By Arika Okrent
These amazing examples of flapper slang are pretty terrific.
Slang historians agree that, starting in the early 1920s, a craze for describing something great with an expression in the form of “the ANIMAL’s SOMETHING” unleashed a torrent of creative idioms. While we still occasionally call up the cat’s pajamas or the bee’s knees when we want to express appreciation, there is a long-dormant supply of delightful alternatives we could and should be bringing back. Here are 15 that never should have gone out of style.
1. The Kitten’s Vest
What’s greater than a cat in pajamas? A kitten in a vest!
2. The Caterpillar’s Kimono
Playing off the unlikely nightwear theme, a caterpillar in a kimono!
3. The Ant’s Pants
How about unlikely clothing of any kind? Even better if it rhymes.
4. The Gnu’s Shoes
Better yet if it rhymes with gnu.
5. The Kipper’s Knickers
Even more fun if you say it “kuh-nickers.”
6. The Fly’s Thighs
Unlikely body parts was another popular theme.
7. The Sardine’s Whiskers
Isn’t this one just the sardine’s whiskers?
8. The Snake’s Hips
It gets that wiggle from somewhere.
9. The Elephant’s Instep
An offshoot of the unlikely body parts theme was comically mundane unlikely body parts.
10. The Gnat’s Elbows
Good old mundane elbows.
11. The Clam’s Cuticle
Points for alliteration.
12. The Flea’s Eyebrows
Can’t you see him wiggling them?
13. The Alligator’s Adenoids
The adenoid is a tonsil in the back of the throat, and in the 1920s getting it removed was the thing to do. These days we keep them more and talk about them less.
14. The Turtle’s Neck
Clever combining of the body part and clothing themes.
15. Snugglepup’s Bow-wow
Every cat has a meow, and every snugglepup a bow-wow.