In “A Piece of Action,” a Star Trek episode where Kirk and Spock land on a planet inspired by 1920s Chicago gangs, the two Starfleet members bumble their way through driving manual cars and adopting the plant’s vernacular. I find this amusing. One one hand, the episode hams up the idiosyncrasies of 1920s speech. On the other, 1960s slang receives the same treatment.
While old slang is certainly amusing, I think there is a place for it today. It provides a bit of comedy into daily interactions and – if you are concerned about this kind of thing – provides an alternative to swearing.
A gas : a fun time
Bee’s Knees : Something good or pleasing
Bookin’ it : Going fast
Cat’s Pajamas : Something good or pleasing
Earthbound : reliable
Groovy : fashionable; excellent
Hayburner : a car with bad gas-mileage
Holy Buckets! : Expression of surprise
Know your onions : Know what is happening
Lighting up the tilt sign : Not telling the truth
Snap your cap : get angry
What’s buzzin’, cousin? : What’s up?
You smelling what I’m stepping in? : Do you understand what I’m staying
Now go confound your friends!