40th Anniversary Gala Preview: 1940s Slang

In anticipation of the 1940s Classic Hollywood themed Gala, which will take place on Saturday May 12th, the NW Film Center thought you might like a little exposure to the relevant slang and phrases of the time. So here they are, in no particular order:

  • Take a powder – to leave
  • Eager beaver – enthusiastic helper
  • In cahoots with – conspiring with
  • Doll dizzy – girl crazy
  • Ducky shincracker – a good dancer
  • Above my pay grade – don’t ask me
  • Cook with gas – to do something right
  • Killer-diller – good stuff
  • Stompers – shoes
  • Flip your wig – to lose control of yourself
  • Pennies from heaven – easy money
  • Gas – either a good time or something that was really funny
  • Grandstand – to show off
  • What’s buzzin’, cousin? – how’s it going?
  • Hi-de-ho – hello
  • Applesauce – an expletive; same as horsefeathers, As in “Ah applesauce!
  • Broad- a woman
  • Carry a Torch – to have a crush on someone
  • Cat’s Meow – something splendid or stylish; The best or greatest, wonderful
  • Dame- a woman
  • Gams – a woman’s legs
  • Hard Boiled – a tough, strong guy
  • Hooch – bootleg liquor
  • Hoofer – dancer
  • Horsefeathers – an expletive; same usage as applesauce
  • Hotsy-Totsy – pleasing
  • Jalopy – old car
  • Joint – a club, usually selling alcohol

  • Keen – attractive or appealing
  • Kisser – mouth
  • Line – insincere flattery
  • Moll – a gangster’s girl
  • Pushover – a person easily convinced or seduced
  • Ritzy – elegant (reference to the Ritz hotel)
  • Scram – ask someone to leave immediately
  • Soitently- sure!
  • Speakeasy – an illicit bar selling bootleg liquor
  • Spiffy – an elegant appearance
  • Spread Out!- Get out of the way! Give me some room! Stop crowding me!
  • Stuck On – having a crush on
  • Swanky – ritzy
  • Swell- wonderful
  • Wise guy- a smart ass
  • Whoopee – to have a good time

Taking place on Saturday May 12th, the 1940s Classic Hollywood themed Gala will be an evening of film-related auction items, delicious food and drink, phenomenal music, and A-list company. For more information and tickets to the event, please visit the NW FIlm Center’s website. For further discussion of 1940s slang, check out the online essay From Hep Cats to Full Birds: Slang of the 1940s by Michelle Carr, courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of History.

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