Old Blue Eyes. The Chairman of the Board. Frank Sinatra was the epitome of American male coolness. When he walked into any room, his confident swagger created an electric charge. Women wanted to be with him and men wanted to be him.
Part of Sinatra’s manly and cool presence came from the way he talked. See, Frank had a way of livening up every part of life, even the English language. He peppered casual conversations with phrases and words that to the uninitiated sounded like a bunch of gibberish. Yet it left people intrigued, and wanting to be part of the seemingly exclusive fraternity that used this secret lingo. It not only created a magnetic attraction, but simply sounded damn cool.
Below is a dictionary of the secret man language of Frank Sinatra. Throw a few of these words into your conversations among friends. You’ll probably get a few raised eyebrows but like Frank, you’ll add spark to even the most mundane interactions.
- Bag — As in “my bag,” a person’s particular interest.
- Barn burner — A very stylish, classy woman.
- Beard — A male friend who acts as a “cover,” usually for extramarital affairs.
- Beetle — A girl who dresses in flashy clothes.
- Big-leaguer — A resourceful man who can handle any situation.
- Bird — A euphemism sometimes used in reference to the pelvic section.
- Bombsvillle — Any kind of failure in life.
- Broad — Affectionate term for a girl or woman with sex appeal.
- Bum — A person who is despised, most frequently linked to people in the media.
- Bunter — A man who fails in almost everything he does, the opposite of gasser.
- Charley — A general term for anyone whose name has been forgotten. See also Sam.
- Chick — A young and invariably pretty girl.
- Clam-bake — A party or get-together.
- Clyde — A word used to cover a multitude of personal observations: viz, “I don’t like her clyde,” means, “I don’t like her voice,” etc.
- Cool — A term of admiration for a person or place. An alternative word meaning the same thing is crazy.
- Creep — A man who is disliked for any reason whatsoever.
- Crumb — Someone for whom it is impossible to show respect.
- Dame — A generally derogatory term for a probably unattractive woman. The word dog is also sometimes substituted.
- Dig — A term of appreciation for a person or thing, as in “I dig her.”
- Dying — As in, “I’m dying,” which means, “I’m slightly upset.”
- End — A word to signify that someone or something is the very best.
- Endsville — A term to express total failure, and similar to bombsville. See ville.
- Fink — A man who cannot be relied upon, whose loyalties are suspect.
- First base — The start of something, usually applied in terms of failure when someone has failed to reach it.
- Fracture — As in, “That fractures me,” meaning, “That’s an amusing joke.”
- Gas — A great situation as in, “The day was a gas.”
- Gasoline — A term for alcohol, more specifically, Frank’s favorite drink, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whisky.
- Gasser — A man or woman highly admired, considered to be the best or, “The End!”
- Gofer — Someone who does menial jobs or runs errands, as in, “go for drinks,” etc.
- Good night all — A term of invective to change the subject of conversation.
- Groove — As in “in the groove,” a term of admiration or approval.
- Harvey — A man or woman who acts in a stupid or naive fashion; sometimes shortened to a “Harve.”
- Hacked — A word used to describe someone who is angry, as in, “He’s hacked off.”
- Hello! — A cry of surprise to no one in particular when a beautiful woman is seen.
- Hunker — A jack-of-all-trades rather like the gofer.
- Jokes — A term used to describe an actor’s lines in a film script.
- Let’s lose Charley — A term used among intimates who want to get rid of a bore in their company.
- Locked-up — As in “all locked-up,” a term for a forthcoming date or engagement, private or public.
- Loser — Anyone who has made a mess of their life, drinks too much, makes enemies, etc.
- Mish-mash — Similar to loser but refers specifically to a woman who is mixed up.
- Mouse — Usually a small, very feminine girl who invites being cuddled.
- Nowhere — A term of failure, usually applied to a person, viz, “He’s nowhere.”
- Odds — Used in connection with important decisions, as in, “The odds aren’t right,” meaning not to go somewhere, accept anything, or buy something.
- Original loser — A man or woman without talent; sometimes more fully expressed as, “He (she) is the original Major Bowes Amateur Hour loser.”
- Platinum — Having a big heart, generous. “You’re platinum, pussycat!”
- Player — Term for a man who is a gambler by nature, who makes friends easily, and never gives up trying.
- Punks — Any undesirable person, in particular mobsters, gangsters, or criminals.
- Quin — Derisive term for any girl or woman who is an easy pick-up.
- Rain — As in, “I think it’s going to rain,” indicating that it is time to leave a dull gathering or party.
- Ring-a-ding — A term of approval for a beautiful girl, viz, “What a ring-a-ding broad!”
- Sam — Used in the same way as Charley for a person whose name has been forgotten, most often applied to females.
- Scam — To cheat at gambling, as in, “Hey, what’s the scam?”
- Scramsville — To run off.
- Sharp — A person who dresses well and with style.
- Smashed — A word used to describe someone who is drunk. On occasions it has been replaced with “pissed.”
- Square — A person of limited character, not unlike a Harvey.
- Swing — To hang out and drink, smoke, sing, generally get real loose.
- Tomato — As in “a ripe tomato,” a woman ready for seduction or even marriage.
- Twirl — A girl who loves dancing. An alternative word with the same meaning is a “Twist.”
- Ville — A suffix used to indicate changes in any given situation. See endsville, etc.
- Wow-ee wow wow — An expression of glee, joyful anticipation, and a euphemism for lubricious fun.
Need some more help capturing that Sinatra swagger? Listen to some tunes from Old Blue Eyes.
My Way: The Best of Frank Sinatra
The Very Best of Frank Sinatra
Also Listen to My Podcast About the Life of Frank Sinatra:
- Manly Slang from the 19th Century
- WWII Slang
- Cab Calloway Jive Slang
- 50+ Old-Fashioned Insults
- How to Smoke A Cigar: An Illustrated Guide
- A Lesson From Ernest Hemingway in Why You Should Plan Your Weekends
- How to Light a Cigar
The Frank Sinatra Scrapbook: His Life and Times in Words and Pictures