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Do you quote Walter Winchell without realizing it?

Young Winchell sits at an FBC mic.
PHOTO: © Globe Photos, inc.

Walter Winchell was a syndicated columnist, radio news commentator and television host who pioneered the fast-paced, gossip driven, politically charged media culture that dominates today. At the height of his career, Winchell had a combined print and radio audience of 50 million and the power to make or break careers. He became the most feared and admired man in America, a man who transformed entertainment journalism and championed “Mr. and Mrs. America” in his daily columns and Sunday night radio program.

He was also a man who loved playing with language and his copy was often punctuated with made-up phrases and clever insults. “He had enormous linguistic inventiveness, phrases that immediately became known,” said author and cultural critic Susan Douglas in the American Masters film Walter Winchell: The Power of Gossip. He called this “slanguage,” and here’s a list of some of his most famous and hilarious phrases.

Synonyms for “seeing each other”:
Adam-and-Eveing it
Making whoopee (could also mean “having sex”)
Cupiding
On fire
That way
Uh-huh

Synonyms for “getting married” (or about to be married):
Ankled up an alter
Merged
On the merge
Middle-aisled it
Sealed

Synonyms for “expecting a baby”:
Expecting a bundle from heaven
Infanticipating
Increasing the mom-and-population
Parenticipating

Synonyms for “breaking up/divorcing”:
Curdled
Renovated
Melted
On the verge
Phffft

Synonyms for “alcohol”:
Fun milk
Giggle water
Laughing soup
Joy juice
Wyoming ketchup

Synonyms for “Times Square/Broadway”:
Bologny Boulevard
Hard-Times Square
Hardened Artery
Main Stem Femmes
Merry Magdalens
The Grandest Canyon
Two-Times Square

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