Straight From the Fridge, Dad: A Dictionary of Hipster Slang

Straight From the Fridge, Dad: A Dictionary of Hipster Slang

by Max Decharne

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A new, pocket-sized version of the richly illustrated edition—just the thing for all hipsters, B-girls, weedheads, moochers, shroud-tailors, bandrats, top studs, gassers, snowbirds, trigger-men, grifters, and long gone daddies

Much of the slang popularly associated with the hippie generation of the 1960s actually dates back before World War II,

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A new, pocket-sized version of the richly illustrated edition—just the thing for all hipsters, B-girls, weedheads, moochers, shroud-tailors, bandrats, top studs, gassers, snowbirds, trigger-men, grifters, and long gone daddies

Much of the slang popularly associated with the hippie generation of the 1960s actually dates back before World War II, hijacked in the main from jazz and blues street expressions, mostly relating to drugs, sex, and drinking. Why talk when you can beat your chops, why eat when you can line your flue, and why snore when you can call some hogs? You're not drunk—you're just plumb full of stagger-juice and your skin isn't pasty, it's just cafe sunburn. Need a black coffee? That's a shot of java, nix on the moo juice. Containing thousands of examples of hipster slang drawn from pulp novels; classic noir and exploitation films; blues, country, and rock'n'roll lyrics; and other related sources from the 1920s to the 1960s, this book lays down the righteous jive.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An afternoon spent poring through a vocabulary-building guide for your inner hipster is time well spent . . . Décharné has compiled the most righteous slang from film noir, blues, country, jazz and pulp fiction; with annotations and examples galore, it's guaranteed to turn a rube into a real wild child."  —Entertainment Weekly

"There's no question that in the pages of Straight from the Fridge, Dad, everyday speech is put through some hilarious and convoluted permutations. But you don't have to take that on faith. Just cop a squat, cast your lamps on the book's leaves and dig its mellow kicks."  —Chicago Tribune

"If you are the kind of hep cat who harbors a burning urge to gas the slobs, then the righteous Max is the man. He shoots the works to fascinating and often hilarious effect."  —Esquire

Library Journal
Decharne's fun and appealing reference source offers words, phrases, and sentences derived from early 20th-century jazz musicians, crime figures, etc., as represented in such sources as film, pulp novels, blues, and country songs dating from the early 20th century through the mid-1960s. Often noir in tone, these colorful gems include examples illustrating the context. Although originally published in Great Britain, the book draws heavily on American slang. Decharne does not always authenticate the definitions with documentary proof, as with the entry "beat the boards," which he defines as "tapdance." Other times, an entry may include a series of sensational examples: "My solid pigeon, that drape is a killer-diller, an E-flat Dillinger, a bit of a fly thing all on one page," says a young woman complimenting a pretty dress. The book lacks editorial principles like those of the very impressive Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang (Vol. 1: LJ 8/94; Vol. 2: LJ 11/15/97), which provides a pronunciation key, indicates who or what group currently uses the entry, arranges the entries alphabetically according to the primary word, and offers variant forms and cross references. Nonetheless, Decharne's book includes many entries that do not appear in Random House. Highly recommended for reference collections serving writers, historians, hipsters, and anyone who enjoys language. Michelle Foyt, Russell Lib., Middletown, CT Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.\

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A A-1 The best, top of the heap" 'That's my baby,' I said. 'We'll have our good times. Just you and me and \ thirty grand; maybe five or ten more if it's an A-1 job.' "

\ \ From the novel Savage Night, Jim Thompson, 1953 A-Bomb juice Moonshine liquor A-OK Fine, all in order, just right A double this The correct way to order drinks time, waiter. From Ocean's Eleven, the novel of the film Your singles screenplay, George Clayton Johnson and Jack keep leaking. Golden Russell, 1960 A shape in a Someone who looks good in clothes, is drape sharply dressed Abyssinia. See you later. (I'll be seein' ya.)

\ \ Ace
\ 1. Something superlative, the top
\ \ 2. One dollar
\ \ 3. A marijuana cigarette
\ \ 4. A policeman

\ " 'Who's chasin' you, Frankie?''The aces. They're goin' to pin the sluggin' on me.' "From the novel The Man with the Golden Arm, Nelson Algren, 1949 5. "An outstanding, regular fellow." From the booklet The Jives of Doctor Hepcat, Lavada Durst, 1953 Ace in the hole Something in reserve, an advantage; secret weapon, deriving from cardplayers having an ace up their sleeve See the jazz recording "Ace in the Hole," \ The Black Diamond Seranaders, 1926.

\ Ace out Cheat, defraud Aces up Something mighty fine, excellent Action What's happening, e.g., "Where's the action, pops?" Adobe dollar Mexican peso Age of pain Prohibition; the time of the 18th Amendment, which lasted from January 1920 until December 1933 Agitate the Leave, depart, vamoose gravel Ain't no sin to Enjoy yourself, get with it, relax. Take off your skin, and dance around in your bones.

\ Ain't nothin' you I'm right, you're wrong, shut up. can tell me I don't already know. Alabama lie Police baton detector All broke out with Depressed, low-down the blues All creeped up Scared, apprehensive, frightened All-electric Far better looking than the average "Ordinarily, too, I am not a guy who goes ga-ga on lamping a babe, even though, like this one, she makes it appear that other gals run on gas and \ she's an all-electric."

\ From the novel Slab Happy, Richard S. Prather, 1958 All gone Drunk, intoxicated All over them like Sticking really close to someone, a cheap suit e.g., "That guy at the dance was all over my sister like a \ cheap suit."

\ All sharped up Well dressed, suavely turned out All shook up Disturbed, hopped up, excited, real gone \ "Cool down Eve, you look all shook up."

\ From the novel Scandal High, Herbert O. Pruett, 1960 All steamed up Sexually excited like a pants presser \ All wet Disappointing, worthless Alligator.

\ 1. Down Beat's Yearbook of Swing, 1939, lists this as "a swing fan who plays no instrument, or musician who frequents places where orchestras are playing."

\ 2. Hipster term of address, often shortened to "gator." Similar in meaning \ to "cat" or "hepcat" Already slated Out of control, for crashville e.g., "We could see that the car was already slated for crashville."

\ Alreet In order, fine, very good Alroot See "alreet." Alvin A rube, a sucker, an easy mark Amscray Run away, leave (pig latin for "scram") Ankle To walk Ants in my pants Sexually excited "I'm gonna hug you \ baby good and tight, now love me baby like you done last night, cause I got ants in my pants, baby for you . . ."

\ From the blues recording "Ants in My Pants," Bo Carter, 1931 Anywhere Possessing drugs, e.g., "Is you anywhere?" (Do you have any?) From the autobiography Really the Blues, Mezz Mezzrow and Bernard Wolfe, 1946 Applesauce Flattery, insincere praise, a load of old flannel; e.g., "Don't hand me that applesauce, Pops."

\ Ark "Dance hall, coliseum, any building for dances, meetings, etc." From the booklet The Jives of Doctor Hepcat, Lavada Durst, 1953 Artillery Guns As bare as hell's Completely empty backyard As busy as Extremely busy one-legged tapdancer As dead as Dead and buried five-cent beer As drunk as two Soused, plastered, three sheets to the wind sailors As full as a pair Totally drunk of goats "Before long we were as full as a pair of goats."

\ From the short story "The Golden Horseshoe," Dashiell Hammett, 1920s Ashes Having sex e.g., "Getting your ashes hauled."

"She said I could haul her ashes better than any other man, she said I could sow my seed anytime in her ash can." From "Ash Can Blues," Bob Clifford, c. 1930 "I worked all winter and I worked all fall, I've gotta wait until spring to get my ashes hauled."

\ From the blues recording "Tired As I Can Be," Bessie Jackson (Lucille Bogan), 1934 See also "Alleyman (Haul My Ashes)," Sadie Green, 1926 and "Looking for My Ash Hauler," Washboard Sam, 1937.

\ Awash Drunk Axe Musical instrument B-girl Bar girl, usually working in a clip joint, whose job is to encourage the customers to buy more alcohol "Settling down in Baltimore, she found lucrative and undemanding work as a B-Girl. Or, more accurately, it was undemanding as far as she was concerned. \ Lilly Dillon wasn't putting out for anyone; not, at least, for a few bucks or drinks."

\ \ \ From the novel The Grifters, Jim Thompson, 1963

\ \ Baby blues Eyes

\ \ Back door man Lover; someone who sneaks in through the back door when the \ husband is away See "I'm a Front Door Woman with a Back Door Man," a blues recording by \ Lillian Glinn, 1929. \

\ Bad

\ 1. Good
\ \ 2. Evil

\ \ Bag Your interests, your preferences or habitual doings Bag man Go-between, drug dealer, person to whom protection money is paid Ball the jack

\ 1. To move fast "Suppose you were riding that manifest out of Denton, the fast meat train that balls the jack all the way into El Reno."

\ \ From the novel Savage Night, Jim Thompson, 1953

\ \ 2. Having sex"

\ 'I was pretty obnoxious myself,' Deedee giggled. 'I mean, I don't really \ think you and Moms were balling the jack together. You know that, Brad.' "

\ \ From the novel Run Tough, Run Hard,

\ \ Carson Bingham, 1961

\ \ 3. Have a wild time, get real gone

\ \ See "Ballin' the Jack," a recording by The Victor Military Band, 1914. (The \ following year they recorded a title called "Blame It on the Blues.") See \ also "Ballin' the Jack," recorded by The Louisiana Rhythm Kings, 1929.

\ \ Bam Girlfriend, steady date, parking pet

\ \ Band rats Groupies

\ \ Bar-polisher Habitual drinker, frequenter of gin-joints

\ \ Barbecue Girlfriend, good-looking woman

\ \ "She faced him now, her eyes blazing, her face flushed. 'I don't think I \ particularly enjoyed your role the night of the party, either, if you want \ the honest truth about it, Brad Dixon! Strutting off with that blond \ barbecue the minute you set foot in the house!' "

\ \ From the novel Run Tough, Run Hard,

\ \ Carson Bingham, 1961

\ \ Louis Armstrong's Hot Five released a jazz record called "Struttin' with \ Some Barbecue" in 1927; i.e., dancing with a pretty girl.

\ \ Barbecue stool The electric chair Barfly Regular drinker, gin mill cowboy, serious lush-head See "Bill the Bar Fly," a country record by Tex Ritter, 1935.

\ \ Barrel fever Drunkenness, a raging thirst Barrelhouse

\ 1. Gin-joint, taproom, speakeasy, brothel See jazz recordings "Barrel House Man," Elzadie Robinson, 1926 and "Barrel House Man," Will Ezell, 1927.

\ \ 2. Style of boogie piano playing

\ \ Down Beat's Yearbook of Swing, 1939, calls it "Swing music played in a \ 'dirty and lowdown' style." Batter the drag Beg on the street

\ \ Battle axe Musician's slang for a trumpet Beanery No-nonsense food joint

\ \ Beastly Very good Beat

\ \ 1. Exhausted, worn out

\ \ "Art sounded more than tired, he sounded beat."

\ \ From the novel The Golden Key,

\ \ William O'Farrell, 1962

\ \ 2. Broke, out of cash, tapsville

\ \ 3. Hipster of the late 1940s and 1950s defined by the literary group around \ Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, etc.

\ \ "The night was getting more and more frantic. I wished Dean and Carlo were \ there--then realized they'd be out of place and unhappy.

\ \ They were like the man with the dungeon stone and the gloom, rising from the \ underground, the sordid hipsters of America, a new beat generation that I \ was slowly joining."

\ \ From the novel On the Road,

\ \ Jack Kerouac, 1957

\ \ 4. To steal

\ \ Beat it out. Play it hot; emphasize the rhythm.

\ \ Beat me Daddy, Play some boogie-woogie for me.

\ \ eight-to-the-bar. The left-hand bass lines in typical boogie-woogie piano \ feature a driving, eight-to-the-bar rhythm.

\ \ "In a little honky-tonky village in Texas There's a guy who plays the best piano by far, He can play piano any way you like it, But the kind he likes the best is eight-to-the-bar."

\ \ From the boogie-woogie recording

\ \ "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar,"

\ \ The Will Bradley Trio, 1942

\ \ Beat someone Swindle or rob someone for their bread "I knew the cab driver had beat me for my bread, but there was no use crying, it was gone."

\ \ From the autobiography I, Paid My Dues, Good Times . . . No Bread, A Story of Jazz, Babs Gonzales, 1967

\ \ Beat the boards Tap-dance

\ Beat the gong Smoke opium

\ Beat the rap Escape criminal charges, be found not-guilty

\ \ Frederick L. Nebel wrote a story called

\ \ "Beat the Rap" for the May 1931 issue of

\ \ Black Mask magazine.

\ \ Beat the tubs Play the drums

\ \ "It's all in the wrist n' I got the touch--dice, stud or with a cue. I even \ beat the tubs a little 'cause that's in the wrist too. Here--pick a card." \ \ Frankie Machine lists his accomplishments. \

\ From the novel The Man with the Golden Arm, Nelson Algren, 1949

\ \ Beat your chops Talk

\ \ "Say, is it a solid fact that you guys can beat your chops, lace the boots, \ and knock the licks out groovy as a movie whilst jiving in a comin'-on \ fashion?"

\ \ Bing Crosby to Nat Cole, U.S. radio, 1945

\ \ Beat your gums Talk

\ \ "You know, medicine's found ways to prolong some old squares' lives. You \ know how they spend it? Beating their gums . . ."

\ \ From the film Shake, Rattle and Rock, 1957

\ \ Beatnik A word coined by Herb Caen of the San Fransisco Chronicle in 1958, \ for an article about the Beats. Sputnik, the Russian satellite, was much in \ the news at the time. Picked up by the media it came to symbolize to the \ public the jazz-loving, Kerouac-reading, nonconformists of the 1950s, but \ was a term hated by many of the Beats themselves.

\ \ "She had her old beatnik costume on--the tight black pants, the bulky black \ sweater--and her hair was brushed and her lipstick was bright and straight."

\ \ From the novel The Wrecking Crew, Donald Hamilton, 1960

\ \ See the vocal group recording "Beatnik Girl," The Bi-Tones, 1960.

\ \ Bebop Modern jazz style developed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and \ others in the early 1940s

\ \ Dizzy put out a single called "Bebop" in 1945.

\ \ See also "He Beeped When He Shoulda Bopped," Dizzy Gillespie and his \ Orchestra, 1946; "Poppa Stoppa's (Bebop Blues)," Mr. Google Eyes and his \ Four Bars, 1949; "BeBop Wino," a vocal group recording by The Lamplighters, \ 1953.

\ \ Bedroom Dame, doll, gasser;furniture e.g., "She's a swell piece of bedroom furniture."

\ \ Beef

\ 1. Complaint, grievance

\ \ "I'm not beefing about the Saratoga let-down. The guys we were fishing for \ just didn't bite."

\ \ From the novel Killers Don't Care,

\ \ Rod Callahan, 1950

\ \ 2. To talk

\ \ 3. A criminal charge or a crime Behind Under the influence of something Behind the cork Drunk, intoxicated Behind the In trouble, in a difficult spot eight-ball " 'I thought Augie was a particular friend of yours. 'I thought so, too. And here he puts me behind the eight-ball with you . . .' "

\ \ From the novel Little Men, Big World,

\ \ W. R. Burnett, 1951 \

\ Behind the Old hat, outdated, passe parade Behind the stick Working behind a bar--the stick being the wooden bar-top itself.

\ \ Belly fiddle Guitar

\ \ Belly gun Weapon with a short barrel, usually a 32.20, used for shooting \ someone at very close range

\ \ Bellyache Complain, e.g., "What are you bellyaching about?"

\ \ Belt of booze A drink

\ \ Belting the grape Drinking wine

\ \ Bend Talk, chatter

\ \ someone's "Anyway, thanks for the cheer, ear I hope you didn't mind my bending your ear."

\ \ From the ballad "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)," Frank \ Sinatra, live at The Sands, Las Vegas, 1966

\ \ Bent out of 1. Upset, disturbed

\ \ shape 2. High on drugs or drink

\ \ Berries Something mighty fine

\ \ "She had black hair an' black eyes an' a figure that looked like a serpent \ with nerve troubles. Except for the fact that she hadn't had her face lifted \ she mighta been your favourite film star.

\ \ That baby was the berries."

\ \ From the novel Your Deal, My Lovely, Peter Cheyney, 1941 Better tune me Understand what I'm telling you \ in and get my "Better tune me in and get my signal right signal right Or there'll be no rockin' tomorrow night."

\ \ From the rockabilly recording

\ \ "I Got a Rocket in My Pocket," Jimmy Logsdon (a.k.a. Jimmy Lloyd), 1958

\ \ Bible-puncher Clergyman \

\ Big barracuda An important guy

\ \ " 'Got his name?'

\ \ 'Morrison--big barracuda.'

\ \ 'He was D.O.A. Knife cut his heart in half.'

\ \ 'Nobody did it, nobody saw it.' "

\ \ From the film Where the Sidewalk Ends, 1950

\ \ Big chill Death

\ \ Big house Prison

\ \ In nineteenth-century England, it was a slang name for the workhouse. Big house up Sing Sing prison the river

\ \ Big sleep Death

\ \ Used by Raymond Chandler as the title of one of his most famous books, published in 1939, and filmed in 1946 with Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe.

\ \ Biscuit snatchers Fingers, hands

\ \ Biters Teeth

\ \ Blab Talk, give the game away

\ \ Blab sheet Newspaper

\ \ Black Nighttime

\ \ "Say, you look ready as Mister Freddy this black."

\ \ Freddy Slack talks hep to Ella Mae Morse during the intro to their 1946 \ boogie recording "House of Blue Lights."

\ \ Black and white Police car

\ \ Blackstick Clarinet

\ \ Blast Telephone call

\ \ "If you ever come to Riverport, how about giving me a blast on the phone?"

\ \ From the film Jailhouse Rock, 1957

\ \ Blast the joint Smoke dope

\ \ Blast yourself Go mad wacky Blasted Drunk, intoxicated

\ \ Blasting party Dope party

\ \ Bleating your trap Complaining

\ \ Blind staggers Drunkenness

\ \ Blocked Drunk or high on drugs

\ \ Blonde "It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained \ glass window."

\ \ From the novel Farewell, My Lovely,

\ \ Raymond Chandler, 1940

\ \ Blot out Kill, assassinate Blow General term for playing a musical instrument, regardless of type

\ \ Blow a fuse Go crazy, go wild Blow in on Arrive, make an entrance the scene

\ \ Blow the box Play the piano \

\ Blow the joint Leave the building

\ \ "Let's blow this joint, the music's dead . . ."

\ \ From the rockabilly recording "Cast Iron Arm," Johnny Peanuts Wilson, 1956

\ \ Blow the scene Leave, disappear

\ \ "Look, baby, just don't you blow the scene on me! Stick in town or I'll \ chase you down to hell itself!"

\ \ From the novel Two Timing Tart,

\ \ John Davidson, 1961

\ \ Blow the works Spill the beans, tell all

\ \ Blow up a Cut loose during a musical number, get hot, play storm at your best . \ \


\ \ Copyright 2001 by Max Decharne \ \

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