How to Sound Like the Bee’s Knees: A Dictionary of 1920s Slang
Applesauce. Use it to demonstrate your lack of appreciation for the words of another. Or, alternatively, shout horsefeathers.
Bee’s knees. No dictionary of twenties slang would be complete without this one, which means, in simple terms, the best. In related bee-talk, say something is “none of your beeswax” when someone who is not the bee’s knees is butting into your beeswax.
Clam. A dollar. ”Can you spot me a few clams?” Other slang for money: cabbage, kale.
Dewdropper. A young, unemployed guy who sleeps all day. Alternate synonym: A lollygagger.
Egg. Man. “He’s a funny egg.”
Fire extinguisher. A chaperone (aka, a killjoy, an alarm clock).
Gams. Is there a better way to say legs, even if one is being objectifying? Pins? Or maybe getaway sticks. ”Cheese it; it’s the fuzz! Move your getaway sticks or you’ll end up in the cooler.”
Hotsy-totsy. Perfect; the cat’s pajamas.
"I have to go see a man about a dog." To go buy whiskey.
Jake. Okey dokey. “Everything is Jake.”
Know one’s onions. To know one’s beeswax; to know what someone’s talking about.
Let’s blouse. We’re out of here.
Mrs. Grundy. A prudish type. Maybe also a fire extinguisher. Definitely a wurp.
Noodle juice. Tea. (But noodle on its own means head.)
Ossified. Drunk, probably from having been on a toot, or a drinking binge. Also: splifficated, fried, blotto.
Phonus balonus. Nonsense. (Related: baloney = piffle).
Quilt. A drink that warms its drinker.
Rhatz! ”How disappointing!”
Soup job. To crack a safe using nitroglycerine. (Safecrackers were yeggs.)
Tell it to Sweeney. Go say that to someone who’ll believe your phonus balonus.
Upchuck. Vomit, probably after too much foot juice or giggle water. (Synonymous: to pull a Daniel Boone is to vomit.)
Voot. Money, lettuce.
Wet blanket. Someone who is no fun, no fun at all. Someone who does not like whoopee (to have a good time).
X. In lieu of any x words, edge means intoxication.
You slay me. You’re hilarious.