The Hepster Dictionary is the world’s first and only dictionary of jive talk. This book contains over 100 definitions of phrases, words, and sayings used in African-American culture that were popularized during Cab Calloway’s lifetime (1907-1973).

The “cab calloway hepster dictionary” is a slang dictionary that includes words and phrases from the 1920s to the 1980s. The author, who goes by the name of “Hepster”, is an avid collector of old slang.

Each generation has its own slang and jargon, a set of words that characterizes them. Each generation has its own supplier of cool, who constructs a language that only the educated comprehend. Frank Sinatra produced a distinctive vernacular that impacted a generation of suave and swaggering men throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

But there was Cab Calloway before Sinatra.

During the 1930s and 1940s, Calloway was a popular vocalist and bandleader. His big band rose to prominence at The Cotton Club, Harlem’s leading nightclub. With their weekly radio show on NBC and their worldwide tours, Cab Calloway and His Orchestra became a national success. “Minnie the Moocher” and “Jumpin’ Jive” were also successes for Calloway. In addition, he was one of the first jazz artists to incorporate “scat” in his performances. Mini the Moocher is performed by Cab Calloway & His Orchestra.

 

Calloway created a new vernacular in addition to producing and playing fantastic swing songs. He didn’t take his hepster slang too seriously; it was all about having a good time and being different. Many individuals desired to be able to talk like Cab. Calloway devised a Hepster Dictionary to accompany Cab Calloway sheet music in 1940 to aid with this.

The meanings of Cab’s jive are listed below. You’ll see that many of them are still in use today. Learn a few key words and use them throughout your speech. The responses you’ll receive from the ickies will make you laugh out loud, just as Cab did. Using lingo that your grandfather would have used is also a fun way to connect with Gramps.

So, are you ready to jive with the best of them?

INSTRUMENTS

  • Git Box or Belly-Fiddle Guitar
  • Bass: This is a doghouse.
  • Suitcase, Hides, or Skins for Drums
  • Ivories or Storehouse Piano
  • Plumbing or Reeds on the Saxophone
  • Tram or Slush-Pump Trombone
  • Licorice Stick or Gob Stick for Clarinet
  • Woodpile Xylophone
  • Ironworks Vibraphone
  • Squeak-Box Violin
  • Squeeze-Box or Groan-Box Accordion
  • Foghorn: Tuba
  • Spark Jiver (Electric Organ)

TERMINOLOGY OF JIVE

  • A hummer (n.) is a vehicle that is especially excellent. “Man, that kid is a hummer,” for example.
  • The proposal ain’t coming on that tab (v.) – I’m not going to take it. “I ain’t coming” is usually abbreviated as “I ain’t coming.”
  • Jitterbug (n.) — alligator.
  • Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Harlem, Har
  • Armstrongs (n.) – upper-register musical notes, such as high trumpet notes.
  • Barbecue (n.) – a beautiful female buddy.
  • Barrelhouse (adj.) – uncomplicated and uncomplicated.
  • Battle (n.) – a crone or a particularly homely female.
  • (1) fatigued, exhausted, beat (adj.) “You look beat” or “I feel beat,” for example. (2) devoid of anything “I’m beat for cash,” “I’m beat to my socks,” etc (lacking everything).
  • Beat it out (v.) – play it fast and loud, focusing on the rhythym.
  • Sad, unflattering, and exhausted (adj.)
  • To chat, discourse, or be loquacious (v.) – to beat up the chops (or the gums).
  • Beef (v.) is a verb that means “to speak” or “to state.” “He beefed to me that, and so forth,” for example.
  • The gospel truth is found in the Bible (n.). “It’s the Bible!” for example.
  • Night (n.) is the color black.
  • Dark and light-colored people are known as black and tan (n.). It’s not only black and white people, as many people believe.
  • They’d blown their wigs (adjective) — ecstatic, delirious.
  • Blip (n.) – a fantastic thing. “That’s a blip,” for example, or “She’s a blip.”
  • To be overpowered with emotion (v.) is to blow the top (delight). “You’ll blow your top when you hear this one,” for example.
  • Harmony with emphasized bass is known as boogie-woogie (n.).
  • To give (v.) is to boot. “Boot me that glove,” for example.
  • Break it up (v.) – to elicit applause or to bring the play to a close.
  • Bree (noun) – a young lady.
  • Bright (n.) – a sunny day.
  • Daybreak is referred to as brightnin’ (n.).
  • (2) v.) bring down ((1) n.) bring down ((1) n.) bring down ((1) n.) bring down — (1) anything gloomy. “That’s a drag down,” for example. (2) For example, “That depresses me.”
  • Buddy buddy (n.) is a term for a fellow.Cab Calloway performing on stage.
  • Bust your conk (v.) – put forth a lot of effort, break your neck.
  • Canary (n.) is a female singer.
  • Capped (v.) — exceeded, outclassed.
  • Cat (n.) is a swing band musician.
  • Chick (noun) – a young lady.
  • Hour (n.) — chime. “I got in at six chimes,” for example.
  • Clambake (n.) – an impromptu jam session in which everyone is on their own.
  • Chirp (n.) is a term for a female vocalist.
  • Sunglasses called cogs (n.).
  • Collar (v.) — to acquire, understand, or get. “I’ve need to collar some food,” for example, or “Do you collar this jive?”
  • Come back (v.) — give it another go, do better than you’re doing, I’m not sure what you’re talking about.
  • Comes on like a gangbuster (or like a test pilot) (v.) – performs well in any field, whether playing, singing, or dancing. “That singer truly comes on!” is also abbreviated as “That singer really comes on!”
  • cop (v.) — to seize, to seize (see collar; knock).
  • Corny (adj.) — stale, old-fashioned.
  • Like the darkness (v.), creeps out — “comes on,” but in a smooth, elegant, sophisticated way.
  • Crumb crushers (n.) are teeth that are used to smash crumbs.
  • Cubby (noun) – a room, a flat, or a house.
  • Cups (n.) is a word that means “sleep.” “I’ve got to catch some cups,” for example.
  • Cut out (v.) — to get rid of, to get rid of. “It’s time to cut out,” for example, or “I cut out from the joint in the early morning.”
  • Cut rate (n.) – a low-cost individual. “Don’t play me cut rate, Jack!” for example.
  • Dicty (adj.) is a word that means “high-class,” “nifty,” or “clever.”
  • Meet (v.) — to dig. “I’ll plant you now and dig you afterwards,” for example. (2) Take a peek around. “Dig the girl on your left duke,” for example. (3) perceive and comprehend. “Do you dig this jive?” for example.
  • Evening (n.) — dim (n.) — dim (n.) — dim (n
  • The ten-dollar banknote is known as a dime note.
  • Doghouse (n.) is a kind of bass violin.
  • Domi (n.) – a commonplace dwelling. “I live in a righteous dome,” for example.
  • Doss (n.) is a word that means “to slumber.” “I’m a bit beat for my doss,” for example.
  • It’s down with it (adjective) — it’s over with it.
  • Drape (n.) – an outfit, a dress, or a costume.
  • Dreamers (n.) are blankets and sleeping coverings.
  • Drape (n.) is the same as dry-goods (n.).
  • Duke (noun) – a hand or a mitt.
  • Dutchess (n.) – a young lady.
  • evening (n.) — early black (n.)
  • Morning (n.) is a term used to describe how light it is in the early hours of the day.
  • Evil (adj.) – a person who is ill-tempered or has a bad temper.
  • To be overtaken with emotion (v.) is to fall out. “When he took that solo, the cats tumbled out,” for example.
  • Money or currency in little quantities (n.). Fews and two (n.)
  • final (v.) — to depart, to return to one’s home. “I finaled to my pad” (went to bed) is one example; “We copped a final” is another example (went home).
  • A good-looking female is referred to as a fine dinner (n.).
  • To focus (v.) is to gaze at something or to see something.
  • Foxy (noun) — cunning.
  • The body is referred to as the frame (n.).
  • A very sad message, a dreadful state of things. Fraughty issue (n.) — a very sad message, a deplorable condition of affairs.
  • Freeby (n.) – free of charge. “The lunch was a freebie,” for example.
  • When the cats are warming up for a swing session, they frisk their whiskers (v.).
  • Frolic pad (n.) – an entertainment venue, such as a theater or a nightclub.
  • A fight or faust is a frompy queen (adjective).
  • A set of garments is referred to as a front (n.).
  • Fruiting (v.) — fickle, playing about with nothing in particular.
  • Fry (v.) — to straighten one’s hair.
  • Gabriels (n.) is a term used to describe trumpet musicians.
  • Gammin’ (adjective) — flaunting, flirty.
  • Gasser (noun, adj.) – awe-inspiring. “She’s a gasser when it comes to dancing,” for example.
  • abbr. for “gate-mouth,” gate (n.) — a masculine person (a greeting).
  • Go in there (exclamation point.) – get to work, get busy, make it hot, and give it your all.
  • Shake hands and give me some flesh (v.).
  • Glims (n.) is a word that means “eyes.”
  • You’ve got your boots on – you know what’s going on, you’re a hep cat, and you’re smart.
  • You’ve put on your spectacles – you’re ritzy or snobby, you can’t recognize your buddies, and you’re center stage.
  • Profits (n.) — gravy.
  • To eat with grease (v.).
  • Groovy (adjective) — excellent. “I’m feeling groovy,” for example.
  • Ground grippers (n.) are a kind of new shoe.
  • Growl (n.) – a trumpet’s vigorous notes.
  • Low-down music is referred to as gut-bucket (adj.).
  • Guzzlin’ froth (v.) is a verb that refers to the act of drinking beer.
  • Hard (adj.) — excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, “You’re wearing a stiff tie,” for example.
  • Hard spiel (n.) – a witty line of speech.
  • Have a ball (v.) – to have a good time and have a party. “Last night, I had a ball,” for example.
  • Hep cat (n.) – a person who knows everything and knows how to jive.
  • Hide-beater (n.) is a drummer who wears a mask (see skin-beater).
  • Hincty (adjective) — arrogant, snobbish.
  • Hip (adj.) – intelligent, sophisticated, or anybody wearing boots. “She’s a hip girl,” for example.
  • Home-cooking (n.) – a meal prepared at home (see fine dinner).
  • Hot (adj.) – musically exhilarating; before swing, melodies and bands were both hot.
  • Hype (n., v.) — a build-up for a loan, courting a lady, or giving a convincing speech.
  • Icky (n.) – someone who isn’t hip, a moron who can’t keep up with the jive.
  • Igg (v.) — to turn a blind eye to someone. “Don’t igg me!” for example.
  • Down the alley, in the groove (adj.) – perfect, no deviation.
  • All male pals are referred to as Jack (n.) (see gate; pops).
  • (1) improvisational swing music ((1)n, (2)v.) “That’s a great jam,” for example. (2) to perform music of this kind. “That cat can jam,” for example.
  • Jeff (n.) is an annoyance, a boring, and an icky.
  • Jelly (n.) – something given up for free.
  • A swing fan is known as a jitterbug (n.).
  • Jive (n.) is a Harlem dialect.
  • The atmosphere is buzzing, and the club is bouncing with excitement.
  • Arrived in town (v.) — jumped into port.
  • A pocket is referred to as a kick (n.). “I’ve got five dollars in my kick,” for example.
  • Kill me (v.) — have fun with me, send me.
  • Killer-diller (n.) – a thrilling experience.
  • Give (v.) — knock. “Knock me a kiss,” for example.
  • Kopasetic (adjective) — completely fantastic.
  • To see, to gaze at a lamp (v.).
  • Harlem is known as the “Land of Darkness.”
  • A guy, generally a nonprofessional, is referred to as a Lane (n.).
  • Latch on (v.) — grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp, grasp,
  • Tap dance (v.) — to lay some iron. “Jack, you really lay some iron that last concert!” for instance.
  • jive (v.) — to jive, sell a concept, advocate a notion.
  • A topcoat is referred to as a lead sheet (n.).
  • The term “left rise” refers to the left side of the body. “Dig the girl on your left raise,” for example.
  • Frisking the whiskers (v.) — see licking the chops.
  • Hot musical phrases are referred to as licks (n.).Cab Calloway singer with conductor's wand on stage.
  • Bed sheets are known as lily whites (n.).
  • Cost, price, and money are all terms that might be used to describe a line. For example, “What is the drape line” (how much does this suit cost)? “Do you have the line in your mouse” (do you have the money in your pocket)? In addition, all numbers are doubled when responding. “This drape is line forty,” for example (this suit costs twenty dollars).
  • Lock up — to get something that is only available to you. “He’s got that lady locked up,” for example, or “I’m going to lock up that transaction.”
  • The stage is referred to as the main kick (n.).
  • Husband’s main on the hitch (n.)
  • Main queen (n.) – darling, favorite gal friend.
  • The postman (n.) is a man in gray.
  • — Give me $5. — Mash me a fin (command.)
  • Mellow (adjective) — okay, fine. “That’s mellow, Jack,” for example.
  • (adj.) Melted out — shattered.
  • Something nice (n.) is a mess. “That final drink was a disaster,” for example.
  • quarter, twenty-five cents (n.) meter (n.) meter (n.) meter (n.) meter (n.) meter
  • Anything superlative and true is referred to as mezz (n.). “This is the mezz,” for example.
  • Applause for mitt thumping (n.).
  • Moo juice (n.) is a kind of milk.
  • Mouse (n.) is a pocket mouse. “I’ve got a meter in the mouse,” for example.
  • Muggin’ (v.) – putting on the jive, making them laugh. “Muggin’ gently” refers to a light staccato swing, whereas “muggin’ heavily” refers to a hefty staccato swing.
  • Murder (n.) — anything fantastic or outstanding. “That’s solid murder, gate!” for example.
  • Hello, pops — Nothing to see here, friend.
  • Nicklette (n.) — a music box or an automated phonograph.
  • The five-dollar bill is known as a nickel note (n.).
  • To nix out (v.) is to get rid of something. “I eliminated that lady last week,” for example; “I nixed my clothes” (undressed).
  • Nod (n.) is a word that means “to slumber.” “I believe I’ll get a nod,” for example.
  • Ofay (n.) is a term for a white person.
  • Corn on the cob (adj.) — out-of-date, corny.
  • Off-time jive (n.) — a lame explanation for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
  • Overcoat (n.) — an orchestration.
  • Perfect rendition (adj.) — out of this world. “That sax chorus was out of this planet,” for example.
  • Ow! – an exclamation having a variety of connotations. It’s “Ow!” when a lovely lady walks by, and it’s also “Ow!” when someone makes a terrible joke.
  • Pad (n.) is a word that means “bed.”
  • Pecking (n.) is a dance that was first performed in 1937 at the Cotton Club.
  • Peola (n.) is a light, nearly white person.
  • A little girl is referred to as a pigeon (n.).
  • Salutation for all guys, Pops (n.) (see gate; Jack).
  • Pounders (n.) are police officers.
  • A gorgeous girl is referred to as a queen (n.).
  • Lower (v.) — to place in a lower position.
  • Ready (adj.) – completely prepared in every manner. “That fried chicken was ready,” for example.
  • Ride (v.) – to swing, to sing or perform with a precise beat.
  • Riff (n.) – a catchy riff or a musical phrase.
  • Righteous (adj.) – excellent, satisfactory. “That was a righteous queen I dug you with the final black,” for example.
  • Send me, kill me, or move me with rhythym (v.).
  • Quarter, twenty-five cents. Ruff (n.)
  • Rug cutter (n.) – a really excellent dancer, a jitterbug in full swing.
  • Sad (adjective) — really awful. “That was the saddest lunch I ever had,” for example.
  • Sadder than a map (adjective) — dreadful. “That guy is sadder than a map,” for example.
  • Salty (adjective) — enraged, irritable.
  • You’ve been enlisted into the army, according to Sam.
  • Send (v.) — to elicit strong feelings. (joyful). “That sends me!” for example.
  • One week with a set of seven brights (n.).
  • Sharp (adjective) — neat, clever, or deceptive. “That headgear is as sharp as a tack,” for example.
  • Signify (v.) — to announce, brag, or boast about oneself.
  • Drums made of skins (n.).
  • Skin-beater (n.) is a term used to describe a drummer (see hide-beater).
  • Hat with a sky piece (n.).
  • Slave (v.) – to work, whether or whether it is rigorous labor.
  • To speak freely, slide your jib (v.).
  • Snatcher (n.) – a private eye.
  • So, please, assist me — it’s the truth, and it’s a reality.
  • Solid (adj.) — excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent, excellent,
  • Sounded off (v.) — started a program or a discussion.Cab Calloway head shot goofy face african-american singer.
  • Spoutin’ (v.) – talking excessively.
  • A square (n.) is a person who isn’t well-adjusted (see icky; Jeff).
  • Stache (v.) — to file, conceal, or conceal.
  • Stand one up (v.) — to play one for a low price, as if it were a cut-rate.
  • To be stowed (v.) – to stay or stand still.
  • Susie-Q (n.) is a dance that was first performed in 1936 at the Cotton Club.
  • Slow down (v.) — be cautious.
  • Take off (v.) – do a solo performance.
  • The law is the man (n.).
  • Threads (n.) — a suit, a gown, or a costume (see drape; dry-goods).
  • Tick (n.) — a second, a fraction of a second, a fraction of a second. “I’ll dig you up a few ticks,” for example. In addition, ticks are multiplied by two in accounting time, much as money is multiplied by two in providing “line.” For example, “I finished to the pad this early brilliant at tick twenty” (I went to bed at ten o’clock this morning).
  • toothpick (n.) — a toothpick made of wood.
  • To stutter (v.) — to dribble. “He spoke in dribbles,” for example.
  • Togged to the bone – from head to toe, he was dressed to kill.
  • Too much (adj.) — the greatest compliment. “You’re too much!” for example.
  • Trickeration (n.) is the act of strutting your stuff while muggin’ gently and sweetly.
  • Trilly (noun) – to depart, to leave. “Well, I suppose I’ll trilly,” for example.
  • To get someplace with a truck (v.). “I believe I’ll truck on down to the ginmill (bar),” for example.
  • Trucking (n.) is a dance that was first performed in 1933 at the Cotton Club.
  • The key to the door is the twister to the slammer (n.).
  • Two dollars (n.) — two cents (n.).
  • Unhep (adj.) – a yuck, a Jeff, or a square who doesn’t know how to jive.
  • A set of garments is referred to as a vine (n.).
  • V-8 (n.) – a woman who despises company, is self-reliant, and is unyielding.
  • So, what’s your backstory? — What exactly are you looking for? What do you have to say about yourself? What is the nature of tricks? What justification do you have? “I have no idea what his narrative is,” for example.
  • Whipped up (adjective) — worn out, fatigued, and battered for all you’ve done.
  • Wren (n.) – a queen or a chick.
  • Wrong riff – anything stated or done incorrectly. “You’re on the wrong riff,” for example.
  • Yarddog (n.) – an uncouth, ill-dressed, and ugly man or woman.
  • Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes
  • excessive zoot (adj.)
  • The ultimate in clothing is the zoot suit (n.). The only civilian outfit that is authentically American.

 

 

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The “Cab Calloway Jive Talk Hepster Dictionary” is a dictionary that includes words and phrases from the Cab Calloway song “Jive Talkin”. The book also includes songs and lyrics. Reference: cab calloway.

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