Do You Remember ‘50s Slang Terms?

If you remember the days of sock hops and jukeboxes, you’ll remember all of these phrases that were said by the cool cats and greasers of yesteryear.

Even if you’re just a fan of “Happy Days” and you never miss a rerun of “Leave it to Beaver,” you’ll have no trouble acing this quiz.

What does the phrase “ankle biter” mean?

  • Children
  • Mosquitos

This phrase is used to refer to small children, usually ones that are only about as tall as your knees. Used in a sentence, “How old are your little ankle biters?”

What does the phrase “crusin’ for a brusin’” mean?

  • Driving at night
  • Looking for a fight

If you’re crusin’ for a brusin’ you better watch out cause you might be getting into some trouble. Used in a sentence, “Don’t say that to me again or you’ll be crusin’ for a brusin’.”

What does the phrase “daddy-o” mean?

  • Cool dude
  • Your father

It would be very uncool to call your actual father daddy-o. Used in a sentence, “I love your jacket daddy-o!”

What does the phrase “razz my berries” mean?

  • Excite me
  • Gross me out

This term might sound strange, but it was used to show ultimate excitement in the ‘50s. Used in a sentence, “That new Beatles song really razzes my berries!”

What does the word “pad” mean?

  • Tablet
  • House

Maybe referencing the fact that frogs live on lily pads, calling your house your pad was a totally cool thing to do in the 1950s. Used in a sentence, “Come over to my pad later, I just got a new record player.”

What does the word “greaser” mean?

  • A fan of the movie “Grease”
  • Tough guy

This term came about because the cool young people who wore leather jackets and rode motorcycles also wore a lot of hair grease. Used in a sentence, “Don’t mess with those guys, they’re greasers.”

What does the term “made in the shade” mean?

  • Things are going well
  • It’s cold in here

Just like laying underneath a palm tree on a sunny beach, to be in the shade means that things are going well. Used in a sentence, “I just got my paycheck, I’ve got it made in the shade.”

What does the term “wig chop” mean?

  • Haircut
  • Embarrassment

This fanciful way of saying haircut added a little pizzaz to people’s lives before emojis. Used in a sentence, “Boy, I sure could use a wig chop.”

What does the term “big tickle” mean?

  • Squeamish
  • Funny

If something was absolutely hilarious, it can be referred to as a big tickle. Used in a sentence, “I just loved the movie, it was a big tickle!”

What does the term “ginchiest” mean?

  • So gross
  • The best

It may sound strange, but if someone in the ‘50s called you ginchy, they were probably sweet for you. Used in a sentence, “I love you so much, you’re the ginchiest!”

What does the term “slick” mean?

  • Effortless
  • Clumsy

If you do something slick, you’ll probably catch everyone’s attention with your effortless skills. Used in a sentence, “Did you see the way he caught that ball? He’s so slick.”

What does the term “cut the gas” mean?

  • Park the car
  • Stop talking

If your face is a car, your mouth must be the gas pedal. Used in a sentence, “Cut the gas, I can’t hear the television.”

What does the term “classy chassis” mean?

  • Attractive
  • Hungry

This phrase was used as a compliment for a woman’s body and may or may not sound creepy if said today. Used in a sentence, “I don’t say this to everyone, but you’ve got a classy chassis.”

What does the term “word from the bird” mean?

  • Lie
  • Truth

If someone is telling you the truth, they’ll use this phrase so you can be sure you’re getting the real deal. Used in a sentence, “I swear it happened, word from the bird.”

What does the term “passion pit” mean?

  • The drive-in theatre
  • The library

Drive-in theaters and other places where teenagers might go on a date are referred to as passion pits. Used in a sentence, “I’m seeing a movie with Katie tonight down at the passion pit.”

What does the term “burn rubber” mean?

  • Break something
  • Go fast

If you’ve got a sports car and you want to show your friends just how fast it can accelerate, you should burn rubber. Used in a sentence, “I just saw my mom in the other lane, let’s burn rubber!”

What does the phrase “back seat bingo” mean?

  • Something you do with your girlfriend
  • Something you do with your grandma

It wasn’t uncommon to find to teens in the back of their cars at the drive-in theatre playing back seat bingo, if you know what I mean. Used in a sentence, “I saw Sally and Jim playing back seat bingo at the drive in last night.”

What does the phrase “cool cat” mean?

  • You’re trendy
  • You’re cold

First starting from groups of artists and musicians, the phrase cool cat soon became a compliment for anyone who was hip and trendy. Used in a sentence, “That guitarist is such a cool cat.”

What does the word “hip” mean?

  • Cool
  • Painful

Another word used to compliment the coolest people of the bunch, hip no longer meant just the body part in the ‘50s. Used in a sentence, “Thanks for the music recommendation, that album is so hip.”

What does the phrase “wet rag” mean?

  • No fun
  • Soggy

Calling someone a wet rag was a total diss in the ‘50s. Used in a sentence, “Don’t be such a wet rag, I want to have some fun!”

What does the phrase “beat feet” mean?

  • Let’s get out of here
  • Let’s dance

This phrase means that you’ve gotta get out of here, and fast. Used in a sentence, “I hear sirens, let’s beat feet!”

What does the phrase “knuckle sandwich” mean?

  • Let’s fight
  • I’m hungry

If someone offers you a knuckle sandwich, you better watch out because they could be looking for a fight. Used in a sentence, “Get out of my way or I’ll give you a knuckle sandwich!”

What does the phrase “smog in the noggin” mean?

  • I’m confused
  • The air quality is terrible

If you’re having trouble remembering something, its fun to just blame it on smog in the noggin. Used in a sentence, “I did poorly on that test, I must have smog in the noggin.”

What does the phrase “gangbusters” mean?

  • Successful
  • Desperate

Anything that is going successfully or that is exciting, from a career to a date can be described as gangbusters. Used in a sentence, “He rocked the semester like gangbusters.”

What does the phrase “flip your lid” mean?

  • Go crazy
  • Have a headache

If someone goes absolutely wild in a positive or negative sense, they’ve probably flipped their lid. Used in a sentence, “If I’m out after curfew my dad will flip his lid!”
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