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Expired slanguage

Lingo that has fallen through the cracks

Variety has created words — and killed ’em as well over the past 100 years. Below is a list of the paper’s lost lingo that hasn’t surfaced in print in during the Internet era. In fact, some of these terms, culled from our yellowed back issues, fell through the cracks of our Slanguage Dictionary, which can be accessed on

Edition spotted: Feb. 11, 1970
Definition: A noisy attention-getting demonstration or talk; flamboyant, exaggerated or sensational advertising or propaganda.
Used in a sentence or headline: “Ballyhoolics of Nudity”

Edition spotted: Jan. 16, 1952
Definition: Something that’s free of charge. A freebie.
Used in a sentence or headline: “For the first time in network annals, both NBC and ABC are eliminating the practice of offering cuffo time to the candidates before the national political conventions.”

Edition spotted: April 15, 1952
Definition: A booking agent who handles vaudeville, music, or any kind of act that would play a cabaret or club.
Used in a sentence or headline: “Date-Diggers Mine Offbeat Shafts to Beat Rap on Declining Lodes”

Edition spotted: March 22, 1950
Definition: A double feature
Used in a sentence or headline: “O.O. Duals In Move to Hypo B.O.”

Edition spotted: March 31, 1982
Definition: One who tapes music at home illegally
Used in a sentence or headline: “Warner Finds Home-Tapers at $600 mil in ’80”

Edition spotted: Jan. 8, 1964
Definition: Different types of dancing
Used in a sentence or headline: “New Terps a Twist on Old Hoofology”

Edition spotted: April 5, 1932
Definition: Is it exactly what it says — a race for toads. While not slanguage, Variety actually covered one in Palm Springs, judged by none other than Eddie Cantor.

Edition spotted: Aug. 15, 1933
Definition: One who is paid to laugh in a radio studio audience.
Used in a sentence or headline: “It’s Even Tough to Be a Laugh Plant; Actors Relief Org. Being Snubbed”

Edition spotted: March 25, 1925
Definition: A critic; a select well-informed inner circle that is influential in decision making
Used in a sentence or headline: “Wise Loopers Trying To Solve Mystery of Good Plays Flopping”

Edition spotted: Oct. 26, 1960
Definition: A record or LP
Used in a sentence or headline: “Big O’seas Biz Affects Slant of U.S. Platters”

Edition spotted: Feb. 19, 1964
Definition: A British person
Used in a sentence or headline: “Rocking Redcoats Are Coming — Beatles Lead Massive Drive”

Edition spotted: June 14,1950
Definition: Films made during the Soviet era
Used in a sentence or headline: “Red Pic Rep Sentenced,” an article about a U.S. distributor of Russian films who was arrested.

Edition spotted: Jan. 28, 1970
Definition: Contemporary pop star
Used in a sentence or headline: “Top Rocksters Drop Close Knit Units to Work With Other Stars in Personals”

Definition: A drive-in theater
Used in a sentence or headline: “Between 1980 and 2004, soft tops fell 83%”

Edition spotted: Jan. 28, 1932
Definition: Speak-easys
Used in a sentence or headline: “Speaks Relying on Women: Says Girls Will Offset Repeal”

Edition spotted: July 14,1948
Definition: Summer stock theater; companies that agents scouted for potential Broadway or Hollywood talent
Used in a sentence or headline: “The straw-hat circuit, a longtime happy hunting ground for film company talent, has been given the kiss-off by the majors this season.”

Edition spotted: Jan. 14, 1970
Definition: A musician
Used in a sentence or headline: “Young tooters get membership pitch from AFM locals.”

Edition spotted: Jan. 11, 1950
Definition: Vaudeville acts
Used in a sentence or headline: “Future of Vaudeo Looks Dim,” headline about how there was shortage of raw acts for variety shows such as “Milton Berle Texaco Star Theatre.”

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