With The Great Gatsby national movie release this month, you’ll want to be sure to get the Jazz Lingo down pat now, so you are ready to be ‘hep to the jive’. Don’t be left behind when the new craze of slang re-emerges, creeping into our everyday vernacular. Be one of the ‘wild cool and swingin’ hepcats’ – not only looking the part but sounding like it too!
Here are some favourites of the 1920s as well as the more popular definitions of jive. You’ll notice that we still use many of them today. Learn a few choice phrases and try peppering your speech with them. You’ll get a kick out of the reactions you get.
Most used phrase in the film: Old Sport – a 20’s colloquial kind of expression meaning like ‘Hey Pal’
Bees’ Knees – An extraordinary person, thing or idea
Baloney – nonsense!
Breezer – a convertible car
Caper – a criminal act or robbery
Cat’s Meow – Something splendid or stylish, similar to bee’s knees. The best or greatest
Flat Tire – A dull witted, insipid, disappointing date
Spiffy – An elegant appearance
You slay me – that’s funny
Hip (Hep) – someone who is ‘in the know’ or ‘in tune’ with the latest style. This usage of hip gained popularity around 1905, and in jazz it refers to the ‘cool’ demeanour of talented musicians or informed listeners
Hepcat [hep-kat] – a guy or gal ‘who knows what it’s all about’. It represents both lovers of the music and jazz musicians themselves
Dig – When a jazz musician really identifies with a tune or a jazz devotee discovers a new sound, you can say they dig the music
Cut of the Jib – One’s general appearance and demeanour
Daddy – a young woman’s boyfriend or lover, especially if he’s rich
Rag-a-muffin – a dirty or dishevelled individual
Giggle Water – An intoxicating beverage
Beat one’s gums – idle chatter
Just enter it into the COMMENTS panel below and you could WIN a double pass to Baz Luhrmann’s new film, The Great Gatsby.
Competition is now open and closes Sunday May 26, 2013. The Into Vintage team will judge the best on Monday, May 27 at 12 noon and the winner will be advised by email that afternoon.
Tickets will be posted to the winner by registered express mail the following day.
C’mon ….. slay me!
Images courtesy: Wikimedia Commons; Great Gatsby Book Cover image originally posted on Flickr by Allan Trotter.