Flapper’s Dictionary – by Ella Hartung, 1922

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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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.” 🙂

  3. 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!)

  4. I’m delighted that you made this dictionary public, and I hope your grandmother would be too.

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