Forgotten Prohibition Terms

The era of Prohibition in the United States began in 1920 and when to 1934) was a strange and hard time for Americans. Some people wanted the stopping of alcoholic beverages and others still wanted liquor so illegal manufacturing and sale of alcohol became a new occupation for many people in the 1920s. All of your ancestors of that time period fell somewhere in those categories. Areas, where illegal liquor was brought in from off-shore locations (Bahama Islands) to such places as the east coast of Florida became major havens for bringing in liquor and transporting it to big northern states for their speakeasies (where liquor was consumed).

A whole set of new words and phrases developed by your ancestors having to do with Prohibition. Here are some of those words and phrases and their meaning that your ancestors knew every well.

Dip the Bill meant having an alcoholic drink.

A Flipper was the male form of the 1920s’ female ‘Flapper‘. The term flapper came from the loose-fitting dresses and coats worn by ladies in the 1920s, and when they walked outside the wind caused the dress and coat to flap in the wind.

Hooch was the term for cheap, illegal liquor.

Old Pal was a special phrase for a cocktail drink.

A whale was a person who drank a great deal of alcohol.

Clams referred to a dollar.

Take the Bounce meant being thrown out of a speakeasy (an illegal bar).

The Fuzz referred to the police or Prohibition agents.

A Dry Agent was an officer of the Bureau of Prohibition.

A Handcuff was a wedding ring.

Dibs referred to laying claim to something such as a truck filled with illegal liquor.

The Bee’s Knees means something is great, extraordinary, and really swell. It started the raised dress length of ladies in the 1920s to above the knee cap and a new trend started of painting a design (such as a butterfly) on the lady’s kneecap, easy for anyone to see and draw attention to the leg.

A few of these phrases could be used for sure in your family history.

Photos: Flappers in a speakeasy; Those Against Liquor, Bootlegging and Lady with painted knees.

Related Blogs:

1920s-Consumer Age

Get Rich Scams

Summer of 1925

< Return To Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.