Vintage Slang We Want to Bring Back

2 min read

Today's teens might think they invented slang with their hashtags and their TikToks. But Grandma and Grandpa were full of code words and made-up sayings, too. Try out some of this vintage vernacular and bring back some old-school cool.

1. Gas

This one is used to describe something or someone outrageously fun. “That guy last night at the party was a gas!”

2. Wallflower

Someone who is so shy they lean against the wall at social events. “You'll never meet someone new when you’re being a wallflower.”

3. Beat Feet

When you have to get somewhere fast, you beat your feet against the pavement. “We’re running late! Let’s beat feet out of here.”

4. Made in the Shade

When Grandpa had a great job, a cool car, and Grandma to take out on Saturday nights, he had it made in the shade. “Ethel, your cute boyfriend looks like he’s got it made in the shade.”

5. Pad

Slang for an apartment. “Come back to my pad, and we’ll put on some records.” (You can translate this as the older cousin of "Netflix and chill.")

6. Greaser

This could be a compliment or a disparaging nickname. It could describe a fella who put a lot of product in his hair to make it shiny. This person might also like muscle cars and the associated grease. “Sue, are you dating a greaser? We heard you were necking at the drive-in.”

7. Peepers

You peep at things with your eyes. Thus, eyes were called peepers. Make sense? “Lucy, your peepers are the deepest pools of blue.”

8. Submarine Races

Brace yourselves. When Grandpa had it made in the shade, he would drive Grandma to a secluded place so they could get cozy and “watch the submarine races.”

9. Far Out

“That Bob Dylan concert was far out, man.” It had nothing to do with distance. Even if Dylan played a set in the backyard, it was still far out, fantastic, first-class.

10. Knuckle Sandwich

Take your hand and fold it into a fist. Viola! Knuckle sandwich. Grandpa to Great-uncle Charlie: “If you tell dad I went to the submarine races instead of the library last night, I’ll feed you a knuckle sandwich.”

11. Bummer

Used to convey disappointment. “Wow, that’s a bummer your dad found out about the submarine races. How long are you grounded?”

12. Give me some skin

High fives or low fives, Grandpa was giving skin upon greeting a friend. “Hey, George! Give me some skin.”

13. Square

A nerd or someone who is too normal. “Frank, I hope you didn’t invite your brother to come with us. He’s such a square.”

14. Fuzz

The police. “Let’s beat feet before the fuzz gets here.”

15. Shindig

A hot party with lots of music and dancing. “Jane, is Martin taking you to the shindig on Saturday? It will be a gas.”

Photo credit: Christian Bowen/ Unsplash

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