"Oke" "Smoothie" "Lays an Egg" (1929)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sun Nov 24 18:36:13 UTC 2002

   This is another article that I copied from the Temple University Urban
Archives clippings files on slang.  There are mostly second citations here,
such as for "hop a gut" and "sticking one's neck out," but those are still
important.  "Oke" is certainly of interest.  "Lay an egg" is in line with our
famous "Wall Street Lays an Egg" headline of later this year (1929).   The
RHHDAS has 1934 for "cream."
   Add "smoothie" to my other citations...Notice "toughie" rather than
"jock"...The University of Pennsylvania's PUNCH BOWL is useful for slang, and
it possibly will have an early "hoagie" as well, at least in advertisements.
I'll go back to Philly if anyone wants...I apologize in advance for typing
   From the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 16 June 1929:


_Students "Hop a Gut" When_
   _They Pick Easy Courses,_
   _College Slang Reveals_

_"Toughies Cream" Foes,_
   _While Others Hide Lady_
   _Friends From "Smoothies"_

   The "toughie" is the halfback who carries the ball over the goal line with
a minute to play, the man to lean on when the riot call is turned in.
   The "softie" does not care for the rough game of football, lets his
studies occupy much of his time at college and does not drink, smoke or
   These two characters belong to the latest collection of collegiate slang,
as compiled by an anonymous writer in The Punch Bowl, monthly magazine at the
University of Pennsylvania.
   In the same category is the "smoothie," a college man who has something
which is difficult to describe.  Whatever it is, he has it; and, the article
goes on to say, "when one is entertaining a young lady it is always well to
avoid a 'smoothie,' lest he try to 'smooth' 'em up
   :Occasionally there comes a rare genius who beneath the polished exterior
may boast an arm of iron.  Then we have the rare "toughie-smoothie"
combination, not unlike a stick of dynamite in a platinum case."
   An essential part of the "toughie's" vocabulary is the verb "to cream."
This verb has synonyms which make its meaning plain: To "knock cold," to
"cool," to "beat up on" and to "take."  It may be used in connection with
anything which the speaker dislikes and is often applied to certain
examinations.  A thing or a person which has been "creamed" has been
successfully treated in a violent manner.
   "To 'wolf' or to 'chisel' is to poach on what one should consider sacred
to one's neighbor," says the writer.  "Usually it refers to the depradations
committed by a stag at a prom at the expense of a man who is entertaining a
young lady.  To set with the prupose of doing some 'high-class wolfing' is a
plan with malice aforethought to lure some alluring female from the
protection of her official escort."
   The roommate, in the newest slang, is still "the wife," while a "babe" is
any beautiful dumb young lady introduced to the campus.
   The word "wet" still embraces anything that does not meet with approval.
Applied to an undergraduate, it is a fighting word, unless accompanied by a
   To "be laid an egg" is the sad fate of one who has been completely
crushed, outwitted, defeated.
   To threaten "to get on the ball" indicates a determination to undertake a
persistent effort along any line.
   Speaking scholastically, it is considered better to say "pound the books"
or "study 'em up."
   To "stick out one's neck" is to commit an unpardonable error, to lay one's
self open to criticism, usually that of being "wet," according to this
vocabulary.  A persistent offender should "wise up."
   As in non-collegiate circles, the ponderous O. K. has given way to the
snappier "oke."  There is a sonorous note about this expression, the compiler
says, which has made its vogue immense.
   Among the elite slangsters, in fact, it has almost completely ousted older
   "Hopping a gut" is the quaint expression used when a student elects an
easy course.  When the course proves otherwise than easy, it is said to have
"back-fired."  A "racket" means any plan, subject  or project.

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