Words and Phrases From The 1950's 60's and 70's
With the passing of each generation, new terminology is created. It seems to pass in and out of our lives, we used them daily, but at some point they disappear into history. We now have words that have meaning in today’s world but some day will also fade away.
If you lived in the 1940’s 50’s 60’s and 70’s we had some fantastic words and phrases. To keep them from totally disappearing forever, we thought we would jot them down for you to reminisce over. So let’s “shake, rattle and roll”, get our groove going, and share our good times, our words and phrases with the new generation.
Baby Moons - A nice chrome domed hubcap that we added to our wheels. They were expensive... seems like they were around $18.00 each.
Bomb Shelter - We were all afraid of a nuclear war. Many people built underground shelters to keep their families safe in case of an attack.
As I look back I remember that most shelters were on the small side, maybe 8’x 10’ and at most 10’x 20’. I’m not sure how long people were expected to live in them. My uncle had one and it made a great place to store sodas and beer.
Cherry - When something was in prime condition we said “Dang that’s cherry.”
“Chicken- In- The- Rough” - Restaurants that served fried chicken and french fries. It was the place to go for a date. The food was great but has been replaced with KFC.
Civil Defense - A government agency, set up to help us and protect the citizens of the United States in times of disaster'. They had shelters set up in case of a nuclear attack, hurricanes and earthquakes. They had special markings on every radio that you could turn to for updated information.
Continental Kit – A very nice metal case to store your spare tire in, mounted on the rear bumper and painted the same color as the car. The 1958 Impalas looked really great with them as a dress up item.
Cool - How do you describe cool, it was just cool.
“Cruisin’ for a bruisin’” - I would even ask my kids this question when they were little. It means, looking for trouble, and they usually were at the time.
Curb feeler - A nice little wrapped wire that was mounted near the front wheel. When you paralleled parked it was designed to make a noise to let you know that you were close to the curb. They were designed to keep you from scuffing up your whitewalls.
“Don’t have a cow” - We used this expression to tell someone, not to get excited.
Duck and cover - We had drills conducted in the school. In case of nuclear war, we would put on our thin plastic yellow safety helmet crawl under the desk in a kneeling position. We knew that the whole world would be ashes but our plastic helmets would protect us.
Duck butt or D.A. - This was a favorite hair style of the 60”s. It was greased, combed back, then with the end of the comb, a part was made down the back of their heads. Looked like a duck’s butt.
Far out - When we felt something was a little radical we said ‘far out.’
Fender skirts - To make cars look sleek there was a cover that went over the back wheels. It had to be taken on and off, especially when you had a flat tire.
Fliver - Back in the day all of the cars had a nickname most were called fliver’s.
Flip Side – We had records and albums, on vinyl that were recorded on both sides once they played a song they would say now here is the flip side.
“Go for the pinks” - This was a drag racing term. They were actually racing for the pink slip of the hot rods that were racing.
Hand Signals - They had to stick their arms out the driver's window to indicate which way they were turning, arm straight out was a left hand turn, and if the arm was at a 90 degree angle, it was a right hand turn. Today we have turn signals, but many people aren’t using those either, probably because they have one hand occupied by a cell phone!!!
“In-the-Pink” - If someone says “they’re in the pink”, it means they are very healthy and feeling great.
Jitterbug - This was a dance that made its’ debut in the 1940”s. It was a great way to work off those extra pounds.
Let’s Ditch - That meant we’re not going to school today.
“Made in the shade” - This means that your success was guaranteed.
Malted Milkshake – Generous scoops of ice cream put into a blender a little powdered malt flavor was added. Now that’s a drink to remember.
Mangle - A great invention designed to help the lady of the house do her ironing. It had a heated pull down arm and a cloth covered roller. Put your clothes on the roller, pull the arm down, pushed the lever with your knee to start the roller moving and presto it ironed your clothes as it rolled or "mangled" them, thus the name.
News Butcher - Kid’s who sold magazines, candy, fruit and peanuts in passenger cars on the trains.
Nutria - They were a rodent, similar to a muskrat, with very soft fur. A money making scheme in the 1950’s. You would purchase several Nutria’s and breed them. The company was going to buy them and use them for fur coats. Then everyone would be RICH, RICH, RICH, I say. The problem was they could breed faster than they could sell the coats.
Party Lines - Back in the day when you got ready to call someone, you had to share the phone lines with several of your neighbors. It was fun to listen in on other people’s conversation as well. I don’t remember hearing anything that was really important, but it was a form of entertainment for many of us.
Passion Pit - Since drive- in theaters have virtually disappeared, this term has too. This was a great place to go in the summer time, especially when one of your best friends parents owned the drive-in theater, and she would have a slumber party in the snack bar after everyone was gone for the night. What great memories.
Pea Shooters – A nice forked branch with strips of old inner tube, add a pouch and you could shoot small pebbles and put a knot on your enemies head. For a a few cents you could buy a bag of split peas. Instead of using pebbles, put a pinch of peas in and have the same effect as a small shotgun.
Pedal Pushers - They are now called Capri pants, but back in the day, they were pedal pushers.
Peel out – Put the pedal to the metal drop the clutch and make your tire SMOKE.
Poodle skirts and saddle shoes - A wide swing skirt made of felt and decorated with sequins and poodle appliques, usually worn with the black and white lace up saddle shoes. Nothing characterized the Fifties quite as well as the saddle shoe. We all had them and we all wore them. And I don’t miss them. They were heavy and kind of stiff, and you couldn’t throw them in the washer when they got dirty. Have you ever tried to polish a saddle oxford?
Raunchy - Messy or gross in some way. Broccoli with cheese sauce on it was raunchy. School lunches were always raunchy. Seeing your dad kiss your mom was raunchy, especially if he slipped her a little tongue.
Rat Fink - If you did something wrong the person that would reveal you misgivings was called a rat fink.
Rumble seat - On the cars of the 20 and 30’s cars had two seats inside and a compartment that opened from the trunk that had a seat that would seat two more people...Great for double dates.
Second Base - It was a goal sought after by many, only found by the fortunate few.
“Skin-the-Cat” - Growing up, my dad used to say this all the time. It means a task can be completed in several ways.
Sock Hop – Dances that we held in the school gym, we pulled our shoes off to help save the finish on the floor. Then we danced our socks off.
Spanish Fly - A mystical aphrodisiac that all of the guys wanted to get there hands on. It was suppose to make the girls say “yes”. Now the guys are trying to get there hands on Viagra so they can say “yes”.
Taradiddle - A fib, small white lie or pretentious nonsense.
We still have words and phases that we have carried over that that should still be used that are not used often enough. Simple words like Please, may I, yes Ma’am and the one we should use the most THANK YOU. So thank you for reading this article. We hope it brings back great memories.