1950s Slang

1950s Slang wordsWelcome to 1950s slang.

Slang has always been the province of the young. Words come in and out of favor in direct proportion to the speed with which they travel through the age ranks. Once college kids know that high school kids are using a term, it becomes passe. And seniors don’t want to sound like freshman and so forth. Once a word finds its way to mainstream media or worse, is spoken by parents, no young person with any self-respect would use it.

1950s slang wasn’t particularly colorful as these things go. The Sixties, with its drug and protest culture to draw from, would be slang heaven. In the Fifties, hot-rodders and Beats provided inspiration.

About the Beat Culture. This was by no means a mainstream movement. I didn’t actually know any Beats nor I suspect did most of my peers across America. But they sure seemed “cool” to us. A sharp contrast from the way real teens lived in a preppy, conservative, conformist world.

Many of these words, in fact most words can have “ville” added to them. There was coolsville, deadsville, Doodyville, squaresville, weirdsville and so forth.

Oh and here’s a piece of news for you. “Cool” was a 50’s word. We said it a bit differently. Today it is said in a more clipped way. We tended to drag out the pronunciation. But we had it first; we were the originals.

In the 1950s Slang Dictionary below, I have tried to indicate which group used a term or at least it’s derivation, if warranted. And there’s a separate page for Kookie Talk. This is the oft imitated lingo of TV’s most famous carpark from 77 Sunset Strip.

Slang A - B

1950s Slang (A-B)

Achin’ for a breakin’Threatening someone to fight (courtesy of James Gresham)
Agitate the GravelTo leave (hot-rodders)
Ain’t that a biteThat’s too bad (thanks to Ellie Kronberg for this)
Ankle-biterA child
Anti-franticPoised, calm (thanks to Jim Hip for this one)
AntsvilleCongested,busy (thanks to Dee Sesler for this one)
ApeUsed with go – to explode or be really mad
Apple butterSmooth talk or flattery (courtesy of Jim Hip)
Are you writing a book?You’re asking too many questions
BabyCute girl, term of address for either sex
Back seat bingoNecking in a car
Badsomething that’s really good (courtesy of Leah E)
Bad newsDepressing person
Bake biscuitsTo make records (courtesy of Jim Hip)
BalladA love letter (yep, thank Jim Hip)
BashA party
Bash earstalking too much (courtesy of Jim Hip)
Beat feetDepart quickly
Beatnika member of the beat culture (courtesy of Dennis Evers)
Bee’s kneessomething wonderful and good (courtesy of Roberta Butticci)
Bent eightA V-8 engine (hot rodders)
Big DaddyAn older person
Big tickleReally funny
BinocularsGlasses (courtesy of Jim Hip)
Bird DogSomeone who tries to steal your girl (courtesy of Lucien Laventure)
BitAn act
Bitchinreally good or fun (courtesy of Bob Wayne)
BlastA good time
Blow offTo defeat in a race (hot-rodders)
BogusFalse, bad, poor, fake, untrue (thanks to Joran Mueller for this)
Bug“You bug me” – to bother
Burn rubberTo accelerate hard and fast (hot-rodders)
Bust a gutLaugh very hard (thanks to Kerrimoon)

Next: Slang C-F
Think of one I missed? Email it to me and I’ll credit the addition to you!
(Please mention if you think it would fit better in 1950s Slang or 1960s Slang)