Every generation develops its own quirky terms and phrases to refer to popular items and activities of their day, different types of people, and other things they refer to often. Typically, youth are responsible for most of it, and masterful use of the newest slang is generally regarded as a sign of modernity and coolness.
Enduring ’50s Slang Terms
Sometimes, slang from an era catches on enough that it becomes a lasting part of the lexicon. Plenty of lingo from the 1950s is still around. It’s used by people today—even those who weren’t born anytime around the decade—and it doesn’t sound weird.
For example, some people still say they’re “having a blast,” “getting their kicks,” “on cloud 9,” “catching a flick,” “making out,” working a “gig,” and calling “dibs.” Then there’s “nerd,” “spaz,” “pad” (your home), “the heat,” “no sweat,” “hip,” and lots more. It’s all slang from the fifties, but nobody would think twice about it if they heard it today.
Corny 1950s Slang Terms
Some slang phrases hang in there over the years mainly as jokes, most often used sarcastically because they sound so dated and corny. A few examples originating in the 1950s could include “cruisin’ for a bruisin’,” “knuckle sandwich,” “Daddy-O,” “burn rubber,” “party pooper,” “ankle biter,” “get bent,” “cool cat,” and “got it made in the shade.”
30 Bygone Fifties Slang Terms
Below are some slang words and phrases from the ’50s that most people today aren’t familiar with, especially if they weren’t alive during the decade or shortly thereafter. We’ll leave it up to you whether it’s sad that they’re absent from contemporary conversation, and if you want to try to revive them.
- Agitate the gravel: To leave quickly
- Antsville: A crowded place
- Apple butter: Smooth talk
- Back seat bingo: Getting frisky in the back of the car
- Bake a biscuit: To record an album
- Blanket: Sandwich
- Bundie: A male in need of a haircut
- Classy chassis: An attractive female body
- Come on, snake! Let’s rattle!: May I have this dance?
- Cut the gas!: Be quiet!
- Earth pads: Shoes
- Fake out: A bad date
- Fat City: A happy or great situation or place
- Flutter bum: An attractive guy
- Fuzzy duck: A female with a short haircut
- Gringles: Worries
- Grundy: Not good or bad
- Hey bean!: Hello!
- Lay dead: Wait a minute
- Moldy: A bad or mean teacher
- Negative perspiration: Easy
- Panic-and-a-half: A funny joke
- Pinky’s out of jail: Your slip is showing
- Put an egg in your shoe and beat it!: Go away!
- Razz my berries!: Impress me!
- Slodge: A friend
- What’s buzzin’, cuzzin’?: What’s new?
- Wig chop: Haircut
- You make the king’s jive: You speak English well
- Got the zorros: Feeling nervous