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90s Slang You Should Know


[chahrlz-tuh n, chahrl-stuh n] /ˈtʃɑrlz tən, ˈtʃɑrl stən/
a vigorous, rhythmic ballroom dance popular in the 1920s.
verb (used without object)
to dance the Charleston.
Origin of Charleston1
named after Charleston, South Carolina


[chahrlz-tuh n, chahrl-stuh n] /ˈtʃɑrlz tən, ˈtʃɑrl stən/
a seaport in SE South Carolina.
a city in and the capital of West Virginia, in the W part.
a city in E central Illinois.

West Virginia

a state in the E United States. 24,181 sq. mi. (62,629 sq. km).
Capital: Charleston.
Abbreviation: WV (for use with zip code), W.Va.
Related forms
West Virginian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for Charleston
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We think nothing of these things, in Charleston—bless you, nothing!

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
  • I have written to my father and announced that I propose remaining in Charleston.

    Fairy Fingers Anna Cora Mowatt Ritchie
  • Piece of one of the palmetto-logs of old Fort Moultrie, in Charleston harbor.

  • Page 61: Charleson changed to Charleston (cents in Charleston).

  • His speech at Charleston supplements the speech at Chicago; at Galesburg, he made an admirable re-statement of his position.

    Stephen A. Douglas Allen Johnson
British Dictionary definitions for Charleston


a fast rhythmic dance of the 1920s, characterized by kicking and by twisting of the legs from the knee down
Word Origin
C20: named after Charleston, South Carolina


a city in central West Virginia: the state capital. Pop: 51 394 (2003 est)
a port in SE South Carolina, on the Atlantic: scene of the first action in the Civil War. Pop: 101 024 (2003 est)

West Virginia

a state of the eastern US: part of Virginia until the outbreak of the American Civil War (1861); consists chiefly of the Allegheny Plateau; bounded on the west by the Ohio River; coal-mining. Capital: Charleston. Pop: 1 810 354 (2003 est). Area: 62 341 sq km (24 070 sq miles) Abbreviation W Va, W. Va., (with zip code) WV
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Charleston

dance style characterized by side-kicks from the knee, 1923 (as title of a song), 1925 as a dance, from the U.S. city of Charleston, South Carolina, which was named for King Charles II of England.

Whether the Charleston (dance) has come to stay or not, it behooves every open-minded hostess and musician to "try it out" anyhow. [Ethel P. Peyser, "The Rotarian," July 1926]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Charleston in Culture

Charleston definition

A fast-paced dance, with elaborate arm movements, that became a craze in the United States during the 1920s.

Charleston definition

Two cities in the South: one a port city in southeastern South Carolina, the other the capital of West Virginia.

West Virginia definition

State in the southeastern United States bordered by Pennsylvania and Maryland to the north, Virginia to the east and south, and Kentucky and Ohio to the west. Its capital and largest city is Charleston.

Note: Separated from Virginia after Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861; it was granted statehood in 1863, during the Civil War.
Note: Ranks first in bituminous coal production, with about twenty percent of the nation's total.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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