December 5, 2010

SLANGTIONARY PART 1: words and expressions from the past

D.A. – hairstyle resembling a duck’s ass

Here is a list of words and expressions seldom heard these days. In the streets of Levittown in the 1950s, however, one was likely to commonly hear these terms. We have omitted terms of profane, sexual, racial and ethnic natures as those are readily available elsewhere on the Internet. Compilers are not representing this as a complete list and additions, corrections, and suggestions are earnestly solicited.

Ass kisser - suck-up; results in being a brown noser (see under B)
Ass wagon - cool car

Bad news - a trouble person, as in “he’s bad news”
Bag - thing, as in “it ain’t my bag”
Barf - to vomit after over-imbibing alcohol at a bash (see under B)
Bash - great party
Bombed - really drunk
Boss - something cool, good
Bent - to drop dead, as in “get bent!”
Big Shot - an important person
Bit - an act, premise, as in “get the bit” i.e. to understand
Blast - good time
BMOC- big man on campus
Bob, Bobbed - a short hairstyle, as in “she got her hair bobbed at John Christie’s”
Bread - money
Brown noser - habitual ass kisser (see under A)
Bug - to annoy
Bug out - to leave
Burn rubber - to screech off in car

Can’t beat it with a stick- something really great
Cat - cool guy
Chariot - car
Cherry - good; also a virgin
Chinos - khaki trousers with a little belt and buckle in the back
Cinch, a – easy
Cheesit, the cops! - Run!
Chucker - basketball player who shoots a lot
Chicken fight - 2 vs. 2 wrestling while riding on partner’s shoulder, often played in water
City, the - Manhattan
Coffin nails – cigarettes
Cool - indefinable great quality, extraordinary
Cool it! - Relax!
Country club - an easy school
Crack up - to laugh heartily, as in “When he said that, it really cracked me up”
Crazy - implies a good thing, as in “That’s crazy, man”
Cream - to ejaculate; also damage
Cruisin’ for a bruisin’ - pushing the limit(s)
Crush - to like someone romantically
Cut out - to leave, as in “I’m cuttin’ out”

D.A. – hairstyle resembling a duck’s ass
Daddy-O – casual form of address
Depants - to forcibly remove an individual’s trousers in public
Devil Dogs - devil’s food cake with creamy filling, hot dog bun shaped
Dibs - a claim on something
Dig - to understand
Dip, dipshit - real jerk or fool in presence of parents or clergy, dipstick
Dippy - crazy
Ditch - to suddenly leave or disappear on a friend or group
Dog - ugly or generally poor
Dork - nerd
Drag - depressing, a bore
Drag- a puff on a cigarette
Dunce- a dope
Dutch treat - something for which you split the check, also go Dutch (see under G)

Engineer boots - heavy black work boots worn by Rocks (see under R)

Fake out - to fool
Falsies - breast size-enhancers often as simple as toilet paper or tissues
Far out - weird, cerebral
Fast - more willing to get into heavy petting (see under P) or more (said of girls, for boys it was a given)
Feel cheap - embarrassed, regretful
Fink - to squeal, tattletale
Flake - unreliable person
Flicks - movies at the Meadowbrook Theater
Flip - to get excited (over)
Forty five- record speed and type of popular music record of the era. Also, the player with thick spindle.
Fracture - to amuse
Frosted – angry
Fruitcake- crazy as in “He’s a fruitcake” or “He’s nuttier than a fruitcake”
Fuzz, the - police

Garrison belt - heavily buckled wide leather belt swung in fights by Hoods (see under H), Rocks (see under R)
Gas - Sinatraese for “fun”
Geek - gangly one; sometimes also nerdy and/or dorky
Gee Whiz! - expression of regret or amazement
Get the heave- to be unceremoniously sacked or thrown out
Get on the stick - to become aware, capable
Get with it! - similar to Get on the stick (see under G)
Gig - occupation, performance
Go ape shit - to go crazy
Go Dutch - to split or share expenses
Going steady- serious dating relationship
Golly - similar to Gee Whiz (see under G)
Goof-off - [noun] malingerer
Goody two shoes – uncommonly good person (from 1934 children’s story character)
Goose - [verb] usually involving rear end-grabbing, jabbing, poking
Green, The - places kids hung out, for example the North Village Green

Hack around - to loiter and/or fool around aimlessly
Hairy - close call or situation, dangerous
Hangout - loitering place such as the North Village Green
Hard up - in dire need, as in “If she went out with him she must be really hard up”
Hep - being with it, knowing the situation
Hip - someone cool, in-the-know, up to date
Hi-Fi - expensive record player
Hit the road - to depart
Hock - to swipe, steal
Hood - hoodlum often clad in black leather jacket, engineer boots, garrison belt (see under G) with D.A. (see under D)
Hot-to-trot- willingly anxious (usually used in a sexual context)
Hump - loser, as in “What a hump!”

I.D. bracelet- usually a male’s chain bracelet with rectangular plaque inscribed with name or initials often worn by girlfriend when ( see under G) Going Steady
Indian giver - one who takes back a gift
Indian rope burn - twisting of wrist skin to cause pain
Indian wrestling – strength contest involving pulling opponent off balance while shaking hands
Island, the - Nassau and Suffolk Counties
Ivy League - dress style incorporating pants with a little belt in the back, white bucks (see under W), V-neck sweater often draped around shoulders
Ivy Leaguer - clean-cut collegiate-looking guy; opposite of Hood (see under H), Rock (see under R)
Part 2 of Slangtionary will be posted tomorrow.
Thank you to Jeff McGann who compiled this list for the Forest Hills Club website. It
has been edited to provide a Levittown flavor. If you have suggestions for additions, send them to


Anonymous said...

Another good post, Frank! Thanks for sharing........Pat McD.

Volly said...

Hope this doesn't stir up any controversy, but there was one word that I only heard in Levittown, and nowhere else. Not even Island Trees, Wantagh or East Meadow.

That word was "fag." As it was used during the 1960s and 1970s, it meant "nerd" or "geek" or "square peg." It didn't have a sexual connotation. Parents who heard their kids called this name freaked out, for the obvious reasons. I had the pleasure of working in NYC with some former classmates; they thought nothing of using this endearment on each other, much to the horror of non-Levittown co-workers. Given the recent headlines about bullying and gay-bashing in schools, I wonder if that name is still in use in Levittown, and what the reaction has been.

Anonymous said...

То err is human.