The winds of change ushered in the 1950s as being a decade of conservatism, complacency and contentment in great American society and the 1950s slang proved it. These were the years that the “baby boomers” were conceived and it has been long said in 1957 that one baby was born every seven seconds in the United States. The ideal of the “American Dream” became a reality for many families in that they were living the suburban lifestyle in a one story, two bedroom, tiled bathroom family home complete with a front lawn, a small backyard and a garage. These were the times where the teenagers were going steady and always inventing new words to hide their teenage love affairs. It is fair to say that 1950s slang was a vernacular that became a primal language for teenagers who sought independence and liberation.
The 1950s was an age of consumerism where even babies were targeted as potential consumers for products catering to their needs. The evolution of the television ushered in shows that embodied the spirit of the era such as “The Ozzie and Harriet Show,” “Father Knows Best,” and “Leave it to Beaver.” It was a time where patriarchy reigned supreme and the quintessential role of a woman was as a mother and a housewife.
It was during this era that America had become a homogeneous nation, resilient to change, after all it had taken a decade to rebound from the depression. There were drive-in movies, Howard Johnson’s, and those primal golden arches that embody all things American, McDonalds was born.
Out of all of this, and the brooding idea of McCarthyism and the red scare brewing in the undertow, made 1950s slang a covert language all its own. On one end there was homogeneousness in America, and on the other end there was the business of communism and the radicalism of the American teenager. There is no doubt that you will readily recognize many of the slang words from this era. And as with many other eras of the past, some of the slang words are still being used today.