No doubt, the first half of the 1940s had more than its share of tragedy, global losses and national turmoil. Of the million or so Canadians who served full-time in the army, navy and air force during the Second World War, 42,042 died.
On the brighter side, early in the decade, women in Quebec obtained the right to vote in provincial elections. And late in the decade, Canadians of Asian descent got to vote in federal elections. The year 1949 also saw Newfoundland join Confederation and Canada join NATO.
In the midst of all this, English got wacky, with the introduction of new military jargon and a hipster slang called vout. Inspired by jazz musician Slim Gaillard, trendsetters took to adding a little zipperoo to their speech. The vernacular got a little snapperoony. Ding dong-o-reeny! But if you're already hep to the 40s' jive talk, this is no news to you.
Definition: chicken, as referred to by World War II troops
Definition: jive slang for “all right”
Definition: coffee, in army slang Synonyms: black strap, bootleg
Definition: teenage girl who wore white socks pushed down around the top of the shoe Note: Bobby socks provided an alternative to stockings, which were in short supply during the war. Nevertheless, many saw them as a sign of rebellion.
Definition: variation of the jitterbug
Definition: washing dishes, in army slang Synonym: pearl diving
burnt to a crisp
Definition: adjective describing the latest trend, i.e. so hot, it's "burnt to a crisp"
Definition: women's suit featuring a jacket, a short skirt and a blouse, which doubled as an evening ensemble when worn without the jacket
cooking with gas
Definition: jive slang for excelling
Definition: machine gun Synonym: ack-ack
Definition: short military coat finished with a waistband, named after American General Dwight D. Eisenhower Synonym: Ike jacket
Definition: jive slang for paper money Synonym: silent money
Definition: careless pilot Synonym: flathatter
Definition: tank Synonyms: galvanized gelding, iron horse, St. Vitus davenport
Definition: attractive young man Synonyms: glad lad, go giver, heaven sent, hunk of heartbreak, twangie boy
Definition: name given to Parisian fashion designer Christian Dior's spring collection of 1947 Note: The collection included mid-calf full skirts, frilly blouses and very high heels. This was an indulgent departure from the plain, square and even masculine designs of the earlier war years.
Definition: disc jockey
Definition: unattractive young woman
Definition: jive slang for terrible
Definition: beef, mess-hall style
Definition: vegetable, fruit or herb garden planted at a private residence or occasionally in a public space Note: These small gardens helped in the war effort by freeing up farmland for major crops, such as wheat.
Definition: men's outfit featuring a knee-length jacket with high shoulder pads and exaggerated lapels, as well as baggy pants tapered at the ankle Note: Typical accessories included a wide tie, a broad-brimmed hat, pointed shoes and a long chain hanging from the front trouser pocket down the leg and reattaching at the back pocket.