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Quirky Slang From The 1920s That Is Mindbogglingly Nonsensical

If 21st-century slang terms like “turnt” or “lit” get on your nerves, you might want to try some of these hilarious phrases from the 1920s! If you’re looking to pick up some strange new vocabulary, you’ve come to the right place. These are some of the oddest slang terms from the 20s that are history for a reason!

Excellent: “Cat’s Meow” or “Cat’s Pajamas”

This phrase is used for something or someone who is outstanding. But, what exactly does the sound a cat makes have to do with excellence? Apparently, the 20s saw an influx of positivity surrounding feline sayings. Just like “bee’s knees,” the meaning of this phrase is somewhat nonsensical. Still, silly, two-word phrases for greatness were popular at the time!


Lazy Bum: “Lollygagger” or “Dewdropper”

If laziness is your specialty, these are the nicknames you would have earned in the 1920s! These terms are descriptors of unemployed slackers who spend their days in bed. The strange phrases are theorized to have various origins but were mentioned in literature as far back as the 1850s. As odd as they sound, these titles were massive blows to a man’s pride!


Beautiful But Dumb: “Tomato”

A gorgeous woman can take the nickname “tomato” as only half a compliment. The fruit was used as a term for someone who was gorgeous but lacked brains! As peculiar as it sounds, the title seems to emerge from the concept that someone looks “ripe”. But why the food-based term deems pretty women stupid has gone sadly unexplained.


Vomiting: “Pull A Daniel Boone”

Daniel Boone is an American folk-story hero, but this unfortunate phrase certainly blemishes his good name! To “pull a Daniel Boone” means to vomit… particularly after consuming copious amounts of alcohol. There’s no indication in history that Boone was an alcoholic. However, he does have a pretty strong drink named for him!

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Nonsense: “Phonus Balonus”

Other than being ridiculously fun to say, this phrase is literally ridiculous. If something is utter nonsense, it would be considered “phonus balonus.” The more popular variant of this term is “phoney baloney,” which is still somewhat popular. This is a childish tease for something that is foolish, silly, or senseless!


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