Along the way, a dictionary worth of new words captivated the imagination of a coalescing youth movement – the first mass movement of its kind in American history – and shocked the Victorian sensibilities of established culture. Coined more for their value in creating an “in group” than for any practical utility, the slang of the flapper era was very much a product of the changing social realities of the roaring 1920s. Springing up alongside new innovations of the day, the most famous of 20s slang terms still convey the flagrance of the speakeasy, the tingling thrill of the petting party, and the exuberance of the Charleston. While a host of terms first coined in the Jazz Age died in the market crash of 1929, those terms that found themselves attached to the practices that outlasted the great depression have been transmitted through the decades almost unchanged.
From the Movies
Prohibition and its Gangsters
Despite their monster personalities, 1920s mobsters kept the good times flowing and thus took on a glow of romance. Enigmatic characters with larger than life personas, the gangsters of the age were at the top of the highlife, dating movie stars, making the headlines daily, and spending more money than business moguls.
Liquor wasn’t the only vice of the day. Marijuana, long the “wild weed of Mexico,” came into popular usage in the states during the early 1920s. This splurge of illegal and reckless behavior fed the development of many terms still in use today including Bubbly, Daiquiri, Scofflaw, The Mob, Weed, and Junkie each of which has carried a consistent meaning through the years.