back to the Roaring Twenties

F Scott Fitzgerald, writer of The Great Gatsby, introduced the word “wicked” as a term of approval. Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of the film opens later and kicks off the Cannes Film festival.

‘Wicked’,’t-shirt’, ‘teenagers’ and ‘mass media’ are also phrases from the Roaring Twenties which came into the language due to the influence of the jazz age on 1920s America. Other words coined include  “wimp”, “junkie” and “mock-up”.

The decade saw the end of prohibition and this spared dozens of terms for being drunk including “squiffy”,”tanked”, “blotto” and “plastered”. Still some of these words for inebriation have been lost such as “spifflicated”.

In 1922, the year the film is set, “Hollywood”, “sexiness” and “transvestite” were all recorded for the first time as well.


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