Slang Words & Phrases in the 1950s

1991 Slang & New WordsWe’ve put together a list of new words that were added to various dictionaries in the 1950s.

Some of these words are considered slang and others are just new terms. It’s funny to see when new words were added to the English language.


These aren’t all of the slang words used in the 1950s, just new ones the were used so much that they became acceptable to use in every conversation.

For example, did you know that the word “Cookout” didn’t become a normal thing to say until the 50s?

Or did you know that the “bit” as in computer bit was created in 1950? It’s actually short for “binary digit.”

Slang and new words in the 1950s

agricats, “Washington agricultural autocrats”

A-Man, a U.S. government detective

amble-scramble, a system of pedestrian walking at street corners which, for short periods, permits pedestrians to go in any direction.

armored vest, a vest worn for protection against bullets and shrapnel.

atomic cocktail, a dose of medicine containing a radioactive substance such as iodine or phosphorus.

audrey, (automatic digit recognizer) is an electronic mechanism that can recognize and record the numbers zero through nine when spoken.

big labor, Organized labor.

bit, (binary digit) a standardized unit of information

block programming, the practice of arranging radio program so that those of a similar type fall within the same period of the day.

book-burning, a suppression of ideas.

chain reader, someone who reads a lot.

countdown, (1) an arbitrary length of time preceding the firing of a mechanism such as a missile or (2) the actual counting off of this time.

deepie, a 3-D film.

discount house, a cut-price store

drag strip, a road set aside for teenagers to test their hot rods

egghead, an intellectual (often derogatory)

EP, (extended play) a record made by RCA Victor with 300 grooves to the inch.

fair trade, to sell something at a price no lower than the minimum set by the manufacturer.

flatty, a two-dimension motion picture.

girlie magazine, a magazine featuring provocative pictures of girls.

guppy, nickname of an airplane with a radar in its belly

hidden hunger, an unfelt deficiency in nutrition

hollow hunger, a felt deficiency in nutrition

Iron-Curtainland, Communist-dominated territory

jet stream, a westerly wind of the upper stratosphere that sometimes attains velocities of 250 mph or more.

keep, a play in football where the QB holds the ball in front of him in such a way as to make it seem that he is going to throw a forward pass, but he keeps the ball instead and runs with it.

lure girl, a woman secret agent who uses her allurements as an aid in her work.

MASH, Mobile Army Surgical Hospital

Mighty Mite, nickname for a small Jeep.

name-dropper, one who attempts to impress people by continually revealing his acquaintance with well-known people.

pro, short for progressive

red carpet, a symbol of hearty welcome

skygirl, an airplane stewardess

smearathon, a smear campaign

split-level, descriptive of a house with three levels, one extending out from a point midway between the other two, designed for both convenience and for the separation of different family activities.

sportoon, a cartoon whose subject is sport

superzoom lens, a quickly adjustable television camera lens

telegraph, in a play, motion picture or sport, to give a premature and often obvious hint of something to come and so to spoil the value of the action when it occurs.

teleteaching, teaching by television

3-D, three dimensional, giving the illusion of depth

V.T.R., video tape recorder

wumgush, nonsense

xylocaine, a drug used as a local anesthetic.


About Paul Phipps

Paul loves history. He literally read the entire 1987 World Book Encyclopedia when he was 23 years old. His expertise ranges across the entire spectrum of pop culture. He specializes in vintage clothing, sports collectibles, vinyl records and tin toys.

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