Roaring 20s Definitions for Kids

The Roaring 20s was a time of revolution for American women.
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An exuberant time in America's history, much of the jargon from the 1920s stems from the political and social revolutions that swept across the country, including women gaining the right to vote, the prohibition of alcohol, unprecedented prosperity and the massive migration to cities.

The love for life was widespread, with more than a dozen synonyms springing up to describe anything good, such as nifty, swell, berries, bee's knees, cat's meow and ducky.

1 People

Big Cheese: An important person, especially someone who was in charge.

Bootlegger: A person involved in making and selling illegal liquor during Prohibition.

Flapper: A chic young woman who embraced the changes of the era by wearing short fringe dresses, sporting a bob and patronizing jazz clubs.

Flyboy: Influenced by the glamorous aviators of WWI, this was a man who became a pilot.

Hello Girl: A woman who operated the hundreds of outlets and blinking lights on the telephone switchboards.

New Woman: American writer Henry James coined this term to describe educated, independent career women.

Sheiks: Referencing Italian heartthrob Rudolph Valentino's 1921 silent film The Sheik" these young men wore bellbottom pants with raccoon coats.

2 Fashion

Bob: A dozen variations existed on this short hairstyle for women, including the finger wave, permanent wave and Marcel wave.

Bowler, Fedora, Newsboy Cap: Popular styles of hats worn by men.

Cheaters: A pair of eyeglasses with round lenses.

Cloche: Women wore this fitted, bell-shaped hat.

Coco Chanel: Time magazine's most influential fashion designer of the 20th century, Coco Chanel introduced the Little Black Dress in a 1926 edition of Vogue.

Dolled Up, Dudding Up: Dressing in chic clothes for a night on the town.

Flapper Dress: A straight, loose silhouette, dropped waistline, seamline just below the knee and covered in fringes.

Munitions: Slang for makeup, trends of the era included face powder, rouge, kohl-rimmed eyes and Cupid-bow red painted lips.

3 Arts

Art Deco: A French style of architecture that flourished in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Harlem Renaissance: A literary and artistic movement in the African American community that originated in Harlem, New York.

Hopper: A dancer, particularly someone who visited swing clubs and performed danced such as the Lindy Hop.

Jazz: A music genre rooted in the Southern African American community that gained mainstream popularity in the 1920s.

Palace: A movie theater, the first of which opened in New York City in 1915. By 1930, three-quarters of Americans patronized a palace every week.

Whangdoodle: The music produced by a jazz band.

Speakeasy, Juice Joint: A jazz club that often sold bootleg liquor.

Tin Pan Alley: The New York City music industry, which was headquartered between 48th and 52nd streets.

4 Social Movements

Temperance: Between 1920 and 1933, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed alcoholic beverages. Spearheaded by the Anti-Saloon League, the National Prohibition Enforcement Act was commonly referred to as the Volstead Act.

Women's Suffrage: After seven decades of struggle to achieve equal rights, women were granted the right to vote in 1920 with the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Great Migration: The exodus of 1.6 million Southern African Americans to northern cities drastically shifted the demographics of the nation and inspired the Harlem Renaissance.

A published writer since 1994, Nicole Kidder is the voice of Traditions Wedding Blog. As a cultural journalist, she has contributed to ColorsNW magazine, Travel News Maldives and Senior Health Weekly. Kidder holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Seattle University and is a certified diversity trainer.