October 2019 marks the centenary of the Volstead Act, the federal legislation that led to the passage of the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution—and to the misguided 13-year social experiment known as Prohibition. From January 1, 1920, until Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inauguration in March 1933, the manufacture, sale, and importation of “intoxicating liquors” were officially outlawed. As everyone knows, all of those activities flourished illicitly.
And so did new vocabulary items.
I’m celebrating the anniversary—and the vocabulary—in my latest column for the Visual Thesaurus, “Sidecars and Scofflaws: Prohibition’s Linguistic Hangover.” Full access to the column is restricted to subscribers; here’s an excerpt.