When I was a kid I used to read a lot of old books that I enjoyed but I didn't understand all the lingo. Here's a list of words I wish I'd known back then.

Special thanks to Nico  Young at the Thought Factory!
Get ready to “know your onions,” readers. If you’ve ever wanted to talk like characters from an old movie or the folks from The Great Gatsby, now’s your chance. For the twenties lovers among us, here are 59 of the era’s best slang phrases. Now you just have to practice talking really, really fast.
Flickr/Sam Fam
Flickr/Sam Fam
1. Ankle: to walk
2. “Applesauce!”: “Horsefeathers!”
3. “Bank’s closed!”: what you tell someone to stop making out
4. Bearcat: a lively, spirited woman, possibly with a fiery streak
5. Berries: like “bee’s knees,” denotes that something is good, desirable or pleasing. “That sounds like berries to me!”
6. Bimbo: refers to a macho man
7. Bluenose: term for a prude or individual deemed to be a killjoy
8. Bubs: a woman’s boobs
9. “Bushwa!”: “Bullshit!”
10. “Butt me!”: “I would like a cigarette.”
11. Cancelled stamp: a shy, lonely female, the type one would describe as a “wallflower”
12. Cash: a smooch
13. Cake-eater: in the 1920’s refers to a “ladies’ man”; later, slang for homosexual
14. Cheaters: Glasses or bifocals
15. Choice bit of calico: a desirable woman
16. Darb: something deemed wonderful or splendid, similar to “berries”
17. Dewdropper: like lollygagger, a slacker who sits around all day and does nothing, often unemployed
18. “Don’t take any wooden nickels!”: “Don’t do anything dumb!”
19. Dumb Dora: an unintelligent woman
20. Egg: a person who leads an absurdly wealthy, extravagant lifestyle (see: Gatsby’s “West Egg”)
21. Four-flusher: someone who mooches off the money of others in order to feign wealth
22. Gasper: cigarette, “fag” (also of the 1920s)
23. Giggle water: liquor, alcoholic beverage
24. “Go chase yourself!”: “Get out of here!”
25. Handcuff: engagement ring
26. Half-seas over: shitfaced
27. Hayburner: a car with poor gas-mileage, a guzzler
28. Hotsy-totsy: attractive, pleasing to the eye
29. Icy mitt: rejection from the object of one’s affection, as in: “He got the icy mitt.”
30. Iron one’s shoelaces: to excuse oneself for the restroom
31. Jake: okay, fine, as in “Don’t worry, everything’s jake.”
32. Jorum of skee: a swig of alcohol, particularly hard liquor
33. Know your onions: to know what’s up or what’s going on
34. “Let’s blouse!”: “Let’s blow this popsicle stand!”
35. Manacle: Wedding ring
36. Mazuma: Dollar bills, cash, money
37. Mrs. Grundy: an uptight or very straight-laced individual
38. Noodle juice: tea.
39. “Now you’re on the trolley!”: “Now you’ve gotten it right!”
40. Oliver Twist: an extremely good dancer.
41. On a toot: on a bender
42. Ossified: drunk
43. Quilt: an alcoholic beverage that keeps you warm
44. Panther piss: whiskey, particularly homemade whiskey
45. Petting pantry: a cinema or movie theatre
46. “Phonus balonus!”: “That’s nonsense!” or “That’s horseshit!”
47. Pull a Daniel Boone: to upchuck
48. Reuben: a hick or redneck
49. Rub: a dance party for college or high school students
50. Sheba – someone’s girlfriend; or a sexually desirable woman
51. Sinker: a doughnut
52. Sockdollager: an event or action of great importance
53. Spifflicated: inebriated
54. “Tell it to Sweeney!”: what you say when you believe something to be untrue; “Tell it to someone who would buy that!”
55. Tomato: a woman
Flickr/Duke Yearlook
Flickr/Duke Yearlook
56. Upstage: arrogant, snobby
57. Whoopee: to have a good time, “make whoopee”
58. Wurp: wet blanket or person seen as a buzzkill (see: Debbie Downer)
59. Zozzled: shitfaced TC mark

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