Cash or Check?

Kiss now or later?

That is the question posed by the title according to a 1920s slang guide.

Just yesterday, my friends were talking about a party we were going to throw for our roommate since it was her birthday. As we talked a word slipped out almost on habit.

I said, “Dang, that would be chill!”

I say dang a lot, either in disappointment to surprise. Chill is a word I use to mean cool.

Slang is natural in language, with technology it has evolved greatly. But all slang comes from somewhere. Some of the words used today are based in the 1920s. Other slang words have died out and been replaced.

“Flapper” is one term that has evolved since the 1920s. It was used to mean an unruly, daring woman, with short skirts and even shorter hair. Now it is just the name of a costume, a caricature of the flapper. She stands in high heels, swishing skirts, pearls, sparkly headband, and a cigarette holder perched between two fingers.

“Handcuff” was a term used to mean an engagement ring. Today that has evolved into a “ball and chain” which means marriage.

“On the lam” is a term that still means running away from the police.

“Ab-so-lute-ly” is a term listed as meaning agreeing or “affirmative.” Now people say definitely or for sure, rather than dragging out absolutely.

The “bee’s knees” and the “cat’s pajamas” are still terms used to mean something is awesome.

There are many other terms that are no longer used in the way they are defined such as: bank’s closed, bluenose, smooth, cheaters, etc.

Slang will continue to evolve as time goes on, but remember many of the slang words that appear have basis in the past.

(Here are some websites if you want to see more slang: Slang of the 1920s, Flapper Slang, History of American Slang)


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