Teen slang (1952): "nerd", "pashpie", "book gook", "jizzy", etc.

Wilson Gray hwgray at EARTHLINK.NET
Fri Aug 6 01:53:54 UTC 2004

On Aug 5, 2004, at 8:55 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Douglas G. Wilson" <douglas at NB.NET>
> Subject:      Teen slang (1952): "nerd", "pashpie", "book gook",
> "jizzy", etc.
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
> Here is "nerd" and here are some other items, straight from St. Joe.
> ----------
> _Herald-Press_ (St. Joseph MI), 23 June 1952: p. 14, cols. 7-8:
> <<
> To 'Clue Ya' To Be 'George'

Whoa! I've always considered "George" to be artificial slang peculiar
to a white Saint Louis radio station, which used it in ads for one of
their DJ's: "The kids say he's 'real George,' but he's really [name
that I've forgotten], Saint Louis's most popular disk jockey!" I don't
recall natural usage by teens of any race. 1952 is the right year.

>  And Not A 'Nerd' Or 'Scurve'
> "Hey Dad, can I borrow the bug to go to the hecklethon? I've got a date
> with a pashpie who is a real wheel and not a bit pink."
> The parent who replies in the affirmative is "real George and
> ricky-tik"
> but a suggestion to stay home and study instead will most likely be
> "filed
> under O," as that idea is "strictly for the birds."
> If the patois throws you, you're definitely not in the know, because
> anyone
> who is not a nerd (drip) knows that the bug is the family car and a
> hecklethon is not a dangerous race, but merely the neighborhood movie
> theater.
> The idea of dating a "pashpie" is really quite appealing when you know
> that
> a pashpie is a dreamy gal. Saying she is a "wheel" means, of course,
> that
> she is an important person. A "pink" person doesn't have a contagious
> disease but, almost as bad, is stuck-up.
> Of course failure to get the car will probably get a "that's the way
> the
> ball bounces"

Also, "that's the way the spearmint chews"; "that's the way the genes
lean"; "that's the way the cookie crumbles" in StL.

>  out of one of the crowd (he means that's the way it goes.)
> If the jelly-tot (young kid trying to be older than his years) does
> manage
> to talk his parents into loaning him the car, some jealous scurve
> (drip,
> again) is bound to come up with "Well, Jazz-a-boo for you."
> To be "cool" is the desire of every teen-ager but the title of "book
> gook"
> (book worm) is to be shunned. The teen-age sophisticate disposes of
> bores
> with "Fly away like a bird, boy, you bother me," and instead of "I'll
> tell
> you" the modern version is "I'll clue you."
> A subtle warning to a person who is about to blow his top is: "Don't
> panic," and one about to cry is told "Don't choke up."

"Don't choke" meant "Don't panic/get upset" in StL.

>  Among some groups a
> "cat" is a flashy dresser or a smooth character, who puts on the dog.
> "Let's rev" means let's go, and the appropriate answer is "reet"
> (okay).

"Reet, petite, and gone" in black StL.

-Wilson Gray

> One of the things often heard but seldom understood, even by the
> teeners,
> is "Chop chop, let's get cutting," and a "hubcap" is a "flash in the
> pan."
> Approval of anything from a movie star to a new song is expressed with
> "pretty fine," "it's real precious" or "it's the greatest." Jizzy or
> jizz
> are also complimentary expressions meaning "nice." Everything doesn't
> meet
> with approval, of course, and those items which don't are neatly
> labeled
> "strictly ick."
> Harmless but effective words for expressing disappointment are "fer
> shimmel" and "san o wich." Instead of saying "get him" it's "check
> him" and
> "big time" and "dot's nice, don' fight" are both much-used expressions.
> Hang around any quirt counter (soda fountain) long enough and you, too,
> will learn the lingo of the teen-ager, ....
> ----------
> -- Doug Wilson

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