Slang in the 1930’s Slang is a vernacular vocabulary not generally acceptable in formal usage it’s the non-standard use of words and sometimes the creation of new words or importation of words from another language. It’s often particular to a brief period of time, with common usage ranging from decades to only a few months. Therefore words which are widely used and understood at one time don’t have the same meanings later. For example, a good thing may have been "swell" in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, and "groovy" in the 1960s, and "cool" in the 1970s. The early 1930s were chaotic years in the United States. The Wall Street stock-market crash of 1929 precipitated the Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the United States. The depression had devastating effects on the country. The stock market was in shambles. Many banks couldn't continue to operate. Farmers fell into bankruptcy. A quarter of the working force, or 13 million people, were unemployed in 1932, and this was only the beginning. The depression lasted over a decade, with hundreds of thousands of Americans losing their jobs, businesses failing, and financial institutions collapsing. Much slang from the era comes out as a response to the Great Depression: from words referring to President Herbert Hoover, to Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl, to Apple Annies trying to make ends meet. When Franklin D. Roosevelt became president in 1932, Americans talked of a New Deal and its slew of programs, known by their initials. Slang and the 1930s." American Studies @ The University of Virginia. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ma04/hess/Slang/1930slang.html.