Basic Slang

I been on the lam for almost a year. I don’t have a copper to my name, all my hair’s fallen out, and I’ll probably be dead in a ditch in a couple more weeks. But you know what? I had my first solid shit last night in over two weeks. Baby, that’s cause for celebration—it’s time to get bent!

-Unknown drunk


ace: an A-ranked cadet at Gast Academy.
all wet: incorrect.
Attaboy!: well done!; also, Attagirl!


baby: sweetheart. Also denotes something of high value or respect.
baloney: Nonsense!
battler: a B-ranked cadet at Gast Academy.
beat it: scram, get lost.
beef: a complaint or to complain.
beeswax: business, i.e. “None of your beeswax.” Student.
bent: drunk.
blow: (1) a crazy party (2) to leave.
bootleg: illegal copy.
bull: (1) a policeman or law-enforcement official, including FBI. (2) nonsense, bullshit (3) to chat idly, to exaggerate.
bump off: to kill.


caper: a criminal act or robbery.
chopper: a Thompson Sub-Machine Gun, due to the damage its heavy .45 caliber rounds did to the human body.
crackpot: a C-ranked cadet at Gast Academy.
crasher: a person who attends a party uninvited.
crush: infatuation.
cuddler: one who likes to make out.


dame: a female. Did not gain widespread use until the 1930’s.
dirt-mime: a derogatory term for a kavi.
doll: an attractive woman.
dolled up: dressed up.
don’t take any wooden coins: don’t do anything stupid.
dope: drugs, esp. cocaine or opium.
doublecross: to cheat, stab in the back.
double tap: to shoot/destroy a dalyéwo’s head and heart to ensure they don’t recover from their wounds to fight another day.
dough: money.
dry up: shut up, get lost.
duncerunt: a D-ranked cadet at Gast Academy.


earful: enough.
edge: intoxication, a buzz. i.e. “I’ve got an edge.”


face stretcher: an old woman trying to look young.
fella: fellow. As common in its day as “man,” “dude,” or “guy” is today. “That John sure is a swell fella.”
fire extinguisher: a chaperone.
fly boy: a glamorous term for an aviator.
For crying out loud!: same usage as today.
fried: drunk.


gimp: cripple; one who walks with a limp. Gangster Dion was called Gimpy due to his noticeable limp.
give a headache: in reference to a witness or interrogation when a person won’t talk. “The man we arrested is giving me a headache.”
gold-digger (1925): a woman who pursues men for their money.
goods, the: (1) the right material, or a person who has it (2) the facts, the truth, i.e. “Make sure the cops don’t get the goods on you.”
goof: (1) a stupid or bumbling person, (2) a boyfriend, flapper.


half seas over: drunk, also “half under.”
handcuff: engagement ring.
hayburner: (1) a gas guzzling car (2) a horse one loses money on.
high hat: a snob.
hit on all sixes: to perform 100 per cent; as “hitting on all six cylinders”; perhaps a more common variation in these days of four cylinder engines was “hit on all fours”. See “big six”.
holding air: broke, having little or no money.
hood (late 20s): hoodlum.
hop: (1) opiate or marijuana (2) a teen party or dance.
hopped up: under the influence of drugs.



Jalopy: a dumpy old car.
joe: coffee.
john: a toilet.
juice joint: a speakeasy.


keen: appealing.
killjoy: a solemn person.
knock up: to make pregnant.


lay off: cut the crap.
left holding the bag: (1) to be cheated out of one’s fair share (2) to be blamed for something.
level with me: be honest.
line: a false story, as in “to feed one a line.”
live wire: a lively person.


moonshine: homemade whiskey.


neck: to kiss passionately.
necker: a girl who wraps her arms around her boyfriend’s neck.
nifty: great, excellent.


off one’s nuts: crazy.
old boy: a male term of address, used in conversation with other males. Denoted acceptance in a social environment. Also “old man” “old fruit.” “How’s everything old boy?”
on the lam: fleeing from police.
on the level: legitimate, honest.
on the up and up: on the level.
owl: a person who’s out late.


pipe down: stop talking.



rain pitchforks: a downpour.
rube: an unsophisticated country bumpkin.
rummy: a drunken bum.


sap: a fool, an idiot. Very common term in the 20s.
says you: a reaction of disbelief.
scratch: money.
screwy: crazy; “You’re screwy!”
shiv: a knife.
sitting pretty: in a prime position.
so’s your old man: a reply of irritation.
spill: to talk.
sugar daddy: older boyfriend who showers girlfriend with gifts in exchange for sex.
swanky: good.
swell: (1) good (2) a high class person.


take someone for a ride: to take someone to a deserted location and murder them.
tar: a drug used by kavi to enhance their chanting abilities.
tasty: appealing.
tell it to Joan: tell it to someone who’ll believe it.
torpedo: a hired thug or hitman.
traded for coin: to be arrested or caught by a mercenary on contract.


unreal: special.
upchuck: to vomit.


vamp: (1) a seducer of men, an aggressive flirt (2) to seduce.


wet blanket: see Killjoy.
What’s eating you?: What’s wrong?
whoopee: wild fun.



You slay me!: That’s funny!