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1950’s Slang


Actor: show-off

Agitate the Gravel: to leave (hot-rodders)

Ankle Biter: a child

Antsville: A place full of people

Ape: (used with “go”) to explode or be really mad


Baby: cute girls and cute guys

Back seat bingo: necking in a car

Bad news: depressing person

Bash: great party

Bent Eight: a V-8 engine (hot-rodders) 

Big Daddy: an older person

Big tickle: really funny

Bit: an act

Blast: a good time

Blow off: to defeat in a race (hot-rodders)

Bobbed: Shortened 

Boss: great

Bread: money

Bug: “you bug me” – to bother

Burn rubber: to accelerate hard and fast


Cast an eyeball: to look

Cat: a hip person

Chariot: car

Cherry: Originally, an unaltered car. Later, anything attractive (hot-rodders, originally) 

Chick in Skins: Woman in a fur coat

Chrome-plated: dressed up

Circled: married

Classy chassis: great body

Cloud 9:  really happy

Clutched: rejected

Cook: Cookin’: doing it well

Cool: Indefinable quality that makes something or someone extraordinary 

Cool it: Relax, settle down

Cooties: imaginary infestations of the truly un-cool

Cranked: excited

Crazy: “Like crazy, man” implies an especially good thing

Cream: originally, to dent a car.  Later, to badly damage

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’: looking for trouble

Cut out: leave


Daddy-o: term of address

D.D.T. (Drop Dead Twice): Response: What, and look like you? 

Deuce: A 1932 Ford (hot-rodders)

Dibs: a claim – as in “got dibs” on that seat

Dig: to understand; to approve

Dolly: cute girl

Don’t have a cow: don’t get so excited

Drag: a short car race

Duck Butt or D.A. - Hairstyle of greasers where hair in back is combed to the middle, then with end of comb, make a middle part


Earthbound: Reliable

Eyeball: look around


Fake out: a bad date

Fast: someone who was sexually active

Fat city: a great thing or place; happy

Fire up: start your engine

Flat out: fast as you can

Flat-top: men’s hairstyle (a crewcut which is flat across the top)

Flick: a movie

Flip: to get very excited

Floor it: push the accelerator to the floor

Fracture: to amuse

Fream: someone who doesn’t fit in

Frosted: angry


Get bent!: disparaging remark as in “drop dead”

Get with it: Understand

Gig: work, job 

Go ape: Get very excited

Go for pinks: a drag race where the stakes are the car’s pink slip

Goof: someone who makes mistakes

Goose it: accelerate the car fully

Greaser: a guy with tons of grease in his hair

Grody: sloppy or messy


Hang: as in “hang out” which means to do very little

Haul ass: drive very fast

Heat: police

Hep: with it, cool

Hip: someone who is cool, in the know

Hopped up: a car modified for speed

Horn: telephone

Hottie: a very fast car


Illuminations: good ideas, thoughts

In orbit: in the know


Jacked up: car with a raised rear end

Jacketed: going steady

Jelly Roll: men’s hair combed up and forward on both sides, brought together in the middle of the forehead


Kick: a fun or good thing; a fad

Kill: to really impress

Knuckle sandwich: a fist in the face


Later: goodbye

Lay a patch: to accelerate so rapidly that you leave a patch of rubber on the road


Make out: a kissing session

Make the scene: to attend a party or activity

Mirror warmer: a piece of pastel fabric (often cashmere) tied around the rear view mirror. (A 1950s version of the Medieval wearing your lady’s colors.)

Most: a in “the most” – high praise usually of the opposite sex


Nerd: same as now

Nest: a hair-do

Nod: drift off to sleep

Nosebleed: stupid

No sweat: no problem

Nowhere: opposite of cool

Nuggets: loose change


Odd ball: someone a bit off the norm

On the stick: pulled together. Bright, prepared…


Pad: home

Paper shaker: cheerleader or Pom Pom girl

Party pooper: no fun at all

Passion pit: Drive-in movie theater

Peepers: glasses

Pile up Z’s: get some sleep

Pound: beat up

Punch it: release the clutch quickly do as to get a fast start

Put down: to say bad things about someone


Radioactive: very popular

Rag top: a convertible car

Rap: to tattle on someone

Rattle your cage: get upset

Raunchy: messy or gross in some way

Razz my berries: excite or impress me

Real gone: very much in love. Also unstable.

Right-o: okay

Rock: a diamond

Rocket: a car

Rod: a car

Royal shaft: badly or unfairly treated


Scream: go fast

Shot down: failed

Shucks, shuckster: a deceiver, liar or cheat

Sides: vinyl records

Sing: to tattle or inform on someone

Souped up: a car modified to go fast

Spaz: someone who is uncoordinated, a clutz

Split: leave

Square: a regular, normal person.  A conformist.

Stacked: a well-endowed woman


Tank: a large sedan (usually driven by parents)

Tear it up: drive very fast

Threads: clothes

Tight: good friends

Total: to completely destroy, most often in reference to a car


Unreal: exceptional


Wail: go fast

Wazoo: your rear end

Weed: a cigarette

Wet rag: someone who’s just no fun

Word from the bird: the truth 

What’s your tale, nightingale?: What’s the story?

Wheelie: lift the car’s front wheels off the ground by rapid acceleration