Era Vocabulary - Ever Get "Corned?"


As I have researched the pre-World War I era of auto racing I have come across the slang or "street language" of the time. To develop authentic diaglogue from this period of American history, the following is a list of words that are essential.

  • Scorcher – Race driver, daredevil
  • Kick – Complaint
  • Crack – Standout, expert
  • Snapper – Photographer
  • Society – The wealthy class, usually inherited wealth
  • Swell – A noun, someone who is special, usually privileged
  • Going “Great Guns” – Doing extremely well, or with high energy or speed
  • Corned – Drunk (the result of consuming corn whiskey)
  • Bully – Great, exceptional
  • Democratic – Not showing preference for social standing
  • Chesterfield – one with savoir faire, like royalty – the Earl of Chesterfield
  • Sport – A noun, someone who is ostentatious, “sporting” fancy clothes and jewelry.
  • Derby – derived from horse racing, a term for an auto race.
  • Game – sport, business, occupation
  • Churchwarden pipe - a curved lengthy pipe for tobacco
  • La Pompadour – Woman’s hairstyle
  • Joshing – joking, teasing
  • “Rag Time Airs” – Popular music from a band
  • Voiture Legere – Light weight racing car class
  • Duck – durable, closely woven cotton or linen cloth

For what it's worth...