Reading any of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories, is like stepping into a pre-WW2, post-WW1 drawing room—the drawing room of a wealthy, bored, young person, that is.
As well as being hilariously witty and entertaining, “The Mating Season” is a fountain of 1920s and 30s British slang. Here are my top picks:
1) “Tight.” Counterintuitively, it means drunk. Today we think of drunkenness as rather a loose state than a tightly-wound one, but there you have it.
2) “Pinched.” It means arrested. Now, this one I get. Pinched by the firm hand of the law? Makes sense to me.
3) “Bung him out/in.” This means, in a rough sense, to throw someone out. Or in? You can’t really throw someone into a drawing room, but I guess it’s the sentiment that counts.
4) “Gasper.” A gasper is a cigarette. This apt slang embodies the reason I don’t smoke—I would not like to spend the rest of my life gasping for fresh air.
5) Ludacris nicknames: Gussie for Augustus, Corky for Cora, Bertie for Bertram. Last but not least? Catsmeat for Claude. I guess you don’t have to be saddled with the lame name your parents gave you? To each his own.