Every decade has its popular words.
For example, slang from the 60s gave the decade its own special flavor. Describing someone as keen, for instance, meant you thought they were a pretty awesome person. The expression, “outta sight!” was used frequently as well – a 60s slang term that referred to excitement or amazement – John’s new car is outta sight!
“Gimme Some Skin!”
Another word used often was “primo.” Anything that was primo was of a high-quality or first-class. For example, people might reference a song as primo. “Gimme some skin!” was yet another term that was popular. This expression was used for shaking hands, and therefore as a form of greeting. For example, someone might greet you with the following – “Hey, how is it going? Gimme some skin!”
If you go back even further in the archives (say about 30 to 40 years), you will run into the unique words of the 1920’s and 1930’s – often noted today as flapperspeak. These words, such as any popular words of any decade, can enliven fictional writing, especially if you are trying to capture a certain time period.
It is also fun to use them in your speech or writing today. For example, some of the words and phrases of that long-ago time included the following:
“Absolutely!” – A positive and absolute “yes.”
“Beat it!” – Get Lost
“Baloney!” – Nonsense.
The Cat’s Whiskers
“Cat’s Meow” or “Bee’s Knees” – The ultimate in a person, idea or item. It’s the “berries” also expressed the same sentiment. You could also express your approval by saying something or someone was the “cat’s pajamas,” “gnat’s eyebrows,” or “cat’s whiskers.”
At that time, a “bimbo” was a tough guy while a “breezer” referenced a convertible automobile. A caper was a robbery while “dough” was money and “cash” was a kiss. Actually, “hip” was frequently used at the time, and has been in circulation since 1915. “Hooey” was nonsense, just like the aforementioned “baloney.”
Words reflect the culture and sentiments of the periods when they are used. If you are writing historical fiction then, it is important to become acquainted with the words or slang expressions that enlivened the writing and speech.
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