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Tags: slang | 20th | century | outdated | old fashioned

20 Slang Terms From 20th Century No One Uses Anymore

actor george lindsey of goober pyle fame gestures with his right hand in a black and white photo from 1977
Actor George Lindsey played Goober Pyle on "The Andy Griffith Show." (JLR/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 23 April 2019 01:27 PM EDT

Slang seems to have morphed into something unstoppable thanks to the digital revolution of the 21st Century. Phrases that were once limited to social media have crept into everyday dialogue, and it is not just millennials tossing this new lingo around – young and old alike are guilty of it, but there is something reminiscent and poignant about slang from the 20th century.

Riding the crest of a time gone by, most of these words and phrases have long since died out, but it is still fun to revisit them. For old times' sake, here are some of the more well-known slang phrases of the 20th century, according to Best Life.

1. Wig chop: Why tell someone you are going for a haircut when you could shake things up and say you are headed off to the barber a wig cut?

2. Cruisin' for a bruisn': In the 50s, when someone was asking for trouble and about to be on the receiving end of a solid punch, they were "cruisin' for a bruisin'."

3. Daddy-O: Not to be confused with your father, a daddy-O is an overall cool and suave person. In the 50s and 60s, the term was reserved for the beatniks and hipsters of the time.

4. Made in the shade: Forget throwing shade, in the 50s all the cool dudes who did not have a care in the world and whose lives were going well were made in the shade.

5. Pad: A strange word to call your home or apartment, but in the 50s it made sense to invite people over to your pad.

6. Ankle-biter: If it is small, crawls near your feet and can sink its teeth into your ankles then it is an ankle-biter. The phrase was also used as a jab to short people.

7. Wet rag: You can put out a small fire with a wet rag, which might explain why people in the 50s used the phrase to describe anyone who was no fun. Much like a party pooper –another phrase that deserves its own entry.

8. Knuckle sandwich: It might sound like something you can find on the menu at Subway, but a knuckle sandwich was another way to describe a punch to the face.

9. Cat: Back in the day it was very uncool to refer to someone as a person. Dude, the man, daddy-o were the terms used, and "cat" was another way of referring to artistic types and musicians. "That bassist is one cool cat."

10. Bust a gut: This phrase was a very vivid way of saying you laughed so hard it your stomach hurts. It was the ROFLMAO of the 20th century.

11. Square: What do you call someone normal, mainstream, and boring? A square – or at least they did back in the 50s and 60s.

12. Goober: Goober Pyle used to be a character from the "Andy Griffith Show" who was not overly intelligent but was still very lovable. That is why people adopted the phrase as a polite way of referring to someone who was less intellectually gifted.

13. Shindig: It is one thing to go a plain old party, it is another thing to go to a shindig – which is what people in the 60s would call a pumping party.

14. Fink: If you cannot trust someone, or if they are a snitch or informer who will go behind your back and get you in trouble, then they are a fink. Makes no sense, but hey, it was the word of the time.

15. Five finger discount: Today we call it shoplifting but back in the day they called it a five finger discount. Sounds far less ominous.

16. Space cadet: If a person had zoned out or had a short attention then they were deemed to be a space cadet. It makes sense.

17. Chrome dome: Before the days of Jason Stratham, who made baldness sexy, people would poke fun at men losing their hair to reveal their chrome dome.

18. Gnarly: You may still hear the odd surfer mutter this phrase after a particularly tough surf. In the 60s and 70s people said anything difficult or dangerous was gnarly, but by the 80s it became a phrase to describe something cool and exciting.

19. Have a cow: The poor cows somehow got roped into this one for no reason, but if a person was overly emotional or upset about something, they were having a cow.

20. Bounce: You know it is time to leave when you must bounce. For example, if the shindig is not happening, it is time to bounce.

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Slang phrases of the 20th century which are now dated in modern times were outlined by Best Life.
slang, 20th, century, outdated, old fashioned
Tuesday, 23 April 2019 01:27 PM
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