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Ever wonder what the lingo was back in 1920's Chicago? Sure, we've heard a few lines in the gangster movies with Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney. Now lets go really see a small sample of what was said back in the day.
Todays words with the gangster equivalents
Machine gun = Big rod, typewriter, tommy, grind organ , puff box.
Machine gunner = Chopper, organ grinder, tommy man.
To kill = Bump off, knock off, let him have it, bump, slip the bump, give it to him, take for a ride, give him the works.
Pistol = Rod ,gat, roscoe, heater.
Policeman = Copper, bull, John Law, flat-foot.
Detective = Dick, flattie , dummy.
To be killed = Get it.
Bullet = Slug.
Girl = Broad, dame, skirt, chippy, roach, moll, frail.
To flee = Lam.
Criminal charge = Rap.
Jail = Can, jug.
Prison = Big house, stir.
To steal loot or liquor = Hijack.
Illicit trade = Racket.
Thousand dollars = Grand.
Money = Dough.
Dollar = Buck.
Alcohol = Alky.
Bomb = Pineapple, Dago football, peanut.
Sawed - off shotgun = Long- cut -short.
To search pockets = Frisk, fan.
Hold up = Stick up, Heist.
Jail term = Hitch, stretch, bit , time , jolt.
Crime = Job.
Gangster = Hoodlum, hood, rod, red-hot, mugg, bird,guy, egg, racketeer, torpedo.
Face =Mug, lug, pan , mush.
Saloon or cafe =Joint, spot.
Gang = mob, crew.
Informer = Stool pigeon, pigeon, rat.
To arrest = Pinch, grab.
Gang leader = Big shot, red-hot, big rod, mokker, heavy guy.
Run = Scram, screw, lam, beat it, duck.
Marked for death = On the Spot.
To decoy to death = Put on the spot.
Government detective = G Man.
Electric chair = Hot squat, hot seat, flame chair.
To force way into racket = Muscle in.
Lawyer = Mouthpiece, mouth, lip, shyster, front.
Physician = Croaker.
Follow = Tail, shadow.
To betray to police = Squawk, squeal, sing, cough up, spill the beans.
Dentist = Jawcracker
Name = Monicker, handle, tag.
Hint = Office.
Eyes = Peepers, glims.
Youngster = Punk.
Counterfeit money = Queer.
Purse = Kick, poke, leather.
Whiskey = hooch, booze.
Gangster words and definitions
Apron = Bartender.
Bazoo = An easy victim.
Bracelets = Handcuffs.
Broad = Mistress; immoral; prostitute.
Bought new shoes = Jumped a bail bond.
Big Time = The city; any metropolitan district.
Belch = To complain or make complaint.
Bench nibs = A judge.
Big boy = Federal judge.
Badger = Person, ususally a woman, who lures victim of a consiracy into compromising or incriminating situation.
Below the line = Worst cells in a jail
Benny = Overcoat.
Big Cough = Bomb containing a heavy charge of explosive.
Buzz = To interview; also in the sinister meaning of visiting to intimidate.
Bum = Pugilist; prize- fighter.
Button = Policeman's star.
Dance hall = Cell block where inmates are kept before execution.
Dip = Pickpocket.
Dizzy stick = Policeman's club or night stick.
Donkies = Ears.
Dynamiter = High pressure salesman.
Fish = One dollar.
Ghive = Stiletto.
Gyp = To defraud; to obtain money by threats or false pretences.
Heeled = Armed with a gun.
Hoop = Finger ring.
House work = Burglary; robbery done indoors.
Jib= To joke.
Jig = A colored person.
Junker = Dealer of narcotics.
Jungle buzzard = A hobo who steals from his own.
Kisser = Mouth.
Lamp = To observe.
Lulu = Gangster's sweetheart.
Lusher = An alcoholic.
Mack = Pimp.
Mexican stand off = To kill in cold blood.
Mush = Face.
Mouthpiece = Lawyer.
Nautch house = House of prostitution.
Necktie = Rope.
Needle = To inject alcohol in liquid, such as beer, to make it stimulating.
Oday = Money.
Oh, My = Near beer.
Over the fence = Disposed of.
Persuader = Billy club.
Plaster = Court order to close an establishment.
Playhouse = Jail with lax rules.
Porch cover = Fancy necktie.
Rib = To talk slander about anyone.
Roach = Immoral girl.
Rocks = Precious stones.
Round the horn = Taking a prisoner from police station to police station to avoid him getting a habeas corpus until some information can be obtained from him.
Sab Cat = One who sabotages for hire.
Sap = Billy club.
Silk Hat = Publicly respected member of the mob.
Sleigh ride = To use cocaine or morphine.
Sluch = Money for dirty work.
Soup = Nitroglycerine.
Snowbird = Addict who uses cocaine.
Sugar = Money.
Sweetheart = Anyone you particularly dislike.
Thinner = Dime.
Throw the boots into = To kick viciously.
Tip Chaser = Bell boy in a hotel.
Tops = Loaded dice.
Touch = Demand a bribe.
U- Boat = One who works secretly to displace his boss or leader.
Up and Up = Honest.
Up the street = Bombed.
Uptown = To treat snobbishly.
Works = Violence used to obtain information.
Wrong Gee = The wrong person; one mistakenly identified.
Yam = Talk too much.
Yell = Anything comical.
Yodeler = A pervert, an effeminate.
Zebra = A convict.
These words and definitions were taken from The life of Al Capone in pictures and also from the 1929 book called "It's a Racket" by Hostetter and Beesley.
First Posted December 2008