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Dictionary of Contemporary Slang, Third Edition; Tony Thorne (A & C Black, 2005)

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dong1, donger n

1.the penis. This word is common in current Australian English but is also heard in Britain and North America. Its origin is unclear but it resembles synonyms such as whang, schlong, etc. Unlike most similar terms its use has not been extended to mean a ‘fool’. This hearty, brusque word is usually used by males.

2.a blow, strike. From the verb form.

dong2 vb American

to have sex (with). The term can be used transitively or intransitively, like many of its synonyms it is also based on the notion of striking. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.

donging n British

living outside society in makeshift shelters, teepees, trees, etc. The term was a back-formation from the ‘Dongas Tribe’ of environmental protesters who came to prominence in the summer of 1994

donk1 n

1.Australian a car engine. This is probably a shortening of ‘donkey’, which the late Eric Partridge recorded as being in use in British navy jargon for a ship’s engine. The term ‘donkey engine’ is often used for small, portable or auxiliary engines such as an outboard motor or miniature shunting locomotive.

2.Australian a foolish person

3a. American excrement, shit

3b. American a prominent or well-shaped backside

donk2 vb American

to have sex (with). An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.

donnybrook n

a brawl, free-for-all. Donnybrook Fair, held near Dublin, was often the scene of uproarious behaviour.

doob n

1.British an amphetamine pill. The singular form of the more common doobs.

2.the penis. This rare usage is either an invention or a shortening of doobry.

doobie, dooby n

1.American a marihuana cigarette, a joint

2.British a stupid or foolish person. The term is heard particularly in the Scottish Lowlands and the north of England.

doobry n British

1.an unspecified thing, thingummy, or a person whose name is forgotten or unknown. This invented word has existed at least since the 1950s.

2.an amphetamine tablet or other pill. This is probably a narrowing of the preceding sense and was popular among the mods of the 1960s, although the plural doobs was the more common alternative. ‘Doobry’, in this drug-related sense, has also been derived from ‘doubleblues’, a particular type of pep pill.

doobs n pl British

tablets or capsules of amphetamine (later known generically as speed). This was the 1960s mods’ own favourite term for the pills known to the popular press as purple hearts or pep pills.

doodad n

an unspecified thing, thingummy. The word is American, dating from before World War II. ‘Doodads’ are bits and pieces, odds and ends.

doodah n

an unspecified thing, gadget, thingummy. The British and Australian form of the American doodad.

doodle n

1. the penis. A nursery word.

2a. excrement

2b. nonsense, rubbish doodly squat n American


b.nonsense, nothing at all. The expression is a common variant form of diddly (squat).

‘Shoot – I wouldn’t tell you doodly squat after the way you’ve behaved.’

(Night Game, US film, 1988)

doody, doo-doo, do-do n American excrement. A nursery word used facetiously by adults, this is one of many similar words, perhaps inspired by the older usage do or dos.

doofer, doofa n

1. also doofa or doover an unspecified thing, thingummy

Hand me that doofer.

2. a partly smoked cigarette; a pun on ‘(it will) do for later’. A wartime term that remained in use in the 1960s and may still survive.

doofus n

an alternative spelling of dufus



doofy adj American

foolish, clumsy. The term is probably derived from the earlier term doofus.

‘He looked pretty doofy to me.’

(New York paparazzo talking of actor Michael J. Fox in True Stories, Channel 4 TV, April 1993)

dook n

1.a hand, fist. A variation of the betterknown duke(s). In rustic and workingclass Australian speech this form survives from archaic British usage.

2.See dukes; duke it; duke on it

doolally adj British

deranged, crazy. A very popular term derived from the location of a colonial army sanatorium and rest camp at Deolali, Bombay, where soldiers exhibiting signs of fatigue, heat exhaustion, etc. were sent. An early form which is still heard occasionally was ‘do(o)lally-tap’, the ‘tap’ meaning ‘fever’ in Hindi.

dooley, doolie n British

a stupid or contemptible person. This term of abuse, probably originating in Scottish usage, was featured in the ITV drama Your Cheating Heart, written by Johnny Byrne in 1990. The term is now heard particularly in the Scottish Lowlands and the north of England.

do one vb British

to depart, run away. In the slang of street gangs, homeless persons, etc. since 2000. The expression probably originated in northern usage, sometimes used as an imperative, as in ‘OK, you’ve had your fun so go on – now do one!’.

do one’s fruit vb British

to become enraged, lose control. A variant of the colloquial version ‘do one’s nut’, punning on the fruit-and-nut chocolate bar, this item of middle-class, middle-aged jocularity was recorded in the early 1990s.

‘When they finally said the train was cancelled, I just did my fruit…’

(Recorded, male commuter, London 1991)

do one’s nut / block / crust / pieces / taters vb

to lose control, to become furious. Originally working-class alternatives for to ‘lose one’s head’ or to ‘blow one’s top’, all in use in Britain and Australia; the more colourful second, third, fourth and

fifth variants are currently in vogue among young people.

‘Funny you should say that, because these days I find I do my nut very easily.’

(Alfie, British film, 1966)

‘Men are always saying they can count the number of times they’ve cried on the fingers of one hand. Well, I reckon women can count the number of times they’ve really done their blocks.’

(Girls’ Night Out, Kathy Lette, 1989)

doover n

an alternative form of doofer 1 dooze1 n American

1.something which is very easy to accomplish, an attractive proposition

2.an alternative form of doozer

dooze2 vb American to bamboozle, flatter

doozer, doozie, doozy n

something or someone very impressive, remarkable or exceptional; a ‘humdinger’. This is probably an invented word (though some authorities derive it from a spectacular pre-World War II car, the ‘Duesenburg’). The term is certainly American in origin.

dope1 n

1. an illicit drug, narcotics. The word was first applied to stupefying drugs such as opium and heroin at the turn of the 20th century, and remained limited to this context until the 1960s. In the late 1960s hippy drug users began to apply the then almost archaic form ironically to their preferred soft drug, cannabis (marihuana and hashish), and this remains the most common use today.

‘He said: “You know how you leave dope lying around? Well, she ate some and she went berserk. She hasn’t liked it much since”.’

(News of the World, 29 October 1989)

2.information, news. In this sense the word has been used at least since World War I, especially in America. The word is derived from the idea of something dense or viscous, embodied in the Dutch word doop, meaning dip (in the sense of a sauce in which other food may be dipped).

3.a foolish or stupid person

dope2 adj

excellent, fashionable, admirable. A vogue term of approbation which originated in American usage in the early 1990s and by 1995 had been adopted



for fashionable speech by British and Australian adolescents.

‘He’s dope – I’d go out with him.’

(California Man, US film, 1992)

‘Bangin’ sounds and dope d.j.s.’

(Disco poster at King’s College, London University, September 1995)

doped-up adj

under the influence of a (stupefying or tranquillising) drug

dope-on-a-rope adj

an elaborated form of dope in the sense of ‘excellent’. The term was defined as follows by a user in 2001: ‘…as used by various rap, R ’n’ B and pop types. If something is really cool, it can be described as dope-on-a-rope’.

dope out vb

to work out, discover information. A phrase derived from the noun dope 2, it is more common in American English where it originated before World War II.

doper n

a user of illicit drugs. The word, from dope, has been in vogue since the early 1970s. It is used about, rather than by drug users, and is applied indiscriminately to users of hard and soft drugs.

He’s a doper from way back. dopper n British

1.the penis

2.a fool or contemptible person. The earlier sense seems to have fallen into disuse but, like many synonyms (prick, plonker, etc.), has been adopted to denote a stupid person. The word ‘dopper’ itself occurred in Norfolk dialect, meaning a thick blanket or sweater, but this is unlikely to be the origin of the derogatory usage which is probably related to the archaic ‘dobber’, referring to the male member.

do-re-mi n American money. A pun on dough.

Doris n British

1.a frumpy or unattractive older woman in the slang of City traders from the 1990s. Such women, especially if thought to be unglamorous or too serious, are typically dismissed by males as ‘a bit of a Doris’. Nora is a synonym.

2.a girlfriend or wife

dork n

1. the penis. A term popularised first among American adults then among

teenagers in the 1970s, it is probably inspired by dick and, perhaps, pork.

2. a fool, an offensive buffoon. This is a predictable second (and now more widespread) sense of the word, on the same pattern as dick, prick, etc. It is not used affectionately (as plonker, for instance, is), but is only mildly offensive. Since the late 1970s this term has been in vogue in Britain and Australia as well as in its country of origin.

‘I love your husband, but he’s a real dork.’

‘Yes, but he’s my dork.’

(Someone to Watch Over Me, US film, 1987)

dorky adj

dull, offensively gauche, silly. From dork 2.

dos n pl

a version of do (in the sense of excrement)

It is pronounced ‘dooze’.

dose n

a venereal infection. Until the 1960s the word most often referred to a bout of gonorrhoea.

‘Don’t Give A Dose to the One You Love Most.’

(Song written and recorded by Shel Silverstein, 1972)

dosed (up) adj

1.infected with a venereal disease

2.drugged illicitly (as in the case of, e.g., a greyhound or racehorse) or unwittingly (in the case of a person). The expression in this sense is a synonym for ‘spiked’, and in the 1970s often referred to LSD.

dosh n British

money. This is a working-class term from the early 1950s which was falling out of use in the 1960s, but which, like many similar words (bunce, loot, lolly, etc.), was revived in the money-conscious late 1980s. It is a favourite with alternative comedians and ‘professional cockneys’. The original would seem logically to be the old African colonial term dash, denoting a tip or bribe, but other authorities claim that it is influenced by doss, in the sense of the price of a bed (for the night).

doss1 vb

a.to sleep

I need a place to doss for a couple of nights.

b.to move from place to place, sleeping in borrowed or low-class accommodation



‘Old Shawie’s been dossing for the last three weeks.’

(Recorded, London student, 1988)

c. to relax, chill. A fashionable usage since 2000.

A 19th-century term which may derive from the Latin dorsum, for ‘back’. The verb forms, as opposed to the noun forms of the word, are mainly encountered in British English.

doss2 n

1a. a place to sleep, especially a temporary, free and/or makeshift bed. This word, from 19th-century tramps’ jargon, was probably originally a corruption of the Latin dorsum, for ‘back’. Tramps are unlikely to have coined the term; it may have come from the jargon surrounding pugilism (meaning ‘flat on one’s back’) which was a sport subscribed to by aristocrats and students, among others.

1b. a period of sleep, a nap

2. a very easy task, a pushover. In this sense the word, although based on the notion of lying down, may be influenced by ‘toss’, as in easily tossing off a piece of work.

You mustn’t see this purely as a doss.

doss around vb British

to do nothing in particular, lead an aimless existence. From doss 2.

dossbag n British

1.a sleeping bag

2.a scruffy, lazy or slovenly person

doss down vb British

to lie down to sleep (usually on the floor), to bed down

Just doss down anywhere you like.

dosser n British

a. a homeless person, vagrant, or down- and-out who sleeps wherever space is available

‘We are not tramps, winos or even dossers, we are gentlemen of the road – and we refuse to be moved.’

(Homeless man, Observer, 16 August 1987)

b. a slovenly, irresponsible person. A favourite term of affectionate abuse between young (usually male) people since the 1980s. (From the noun doss or the verb doss around.)

doss house n

a dormitory for vagrants or a cheap, shabby hotel

I don’t know how you manage to live in this doss house you call a flat.

‘I felt like pissing off and spending the night in some Arab dosshouse.’

(Joe Orton’s diary, 14 May 1967)

dot vb

to hit. Usually used in the phrase to ‘dot (someone) one’, meaning to land a heavy and precise (on the ‘dot’) blow, or to blacken someone’s eye.

do the wild thing vb American

a.to run amok

b.to have sex

An item of black slang which may have given rise to the widely reported wilding.

do time vb

to serve a prison sentence

double-bagger n American

a hideous or repellent person. A phrase from the vocabulary of Valley Girls and other American teenagers from the mid1970s, probably originating in earlier surfers’ slang. The image evoked is of a person who must wear a bag over their head – and provide one for the onlooker too, or alternatively wear two bags. The expression, in this humorous usage, was first borrowed from the language of baseball, where it describes a hit which allows the hitter to advance two bases or ‘bags’.

double-munter n British

a particularly ugly or unattractive female. An intensified form of the vogue term munter, popular among students and others since 2000.

double result n British

in the jargon of football hooligans this denotes a victory against both an opposing team’s supporters and the police

douchebag n American

a contemptible or very unpleasant person. The expression is usually a strong term of abuse, indicating real distaste, although like comparable words it is sometimes used lightheartedly, typically by high-school and college students. Rubber bags were a part of douching paraphernalia when that form of contraception was widespread, especially among prostitutes. The word is applied to males and females.

‘OK, we’re going in there and anyone who doesn’t act elegant is a douchebag.’

(Satisfaction, US film, 1988)

dough n

money. This was the most popular American slang term for money from the 19th century until the mid-1960s when it was supplanted by bread.



doughboy n

1.American an army private. The word was most popular at the time of World War I but is still occasionally used. The original doughboy was a sort of suet dumpling served in the armies and navies of the 19th century in Britain and the USA.

2.British a blow, a heavy punch. In work- ing-class and cockney jargon this rare sense of the word is occasionally recorded. Its derivation may be from the (heavy) dumpling referred to above.

He landed him a real doughboy round the chops.

Douglas n British

a 3rd, a third-class university honours degree. A student witticism of the late 1980s playing on the name, Douglas Hurd, of a long-serving member of Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative cabinet (a Richard is a synonym).

Compare Desmond; Pattie; made-in do up vb

1.to inject or inhale (a drug). An embellishment of do in the sense of ‘take (drugs)’ common among illicit drug users since the early 1970s.

2.See done up

do (someone) up vb British

to discomfit, defeat, confound

‘Those long-haul flights really do you up.’

(Recorded, female traveller, London, 2003)

dout, dowt n British

a cigarette end or stub. A word like dub, used by vagrants and working-class speakers. The Oxford English Dictionary first recorded the word in use in Glasgow in 1975. It may be a dialectal form of ‘dowse(d)’ or a contraction of ‘stubbedout’.

down adj American

1. authentic, trustworthy, sound. The usage may derive from the appreciative sense of down-and-dirty or the phrase down with (someone).

‘You’re a down girl.’

(Clueless, US film, 1995)

2. in agreement, interested

I’m down with that.

down-and-dirty adj American

a. deceitful, corrupt, savage. An exclamation used in poker (when cards are dealt or slapped on the table) extended to describe base or brutal behaviour.

b. basic, primitive, authentic, ‘rough and ready’. In this sense the phrase is usually appreciative rather than pejorative; in rock music jargon it denotes healthily authentic or funky.

downer n

1. a tranquillising or sedative drug (especially a barbiturate) in the language of illicit drug users (as opposed to uppers or stimulant drugs)

She’s on downers.

2. a depressing or boring experience. From the slang of American hipsters of the 1950s, widespread in the Englishspeaking world since the 1960s, but now sounding rather dated in British English; although the phrase ‘on a downer’ (going through a depressed or unlucky phase) is currently widespread.

downhome adj American

rustic, ethnic or (agreeably) simple and neighbourly. The word was first used by urbanised northern blacks to refer to their southern roots.

downstairs adj, adv

(in) the genital area or the buttocks. A coy euphemism which was probably inspired by the earlier upstairs, relating to the brain or head.

down the block adj, adv British

in solitary confinement, being punished. A prisoners’ term.

down the road adj, adv British dismissed, rejected. An item of work- ing-class slang.

‘I want him down the road as soon as possible.’

(Recorded, labouring gang leader, London, 1992)

down the tubes/flush/chute adv

ruined, abandoned, beyond hope. These are racier versions of ‘down the drain’, ‘down the pan’ or ‘down the toilet’, heard in the USA since the late 1970s and in Britain since the early 1980s.

‘Bright enough to realise he is going down the tubes, he is still drawn to a prodigal self-destruction.’

(Sunday Times, 26 July 1987)

down with adj

close to, supportive of. An item of black street argot popular among rappers and hip hop aficionados.

My crew, they’re all down with me.

dozy adj British

slow-witted, foolish. The word is now a colloquialism; in the 1950s it was part



of ‘vulgar’ speech. Originally it meant sleepy or lazy and was (and still is) a favourite term of abuse employed by sergeant majors and officers in the armed forces, teachers and other authority figures.

drabbie n British

a ‘frump’, ‘bluestocking’ or puritanical person, usually female. A middle-class term of mild derision or disapproval, based on ‘drab’ and applied, often by journalists, in the 1980s to literary, academic or other professional women who deliberately eschewed a glamorous appearance.

drack1 n Australian

rubbish. An Australian variant form of the more common dreck.

drack2 adj Australian

scruffy, shabby, dowdy. The adjective is formed from the earlier noun, itself a variant of dreck.

drag n

1. women’s clothing, as worn by men, especially homosexuals, transvestites or female impersonators. Originally theatrical slang of the early 20th century in Britain, signifying a long dress (dragging along the ground), the phrase ‘in drag’ crossed into popular terminology in the early 1960s. In the case of women wearing masculine clothing, ‘man-drag’ or ‘male-drag’ is usually specified.

‘Marlene in man-drag.’

(Caption to photograph of Marlene Dietrich in Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon, 1975)

2. a thing, event or person considered to be boring or depressing. An Americanism, probably originating in the late 19th century and remaining in marginal use until the 1960s, it was adopted into teenage currency in Britain and Australia in the late 1950s and was widespread by the mid-1960s.

‘What a drag it is getting old.’

(Mother’s Little Helper, Rolling Stones, 1965)

3a. British an inhalation of cigarette smoke, a puff

Give me a drag on that.

3b. British a marihuana cigarette, a joint. A prisoners’ term.

4. a street, especially a long or important street, usually in the form main drag. This Americanism gave rise to ‘drag racing’ to describe unofficial races from a standing start over a short, straight stretch of pub-

lic road. Drag racing is now also an organised sport run over custom-built private ‘dragstrips’.

drag-arsing n British

lingering, delaying or prevaricating. An item of student slang in use in London and elsewhere since around 2000.

drag ass vb American

1.a variant of haul ass

2.to move unwillingly, lazily or slowly

drag-ass adj American

boring, tedious, onerous. The word is applied to people as well as to tasks.

dragged-up adj

a.dressed in drag

b.dressed, clothed (especially in flamboyant or unusually expensive clothing). By extension from the first sense to the heterosexual world (although the term does not seem to be applied to women). Dragged-up is a racier version of ‘dolledup’.

Here he comes, all dragged-up in his best things.

draggy adj

tedious, slow or depressing. Deriving from the second sense of drag, the word is now rather dated. In the 1960s and 1970s it was more popular in Britain than in the USA.

It was a totally draggy scene.

dragon n British

a formidable (and therefore unattractive and/or unavailable) female. The earlier colloquialism was adopted as a code term by male financial traders in the City of London and was recorded (with other categorisations such as oof, mum, etc.) by psychologist Belinda Brookes in the

Independent on Sunday, 9 July 1995.

drag queen n

a male homosexual who wears women’s clothing. The phrase now has overtones of flamboyant, exhibitionist ‘femininity’ rather than mere cross-dressing.

‘Kenneth Williams then gave a long portrait of a dismal drag queen writing a witty letter requesting employment.’

(Joe Orton’s Diary, 13 April 1967)

‘The most important week in my life and I’m going to be spending it with a drag queen?!’

(He’s My Girl, US film, 1987)

drainpipes, drainpipe jeans, drainies, drains n pl British

very tight trousers fashionable in the 1950s among teddy boys and, later, rock-



ers. Although the terms have been fashionable subsequently (during the glitter craze and punk era, for instance), they are now more rare.

drain the lizard/dragon/snake vb

to urinate. Colourful euphemisms popular with (invariably male) college students, hearty drinkers, etc. These expressions entered the slang lexicon of teenagers and college students in the late 1960s and early 1970s, although they are probably older, adult coinages on the pattern of siphon the python. It is not clear where in the English-speaking world the pattern originated, but it is thought by many to be typically Australian.

‘He can’t come to the phone right now, he’s in the can draining his lizard.’ (Friday 13th Part VI, US film, 1986)

draipsing n British

extorting money or items of value from a weaker person. The synonym of taxing was employed in the 1970s among com- prehensive-school pupils in London and referred to using a threat rather than actual violence to bully younger pupils into giving up items of value. Its derivation is uncertain.

drama queen n

a self-dramatising or hysterical person. The expression was originally (in the 1960s) applied by male homosexuals to their fellows. In the 1970s the phrase was adopted by heterosexuals and applied to women and, sometimes, to straight as well as gay men.

drape(s) n

a.clothes, a suit or outfit. The word was in use in the USA (where ‘drapes’ are curtains) in the 1950s among black musicians, hipsters and beatniks. It was then adopted by spivs and prisoners in Britain, where it is still heard.

b.British a drape jacket, the top half of a ‘zoot suit’ and part of the uniform of the teddy boy in the 1950s. (The drape had wide shoulders and was almost as long as a frock-coat, but loose and unwaisted.)

draw1 n British

a.tobacco. In this sense the word, derived from the action of inhaling, dates from the 1950s. It occurs in prison jargon in particular.

b.cannabis (hashish or marihuana). Since the mid-1970s this word has been in vogue for smokable cannabis.

‘By the time he returned home hours late, Robert was intoxicated with cider and high on ‘draw’ (cannabis cigarette).’

(Sunday Times, 28 January 1996)

draw2 n British

a ‘two-one’ honours degree in the late 1980s parlance of university students. (The joke is that a draw means ‘two won’.) Alternative names for the same award are made-in or Taiwan.

Compare Desmond; Douglas; Pattie; Richard

draw3 vb British

to attract (an admirer). A term used by young street-gang members in London since around 2000.

‘Round here we draw more black guys than white ones.’

(Recorded, teenage female gang member, East London, 2001)

dread1 adj

1. Jamaican an all-purpose word implying authentic, impressive, etc., in connection with the black reggae and ganja culture and Rastafarian religion of Jamaica. The word first conveyed the power and awe felt and inspired by the (dreadlock-wearing) devotees of Rastafarianism.

He’s dread. It’s real dread.

2a. British good

Well dread sounds.

2b. British bad

Some dread shit.

Shorn of its Rasta associations the word had, by 2000, become popular among UK adolescents. Like its synonym rough, its meaning changed according to intonation.

dread2, dred adj British

awful. Employed by middle-class speakers since around 2000, this usage of the term is more likely to be an abbreviation of ‘dreadful’ than the Rastafarian key-word.

I’m feeling dread, man.

dreamboat n

a very attractive person of the opposite sex. The word, redolent of Hollywood in the 1940s, is still used, especially in the USA and usually, but not always, facetiously as a description or term of endearment.

dreck n

rubbish, a worthless thing, shit. From the Yiddish drek and German dreck, which have the same meaning.



‘Here’s some news to gladden the hearts of all devotees of dreck – the world première of “Prisoner Cell Block H”.’

(Time Out magazine, July 1989)

dreg n British

a despicable or worthless person. A middle-class term of abuse or disapproval which has been rare since the late 1960s. It is a modern back-forma- tion from the standard plural ‘dregs’, which itself derives from an Old Norse term for oil or wine residues.

dreich adj Scottish

dreary. A dialect term which was occasionally heard as a colourful new colloquialism in self-conscious use amongst middle-class inhabitants of England in the late 1990s.

The weather is rather, as they say, dreich.

dribbler n British

an unpleasant, obnoxious and/or unfortunate person. In playground usage since 2000.

drift vb

to leave, go away, escape. The word is sometimes in the imperative form, meaning ‘get lost’; otherwise it is a cool or ‘tough-guy’ synonym for to ‘go’.

drill vb

1.British to sleep. A middle-class and public-school term deriving from the phrase ‘blanket drill’, a facetious army expression for sleeping.

2.to shoot (usually to kill). A now dated Americanism adopted by crime and western movies and fiction.

3.to have sex with. A rare usage on the same pattern as screw.

drink n British

a small bribe, tip or other financial inducement. Originally, in London working-class usage, it meant literally the price of an (alcoholic) drink. Now it usually refers to a more substantial sum and is sometimes extended to a share in an attractive venture, or a ‘piece of the action’. As an item of British police and underworld slang, it was given wider currency by TV series such as Minder.

Brian will need a drink, too.

drinkable adj British

attractive and/or available. The term was popular among City traders, Sloanes and yuppies from the later 1980s and could be applied equally to a potential sex partner, usually by males, or to an investment opportunity.

drinking vouchers n pl British

coins or banknotes. An alternative version of ‘beer-vouchers’ or beer-tokens.

‘Our Rebels are more likely to be huddled inside an SW William Hill putting plenty of “drinking vouchers” (cash money) on Chelsea thrashing Man United. They can often be spied at pubs like the White Hart.’

(I-D magazine, November 1987)

drink-link n British

a cash dispenser. A term in use among college students since 2000.

drip1 n

1.an insipid, unassertive or boring person. This common colloquialism is probably British in origin, but is also used, especially by school and college students, in the USA and Australia. It is one of many terms (wet, damp, dripping) equating weakness with water.

2.the drip British hire purchase, paying by instalments. The phrase is usually part of the longer expression on the drip.

drip2 vb British

to complain. The term was recorded on the Royal Marines website in 2004, where it was defined as ‘moan incessantly, usually a sign that the blokes are happy’.

dripping adj British

weak, irresolute, pathetic. An upperand middle-class term of mild contempt from the late 1970s. It is inspired by the popular colloquialism wet.

Her husband’s absolutely dripping.

drive the porcelain bus/great white bus/ big bus vb American

to vomit. A popular expression among college and high-school students. The image is of a helpless drunk or hangover victim kneeling before the toilet pedestal, clutching the rim of the bowl in both hands like an oversized steering wheel, as the room spins. (Kiss the porcelain god is an alternative form.)

droid n American

a stupid, slow or completely unimaginative person, in the language of teenagers and students. It is a shortening of ‘android’, of which both the full and abbreviated forms have been used extensively in science-fiction books and films since the mid-1970s.

‘Man, he’s a total droid.’

(Zombie High, US film, 1987)



drongo n

a foolish, unfortunate or unpleasant person. An Australian word which was adopted by British speakers in the early 1970s, probably introduced to it by an influx of young Australian travellers. It is a term of scathing contempt which may have been inspired by a spectacularly unsuccessful racehorse of the same name in the 1920s, although ‘drongo’ is also the name of an Australian bird. The word seemed to be declining in popularity by the late 1980s.

droob n Australian

a dullard. This word is probably a blend of drip and boob(y).

drooly adj

very attractive, appealing or appetising. A less usual synonym of dishy or ‘yummy’, often used by adolescent females.

drop1 vb

1. to take (an illicit drug) orally. The word was most often encountered in the phrase ‘drop acid’, meaning to take LSD by mouth. Originally an American term, ‘drop’ replaced the neutral ‘take’ in Britain around 1966.

‘Well, the one that stopped me from doing acid forever was when I dropped seven tabs. I completely lost my mind and went to Muppetland – the whole trip lasted for about six months.’

(Zodiac Mindwarp, I-D magazine, November 1987)

2.to knock (a person) down

He threatened to drop him.

3.to give birth to. A shortening of drop a pup.

Has she dropped it yet? She’s going to drop in August.

4. American (of a record, film) to appear, be released. From the earlier sense of to ‘give birth to’. An expression used on campus in the USA since around 2000.

That Outkast track dropped last week.

drop2 n British

news, requisite information. The word usually occurs in the question ‘What’s the drop?’, recorded among UK adolescents in the early 1990s.

drop a bollock vb British

to commit a blunder; a vulgar alternative to the colloquial ‘drop a brick’ or ‘drop a clanger’

drop a bundle vb

to lose a large amount of money (by gambling or speculative investment, for instance).

See also drop one’s bundle

drop a pup vb Australian

to give birth to. A vulgar and/or humorous euphemism used mainly by men.

dropdead adj

stunning, extreme, sensational. A vogue word since the midto late 1980s among those concerned with fashion. The usage is American in origin.

a dropdead blonde dropdead gorgeous

drop-kick n Australian

a ‘low’, worthless or miserable person. This relatively mild epithet, used, e.g., in television soap operas of the 1980s, is probably a descendant of the vulgar rhyming slang (based on soccer), ‘dropkick and punt’: cunt.

This makes me seem like a real drop-kick or something.

drop off the twig vb

to die. A lighthearted expression in vogue in Britain since the late 1980s. Bird imagery features in several colourful, predominantly working-class phrases in British colloquial use, such as ‘sick as a parrot’ or rattle someone’s cage.

drop one out vb British

to exclude someone (such as a suspect) from one’s list, surveillance or enquiry. A piece of police jargon presumably based on the notion of people being in the frame or out of it.

drop one’s bundle vb Australian

to panic. The bundle in question may originate in a hobo’s pack, or may be a reference to fright’s tendency to empty the bowels.

drop one’s daks vb Australian

to take off one’s trousers. An Australianism (Daks is a trademark for a brand of casual slacks especially popular in the early 1960s in Britain and Australia). A catchphrase from The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, the cartoon strip published in Private Eye magazine in the late 1960s was ‘drop your daks and say the magic word’.

drop out vb

to withdraw from conventional society, opt out. The motto of the hippy movement, coined by Dr Timothy Leary in 1967, was ‘turn on, tune in, and drop out



(take drugs and/or become enlightened; make contact with like-minded people or the life force; and leave society behind). The phrase survives in the specific sense of abandon one’s education.

‘Since I dropped out in September last year I have come to the conclusion that the city drop-out scene is a pathetic one.’

(Letter to Oz magazine, June 1968)

drop-out n

someone who has opted out of society. In this sense the word and the concept date from the late 1960s when hippies renounced capitalism, the education system, etc. to form an ‘alternative society’. The term was quickly picked up by the press and others who disapproved and it became a pejorative description. In the USA in the 1950s and early 1960s dropout was used to refer specifically to those who had left full-time education before graduating from high school.

dropped on adj

punished, reprimanded. The expression in full is ‘dropped on from a great height’; the ‘dropping’ in question may refer to the weight of authority, or may be a euphemism for shitting. Predominantly a middle-class term, it is generally used in the context of a hierarchy.

drop trou vb American

to take down one’s trousers, usually as part of an undergraduate ritual or hazing, as an expression of high spirits sometimes, but not necessarily, involving mooning; or in preparation for sex. A preppie term.

drossy adj British

unpleasant, inferior, disappointing. Formed from the noun, this term has been in use among students since around 2000.

druggy, druggie n

a user of illicit drugs. The term has been used by disapproving commentators such as concerned parents, teachers, etc. since the mid-1960s, when beatniks were the culprits.

drum n

1. British a house, home or building. The word, which is used especially in police and underworld circles, may come from the Romany word drom, meaning ‘highway’, but is possibly a back-formation from drummer, referring to someone who knocks (‘drums’) on people’s doors, either to buy or sell goods or to find some-

where unoccupied to rob. In the past the word has also meant ‘prison cell’ and ‘brothel’, especially in Canada and Australia respectively.

‘Go and turn over his drum while we keep him locked up here.’

(Recorded, Detective Sergeant, Canterbury, 1971)

2. Australian a tip, piece of information or news, probably from the notion of ‘jungle drums’

I got a drum that she was in town. drummer n

a.a door-to-door salesperson, peddler or buyer of junk

b.a housebreaker or burglar

This now obsolescent term derives either from knocking (‘drumming’) on doors or from drum as a vagrants’ and criminals’ synonym for house.

drumming n British

a.selling door-to-door

b.housebreaking or burglary

Both senses of the word derive from drum as a slang term for house or home, or from drum in the sense of knock.

drumsticks n pl South African

legs. The word is used typically by young males commenting mockingly on young females. It was first recorded in this sense in English slang of the 18th century and later in black American argot of the 1940s.

dry n British

rubbish, shit. The origin of this vogue term among adolescent gangs is uncertain. The term was recorded in use among North London schoolboys in 1993 and 1994 as an all-purpose adjective signifying anything unpleasant, disappointing, etc. It was still in vogue in 2006.

dry-hump, dry-fuck, dry root n, vb

(to perform) a sexual activity (often while standing up) in which the partners simulate intercourse while they (or at least their genitals) are fully clothed. The term usually describes the behaviour of consenting heterosexuals rather than ‘perversions’ such as frottage (where the activity is performed on an unwilling victim, as for instance in a crowded lift or train), tribadism (between lesbian partners) or frictation (between male homosexual partners). Dry root is an expression peculiar to Australian speakers.

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