You may be able to wear a roaring ’20s outfit, but can you talk the talk? Use this authentic 1922 Flapper’s Dictionary, so you’ll sound as authentic as you look!
I originally discovered the Flapper’s Dictionary at the Bookflaps Blog. You can review a version of the Flapper’s Dictionary (as recorded by Ella Hartung in 1922) at the website of her grandson, Paul Havemann.
Absent Treatment = Dancing with a bashful partner
Airedale = A homely man
Alarm clock = A chaperone
An alibi = A box of flowers
Anchor = Box of flowers or a bank roll
Apple Knocker = A hick; a hay-shaker
Appleknocker = A hick
Applesauce = Flattery or bunk
Bank’s Closed = No petting allowed; no kisses
Barlow = A girl, a flapper, a chicken
Barney = A scanal walker
Barneymugging = Lovemaking
Bean-picker = One who tries to patch up trouble
Bee’s Knees = See “Cat’s Pajamas”
Bell Polisher = A young man addicted to lingering in vestibules at 1 a.m.
Berries = Great
Berry Patch = A man’s particular interest in a girl
Big Timer = (n. masc.) = A charmer able to convince his sweetie that a jollier thing would be to get a snack in an armchair lunchroom; a romantic
Billboard = Flashy man or woman
Biscuit = A pettable flapper
Blaah = No good
Blouse = To go
Blow = Wild party
Blushing Violet = A publicity hound
Boob-tickler = Girl who has to entertain her father’s customers from out of town
Brooksy = Classy dresser
Brush Ape = Anyone from the sticks; a country Jake
Bun Duster = See “Cake Eater”
Bush Hounds = Rustics and others outside of the Flapper pale
Bust = A man who makes his living in the prize ring, a pugilist
Butt me = Give me a cigarette
Cake Basket = A limousine
Cake-Eater = A wearer of tight clothes, belted coat with spearlike lapels and one button, sausage trousers, low quick fitting collar, greenish pink shirt; and one of those jazzbo ties that gives you the giggles; a sissy; a harmless lounge lizard
Cancelled Stamp = A wallflower
Cat’s Pajamas = Anything that’s good
Cat’s Particulars = The acme of perfection; anything that’s good
Cellar Smeller = A young man who always turns up where liquor is to be had without cost
Clothesline = One who tells neighborhood secrets
Corn-shredder = Young man who dances on lady’s feet
Crabhanger = Reformer
Crasher = Anyone who comes to parties uninvited
Crashing Party = Party where several young men in a group go uninvited
Crepe Hanger = Reformer
Crumb Gobbler = Slightly sissy tea hound
Cuddle-cootie = Young man who takes a girl for a ride on a bus
Cuddler = One who likes petting
Cutting yourself a piece of cake = Making yourself wait patiently
Dapper = A flapper’s father
Darb = Gink with a roll of coin
Dewdropper = Young man who does not work, and sleeps all day
Di Mi = Goodness
Dimbox = A taxicab
Dincher = A half-smoked cigarette
Dingle Dangler = One who insists on telephoning
Dipe Ducat = A subway ticket
Dive-ducat = Subway ticket
Dog Kennels = Pair of shoes
Dogs = Feet.
Dropping the Pilot = Getting a divorce.
Duck’s Quack = The best thing ever.
Ducky = General term of approbation.
Dud = A wall flower
Dudding Up = Dressing.
Dumbbell = Wall flower with little brains.
Dumbdora = Stupid girl.
Dumkuff = General term for being “nutty” or “batty”.
Ear muffs = Radio receivers
Edisoned = Being asked a lot of questions.
Egg harbor = A fall dance
Embalmer = A bootlegger.
Eye Opener = A marriage.
Face Stretcher = Old maid who tries to look younger.
Father Time = Any man over 30 years of age.
Feathers = Small talk; Light conversation.
Fig leaf = One piece bathing suit
Finale hopper = Young man who arrives after all the bills are paid.
Fire alarm = A divorced woman
Fire Bell = Married woman.
Fire Extinguisher = A chaperone.
Flap = Girl
Flat Shoes = Fight between a Flapper and her Goof
Flatwheeler = A poor young man who takes girls to free affairs
Floorflusher = Inveterate dance hound.
Flour Lover = Girl who powders too freely.
Fluky = Funny, odd, peculiar; different.
Forty-Niner = Man who is prospecting for a rich wife.
Frog’s Eyebrows = Nice, fine.
Gander = Process of duding up.
Gimlet = A chronic bore.
Give Your Knee = Cheek-to-cheek or toe-to-toe dancing.
Given the Air = When a girl or fellow is thrown down on a date.
Goat’s Whiskers = See “Cat’s Particulars”
Goof = A flapper’s sweetheart
Goofy = To be in love with, or attracted to. Example: “I’m goofy about Jack.”
Green Glorious = Money and checks.
Grubber = One who always borrows cigarettes.
Grubstake = Invitation to dinner
Grummy = In the dumps, shades or blue.
Half cut = Happily intoxicated
Handcuff = Engagement ring.
Hen Coop = A beauty parlor.
Highjohn = Young man friend; sweetie, cutey, highboy.
Hikers = Knickerbockers
Hiphound = One who drinks hootch
His Blue Serge = His sweetheart.
Hopper = Dancer.
Horse Prancer = See “Corn Shredder”.
Houdini = To be on time for a date.
Hush Money = Allowance from father.
Jane = A girl who meets you on the stoop.
John D. = An oily person
Johnnie Walker = Guy who never hires a cab.
Kippy = Neat or nice
Kitten’s Ankles = See “Cat’s Particulars”.
Kluck = Dumb, but happy.
Lallygagger = A young man addicted to attempts at hallway spooning.
Lap = Drink.
Lemon Squeezer = An elevator.
Lens Louise = A person given to monopolizing conversation.
Let’s blouse = Let’s go
Low Lid = The opposite of highbrow.
Mad Money = Carfare home if she has a fight with her escort.
Meringue = Personality.
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.
Mouthpiece = Lawyer
Mug = To osculate or kiss.
Munitions = Face powder and rouge.
Mustard Plaster = Unwelcome guy who sticks around.
Necker = A petter who puts her arms around a boy’s neck.
Noodle Juice = Tea.
Nosebaggery = Restaurant.
Nut Cracker = Policeman’s nightstick.
Obituary Notice = Dunning letter.
Oilcan = An imposter.
Orchid = Anything that is expensive.
Out on Parole = A person who has been divorced.
Petter = A loveable person; one who enjoys to caress.
Petting Pantry = Movie.
Petting Party = A party devoted to “hugging.”
Pillow Case = Young man who is full of feathers.
Plastered = A synonym for pie-eyed; oiled; intoxicated
Police Dog = Young woman’s fiance
Potato = A young man shy of brains.
Ritz = Stuck-up.
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 = See “floorflusher.”
Scandal = A short term for Scandal Walk.
Scandaler = A dance floor fullback. The interior of a dreadnaught hat, Piccadilly shoes with open plumbing, size 13.
Seetie = Anybody a flapper hates.
Sharpshooter = One who spends much and dances well.
Shifter = A grafter
Show Case = Rich man’s wife with jewels.
Sip = Flapper term for female Hopper.
Slat = See “Highjohn”; “Goof”.
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.
Snake = To call a victim with vampire arms.
Snake-charmer = A female bootlegger
Snugglepup = A man fond of petting and petting parties.
Sod Buster = An undertaker.
Stander = Victim of a female grafter.
Static = Conversations that mean nothing.
Statts(?) = Conversation that means nothing
Stilts = Legs.
Strangler = What a spendthrift isn’t
Strike Breaker = A young woman who goes with her friend’s “Steady” while there is a coolness.
Stutter-tub = Motor boat
Sugar = Money
Swan = Glide gracefully.
Sweetie = Anybody she hates
They = Refers to objecting parents
Toddler = A finale hopper’s faster sister
Tomato = Good looking girl with no brains
Trotzky (sic) = Old lady with a moustache and chin whiskers.
Umbrella = young man any girl can borrow for the evening.
Urban set = A new gown
Walk In = Young man who goes to a party without being invited.
Weasel = Girl stealer.
Weed = Flapper who takes risks.
Weeping Willow = See “Crepe Hanger”
Whangdoodle = Jazz-band music.
Whiskbroom = A man who cultivates whiskers.
Wind Sucker = Any person given to boasting.
Wurp = Killjoy or drawback.
You know, it would have been nice (and ethical) of you to credit the source — which is my website, and not the blog you claim.
Would you mind correcting the source and the link? I thank you, and my grandmother, Ella Head, thanks you.
Thank you for contacting me, Paul. I have updated the source and link. Your comment has reminded me how much I enjoyed the words in this dictionary. As it’s the start of a brand new year, I may resolve to use more of these words! I’m looking for the opportunity to use “nosebaggery.” 🙂
Thank you for the correction, and also thank you for artfully ignoring my too-snide comment. I apologize that, but it’s a sore point for me as many others have used my grandmother’s content without attribution and ignore my pleas.
(All these years later, I continue to wonder whether she would be pleased or horrified to find I made it public!)
I’m delighted that you made this dictionary public, and I hope your grandmother would be too.