A-Z Guide To 1950s Slang

You’ve bought an Elvis costume, Buddy Holly egypt shirt or polka dot skirt & underskirt. You’re ready for your 50s themed party then, right?


You need the lingo, man! You’ll be the big tickle of all the beatniks if you turn up and you’re not armed with the vocabulary. So, pop on some thick-rimmed glasses or a polka dot skirt, go hang with the other cool cats, then swing your wheels over to coolsville and read this handy A-Z guide to 1950s slang. Only then will you be ready for the big bash.

Who knows, you might even get yourself some back seat bingo at the end of the night…

A gas – something that will be an incredible amount of fun. AKA “a blast”

I sure would like to take out that Cindy to the flicks, it’d be a gas.

Agitate the gravel – leave quickly.

We’d better get out of here, Brett. Come on man, agitate the gravel!

Are you writing a book? – back off, you’re asking too many questions.

What shall I bring to the party? Where is it? What time?

Jeez, Marlon, are you writing a book?

Baby – cutie, used for either sex.

Hey baby, you come here often?


Back seat bingo – the fine art of making out with a girl in a car.

Oh come on Sally, let’s play a spot of back seat bingo, eh?

Bad news – someone who’s generally a bad egg, perhaps due to rejection.

Did you get any back seat bingo with Sally last night?

No man, she’s bad news.

Bash – party, essential lingo for your 50s themed party!

Hey, you coming to my bash later? It’s gonna be a gas.


Beatnik – a follower of the Beat scene, those pre-hippie types who were fed up of war and worried about plunging into an atomic age.

The Beatniks were generally accepted as the precursor to the hippies of the 60s, with their “turn on and tune out” attitude and rejection of “boring” societal values.

Big Daddy – potential date’s father, or any older person who’s not in the Beat scene.

We were home by nine. She had to report back to Big Daddy.

Bread – money.

Coming to see the band later, Danny?

Nah man, I’m outta bread. Just gonna take Sally out in the car.

Bug – to annoy.

Why ain’t you got any bread, Danny?

Look, will you just forget it? You’re starting to bug me.

Cat, AKA Daddy’o – the Beatniks’ way of describing a fellow hipster.

The rest of you cats coming later?

Sure thing, Daddy’o

Cookin’ – doing something well.

Were the ‘Crazy Cats’ any good at last night’s gig?

Sure thing, they were cookin’!

Cool – we all know this one! Something that is fashionable.

The music of the 50s was far cooler than that 60s rubbish.

Copping a bit – making something up to delude a Beatnik.

She said she had to get home to Big Daddy, but I think she was just copping a bit.

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’ – looking for trouble.

Hey Danny, I heard Sally’s found a proper man.

You better watch what you’re saying man, you’re cruisin’ for a brusin’.

Dibs ­– to call dibs is to lay claim to something before anyone else.

If Sally is losing Danny, I call dibbs.

Yeah, good luck with that…

Dig it ­– understand

Just make sure Sally’s back by nine, young man.

Sure, I dig it.

Eyeballing a doll – giving a potential date a good look over.

Is Mike coming or what?

Nah, he’s still busy eyeballing that doll over at the park.

Get bent – a disparaging remark, meaning get lost, go away.

Danny, you sure Sally’s not eyeing up that guy over there?

Get bent!

Greaser – a person with tonnes of gel in their hair (later became a description for a whole group of people – think Fonzie, Grease.

Look at Mike, preening himself in that mirror. He’s such a greaser.

Go ape – explode with rage, be really mad.

I took Sally back at ten the other night. Her dad went ape.

Hang – as in “hang out” – not do much.

Wanna hang round mine later?

Sure, had no better offers.

Hit the sack – go to bed

Shall we watch another one?

I dunno man, it’s late and we’ve got school tomorrow. I’m gonna hit the sack.

Kicks – thrill gained by doing something fun or incredible.

Shall we go to the park tomorrow?

What for?

Just for kicks!

Knuckle sandwich – a fist in the face.

He was really yelling at me, I thought he was gonna serve me a knuckle sandwich!

Later, gator – goodbye, a shorted form of “see ya later, alligator”.

See you at the dance.

Yeah, later, gator.

No sweat – easy, no problem.

Can you give your sister a lift to the dance later, darling?

Sure mom, no sweat!

Square – similar to Big Daddy, someone who’s not cool, and definitely not a Beatnik.

Shall we invite Marlon?

No way, he’s a square.

The big tickle– a laugh at the expense of the victim.

Actually perhaps we should invite Marlon, he’d be a big tickle.

Turkey– a stupid or foolish person.

That’s a terrible idea, Mike. You really are a Turkey.

-ville – added to the end of words to create an imaginary place: coolsville, deadsville, squaresville, weirdsville.

Why would we go round Marlon’s afterwards? He lives in squaresville!

What’s buzzin’, cuzzin’? – what’s new?

Hey, what’s buzzin’, cuzzin’?

Well, Brad crashed his new wheels, and Marlon’s still a square.

Wheels – a car, the essential 50s accessory.

So, is Brad driving?

No, I told you he crashed his wheels!

Read more about 1950s fashion here! That’s got you started, now buy your cheap 1950s costume at the same site. We’ve added a load of new lines recently, including ladies 1950s beehive wigs, greaser wigs, poodle skirts and pink lady jackets.


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