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  • Dig it, man…Bop (slang/jive) Dictionary from 1955, for cool kats (hipsters). Gone, man, gone.

    Posted on February 17th, 2014 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 5 comments

    Beatnik-3Hey kats, let’s take a gone history trip back to the double-nickle brights of the last century.

    (Translation: Let’s take a history lesson from 1955)

    Hep talk, Jive, hipster lingo…It all started with jazz musicians back in the 1920s and 30s. It’s generally accepted that “jive” started as a kind of code, especially to warn your fellow musicians about an impending police raid on the speakeasy you happened to be playing in that night. From there it took off into just a cool way for these kats (musicians) to differentiate themselves from the squares, and from there is took off into any USA culture click that considered themselves gone, out, way out, and in possession of a coolness that the cubes could never dig. Dig?

    Sent to me 20 years ago through a very un-hip but easy-to-use channel, “email”, this is a list of the hippest words with their American translation. I’m not sure, but I believe this dictionary was originally printed in Mad Magazine, c. 1955

    ABE’S CABE – a five dollar bill

    BIG GEORGE – a quarter

    BLAZE – to go

    BLOOD – wine

    BREAD – money

    BRIGHT – day

    BROWN ABE – a penny

    CHEATERS – eye glasses

    CHLOROPHYLL GEORGE – a dollar

    COOL – nice

    CRAZY – odd

    CRIB – house

    CUBE – 3-D square

    CUT – make fun of

    CUT OUT – leave

    DIG, TO DIG – to understand

    DUCE – a two dollar bill

    ENDS – money

    FLICKS – movies

    FLIP – react enthusiastically

    GONE – wonderful

    GREASE – eat

    HENCHMEN – friends

    HOLLYWOOD EYES – cute girls

    HUB CAP – important fellow

    JAMS – bop records

    JELLY TOT – young hub cap

    KAT – latest version of hipster
    Juke-Box-Tiki-Lounge-Talk
    KICK – thrill

    LATER – I’ll see you

    LAY DEAD – wait

    MAN – opening word when addressing a kat

    MAN, MY – friend, comrade

    MAN, THE – Stan Kenton

    NOD – sleep

    NOWHERE – condition of a cube

    OUT, THE OUTEST – best

    PLAYER – popular fellow

    QUIT, QUIT IT – leave

    RANCH – house

    RANK – stupid

    SCARF – eat

    SCROUNGY – bad

    SIDES – bop records

    SILVER JEFF – a nickel

    SILVER WING – a half dollar

    SLAMMER – door

    SONNET – radio commercial

    SPLASH – rain

    SPLIT – to go

    SQUAT – sit

    SQUARE – one who is nowhere

    STOMPERS – shoes

    STONED – ecstatic

    STROLLER – car

    STRUGGLE – dance

    THIN ONE – dime

    TICKS – minutes

    TUNES – bop records

    TURKEY – square

    WASTED – broke

    WHEELS – car

    WILD – nice

    YARD, A YARD – a hundred dollars

    Dig it how some of these terms are still cool today, like ‘dig’ and ‘cool’, along with ‘scarf’, ‘player’, ‘crib’ and ‘jams’. I also particularly dig that “The Man” is Stan Kenton (see previous post). Well, it’s a bop dictionary, after all.

    Compare to the 1958 “COOL” Magazine Hipster Dictionary, one that was more for the masses, not so much for Bop jazzers. Some common ground, of course, but a lot more words for ordinary things. Bop musicians didn’t need so many words. They said very little, saving their strength to play all those notes in their complicated Bop charts. Wild, man, wild.

    -Guest Post by Zoot Jackson, Gobble Pipe blower and swingin’ kat extraordinaire.