Submissions welcome! Here is a list of words and expressions seldom heard these days. In the streets of Forest Hills in the 1950's however one was likely to commonly hear these terms. We have omitted terms of profane, sexual, racial and ethnic natures as those are readily available elsewhere on the Internet. Compilers are not representing this as a complete list and additions, corrections, and suggestions are earnestly solicited. Please drop a note to Jeff McGann at

A . B . C . D . E . F . G . H . I . J . K . L . M . N . O . P . Q . R . S . T . U . V . W . X Y Z


A.K. - ass kisser, suck-up; results in being a brown noser (see under B)

All Across - field game requiring no equipment, similar to Red Rover Come Over; either “touch” or tackle

Ape  (go)- to get crazily excited

Apeshit (go) - to get really crazily excited. “He went Apeshit when I told him”.

Ass wagon - cool car


 Bad news - a trouble person, as in “he’s bad news”

Bag - thing, as in “it ain’t my bag”

Barf - to vomit after over-imbibing alcohol at a bash (see under B)

Bash - great party

Bombed - really drunk

Boss - something cool, good

Bent - to drop dead, as in “get bent!”

Big Shot - an important person

Bit - an act, premise, as in “get the bit” i.e. to understand

Blast - good time

BMOC- big man on campus

Bob, Bobbed - a short hairstyle, as in “she got her hair bobbed at John Christie’s”

Bread - money

Brown noser - habitual A.K. (see under A)

Bug - to annoy

Bug out - to leave

Burn rubber - to screech off in car

Butt me! - Give me a cigarette


Cameo Lounge, the - basement bowling alley and bar on Austin Street

Can’t beat it with a stick- something really great

Cat - cool guy

Chariot - car

Cherry - good; also a virgin

Chinos - khaki trousers with a little belt and buckle in the back

Cinch, a – easy

CH – Forest Hills Community House on Borage Place and Beechknoll Road

Cheesit, the cops! - Run!

Chucker - basketballer who shoots a lot

Chicken fight - 2 vs. 2 wrestling while riding on partner’s shoulder, often played in water

City, the - Manhattan

Club, the - West Side Tennis Club

Coffin nails – cigarettes

Community House- social and athletic center located on Borage Place; commonly “CH”

Cool - indefinable great quality, extraordinary

Cool it! - Relax!

Corona Dukes - fearsome gang often rumored about to invade FH (fearless Al Lassiter vowed, “I’m waitin’!”

Country club - an easy school

Crack up - to laugh heartily, as in “When he said that, it really cracked me up”

Crab races - session of making out (see under M) near body of saltwater; also submarine races (see under S)

Crazy - implies a good thing, as in “That’s crazy, man”

Cream - to ejaculate; also damage

Cruisin’ for a bruisin’ - pushing the limit(s)

Crush-to like someone romantically

Cut out - to leave, as in “I’m cuttin’ out”


D.A. – hairstyle resembling a duck’s ass

Daddy-O – casual form of address

Depants - to forcibly remove an individual’s trousers in public

Devil Dogs - devil’s food cake with creamy filling, hot dog bun shaped (12 c)

Dibs! - a claim on something

Dig - to understand

Dinker - in tennis, lobber, soft, and drop-shot artist

Dip, dipshit - real jerk or fool in presence of parents or clergy, dipstick

Dippy - crazy

Ditch - to suddenly leave or disappear on a friend or group

Dixie Dew - horse rentals in Forest Park

Dog - ugly or generally poor

Dork - nerd

Drag - depressing, a bore

Drag- a puff on a cigarette

Dunce- a dope

Dutch treat - something for which you split the check, also go Dutch (see under G)


Engineer boots - heavy black work boots worn by Rocks (see under R)


Fake out - to fool

Falsies - breast size-enhancers often as simple as toilet paper or tissues 

Far out - weird, cerebral

Fast-more willing to get into heavy petting (see under P) or more (said of girls, for boys it was a given)

Feel cheap-emabarassed, regretful

F.H.G.- Forest Hills Gardens

Fink - to squeal, tattletale

Flagg Flyers - shoes with hinged closure

Flake - unreliable person

Flatleave, flatleaver - disappear, ditch (see under D) a friend or group; one who does this, as in “The flatleaver just left me there!”

Flicks - movies at the Midway, Forest Hills, Trylon, or Inwood

Flip - to get excited (over)

Florida Special- orange juice based non alcoholic beverage served at WSTC (see under W); famous world-wide

Fordham  Baldies - (Mythical?) Bronx gang who preyed on Queens school kids with barbering equipment, leaving victims with shaved heads 

Forty five- record speed and type of popular music record of the era. Also, the player with thick spindle.

Fracture - to amuse

Frosted – angry

Fruitcake- crazy as in “He’s a fruitcake” or “He’s nuttier than a fruitcake”

Fuzz, the - police


Gardens cop - guard who chased non-residents out from parks

Garrison belt - heavily buckled wide leather belt swung in fights by Hoods (see under H), Rocks (see under R)

Gas - Sinatraese for “fun”

Geek - gangly one; sometimes also nerdy and/or dorky

Gee Whiz! - expression of regret or amazement

Get the bit - to understand

Get the heave- to be unceremoniously sacked or thrown out

Get on the stick - to become aware, capable

Get with it! - similar to Get on the stick (see under G)

Gig - occupation, performance

Go ape - similar to Ape (see under A)

Go Dutch - to split or share expenses

Going steady- serious dating relationship

Golly - similar to Gee Whiz (see under G)

Goof-off - [noun] malingerer

Goody two shoes – uncommonly good person (from 1934 children’s story character)

Goose - [verb] usually involving rear end-grabbing, jabbing, poking


Hack around - to loiter and/or fool around aimlessly

Hairy-close call or situation, dangerous: as in “That was a hairy ride down S Hill in Forest Park”

Hangout - loitering place such as Sutton Hall soda counter booths, as in “You kids think this is some kind of hangout?”

Hard up - in dire need, as in “If she went out with him she must be really hard up”

Hep - being with it, knowing the situation

Hip - someone cool, in-the-know, up to date

Hi-Fi - expensive record player

Hit the road - to depart 

Hock - to swipe, steal

Hood - hoodlum often clad in black leather jacket, engineer boots, garrison belt (see under G) with DA (see under D)

Hof Hall- CH gym and auditorium

Hot-to-trot- willingly anxious  (usually used in a  sexual context)

Hubba hubba- appreciative remark usually applied to attractive female, often followed by, “ding ding!”

Hump - loser, as in “What a hump!”


I.D. bracelet- usually a male’s chain bracelet with rectangular plaque inscribed with name or initials often worn by girlfriend when ( see under G) Going Steady

Indian giver - one who takes back a gift

Indian rope burn - twisting of wrist skin to cause pain

Indian wrestling – strength contest involving pulling opponent off balance while shaking hands

Inn, the – Forest Hills Inn at Station Square a Knott hotel, social center; home of famed Tournament Grill

Iron worm - the subway

Island, the - landmass east of Queens

Ivy League - dress style incorporating pants with a little belt in the back, white bucks (see under W), V-neck sweater often draped around shoulders

Ivy Leaguer - clean-cut collegiate-looking guy; opposite of Hood (see under H), Rock (see under R)


Jailbait - underage girl; sometimes Stacked (see under S)

Johnny-Ride-a-Pony - schoolyard game involving vaulting onto players’ backs

Jones’- Austin Street candy store near Ascan Avenue

J.D. - juvenile delinquent


K.F.- Kew Forest Preparatory School at Union Tpke. and Austin Street


Large charge - something exciting causes it

Lucky duck - fortunate person


Made in the shade - success, successful

Make out, making out - kissing and hugging with all four hands above the waist; vs. Petting (see under P)

Make the scene - be there

Matches, the - US National Tennis Championships at the WSTC (see under W)

Meanwhile, back at the ranch – sarcastic prompt to get speaker back on the subject

Mimeo-a copy made by machine (Mimeograph)

Mission - inexpensive, delicious, slightly carbonated, 12 oz bottle of soda in various flavors (10c)

Miss Ehler’s - dreaded (by some) CH-based white glove dancing class

Metro - Metropolitan Avenue

Monkey-in-the-Middle - keepaway street game

Moonshiners - Cameo-based gang of ruffians who reputedly prowled the Gardens looking for victims to  depants (see under D)

Mr B Collar-high rolled collar patented by singer Billy Eckstine


No sweat - easy

Noogie - rap on the skull; to hit someone on the top of the head with one knuckle extended.


Oddball - strange person

Ollie Ollie in come free!-you can come out of your hiding place, you are not “it”

Olquom – Youth club of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs (OLQM) Church

Out-to-lunch - dazed mental state


Pad - apartment, home

Pajama party- group sleepover (usually girls and ONLY girls)

Panic, a - something funny

Party pooper - event spoiler

Passion pit - drive-in theater

Pea shooter-small straw-like tube for shooting  beans or peas from mouth (bane of moviegoers)

Peel out - burn-rubber departure

Pegged pants - formal trousers especially for Hoods (see under H), Rocks (see under R)

Penguin - teaching nun

Petting - making out (see under M) with hands possibly drifting below the waist

P.F. – Pilgrim Fellowship youth organization of Church- In- The- Gardens

Pididdle - one headlighted car; supposed reason for a kiss from date

Pinkball - Spalding rubber ball; also stickball

Potsie - sidewalk game aka hopscotch

Pusher-drug dealer

Put out - girl willing to Pet (see under P)


Rank, Rankout - clever put down, usually as humorous and insulting as possible, as in,  “If  b.s. was cement, you’d be a ten lane highway to Alaska”

Rat fink - tattler or total jerk

Raunchy - messy or gross

Red Rover Come Over - field game sans equipment similar to All Across (see under A); good groping

opportunities when played co-ed

Ring-a-Levio - form of hide and seek

Rock - Hood (see under H); antonym of Ivy Leaguer (see under I)

Royal Shaft - similar to Shaft (see under S) applied by, or to, noblemen or high-ranking personages

Rubber - condom; often used in sarcasm, as in “What’s that got to do with the price of rubbers?”

Rumble - gang fight

Running Bases - 3-man catch and tag game similar to Monkey-in-the–Middle (see under M) that simulates a player getting caught in a rundown between bases


Salugi - keepaway game involving the snatch of something (usually hat or school book) belonging to another and tossing it back and forth with a third person to prevent the owner from getting it back

Say, say, say - Bill Knockey turn of phrase usually followed by “eliminate the fooling around”

Scene, the - the place or event

Schoolyard, the-  PS 101 fenced in athletic field

Scream - something very funny

Shaft - imaginary anal missile

Shotgun! - front seat call, Dibs! (see under D); used when traveling with family; mothers always trumped call

Skitch - winter sport comprised of riding car bumpers on snowy streets

Smarty pants- a know-it-all

Smartass- wiseacre (see under W) know-it-all

Sock hop - informal dance

Spaldeen - Spalding made rubber ball, pinkball (see under P)

Split - to leave

Spud - game of It involving throwing a ball to tag the victim; also putrid-tasting cigarette brand

Stacked - large-breasted, referring to a female

Stickball - broomstick-bat pinkball (see under P) baseball played in street; also 2-man version on schoolyard wall

Stick up - to defend, as in “Why don’t you stick up for me?”

Stoop ball - game played with tennis ball or Spaldeen (see under S) batless baseball variation

Straighten up and fly right - behavioral advice similar to Wise Up! (see under W)

Straight Arrow- well-behaved goody two shoes (see under G)

Submarine races –making out (see under M) near water

Suckahatchee! - supposed vile Japanese curse

Super - building maintenance man, often residing on premises

Square, a - uncool conformist

Square, the - Station Square    


Tear ass - to go very fast

Think fast! - reflex check

Threads - wardrobe

Three on a match - bad luck to third person (dates to WWI trench warfare; third man often shot by snipers)

Thrown to the wolves - to sacrifice; due to shortage of wolves, today synonymous phrase is “throw under the bus” 

Tinkle - ladylike term for urination

Townies - prep school attendees’ derisive description of local residents

Tracks, the- LIRR tracks paralleling Burns and Austin Streets through the Village (see under V)


Up yours! - verbalization of  middle finger gesture often accompanied by upfisted crook arm flourish

Upsie daisy - cute saying while helping one to one’s feet after mishap


Village, the - Austin Street

Village, The - Greenwich Village


Wasted - drunk

Way out! - innovative

Wazoo - anal canal often used to in quantitative description, as in “I’ve got homework tonight up the wazoo!”

Weed - cigarette 

West Side - West Side Tennis Club (WSTC)

White bucks - laced white suede shoes with red soles

Wild - amazing thing

Wiseacre - smartass (see under S)

Wise guy - smart aleck 

Wisenheimer-sarcastic variation of wise guy, wiseacre (see above)

Wise up! - truculent behavior suggestion


Yackahooeydingding - supposed vile Chinese curse involving some sort of exotic copulation

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