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Shut your bazoo and click, bindlestiff!
August 31, 2009 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Slang in the Great Depression. Less'n you're a dumbcluck, you're gonna open up that bazoo and speak the language taught John Swartzwelder everything he knows.

All you lazybones out there: don't plotz, we've got your link to the alphabetical list right here.

See also The Internet Guide to Jazz Age Slang [Previously].
posted by ford and the prefects (20 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
yer link ain't woikin. how's that for depression slang?
posted by spicynuts at 5:18 PM on August 31, 2009


That's really jake; the first link returns nada, though.
posted by Huck500 at 5:19 PM on August 31, 2009


Charlie Foxtrot on Lamda Ocelot.
posted by zerobyproxy at 5:20 PM on August 31, 2009


So one of my wives in college was a three-letter man...
posted by Huck500 at 5:24 PM on August 31, 2009


Oh, no! Ctrl+C error! Here's the proper link: Slang in the Great Depression.
posted by ford and the prefects at 5:35 PM on August 31, 2009


Some six years ago I compiled the first glossary of words, expressions, and the general patois employed by musicians and entertainers in New York’s teeming Harlem. That the general public agreed with me is amply evidenced by the fact that the present issue is the sixth edition since 1938 and is the official jive language reference book of the New York Public Library.
-Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary

Yeah, that link ain't comin on that tab, and it's turnin' this thread to a clambake. Could be solid murder of a link, jus' too much, sweet jelly, but'n I woulna keen it from your jeff html.
posted by carsonb at 5:41 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not the best navigation in the world, but a fun site nonetheless. With "oomph" (which I just used the other day to describe Paul McCartney's mono bass!) and "iffy" and "pizzazz", 1937 was a good year for slang coinage!

So far, though, it's not helping me to find out whether or not some of the colorful and interesting terms from the Coen Brother's depression-era setting masterpiece Miller's Crossing was actually accurate. Did they just make up "twist" (their slang term for woman, broad, dame), for example? "She's a sick twist" ... "Let's see where the twist flops" ...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:06 PM on August 31, 2009


Did they just make up "twist" (their slang term for woman, broad, dame), for example?

I don't think so: Twists, Slug and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang (from, like, detective novels and stuff).
posted by carsonb at 6:14 PM on August 31, 2009


carsonb to the rescue! Thanks, brother!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:18 PM on August 31, 2009


Word.
posted by carsonb at 6:25 PM on August 31, 2009


the official jive language reference book

And now I've got Airplane! in my head/
posted by kersplunk at 6:35 PM on August 31, 2009


Can the twit!: Stop that idle text messaging talking.
posted by idiopath at 6:36 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuckin' A.
posted by jonmc at 6:42 PM on August 31, 2009


I loved reading David Maurer's book The Big Con for his description of confidence men and their slang ("There is nothing better than a rattler full of marks and a right con-ducey"). Most of his Whiz Mob: a correlation of the technical argot of pickpockets with their behavior patterns is on google books.
posted by shothotbot at 6:44 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bally jerry pranged his kite right in the how's your father.

Also: All Through the Night. The underworld patois employed by the lovable mugs is endlessly entertaining.
posted by SPrintF at 6:57 PM on August 31, 2009


MODOK. A flashy chap who goes around wearing helmet and goggles, and more than likely, leather boots and riding breeches, too, and talking about the big things he is going to do for aviation.

Sounds like MODOK alright!
posted by painquale at 9:14 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Seems like alot of Yiddish entered popular speech around this time
posted by treyka at 2:46 AM on September 1, 2009


E.B. Farnum: Some ancient Italian maxim fits our situation, whose particulars escape me.
Francis Wolcott: Is the gist that I'm shit out of luck?
E.B. Farnum: Did they speak that way then?

posted by rokusan at 5:40 AM on September 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I loved reading David Maurer's book The Big Con for his description of confidence men and their slang

The Big Con! Fantastic book.

Another great book for slang (30s and 40s) is Mezz Mezzrow's autobiography Really The Blues.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:48 AM on September 1, 2009


This post and the comment links are fabulous. I'll be exploring them for a while (and adding things to my reading pile.)
posted by immlass at 8:05 AM on September 1, 2009


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