18 Old-Timey Words and Terms to Use at Your New Year's Eve Party

Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images
Art Media/Print Collector/Getty Images

Spice things up at your New Year’s Eve shindig tonight with these delightful old-timey slang terms, courtesy of Green’s Dictionary of Slang.

1. Barney

According to Green’s, this slang term—which has Irish origins—is defined as “an enjoyable social occasion; a rowdy party,” and dates to 1859. It fell out of popular usage in the 1960s.

2. Dressed Up Like a Lighthouse

This phrase is used to describe someone “flashily, ostentatiously dressed,” and dates to 1933.

3. Muffin-worry

This term for an evening party dates to 1855. Just a few years later, it would come to mean “an old ladies’ tea party.”

4. Blow Off

This term has two potential meanings that could apply to tonight: The first, which you’ll hopefully avoid, is “an emotional outburst; a sudden fight or argument,” and was used between 1863 and 1952. The second, from 1886 and in use until 1915, is “a party, a celebration.” Here’s an example usage, from the book Knocking the Neighbors: “The Blow-Off came on the Trip to the City. That was the Big Entertainment.”

5. Bugged Up

Another way to describe getting dressed up, this slang term dates back to 1893, and fell out of use in the 1930s.

6. Spreeing Cove

You’ve probably heard the word spree used in reference to partying, but you’ve probably never heard of a spreeing cove, or “one who is enjoying a party or jollification,” a term that dates to 1846.

7. Jazzer

We’re about to enter the 2020s, so why not use a term from the 1920s tonight? A jazzer is term for a party-goer and dates to 1922.

8., 9., 10., 11., and 12. Conversation Water, Joy Water, Swell’s Lush, Sassy Suds, and Wealthy Water

These are all slang terms for champagne: Conversation water dates to 1880. In the U.S., joy water meant alcohol, generally, between 1903 and 1945, but in Australia, it specifically referred to champagne and was in use from 1919 to 1924. Swell’s lush is another Aussie slang term for champagne, in use in 1876.

Sassy suds and wealthy water date to 1907; Walla Walla, Washington’s Evening Statesman provides an example of their usage: “When we entertain fittingly we ...‘Lick up the wealthy water,’ or the ‘Sassy suds.’"

13. Champagne Charlie

This term, which means “a devotee of champagne,” dates to 1867, when H.J. Whymark and Alfred Lee released the popular song “Champagne Charlie Is My Name.” Here’s a sampling of the lyrics:

"I’ve seen a deal of gaiety throughout my noisy life
With all my grand accomplishments I ne’er could get a wife,
The thing I most excel in is the P. R. F. G. game,
A noise all night in bed all day, and swimming in Champagne.

"For Champagne Charlie is my name, Champagne Charlie is my name
Good for any game at night, my boys, good for any game at night, my boys,
Champagne Charlie is my name, Champagne Charlie is my name
Good for any game at night, boys, who’ll come and join me in a spree."

According to Green’s, “The original Champagne Charlie was a wine-merchant who was very free with gifts of his stock.”

14. and 15. Laughing Soup and Laughing Soup Parlor

Laughing soup is another slang term for champagne, dating to 1903; a laughing soup parlor is a bar.

16. In One’s Airs

A person could end up in one’s airs—a.k.a. drunk—after drinking all of that champagne. None other than Ben Franklin defined the term in The Pennsylvania Gazette: “They come to be well understood to signify plainly that A MAN IS DRUNK. [...] He’s in his Airs.”

17. Catch a Fox

Slang term for being very drunk, in use from 1630 to the 1720s.

18. Roll in Someone’s Ivory

You might be doing this at midnight: To roll in someone’s ivory, which dates to 1780, means “to kiss.”

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

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Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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10 Words and Phrases That Came From TV Shows

Photo illustration by Mental Floss. Image: iStock.
Photo illustration by Mental Floss. Image: iStock.

Television can be a hotbed of creativity (or mediocrity, depending on who you ask). But it's not just characters and storylines writers are coming up with—they also coin words. Here are 10 surprising words that were invented thanks to TV.

1. Poindexter

While this term for a studious nerd might seem very 1980s, it actually comes from a cartoon character introduced on TV in 1959. In the series Felix the Cat, Poindexter is the feline’s bespectacled, genius nephew, supposedly named for Emmet Poindexter, the series creator’s lawyer.

2. Eye Candy

This phrase meaning a thing or person that offers visual appeal but not much substance originally referred to such a feature of a TV program. According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), it first appeared in 1978 issue of a Louisiana newspaper called The Hammond Daily Star: “Sex … is more blatant ... ‘Eye candy,' as one network executive calls it.” Ear candy is slightly earlier, from the title of a 1977 album by Helen Reddy, while arm candy is later, from 1992.

3. Ribbit

Think frogs have always been known to say “ribbit”? Think again: According to the OED, this onomatopoeia might have originated on a TV show in the late-1960s. While we can’t say for sure that absolutely no one was making this frog sound before then, the earliest recorded usage found so far (according to linguist Ben Zimmer) is from a 1965 episode of Gilligan’s Island, in which Mel Blanc voiced a character called Ribbit the Frog. This predates the OED’s earliest entry, which is from a 1968 episode of the Smother Brothers Comedy Hour: “That’s right. Ribit! .. I am a frog.”

4. Sorry About That

You've probably used this expression of regret more than once in your life, but did you know it was popularized by Get Smart? It's one of the many catchphrases from the late 1960s TV show. Others include “missed it by that much” and “the old (so-and-so) trick.”

5. Cromulent

Cromulent is a perfectly cromulent word, as far as the OED is concerned. This adjective invented on The Simpsons means “acceptable, adequate, satisfactory.” Other OED words the denizens of Springfield popularized are meh (perhaps influenced by the Yiddish “me,” meaning “be it as it may, so-so,” from 1928 or earlier), d’oh (the earliest recorded usage is from a 1945 British radio show), and embiggen, which first appeared in an 1884 publication by English publisher George Bell: “Are there not, however, barbarous verbs in all languages? … The people magnified them, to make great or embiggen, if we may invent an English parallel as ugly.”

6. Five-O

The OED’s earliest citation of this slang term for the police is from a 1983 article in The New York Times, although it was probably in use long before that. The moniker comes from Hawaii Five-O, which premiered in 1968. In the show, five-o refers to a particular police unit and apparently was named in honor of Hawaii being the 50th state.

7. Gomer

While the word gomer has been around since the year 1000 (referring to a Hebrew unit of measure), the sense of someone stupid or inept comes from the inept titular character in the 1960s show Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. It’s also a derogatory name among medical professionals for a difficult patient, especially an elderly one.

8. Cowabunga

Sure, the 1960s surfing slang might have regained popularity in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s due to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon series, but it originated way before then. Chief Thunderthud, a character on the 1950s children’s show Howdy Doody would use it as faux Native American language. After that, it somehow made its way into surfer slang, hence becoming a catchphrase of Michelangelo, the hard-partying, surfing ninja turtle.

9. Har De Har

The next time you want to laugh in a sarcastic, old-timey way, thank Jackie Gleason for popularizing har de har via his iconic 1950s show, The Honeymooners.

10. Spam

So how in the world did spam, originally the name of a canned ham, come to mean junk email or to inundate with junk emails or postings? Chalk it up to Monty Python’s Flying Circus. The food Spam (which stands for either “spiced ham” or “shoulder of pork and ham”) was invented during the Great Depression in the late 1930s. Fast-forward 40-some-odd years and the British sketch comics were singing incessantly about it. This apparently was the inspiration for the computer slang that came about in the early 1990s.