While it was hard to put slang in a couple of my historical romance novels, one of them was not only an absolute must, but was some of the funnest writing I’ve done. One simply doesn’t write a novel set in the roaring 1920’s and not use the slang people spoke back then. It’s just not right. So, of course, I scoured several websites to find all that I could.
What did I find?
A list of words that part of me wishes we still used today. Seriously, some of these are just too perfect and utterly hilarious.
- Apple – “The big apple” (being New York) however the word “apple” referred to any big city in the 1930s
- Big House – refers to a prison.
- Blow your wig – to become very excited
- Broad/dame/doll – the fairer sex; they simply referred to women.
- Cadillac – an ounce of cocaine or heroin.
- Canary – a female singer.
- Cats/alligators – were fans of swing music.
- Chicago Overcoat – a coffin
- Chicago typewriter/chopper – the Thompson machine gun also known as “Tommy Gun.”
- City Juice/Dog Soup – a cup of water.
- Copper – police officer/cop
- Dizzy with a dame – in love with a woman
- Dough/Clams/Salad/Moolah – money
- Gat/rod/heater/convincer – referring to a gun.
- Hooch/Booze – alcohol
- Hot mama/looker/dame/dish – good looking women.
- Mitt me kid – congratulate me
- Togged to the bricks – all dressed up
- Trigger Men – hired gunmen.
- Trip for biscuits – a task that will yield no results
For me personally, I think I will start using “togged to the bricks”, “trip for biscuits”, “mitt me kid”, and “blow your wig”. Those just seem to have the most charisma I think I’ve ever heard in a phrase. I have to say that 1929 was a great era to write about. I had a lot of fun not only writing the novel, but in doing the research. And of course, when you love the research, of course, it doesn’t feel like a job. I truly had a blast writing this novel and I hope that you have a blast when reading it.