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February 1, 2011

Jillian Larkin's Guide to Flapper Slang

Posted by jordana

Jillian Larkin photo_Credit Craig Hothem.jpg

Jillian Larkin is author of VIXEN, a novel set in the roaring twenties. Here, she teaches a bit of slang to drop into conversations, for those of you who always thought you might look po-si-lu-tely swanky in a beaded dress and feather headband.
Have you ever wanted to drop flapper-tastic slang like “the cat’s pajamas” or “the eel’s hips” into conversation, but have been scared of looking like a dumb Dora? Well, fear not! I’m here to help you sound like the most daring Sheba in Chi-town!
Say you want to tell your best girlfriend how wonderful she is. You can turn to her and say, “You are pos-i-lute-ly jake, darling!” “Jake” is the word flappers used when they meant something or someone was great, cool, fantastic. Here are a few other terms you can use interchangeably with “great:”
-the bee’s knees
-the elephant’s eyebrows
-the gnat’s whistle
But of course not everybody out there is going to be the cat’s meow. Here are a couple of
Jazz Age insults, should you need them:
-flat tire: a bore
-chunk of lead: an unattractive female
-four-flusher: a person who feigns wealth while mooching off others
-face stretcher: an old woman trying to look young
-Mrs. Grundy: a prude or kill-joy
-dry up: shut up, get lost
-get a wiggle on: get a move on, get going


If you want to say how handsome you think a boy is, you could call him “swoony” or a “sheik.” Be wary of cake-eaters though --- they’re notorious lady’s men. If you want to ask a boy if he wants to kiss you now or later, say “Cash or check?”
There. Now I think you’re ready to put on your glad rags, strap on your Mary Janes, and
impress everyone with your flapperly wiles!