Flapper Dictionary

A few months ago my friend Esmeralda sent me this link from BoingBoing about an old issue of Flapper Magazine from 1922 that included a Flapper Dictionary. It was such a rad find, and I knew instantly that I needed to own something like this eventually.

So I was incredibly delighted when I recently found this vintage Flapper Dictionary by Richmond Novelty Company for a measly six smackers. The cover boasts that the contents inside are “words and terms used by the modern generation.”

Flapper Dictionary 1920s

It’s a funny little mini-mag with 10 pages of jazz-age slang definitions—all of which are both wonderful and hilarious. Here are my favorites:

APPLESAUCE: Anything not good. Blaah.

BARNEY MUGGIN: The business of making love.

BENT HAIRPIN: An old maid.

BOOBTICKLER: A young lady who entertains her father’s customers from out of town.

BUN DUSTER: Another name for Cake-Eater. [NOTE: Cake-Eater is not in the Flapper Dictionary, but I found the definition here.] 

CAT’S CUFFS: A doubtful story.

CELLAR SMELLER: A young man who is always around when liquor is to be hand without cost.


COFFIN: Any cola drink.

CRUMB GOBBLER: A cake eater or bun duster who makes a specialty of crashing in at teas.

DUCK’S QUACK: The best ever.

FIGLEAF: A one piece bathing suit.

FROG’S EYEBROWS: Nice, fine.

GOBBY: A dumbell who has no style, no pep, no nothing.

GUM DROP: A stingy person.

HOLY SMOKES: Probation officers who visit dance halls to make sure there is no improper dancing.


KIPPY: Neat and nice.

PRUNE PIT: Passe, way behind the times.

PUNCHING THE BAG: Talking your fool head off about nothing.

SMOKE EATER: A flapper with a strong appetite for cigarettes.

TABBY CAT: The one you hate the most.

TOMATO: A good looking girl who can dance like a blue streak, but is otherwise a perfect dumbell.

TURTLE’S TOES: A pleasant surprise.

WALLIE: A boy with patent leather hair.

WEATHER BUREAU: Fellow who breaks with a girl at various season, such as Easter, Christmas, etc.

WIND SUCKER: A Braggart.

WOOF! WOOF!: An expression of ridicule or indignation.

ZEBRA: A convict.




7 Responses to Flapper Dictionary

  1. Charlotte says:

    What a great find as you say, can you Scan it so we all can see?

  2. olivia says:

    Love these. I am going to have to try to sqezze some of them in during conversations.

  3. Katrin says:

    Cherry smashes sounds fabulous. I wonder how they came up with all that.

  4. Shann says:

    Bahahaaa that is freaking awesome! I’ve got to try and remember some of these :)
    Luvluv x

  5. Dan says:

    These phrases are hilarious! Actually, tabby cats are my favorites because I like their pretty stripes! A “duck’s quack” is the best ever?! I don’t think so! We live on a golf course with lots of raucous ducks and geese. Some of our neighbors have even tried feeding ducks on their back patios, or tried making pets out of them. Ducks do not make good pets! They can’t be housebroken.

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