Slang of the 1930s

If you or your ancestors grew up in the 1930s – the era of the Great Depression, some of the following slang words will be well known.

The word ‘Bingo’ was introducted in the mid-1930s. The game of Bingo was invented in 1929, but Bingo halls didn’t become popular until the 1930s after the Great Depression hit.

The word Crooner refers to a singer. It was first used in the 1920s, but became very popular in the 1930s.

There is the slang word of Boffo – which at first the term meant something funny, then later came to mean a show or act that was highly successful. It might not be used as often in the 21st century.

If something or someone was called Gunky – they or it was being called dirty or slimy. Not a good term.

The slang term of Bad-Mouthing started in the 1930s – which meant to talk badly about someone. That slang term is still used today.

The phrase Blow Your Wig was slang for getting very excited.

Those in the 1930s who loved swing music were called Cats or Alligators.

To refer to five dollars, people said a Five Spot.

The slang phrase of Make Tracks meant to leave, putting distance between yourself and where you were.

With many gangsters and outlaws across the country in the 1930s, there were slang terms for criminals and police officers. Buzzer referred to a badge worn by a law enforcement officer. With many gangsters and gang violence in the city of Chicago in the 1930s, the word Chicago was used as a slang word to refer to violence. A special gun of gangsters was a Thompson machine gun but also called Tommy Gun. Police officers were called a Copper. Years later the term was shortened to Cop.

Photo: The ‘Lindy Hop’ dance of 1930s-part of swing music.

Related Blogs:

Your Ancestors in the 1930s

The New Deal in the 1930s

Leftovers – Common Food of the 1930s

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