousine.
Cake Eater- See Crumb Gobbler.
Cat’s Particulars- The acme of perfection; anything that’s good.
Cat’s Pajamas- Anything that’s good.
Cellar Smeller- A young man who always turns up where liquor is to be had without cost.
Corn Shredder- Young man who dances on a girl’s feet.
Crasher- Anyone who comes to parties uninvited.
Crashing Party- Party where several young men in a group go uninvited.
Cuddle Cootie- Young man who takes a girl for a ride on a bus, gas wagon, or automobile.
Cuddler- One who likes petting.
- Dapper- A flapper’s father.
Dewdropper- Young man who does not work, and sleeps all day.
Dincher- A half-smoked cigarette
Dingle Dangler- One who insists on telephoning.
Dipe Ducat- A subway ticket.
Dimbox- A taxicab.
Di Mi- Goodness.
Dog Kennels- Pair of shoes.
Dropping the Pilot- Getting a divorce.
Duck’s Quack- The best thing ever.
Ducky- General term for approbation.
Dud- Wall flower.
Dudding Up- Dressing.
Dumb Dora- Stupid girl.
Dumb Bell- Wall flower with little brains.
Dumb Kuff- General term for being “nutty” or “batty.”
- Edison ed- Being asked a lot of questions.
Egg Harbor- Free dance.
Embalmer- A bootlegger.
Eye Opener- A marriage.
- Father Time- Any man over 30 years of age.
Face stretcher- Old maid who tries to look young.
Fire Extinguisher- A chaperone.
Finale Hopper- Young man who arrives after everything is paid for.
Fire Alarm- Divorced woman.
Fire Bell- Married woman.
Flat Shoes- Fight between a Flapper and her Goof.
Fluky- Funny, odd, peculiar, different.
Flat wheeler- Flat shy of money; takes girls to free affairs.
Floor flusher- Inveterate dance hound.
Flour Lover- Girl who powders too freely.
Frog’s Eyebrows- Nice, fine.
- Gander- process of dudding up.
Gimlet- A chronic bore.
Given the Air- When a girl or fellow is thrown down on a date.
Give Your Knee- Cheek-to-cheek and toe-to-toe dancing.
Goofy- To be in love or attracted to. Example: I’m goofy about Jack.
Goat’s Whisker’s- See Cat’s Particulars
Grubber- One who always borrows cigarettes.
- Handcuffs- Engagement ring.
Hen Coop- A beauty parlor.
His Blue Serge- His sweetheart.
Houdini- To be on time for a date.
Hush Money- Allowance from father.
- Jane- a girl who meets you on the stoop.
Johnnie Walker- Guy who never hires a cab.
- Kitten’s Ankles- See Cat’s Particulars.
Kluck- Dumb, but happy.
- Lap- Drink.
Lens Louise- A person given to monopolizing conversation.
Lemon squeezer- An elevator.
Low Lid- The opposite from high brow.
- Mad Money- Carfare home if she has a fight with her escort.
Monkey’s Eyebrows- See Cat’s Particulars.
Monog- A young person of either sex who is “goofy” about only one person at a time.
Monologist- Young man who hates to talk about himself.
Mustard Plaster- Unwelcome guy who sticks around.
Munitions- Face powder and rouge.
- Necker- A petter who puts her arms around a boy’s neck.
Noodle Juice- Tea.
Nut Cracker- Policeman’s Nightstick.
- Obituary Notice- Dunning letters.
Orchid- Anything that is expensive.
Out on Parole- A person who has been divorced.
- Petting Pantry- A movie.
Petting Party- A party devoted to hugging.
Petter- A lovable person; one who enjoys to caress.
Police Dog- Young man to whom one is engaged.
Potato- A young man shy of brains.
- Ritzy Burg- Not classy.
Rock of Ages- Any woman over 30 years of age.
Rug Hopper- Young man who never takes a girl out. A parlor hound.
- Sap- A 1920’s Flapper term for floor flusher.
Scandal- A short term for Scandal Walk.
Scandaler- A dance floor fullback. The interior of dreadnought hat, Piccadilly suiting and shoes with open plumbing, size 13.
Seetie- Anybody a flapper hates.
Sharpshooter- One who spends well and dances much.
Shifter- Another species of a Flapper.
Show Case- Rich man’s wife with her jewels.
Sip- Flapper term for female Hopper.
Slimp- Cheapskate or “one way guy.”
Smith Brothers- Guys who never cough up.
Smoke Eater- A girl cigarette user.
Smooth- Guy who does not keep his word.
Snuggle pup- A man fond of petting and petting parties.
Sod Buster- An undertaker.
Stander- Victim of a female grafter.
Static- Conversation that means nothing.
Swan- Glide gracefully.
- Tomato- A young woman shy of brains.
Trotzky- Old lady with mustache and chin whiskers.
- Umbrella- Young man any girl can borrow for the evening.
Urban Set- Her new gown.
- Walk In- Young man who goes to parties without being invited.
Weasel- Girl stealer.
Weed- Flapper who takes risks.
Weeping Willow- perpetual crier
Whisk broom- Any man who wears whiskers.
Wind Sucker- Any person given to boasting.
That’s all !
©Glamour Daze 2011
5 thoughts on “A to Z 1920’s Slang Guide for Flappers”
Hah. My Dad used to make sure I had “mad money” when I was a teenager. To be kept tucked into the top of your stocking!
so if Flap means girl people are really saying when they say flapper girl "girl girl?" funny.
Haha, what a great collection; thanks for sharing. Is the slang somewhat more colourful than today's? At least it's much more innocent!
This is classic! I love learning slang. I've copied and pasted this for when I have a flapper costumed night!
LOVE IT! I may very well have to start peppering my vocab with some of these phrases…they're just too fun! Thankss so much for sharing!
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