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You’ve bought an Elvis costume, a Buddy Holly jacket, or a polka dot skirt and petticoat. So you’re ready for your 50’s themed party, right?


You need the lingo, man! You’ll be the big tickle of all the beatniks if you show up and aren’t armed with the vocabulary. So put on some thick-rimmed glasses or a polka dot skirt, go hang out with the other cool cats, then turn your wheels to coolsville and read this handy A-Z guide to 50s slang. Only then will you be ready for the big party.

Who knows, you might even get some backseat bingo at the end of the night…

gas – something that will be an incredible amount of fun. Also known as “an explosion”

I sure would like to take that Cindy to the movies, it would be a gas.

shake gravel – leave quickly.

We better get out of here, Brett. Come on man, shake the gravel!

Are you writing a book? – Back up, you’re asking too many questions.

What will I bring to the party? Where is? What time?

God, Marlon, are you writing a book?

Baby- girl, used for both sexes.

Hey honey, do you come here often?


backseat bingo – the fine art of making out with a girl in a car.

Oh come on, Sally, let’s play a little bingo in the backseat, huh?

bad news – someone who is generally a bad egg, perhaps due to rejection.

Did you have any backseat bingo with Sally last night?

No man, she’s bad news.

tried – party lingo essential for your 50’s themed party!

Hey, are you coming to my party later? It will be a gas.


Beatnik – a follower of the Beat scene, those pre-hippie guys who were sick of war and worried about plunging into an atomic age.

The beatniks were generally accepted as the forerunners of the 1960s hippies, with their “on and off” attitude and rejection of “boring” social values.

big potato – the father of the potential date, or any older person who is not in the Beat scene.

We were home at nine. He had to inform Big Daddy.

bread – money.

Are you coming to see the band later, Danny?

Nah man, I have no bread. I’ll just take Sally in the car.

Error- bother

Why don’t you have bread, Danny?

Look, will you forget? You’re starting to annoy me.

Cata.k.a. Daddy’o – Beatniks’ way of describing a fellow hipster.

Are the rest of you cats coming later?

sure daddy

cooking – doing something right.

Were the ‘Crazy Cats’ at last night’s concert any good?

Of course they were cooking!

Cold – we all know this one! Something that is fashionable.

50s music was so much cooler than 60s crap.

copying a little – Invent something to trick a Beatnik.

He said he had to go home to Big Daddy, but I think he was just coping a little bit.

Cruisin’ for a bruise – Searching for problems.

Hi Danny, I heard Sally found a suitable man.

You better watch what you say, man, you’re looking for a hit.

dibs– calling dibs is claiming something before anyone else.

If Sally is losing Danny, I call Dibbs.

Yeah, good luck with that…

digi it– understand

Just make sure Sally’s back by nine, young man.

Sure, I understand.

looking at a doll – take a good look at a potential date.

Is Mike coming or what?

Nah, he’s still busy watching that doll in the park.

double- a comment that disappears, which means getting lost, leaving.

Danny, are you sure Sally isn’t looking at that guy over there?


greaser – a person with tons of gel in their hair (later became a description for a whole group of people – think phoenix, grease.

Look at Mike, preening in that mirror. He is a greaser.

Go mad- to explode with rage, to be really angry.

I took Sally in at ten the other night. Her father turned monkey.

Hang- as in “hang out” – not do much.

Do you want to hang out with mine later?

Sure, he had no better offers.

hit the sack – lie

Do we see another?

I don’t know man, it’s late and tomorrow we have school. I’m going to go to bed.

kicks – excitement gained from doing something funny or amazing.

Shall we go to the park tomorrow?

For what?

Just for fun!

knuckle sandwich – a fist in the face.

He was really yelling at me, I thought he was going to serve me a knuckle sandwich!

See you later – goodbye, a short form of “see you later, alligator”.

See you at the dance.

Yes, later, alligator.

no sweatshirt – Easy, no problem.

Can you take your sister to the dance later, honey?

Sure mom, don’t worry!

Square – similar to Big Daddy, someone who is not cool and definitely not a Beatnik.

Shall we invite Marlon?

No way, it’s a square.

the big tickle– a laugh at the expense of the victim.

In fact, maybe we should invite Marlon, it would be a real tickler.

Turkey– a stupid or foolish person.

That’s a terrible idea, Mike. you really are a Turkey.

-town – added to the ends of words to create an imaginary place: coolsville, deadsville, squaresville, raresville.

Why would we go to Marlon’s house afterwards? He lives in Squaresville!

What’s humming, cuzzin’? – what’s new?

Hey, what’s buzzing, cousin?

Well, Brad hit his new tires, and Marlon’s still a square.

Wheels – a car, the essential accessory of the 50s.

So does Brad drive?

No, I told you he slammed the wheels!

Read more about 1950s fashion here! That got you started, now buy your cheap 50’s costume from the same place. We’ve added a bunch of new lines recently, including 1950s ladies beehive wigs, greaser wigs, poodle skirts, and pink lady jackets.

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