Funny Things Your Ancestors Said

sayings-roaring-twentiesEvery generation has its own collection of slang words or phrases. Some remain for several generations, others have a ‘short life span’. Knowing some of these key words and terms can help you better understand a great grandparent’s generation.

Also at the next family gathering to see how many people can correctly identify.

From the 1910s:

ding-bat — a stupid person

a gas — a good joke

noodle — a person’s head

snookums — term of endearment to a female

crumb — a bad person, dishonest

pug-ugly — something or someone very ugly

jake — everything is good, working fine

From the Roaring Twenties (1920s) – the phrase and then what it meant:

the cat’s meow — something is great, wonderful, super

giggle water — alcohol, wine, liquor

what’s eating you? — what is the problem, why are you upset?

dropping the pilot — getting a divorce

hit on all sixes — getting something 100% correct or function 100%

noodle juice — drink of tea

cash or check — to kiss someone then or later

berries — something very good

get a wiggle on — get moving


From the 1930s – era of the Great Depression:

mitt me, Kid — congratulate me

slip me five — shake hands with me

togging to the bricks — getting dressed up

blow your wig — getting very excited about something

cute as a bug’s ear — someone very cute in appearance

trip for biscuits — a chore or task that produced nothing

sayings-1940sFrom the 1940s — during World War II

what’s buzzing, Cousin? — what is going on?

cook with gas — do something right

flap your lips — talking excessively

motorized freckles — insects

snap your cap — get angry

take a powder — leave the area

carry a torch — be fond of someone, have a crush on them

ducky shincracker — a great dancer

From the 1950s – age of rock-n-roll:

cloud 9 — very happy

bent eight — V-8 engine for hot-rodders

chrome-plated — all dressed up

fat city — a great, happy location

chariot — a person’s cart

frosted — very angry and upset

horn — the telephone

lighter — having a crew-cut – very short hair cut

paper shaker — cheerleader

shot down — failure at something

Related genealogy blogs:

American Phrases

Slang Used during the Civil War

Curse Words Used by Your Ancestors

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