Gobbledygook? Nope, It’s Slang from the 1940s!

Gobbledygook? Nope, It’s Slang from the 1940s!

Every decade sees its fair share of new slang terms, invariably with the youth of the times to thank. Slinging slang like a pro is a badge of honor for kids, and it’s kind of like having a secret language to use around parents, teachers, and all the other old fogies.

Of course, there’s also social pressure to keep up with the times and know when certain words and phrases have fallen out of favor—or become “so last year,” as the kids today would say. If they’re still saying that.

Today, slang from the mid-century years rings fairly old-fashioned and silly. A quick perusal of the list of slang from the 1940s below should illustrate the point, as would clicking over to our post on slang from the 1950s when you’re done.

’40s Slang Still in Use

Sometimes, slang endures through the decades. There are still remnants of ’40s slang familiar to us today—even people born well after the mid-century years. Despite their continuing usage, these too tend to sound dated or corny, so they’re often employed slightly sarcastically.

  • A gas: A good time or something highly amusing
  • Above my pay grade: Don’t ask me
  • Brainchild: Someone’s good idea
  • Bum rap: False accusation
  • Buzz: Mild intoxication
  • Chicken: Someone who’s scared
  • Chrome dome: A bald guy
  • Clams: Dollars or money
  • Cooking with gas: Doing a good job and getting somewhere
  • Cracks me up: Makes me laugh
  • Cut a rug: Dance
  • Duds: Clothes
  • Eager Beaver: Someone enthusiastic about doing something
  • Fuddy-Duddy: Someone who’s old fashioned
  • Geezer: Elderly person
  • Gobbledygook: Nonsense
  • Grandstanding: Showing off
  • Hi-de-ho!: Hello!
  • In a jiffy: Quickly
  • In cahoots with: Working with, generally for a nefarious purpose
  • Jeepers!: Exclamation of surprise
  • Pass the buck: Blame someone else
  • Peepers: Eyes
  • Swell: Great

Bygone Forties Slang Terms

And then there are those terms that have vanished in the mists of time… Usually for the best.

  • Active duty: A promiscuous male
  • Ameche: Telephone
  • Anchor cranker: Sailor
  • Cheaters: Sunglasses
  • Crumb: A jerk
  • Doll dizzy: Girl-crazy
  • Dead Hoofer: A bad dancer
  • Ducky shincracker: A good dancer
  • Fat-head: A stupid person
  • Flip your wig: Lose control of yourself
  • Floy floy: Nonsense
  • Gammin’: Showing off
  • Going fishing: Trying to get a date
  • Hen fruit: Eggs
  • Hi sugar, are you rationed?: Do you have a steady boyfriend?
  • Khaki wacky: Boy-crazy
  • Motorized freckles: Insects
  • Mud: Coffee
  • Off the cob: Silly or goofy
  • Popsicle: Motorcycle
  • Reet: Very
  • Share crop: A promiscuous female
  • Snap your cap: Get mad
  • Stompers: Shoes
  • Strictly from Dixie: Uncool
  • Take a powder: To leave
  • What’s buzzin’, cousin?: What’s going on?

Love the mid-century era?

So do we! Sign up to get all our original content celebrating the times in a convenient monthly email.


Leonard Riforgiato is a successful furniture manufacturing entrepreneur, a Miami resident, and co-owner of legacy furniture company Heywood-Wakefield.

Magazine Categories

Sign up now!

Receive our latest content delivered to your inbox monthly

Solid wood furniture from
responsibly sourced lumber.
100% American-made.

Orlando Web Design by CREATE180 Design