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Slang Terms by Decade

In 1930s slang, these musicians got a gig at the juke joint.

Every generation has its slang -- new words and phrases that allow kids to communicate without their parents understanding. Read on to learn some of the most popular slang terms through the decades.

 

1: 1920s Slang Terms

  1. 23 skiddoo -- to get going; move along; leave; or scram
  2. The cat's pajamas -- the best; the height of excellence
  3. Gams -- legs
  4. The real McCoy -- sincere; genuine; the real thing
  5. Hotsy-totsy -- perfect
  6. Moll -- a female companion of a gangster
  7. Speakeasy -- a place where alcohol was illegally sold and drunk during Prohibition
  8. The bee's knees -- excellent; outstanding
 

    2: 1930s Slang Terms

    1. I'll be a monkey's uncle -- sign of disbelief; I don't believe it!
    2. Gig -- a job
    3. Girl Friday -- a secretary or female assistant
    4. Juke joint -- a casual and inexpensive establishment with drinking, dancing, and blues music, typically in the southeastern United States
    5. Skivvies -- men's underwear
     

    3: 1940s Slang Terms

    1. Blockbuster -- a huge success
    2. Keeping up with the Joneses -- competing to have a lifestyle or socioeconomic status comparable to one's neighbors
    3. Cool -- excellent; clever; sophisticated; fashionable; or enjoyable
    4. Sitting in the hot seat -- in a highly uncomfortable or embarrassing situation
    5. Smooch -- kiss
     

    4: 1950s Slang Terms

    1. Big brother is watching you -- someone of authority is monitoring your actions
    2. Boo-boo -- a mistake; a wound
    3. Hi-fi -- high fidelity; a record player or turntable
    4. Hipster -- an innovative and trendy person
     

      5: 1960s Slang Terms

      1. Daddy-o -- a man; used to address a hipster or beatnik
      2. Groovy -- cool; hip; excellent
      3. Hippie -- derived from hipster; a young adult who rebelled against established institutions, criticized middle-class values, opposed the Vietnam War, and promoted sexual freedom
      4. The Man -- a person of authority; a group in power
       

      6: 1970s Slang Terms

      1. Catch you on the flip side -- see you later
      2. Dig it -- to like or understand something
      3. Get down/Boogie -- dance
      4. Mind-blowing -- unbelievable; originally an expression for the effects of hallucinogenic drugs
      5. Pump iron -- lift weights
      6. Workaholic -- a person who works too much or is addicted to his or her job
       

      7: 1980s Slang Terms

      1. Bodacious -- beautiful
      2. Chillin' -- relaxing
      3. Dweeb -- a nerd; someone who is not cool
      4. Fly -- cool; very hip
      5. Gag me with a spoon -- disgusting
      6. Gnarly -- exceptional; very cool
      7. Preppy -- one who dresses in designer clothing and has a neat, clean-cut appearance
      8. Wicked -- excellent; great
      9. Yuppie -- Young Urban Professional; a college-educated person with a well-paying job who lives near a big city; often associated with a materialistic and superficial personality
       

        8: 1990s Slang Terms

        1. Diss -- show disrespect
        2. Get jiggy -- dance; flirt
        3. Homey/Homeboy -- a friend or buddy
        4. My bad -- my mistake
        5. Phat -- cool or hip; highly attractive; hot
        6. Wassup? -- What's up?; How are you?
        7. Word -- yes; I agree
         

        9: 2000s Slang Terms

        1. Barney Bag -- a gigantic purse
        2. Newbie -- a newcomer; someone who is inexperienced
        3. Peeps -- friends; people
        4. Rents -- parents
        5. Sweet -- beyond cool
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