The 1910s Lingo for Having a Dilly of an Evening

You are jazzed to be attending the event of the summer,  the only thing left to create the perfect pre-prohibition era evening is the lingo. Here are some fabulous phrases from a to z that are sure to set the mood and make you the keenest guy or gal at Halley’s.

The 1910s began as times of rapid technological and scientific innovations and innocence and ended with the First World War that changed the world forever.  New words were created and phrases to reflect the emerging liberalism while some were created in the trenches and are still with us today. Knowing and using the lingo will make White Star Line magical. Let’s skiddoo. It’ll be duck soup.

  • bash: drunken spree
  • beat it: to leave
  • bimbo: a tough guy
  • boner: mistake, error
  • Boy!: an emphatic interjection. Boy, that was close.
  • break: opportunity; lucky break
  • bug: to equip with a burglar alarm
  • bull: Nonsense
  • call on the carpet: to scold
  • cootie: body louse; origins in WWI
  • creep: sneak thief
  • crumb: mean person
  • cushy: easy; simple. He has a cushy job.
  • date: a stupid or foolish person
  • dilly: something excellent
  • duck soup: easy
  • floosy or floosie: a woman of loose morals
  • goldbrick: one who doesn’t do his share of the work
  • goop: moron
  • grift: run a con
  • grouser: complainer
  • hanging: excellent
  • hawkshaw: detective
  • ice: diamonds
  • Jake: okay, all right
  • just off the boat: naive
  • keen: attractive, appealing
  • on the make: flirting, making advances
  • spruce off: avoiding work or duty by deception
  • steam up: aggravate, excite
  • vigorish: interest on a loan
  • Wisenheimer: Someone who thinks they are smarter than everyone else
  • whacked: exhausted

If you find some heel, crumb, or crackpot is getting on your nerves, simply ask them to buzz off before you get all steamed up.A foolish or stupid person was a date, dingbat, goof, or simp.

Make no boner, this is no rinky-dink event. White Star Line will be posh, Yessir!

After enjoying the bash, taking a gander at the beautiful people in attendance, sipping cocktails and dancing the night away, you may be blotto so take the short home at curtains.

You may find yourself in a bull session while at the event. These informal group discussions may be filled with bull, give you an earful, or be a gas, and that is just Jake!

You may encounter bimbos (tough guys), but grifters (con artists) and floosies on the make will be at some other joint.

You may even fall for someone keen who calls you snookums and makes you mush, on this magical evening.

 “Everything’s jake” was the common way to say that everything’s okay.

Bone up on this vocabulary and, with a little practice, you will chatter at White Star Line like it was the 1910s.

Join Us at Halley’s on July 26 by clicking here.

Sources and Additional Slang to really step up your game:

Beard, R. (2018). A Historical Dictionary of American Slang – [online] Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Beyer, M., Hicks, J., Susco, D. and Hicks, J. (2018). 27 Quirky Slang Words from the 1910s. [online] Phactual. Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2018].

Telfer, T. (2018). 88 Vintage Slang Terms To Bring Back Immediately. [online] Bustle. Available at: [Accessed 29 May 2018].