Unit IV: The Roaring Twenties

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Slang Chart

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This unit covers Chapters Twelve and Thirteen, here are some of the key concepts you can focus on:
Chapter Key Concepts
Chapter 12
  • Fear of communism and postwar labor unrest
  • Rising racial tension, anti-immigrant sentiment, and the rise of the KKK
  • Harding's presidency, and the turn to a pro-business and isolationist style of government
  • The major scandals of the Harding administration
  • The growth of American business and its connection to the policies of Calvin Coolidge
  • The introduction of the automobile to mainstream America, and the auto's impact on American Life
  • The rising American standard of living and the new consumer economy
  • The use of new marketing methods, including installment plans and mail order catalogs
Chapter 13
  • Growing differences between rural and urban America
  • Prohibition (18th Amendment) and its impact on American life, from organized crime to jazz to speakeasies
  • American Fundamentalism and the clash between science and religion
  • The newly liberated "Twenties Woman" and the changes in American family life
  • the development of mass media in the 1920's and the ways it impacted popular culture, especially the emergence of the "star" athlete, artist, musician, actor, etc.
  • the ways in which jazz and the literature of the "lost generation" both reflected and impacted American culture
  • The Harlem Renaissance, and the ways its artists, writers and musicians made a major contribution to American culture

We will take a 30-35 question multiple  choice test on December 21st.

Speakeasy Costume Links:

McCall's Fashion Timeline

Clothing Gallery of the 1920's

1920's Fashion at Wikipedia

1920's Slang Chart:

all wet- wrong, a mistaken notion

banana oil- nonsense

bees knees- a superb person or thing

belly laugh- a loud, uninhibited laugh

big cheese- an important person

bull session- informal group discussion

bump off- to murder

cake-eater- ladies' man

cat's meow- anything wonderful

cheaters- eyeglasses

copacetic- excellent

darb- an excellent person or thing

gatecrasher- a person who comes to a party uninvited

dogs- human feet

dumb dora- a girl who is perceived to be unintelligent

fall guy- a scapegoat who takes the blame for others

flapper- a typical young woman of the 20s, usually with bobbed hair, short skirts, and rolled stockings

drugstore cowboy- a fashionably dressed idler who hangs around trying to pick up girls

gam- a girl's leg

flat tire- dull, boring person

giggle water- an alcoholic drink

hep- wise

high-hat-to snub

hooch- bootleg liqour

horsefeathers- nonsense

hotsy-totsy- pleasing

jake- OK, "Everything's jake"

lounge lizard- ladies man

ossified- drunk

pinch- to arrest

sheba- a young woman with sex appeal

sheik- a young man with sex appeal

smeller- the nose

speak-easy- a saloon or club that serves hooch

spifficated- drunk

struggle-buggy- a car (from it use as a place where boys tried to seduce girls)

torpedo- hired gun man


Other slang words from the twenties that are in common use today: swanky, swell, upchuck, lousy, whopee, kisser, main drag, neck, scram, ritzy, hoofer, jalopy, goofy, gold digger, heebie-jeebies, blind date