20 Weird Slang Terms From The 1930s That People Actually Used

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Vote up the slang you would love to bring back.

The 1930s were a unique time in American history. This post-Roaring '20s economic depression era brought a new way of life that shaped the rest of the century for many Americans. This great change gave birth to a host of 1930s slang terms. A huge amount of retro slang from the 1930s shows the country was anxiety-ridden and nervous, but chose to make light of its fears with clever turns of phrase. 

Slang from the Great Depression almost all concerns poverty, alcohol, and criminal activity of some kind. This isn't entirely surprising, as many people in poverty turned to either alcohol or crime to escape their dire straits.

But none of that means the language of the day is obsolete. On the contrary, the 1930s was also a time of great comic genius that produced some of the cleverest quips in American English. We still use some of 1930s expressions today, such as referring to prison as the "big house," or calling a gun a "gat" (originally short for "Gatling gun"). 

In that spirit, this list looks at some other expressions from the Great Depression that might be worth reviving.

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  • Make Tracks
    1
    514 votes

    Make Tracks

    To leave quickly. This is a nod to a time when trains were the fastest way to get around.

  • Giggle Juice
    2
    394 votes

    Giggle Juice

    Whiskey. If you don't get how it got this name, you've been drinking the wrong whiskey.

  • Bumping Gums
    3
    508 votes

    Bumping Gums

    Talking nonsense. This one really deserves a comeback, because it just rolls off the tongue.

  • Dizzy With
    4
    331 votes

    Dizzy With

    To be very much in love with someone, possibly at risk to yourself.

  • Slip Me Five
    5
    298 votes

    Slip Me Five

    A request to shake your hand. Or perhaps a straightforward way to ask for money?

  • Blow Your Wig
    6
    434 votes

    Blow Your Wig

    To get excited about something. Depictions of flying wigs and toupees was common in cartoons.