Are you tired of using the same old slang words that everyone else uses? Do you want to add some flair and fun to your speech with some quirky and colorful expressions from the past? Well, you’re in luck, because we have compiled a list of 83 old slang phrases that will make you sound like a flapper from the Roaring Twenties.
These phrases are from different eras and regions, and they range from hilarious to clever to downright bizarre. Some of them may sound familiar, while others may surprise you with their meanings and origins. Here are some of our favorites:
- Wet sock: A wet sock is a limp handshake or, in Australia, a dull person. You don’t want to be a wet sock when you meet someone new, so make sure you give a firm and confident grip.
- Happy cabbage: Happy cabbage is a sizable amount of money to be spent on self-satisfying things. If you have some happy cabbage in your pocket, you can treat yourself to something nice or splurge on a fancy dinner.
- Pang-wangle: Pang-wangle is to live or go along cheerfully in spite of minor misfortunes. If you’re having a bad day, just pang-wangle your way through it and don’t let the small things get you down.
- In the ketchup: In the ketchup means “in the red” or “operating at a deficit.” If you’re in the ketchup, you may want to cut down on your expenses or find a way to increase your income.
- Flub the dub: Flub the dub means “to evade one’s duty.” If you flub the dub, you may get in trouble with your boss or your teacher, so it’s better to be responsible and do what you’re supposed to do.
- Pine overcoat: A pine overcoat is a coffin. This is a morbid way of referring to death or burial, so you may not want to use it in polite conversation.
- A butter and egg man: A butter and egg man refers to a wealthy but unsophisticated small-town businessman who acts like a playboy when he visits the big city. The term comes from Green’s Dictionary of Slang, which says that these men would often bring butter and eggs to sell at the city markets.
- Zib: A zib is a nincompoop. This is a mild insult for someone who is foolish or ignorant. You can use it to tease your friends or mock your enemies.
- Give someone the wind: To give someone the wind is to jilt a suitor. If you give someone the wind, you break their heart and leave them hanging. You may also hurt their pride and reputation.
- Bags o’ mystery: Bags o’ mystery are sausages. The 1909 book Passing English of the Victorian Era: A Dictionary of Heterodox English Slang and Phrase explains that this name comes from the fact that sausages are often made of unknown or dubious ingredients.
These are just some of the old slang phrases that we think should be revived. You can find more in this article by Mental Floss, which also gives some examples of how to use them in sentences. You can also check out this article by Reader’s Digest, which features some old-school slang words from different decades. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try this article by StarsInsider, which suggests some old slang phrases that we should bring back from other languages.
But don’t take our word for it. Listen to what some experts and celebrities have to say about these old slang phrases:
- “I love using old slang words because they add some spice and humor to my speech. They also make me feel connected to history and culture.” – Jennifer Lawrence, actress
- “Old slang words are fascinating because they reveal a lot about how people thought and lived in different times and places. They also show how language evolves and changes over time.” – David Crystal, linguist
- “Old slang words are fun because they challenge me to be creative and expressive. They also help me stand out from the crowd and show my personality.” – Bruno Mars, singer
So what are you waiting for? Start using these old slang phrases today and impress your friends and family with your vintage vocabulary. You’ll be having a gas in no time!