Old-time slang “kicks in” as flapper evolves new jargon
“I must blouse now to meet some tomato and lap some noodle juice and then for an egg harbor.”
A strange language, you say. But adjust your wave length to the proper distance and hark to the “flapper” in conversation with the “shifter.”
A “flapper,” says Cosmo Hamilton, well-known author, is one with a jitney body and limousine mind.
The “shifter” is a new spacial who flaunts as his banner “Something for nothing, and then very little.”
Between the two, they have evolved a new language — unique in its terseness and slangy in its construction.
“Blouse” in the flapper code is “to go” or “go.” Tomato is more complex. A young woman shy of brains becomes known in the flapper or shifter set as a tomato. Lap means to dink. Noodle juice, when finally decided, becomes mere plain, ordinary tea. “Egg harbor” — here the shifters and flappers have excelled themselves — turns out to be a free dance.
So that exudation “I must blouse now to meet some tomato and lap some noodle juice and then for an egg harbor” to the initiated means, “I must go meet some girl and drink some tea and then go for a free dance.”
The Flapper’s dictionary
For the edification of those not familar with the flapper vernacular, following is part of their “lingo.”
Self-starter: Guy who buys without a hint
Flat-wheeler: One who walks her to an Egg Harbor.
Egg Harbor: A free dance.
Petting Party: Party devoted to hugging.
Cuddle-Cootie: Guy who is adept at petting parties.
Snuggle-Pup: Guy who is adopt at petting parties where only two are present.
Necker: One who parks lady’s cheek on his neck while dancing.
Fire-Alarm: A divorced woman.
Static: Useless conversation.
Apple-Knocker: A hick or lad from the country.
Big Timer: Young man who can take girl to Childs’s and get away with it
Biscuit: An impressionable flapper.
Butt Me: Give me a cigarette.
Smoke Eater: Flapper who uses cigarettes.
Zoozer: Flapper who never spends a nickel.
Sweetie: Anybody she hates.
Lemon-Squeezer: A subway car.
Dive-Ducat: A subway ticket.
Boob-Tickler: Girl who has to entertain a country cousin.
Hand-Cuff: Engagement ring.
Weasel: One who tries to steal a fellow.
Strangler: A tightwad.
Snake Charmer: Female bootlegger.
Stepping Out: Reaching the flapper class.
Strike-Breaker: Girl who goes with friend’s fellow while there is a coolness.
Finale-Hopper: One who arrives after all the bills are paid.
Father Time: Any man over thirty years of age.
Sap: A dumbbell.
Dumbbell: A sap.
Oil Can: An unsophisticated person.
Police Dog: One to whom flapper is engaged.
Airedale: A homely man.
Corn-Shredder: Young man who dances on flapper’s feet.
Crepe-Hanger: A reformer.
Weeping Willow: Same as crepe-hanger.
Clothesline: A flapper who can’t keep a secret.
Ritz: Stuck up.
Urban Set: A new gown.
Porcupine: A cake-eater.
Meat-Ball: Dumb but happy.
Kluck: Same as meat-ball.
Kippy: Neat or nice.
Goof: Flapper’s steady.
Fluky: Funny, odd, different.
Frog’s Eyebrows: Nice, fine.
Grubber: One who borrows cigarettes.
Forty-Niner: Man prospecting for a rich wife.
Obituary Notice: A dunning letter.
Cake Basket: A limousine.
Dimbox: A taxicab.
Honorary Pallbearer: A chaperone.
Half-Cut: Happily intoxicated.
Dog Kennels: Shoes.
Brush Ape: A rube.
Cat’s Pajamas: Soft.
Dapper: A flapper’s father.
Dincher: A half-smoked cigarette.
Eyeopener: A marriage ceremony or wedding.
Darb: Easy mark with a bankroll.
Mad-Money: Carfare home if she has a row with escort
Wurp: A wet blanket socially.
Flop: Going to bed.
Dingledangler: One who persists in telephoning.
Courtplaster: Guy who sticks around.
Toddler: Flapper’s faster sister.
Whiskbroom: Man who wears whiskers.
They: Her parents.
Blouse: To go.
Rock of Ages: An old maid.
Wangdoodle: Jazz orchestra music.
B. V. D.: Guy who is always next.
Some content provided by The Morning Tulsa Daily World – May 7, 1922
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Source publication: The Washington Times (Washington DC)
Publication date: April 30, 1922
Notes: Top photo by C W Turner, 1922 (Courtesy US LOC)