Do you have the moxie to learn a little 20s gangster slang? They were called the roaring 20s because the jazz age was a fast time when juice joints were filled with molls and gold diggers in glad rags. So quit lollygagging and get started talking like a 20s gangster. Whether you're planning a flapper party, want to get more out of old gangster movies, or are just up for a laugh, 20s gangster slang will make you the niftiest sheik or Sheba at the speakeasy.
The slang of the 20s, like the slang of any generation, was conceived in the hives of counter-culture. It wasn't so much a code to keep the police in the dark, as many movies and legends would have you believe, but a special code among those who wanted to appear as insiders.
Some of the most popular slang words of the 20s included:
In the 20s, no one was more counterculture than gangsters. Gangsters were off-color, played by their own rules, and didn't give a hoot about what anyone thought of them, (i.e., everything your parents didn't want you to be.)
Even though everybody knows that 20s mobsters often acted like monsters, there's something charming about the seedy underbelly of the jazz age. The slang of that time is infused with nostalgia, that thing that gives people the notion of a better time.
When one hears the slang of times long gone, it's easy to forget that alcohol was illegal and unsafe, that corruption in government ran rampant, and that minorities and immigrants were more marginalized than ever.
What seemed dirty or off-color almost a hundred years ago seems rather tame by today's standards. Using the slang of yore can add character and charm to your idiolect and make the obscene less so.
Basically, using slang from a long time ago, you can get away with a whole lot more. Only ancient slang can make young ladies blush and grannies laugh. What made the gangsters of the 20s the types of guys you didn't want around your neighborhood now makes everyone want to hear you talk. You'll be the bee's knees.
Instead of talking about a woman's legs, you can talk about her gams. Instead of saying a woman is hot, you can say she's a doll or a Sheba.