Booze is Back
December 5th, 2012Filed under: Stories
On December 5, 1933, the Twenty-First Amendment to the Constitution was officially ratified, abolishing the Eighteenth Amendment and bringing booze back. In honor of this historic moment, this Prohibition lexicon will help you party like it’s 1933.
Partygoers celebrate the repeal of Prohibition, 1933
Bathtub gin: exactly what it says it is, homemade gin concocted in people’s bathtubs.
Bee’s knees: anything that was fun or cool. The best!
Blind pig: a divier type of speakeasy (see below)
Bootlegger: someone who sold illegal booze. The term came from people hiding flasks in their boots.
Cat’s pajamas: similar to bee’s knees (see above)
Clam: a dollar, currency. Hey man, can I borrow a few clams?
Dogs: feet,yours. I walked so much my dogs are barkin’!
Members of the Junior League sport the Flapper look—short hems and shorter hair, 1924
Moonshine: illegally made booze, usually gin, named because it was often made at night by the light of the moon. Moonshiner: a person who makes moonshine.
Scofflaw: someone who ignored the laws of Prohibition and drank illegally made or sold liquor.
Sozzled: drunk. Holy smokes, I was sozzled last night.
Speakeasy: an illegal drinking den. As we all know, people tend to get louder as they drink. During Prohibition, wets (see below) would have to remind one another to “speak easy” so as not to attract the attention of the cops. Speakeasies tended to be high-end establishments (as opposed to blind pigs).
Al Capone, 1931, Chicago, Illinois
Untouchable: a member of an elite crime fighting team with the sole purpose of enforcing Prohibition.
Wets: people who drank; the opposite of a dry.
Wet blanket: someone who’s no fun. Don’t be a wet blanket.