1950s Slang: 10 Ways People Said “Cool” in the 50s

by YvetteComment — Updated April 28, 2024

The 1950s was a decade known for its vibrant youth culture and rebellious spirit. It was when young people in the United States developed their own unique slang, creating a language that reflected their passion for music, fashion, and the pursuit of a good time, epitomized by 1950s slang.

Young people in the 1950s had a knack for creating their own language. This generation had just experienced the end of World War II and was ready to embrace a new sense of freedom and individuality. As a result, they developed a slang term that was unique and expressive.

This slang not only provided a way for young people to communicate with each other, but it also became a part of the mainstream culture of the time.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane to the 1950s and immerse yourself in the timeless slang that defined the era:

1950s Slang: 10 Ways People Said "Cool" in the 50s Photo

Source: metv.com

10 Cool Slang Words and Phrases from the 1950s

The 1950s marked a vibrant period in American culture, where the language was as lively as Miles Davis’s music or Billie Holiday‘s soulful melodies. This decade birthed iconic musicians like Charlie Parker and gave rise to a lexicon of slang that continues to echo through the decades.

In this golden era, new words were coined left and right, adding flair to everyday conversations. Phrases like “cool blues” and “ankle biters” became part of the vernacular, reflecting the zeitgeist of the mid-20th century.

To describe something as “cool” wasn’t enough; it had to be “the most” or “real solid” to capture its essence truly. These expressions weren’t just linguistic novelties; they were a cultural shorthand for expressing approval or excitement.

Black jazz musicians, with their revolutionary sound, became the embodiment of coolness, influencing music but also language and fashion.

Here is a list of famous cool slang words and phrases from the 1950s:

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That’s the cat’s meow!

In the 1950s, saying something was ‘the cat’s meow’ meant it was truly remarkable or impressive. It was the ultimate compliment, like calling a great guitar solo ‘awesome!’

Hey, that’s real gone!

To describe something as “real gone” meant it was exceptional or outstanding. It’s like saying, “I love your pink poodle skirt!” From fashion choices to impressive skills, being “real gone” was the epitome of coolness in the 1950s.

Crazy, man, crazy!

Used to express amazement or astonishment, this phrase conveyed the speaker’s excitement or disbelief. Instead of saying, “Did you see that drag race last night?” to express something extraordinary or convey the intensity of the moment, you can say, “Crazy, man, crazy!”

Cool beans!

“Cool beans” was a lighthearted way to express approval or excitement. For instance, if you got front-row seats at the big show, you can use this to convey a sense of satisfaction or contentment.


This slang indicates something was excellent or impressive. It was a way to express approval or delight, particularly in relation to objects or experiences. Say you liked a milkshake from a soda shop, you can exclaim “Nifty!”


That’s solid, Jack!

To describe something as “solid” was to acknowledge its strength or quality. It’s like saying, “You stood up to those bullies – good job! From acts of bravery to displays of integrity, being described as “solid” was a great compliment.

Keep on truckin’!

You can say this phrase to encourage someone to persevere or continue with their efforts. It expressed support and motivation for someone’s endeavors. So instead of saying, “I’m proud that you passed your classes this year,” you can say, “Keep on truckin’!”

Groovy, man!

“Groovy” was a popular term in the 1950s to describe something fashionable or exciting. You can use this slang to convey enthusiasm or approval for something trendy or enjoyable or say: “It’s great you asked her to the sock hop.”

Far out!

This phrase is an expression of awe or amazement. Say you were impressed because someone built their hot rod; you can say, “Far out!”


This slang was a way to express admiration or approval for someone’s actions or behavior. For example, if a person did a noble act of helping a cat in need, you can exclaim, “Righteous!”


1950s Slang: 10 Ways People Said "Cool" in the 50s Photo

Get outta town!

This phrase was used to express extreme disbelief or astonishment at something surprising or unexpected. When someone says, “Get outta town,” it essentially means, “I couldn’t believe what you just told me was true!” 

Well smack my frog!

“Well smack my frog” was a humorous and exaggerated expression of surprise or astonishment. For instance, you can use this slang instead of saying: “You won the car giveaway on the radio?” It’s a lighthearted way of reacting to unexpected or shocking news. 

Are you flippin’ your wig?

This expression was commonly used to react to surprising or shocking news. For instance, if someone said, ‘Your parents got you tickets to Hawaii?’ it would evoke a similar response of disbelief and amazement.

Hey cubby, that’s the most!

This phrase, “Hey cubby, that’s the most,” was a way of expressing admiration or amazement at something incredibly surprising or impressive. “Cubby” was a term of endearment used to address someone affectionately. It’s the same as saying, “A movie producer wants you in his film?”

No kiddin’?

“No kiddin’?” was a casual and informal way of seeking confirmation or expressing skepticism in response to surprising news. It was akin to saying, “Are you serious?” or “Was that really true?” It was often used when the speaker found something hard to believe and wanted reassurance that it wasn’t a joke or exaggeration.

Where 1950s Slang Came From

The slang of the 1950s originated from various sources, ultimately finding its way into mainstream culture. One such source was jazz musicians in the 1940s, who used their own slang to communicate and express themselves.

This slang, characterized by terms like “cool cat” and “passion pit,” later influenced the slang of the 1950s.

Another significant influence on 1950s slang was the emergence of car culture and rockabilly music. This subculture, associated with leather jackets and fast cars, introduced phrases like “burn rubber” and “wet rag,” which became synonymous with the excitement and freedom of the era.

The popularity of James Dean movies, such as “Rebel Without a Cause,” also significantly impacted youth culture. Dean’s iconic portrayal of a cool, rebellious teenager resonated with young people who adopted his mannerisms and language.

Terms like “cool cat” and “knuckle sandwich” became synonymous with the image of a stylish and confident young person.

Additionally, the 1950s saw the rise of teenagers as a mainstream demographic. With more disposable income and leisure time, teenagers became trendsetters and influencers. They developed their own slang to set themselves apart from their parents and assert their independence.

Lasting Influence of 1950s Slang

Many of the slang terms from the 1950s are still used today or have been adapted into modern language. Phrases like “cool,” “groovy,” and “far out” have become timeless expressions of approval or excitement.

The nostalgia for 1950s culture, fueled by movies like “Grease” and TV shows like “Happy Days,” has kept these slang terms alive in popular culture.

You can still hear old 1950s slang in modern pop culture, from songs to movies. The influence of 1950s slang can be seen across various forms of entertainment.

The rebellious and vibrant youth culture of the era, captured by these slang words and phrases, continues to resonate with audiences of all ages.


1950s Slang: 10 Ways People Said "Cool" in the 50s Photo

Credits: @masterfile / Pinterest

The 1950s were a time of cultural transformation in the United States, and the slang that emerged during this era reflects the rebellious and vibrant youth culture that defined the time.

From jazz musicians to car culture and the influence of James Dean, the origins of 1950s slang are diverse and influenced by various cultural factors.

The slang words and phrases of the 1950s continue to resonate with people today. They evoke a sense of nostalgia and associations with an iconic decade.

Whether it’s using phrases like “cool cat” or “groovy,” the slang of the 1950s captures a spirit of individuality and excitement that remains timeless.

So, the next time you want to add a bit of vintage flair to your conversations, why not throw in some 1950s slang? It’s the bee’s knees, man!

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