Slang

  • Ace: a $1 bill
  • All wet: mistaken, incorrect
  • Ambulance chaser: a lawyer
  • And how!: an affirmative expression
  • Angel: a pretty or popular woman
  • Back room parole: a natural death in prison
  • Baloney: nonsense
  • Bat your gums: to talk
  • Bean shooter: a small gun
  • Bearcat: a woman’s who’s pretty and feisty
  • Beat it: leave, get out of here
  • Beat the rap: to escape conviction
  • Beat your gums, beat up the chops: to talk
  • Bee’s knees: top-notch, excellent, superb
  • Beef: a complaint
  • Beeswax: business (as in, “None of your beeswax”)
  • Belt: a slug of liquor; a thrill
  • Bent: a drunk
  • Big cheese: an important person
  • Big house: a prison, a penitentiary
  • Big sleep, big one: death
  • Big touch: a crime so big the criminal can live off it for a long time, perhaps for life
  • Bird: a popular woman; an odd person; a guy
  • Biscuit hooks: hands
  • Bleed: to blackmail
  • Blower: a telephone
  • Boche, the: the Germans (especially as an enemy in the Great War)
  • Bohunk: an immigrant from central Europe
  • Bombshell: a good-looking woman
  • Boogie-woogie: any fast music, such as swing, jazz, or some blues
  • Boost: to steal
  • Boxman: a safecracker
  • Brass pounder: telegraph operator
  • Bread: money
  • Breezer: an open-top car
  • Broad: a woman, particularly one who’s promiscuous or a prostitute
  • Bunk: untrue; false; to sleep
  • Bushwa: nonsense
  • Butterfly’s boots, the: top-notch, excellent, superb
  • Butts: cigarettes
  • Cabbage: money
  • Cake-eater: a ladies’ man
  • Can: jail
  • Can opener: safe cracking tools
  • Canary: a female singer; to sing
  • Cash in (his chips): to die
  • Casper Milquetoast: a mild or timid person, a wimp
  • Cast a kitten: to get upset or have a fit
  • Cat’s meow, the: top-notch, excellent, superb (also “cat’s pajamas” and “cat’s whiskers”)
  • Chase yourself: get out of here, beat it
  • Chassis: the body (especially a woman’s body)
  • Chatterbox: a submachine gun
  • Chewing gum: confusing speech, double talk
  • Chicago look: to have the “Chicago look” is to look tough or dangerous
  • Chicago overcoat: a coffin
  • Chicago pineapple: a grenade
  • Chill, chill off : to kill
  • Chin music: a punch in the jaw
  • Chinese angle: a strange or unusual approach to a situation
  • Chippy: a woman, especially an “easy” one
  • Chisel: to cheat, to swindle
  • Choice bit of calico: a pretty or popular woman
  • Chunk of lead: an ugly or unpopular woman
  • Clean: unarmed; not carrying any illegal items
  • Clip joint: a speakeasy that overcharges, or even robs, patrons; a rigged gambling house
  • Come on like gangbusters: to come on strong, to be blatant
  • Cook: to die in the electric chair
  • Cooler, the: jail
  • Crate: a car; a plane
  • Croak: to kill
  • Croaker: a doctor
  • Crumb: an unpopular or unattractive girl
  • Daddy: a lover or boyfriend, especially a wealthy one
  • Dame: a girl or woman
  • Daniel Boone: to “pull a Daniel Boone” is to vomit
  • Dark meat: a black person (derogatory)
  • Dead presidents: a general reference to American money
  • Dillinger: a bold, exceptional, or outrageous crime
  • Dime note: a $10 bill
  • Dinge: a black person (derogatory)
  • Dish: a girl, especially a good-looking one
  • Dive: a cheap, dirty, or low-down place
  • Do in: to kill
  • Do the dance: to hang
  • Dogs: feet
  • Doll: an attractive woman or girl
  • Doll up: to get dressed up, to make one’s self look one’s best
  • Don’t know from nothing: doesn’t know anything
  • Don’t take any wooden nickels: don’t do anything stupid
  • Dope: drugs, particularly opium or cocaine
  • Double sawbuck: a $20 bill
  • Dough: money
  • Drill: to shoot; to kill
  • Drink out of the same bottle: to be close friends or have a similar background
  • Drip: someone who’s unappealing or no fun (mainly used of men)
  • Dry gulch: to ambush; to kill
  • Dry up: go away, leave me alone, stop talking
  • Duck soup: easy
  • Duke: a fist (as in, “Put up your dukes!”)
  • Dumb Dora: a stupid person (especially a woman)
  • Dump: a club, a roadhouse
  • Edge: to “have an edge on” is to be intoxicated
  • Egghead, egg: a smart person
  • Erase: to kill
  • Ethel: a male who’s eminate
  • Fade: to leave, to disappear
  • Fin, Finnif: a $5 bill
  • Finger: to put the blame on, to accuse
  • Flat: broke; an expression of certainty (“That’s flat”)
  • Flogger: an overcoat
  • Flophouse: a cheap hotel
  • Flyboy: an aviator
  • Folding money/folding green: paper money
  • Four bit: 50 cents
  • Fried: drunk
  • Fry: to die in the electric chair
  • Fuzz: a cop
  • G: a $1,000 bill
  • Gams: legs
  • Gat: a handgun
  • Get-up: a uniform, outfit, or unusual set of clothes
  • Giggle water: liquor
  • Gin mill: a speakeasy, a place to get a drink
  • Glad rags: fancy clothes
  • Glaum: to steal
  • Goldbrick: a loafer, one who tries to avoid work or responsibilities
  • Goods, the: the important qualities, the “right stuff ”; evidence against an accused
  • Goods, the: the loot; evidence against someone
  • Goon: a crook; a thug; a strikebreaker
  • Got to see someone about a dog: “I’m going out to buy illegal liquor”
  • Got your boots on: someone who’s this is aware, he knows what’s going on
  • Grab air: put your hands up
  • Grease: bribe money
  • Greaser: a Mexican, an Italian (derogatory)
  • Grill: to question, to interrogate
  • Hack: a cab
  • Hair of the dog: alcohol, especially when drunk to
  • Half, a: 50 cents
  • Hardware: weapons
  • Harlem sunset: a fatal stab wound
  • Hatchet man: a killer
  • Have a snootful: to be drunk
  • Head doctor: a psychiatrist
  • Heat: a gun; gunfire; trouble, the cops
  • Heater: a gun
  • Heavy: a thug, a goon, an enforcer
  • Heavy sugar: a lot of cash
  • Heebie-jeebies: nervousness, the creeps
  • Heel: a petty crook; a scoundrel
  • High hat: a snob; to act snobbishly; to snub someone
  • Hit on all six (or on all eight): to perform at peak capacity (from six-cylinder cars)
  • Hooey: foolishness, nonsense
  • Hop: illegal drugs
  • Hop joint: opium den
  • Hopped up: high, on drugs
  • Horn: the telephone
  • Horsefeathers: nonsense
  • Hot dog: common exclamation
  • Hot little number: an attractive woman
  • Hot seat: electric chair
  • Hot shot: tough guy
  • Hotsie-totsie: if everything’s “hotsie-totsie,” it’s all right or acceptable
  • Ice: diamonds; bribe money; to kill
  • Jack: money
  • Jake: if “everything’s jake,” it’s cool, all right, okay, or acceptable
  • Jam, in a: to be in trouble
  • Java: coffee
  • Jaw: to talk
  • Jerk soda: to work at a soda fountain; what a soda jerk does
  • Jig: a black person (derogatory)
  • Jitters, the: nerves
  • Joe Brooks: a person who’s dressed in style
  • John Law: the police
  • Joint: a place, a bar, a nightclub, a home
  • Juice joint: a speakeasy
  • Keen: fond of, to like (as in, “He’s keen on Mary”); attractive or appealing
  • Keep company: to date (particularly exclusively)
  • Kiddo: a familiar form of address
  • Kike: a Jew (derogatory)
  • Killer-diller: something that’s “killer-diller” is really great or special
  • Kingpin: leader
  • Kisser: the mouth
  • Knock over: to rob
  • Knockout: a good-looking woman
  • Know one’s onions: to be an expert about something
  • Lam, on the: on the run
  • Lamb: a mark to be fleeced
  • Large: one thousand dollars
  • Lather: to “get in a lather” is to get upset
  • Lay off : to stop doing something
  • Lay one on: to hit someone
  • Lead poisoning: to “give someone lead poisoning” is to shoot him
  • Let (him) have it: kill
  • Let someone have it: to beat someone up, or to shoot him
  • Lettuce: paper money
  • Level: to be “on the level” is to be honest or legitimate; to “level with” someone is to tell him the truth
  • Lid: a hat
  • Lights out: dead; death
  • Limey: a British person (especially a sailor)
  • Line: insincere flattery
  • Lit: drunk
  • Live wire: a rambunctious or wild person
  • Lolapalooza: a real knock out (great)
  • Looker: a beautiful girl
  • Lousy with: to have a lot of
  • Lug: a fighter; a stupid man
  • Lummox: a big dummy
  • Lunkhead: a big dummy
  • Made: recognized, identifi ed, spotted while trying to hide or be inconspicuous
  • Main line: high society, rich folks
  • Make little ones out of big ones: to perform hard labor
  • Mark: a victim
  • Massage: beat up
  • Meat wagon: an ambulance
  • Meathooks: hands
  • Mechanic: a card sharper; a person skilled at manipulating cards
  • Michigan roll: a wad of fake cash with a real bill on the outside
  • Mick: an Irishman (derogatory)
  • Mickey Finn: knockout drop
  • Milquetoast: a mild or timid person, a wimp
  • Milwaukee goiter: a beer belly
  • Mind your own potatoes: mind your own business
  • Mitt: a hand
  • Moll: a sweetheart (especially a gangster’s); a prostitute
  • Moola: money
  • Mother Macree: sob story/alibi
  • Mouthpiece: a lawyer
  • Moxie: courage, guts, daring, panache
  • Mug: a face, a police picture; a crook or thug
  • Muscle: a thug, a guard
  • Muscle in: take over an operation with force
  • Muttonhead: a dummy
  • Nab: to arrest
  • Nail: to arrest; to kill
  • Nance: a sissy
  • Nark: a stool pigeon
  • Necktie: a hangman’s noose
  • Nerts: an expression of disgust or disdain (“nuts”)
  • Nevada gas: cyanide
  • Newsie: a newspaper boy
  • Nibble one: to have a drink
  • Nick: to rob, to steal
  • Nightingale: a squealer
  • Nix: no, not, a statement of denial (as in “Nix on that!” or “Nix, lady; get outta here!”)
  • Nod-guy: a yes man
  • Noodle: a head
  • Nut: a madman (to be “off one’s nut” is to be insane); a tough guy
  • Nuthouse: asylum
  • Oakie: a refugee from the dust bowl
  • Off the track: insane
  • Oil merchant: a smooth-talking con man
  • On a toot: on a drinking spree
  • On the make: aggressively seeking success (especially with women)
  • One-two: a potent set of punches
  • Open up: to start punching or shooting
  • Operator: a conman, thief, or pickpocket
  • Ossified: drunk
  • Pack heat: to carry a gun
  • Paddy wagon: a police van
  • Palooka: an inferior fi ghter; a tough or dumb guy
  • Pantywaist: a sissy
  • Paperhanger: a check forger or counterfeiter
  • Parlor house: a brothel
  • Parlor snake: a ladies’ man
  • Paste (verb): to hit someone
  • Patsy: a person blamed for a crime; a fall guy
  • Paw: a hand
  • Pay off : a bribe
  • Payola: graft
  • Peach: a pretty or popular woman; to inform on
  • Peddle paper: to pass counterfeit money
  • Peddle papers: go away (as in, “go peddle your papers somewhere else”)
  • Peeved off : angry
  • Peg: to identify someone or something
  • Percy boy: a sissy
  • Persuader: a weapon
  • Pet: to kiss; to make out; to fondle
  • Phonus bolonus: phoney baloney; nonsense
  • Piffle: nonsense; foolishness
  • Piker: an overly thrifty person; a coward
  • Pill peddler: a doctor
  • Pinch: to steal; to arrest
  • Pineapple: a grenade
  • Pinko: a Communist; a liberal
  • Pokey: a rural jail
  • Polish off : to kill
  • Pony up: to pay
  • Put down: to drink
  • Put the bite on: to blackmail
  • Put the screws on: to interrogate
  • Reuben: a hick; a country person
  • Rib: a woman
  • Rib joint: a brothel
  • Rutabaga: an ugly woman
  • Scalp doily: a toupee
  • Scratch: money; a minor wound; a forged signature
  • Scream, a: something that’s really funny
  • Screaming Meemies, the: the DTs
  • Shellacking: a beating
  • Shill: a decoy for a con game
  • Shine: a black person (derogatory)
  • Shylock: a loanshark
  • Shyster: a lawyer
  • Silk: all right, okay, fine (as in, “Everything’s silk”)
  • Simoleon: one dollar
  • Skag: an unattractive woman
  • Skate around: to be easy (promiscuous women “skate around”)
  • Skids, the: on the way down (as in “I’m on the skids”)
  • Skirt: a woman
  • Sleep: a one-year jail term; a night
  • Smoke: a black person (derogatory)
  • Snitch: to steal; to inform on someone
  • Snooker: to swindle
  • Snort: a drink of liquor
  • Snowbird: a drug addict
  • Soft touch: an easy target
  • Songbird: a confessor
  • Soup: nitroglycerin or TNT
  • Sourdough: counterfeit money
  • Speakeasy: an underground/illegal tavern
  • Spike: poison
  • Spill: to talk, to inform
  • Spinach: money
  • Squeal: to inform
  • Sticker: a knife
  • Stiff : a corpse
  • Stuck on: in love with; infatuated with
  • Sunday punch: a strong blow
  • Sweet patootie: a pretty or popular woman
  • Take a powder: to leave; to flee
  • Telephone number: a prison sentence longer than 20 years but less than life
  • Tell it to Sweeney: tell someone who’ll believe you, because I don’t
  • Thrill: a pretty or popular woman
  • Throw lead: to shoot
  • Tighten the screws: to put pressure on someone
  • Tin star: a private investigator
  • Tip a few: to drink liquor
  • Tip your mitt: to reveal something
  • Tomato: a woman (especially an attractive or “easy” one)
  • Tommy gun: Thompson submachine gun
  • Tommy man: a submachine gunner
  • Toot the wrong ringer: to ask for the wrong person
  • Toots: a woman (essentially, the female equivalent of “pal”)
  • Torpedo: a thug, a gunman
  • Trip for biscuits: a journey for no purpose, a failed trip
  • Two bits: 25 cents; $25
  • Two spot: a $2 bill
  • Typewriter: a submachine gun
  • Up and down: to examine something closely
  • Up the river: in prison
  • Vacation: a prison term
  • Vamp: a flirtatious or sexually aggressive woman; a seducer; to flirt; to seduce
  • Vic: a convict
  • Violin: a submachine gun
  • Wagon wheel: a silver dollar
  • Washout: an ugly or unpopular woman
  • Weak sister: someone who’s easy to push around or intimidate
  • Wear iron: to carry a gun
  • Weasel: an informer
  • Wet: foolish, stupid, idiotic, lacking a sense of humor or good breeding
  • Wet smack: a killjoy, someone who’s no fun
  • Wheelman: the driver of a getaway car
  • White hot: very wanted by the cops
  • White lightning: moonshine, especially the dangerous form made in Virginia
  • Wikiup: home
  • Willies, the: nervousness
  • Wing: to wound
  • Wise: to know about something (as in, “He’s wise to the scam”)
  • Wisehead: a smart person
  • Wolf: a ladykiller, a sexually aggressive man
  • Wop: an Italian (derogatory)
  • Worker: a woman who pursues a man just for his money
  • Workout: a beating
  • World beater: a champion
  • Wrong gee, wrong number: someone who’s not a good fellow, not a stand-up guy
  • Yank: a waste of time
  • Yap: a mouth
  • Yard: $100
  • Yard bird: a convict
  • Yard bull: a prison guard
  • Yodeler: an informer
  • Zap: to kill
  • Zotzed: killed

Slang

Thrilling Tales Kataskicana