Green’s Dictionary of Slang

breeze n.1

1. in spoken contexts.

(a) an argument, a disturbance, a quarrel; thus have a breeze in one’s breech, to be disturbed, confused.

[UK]Fletcher Monsieur Thomas IV vi: What, is the breeze in your breech?
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 109: ‘There’s the breeze!’ says the servant. ‘I wish they had breezed it somewhere else,’ says the landlord.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. VII 163/1: To kick up a row or beat up a breeze, / I never sit quamp, like a mouse in a cheese, / But I go it and gag it, as loud as I please.
[UK]J. Kenney Raising the Wind II i: peggy: Deceitful— miss D.: Abominable— diddler: (Aside) Here’s a breeze!
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 190: hit-a-body had scarcely entered the coffee-room before the breeze began.
[UK]Marryat Snarleyyow I 14: ‘The skipper’s out o’ sorts again this morning,’ said Obadiah [...] ‘Then, by Got, we will have de breeze,’ replied Jansen.
[UK]Paul Pry 8 Jan. 6/1: [W]hen there is a ‘breeze’ in the second floor front (which he knows is often the case when the tin runs short).
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 89: They say the emperor and her majesty have had another breeze.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 99: Hullo! here’s a breeze!
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) IV 727: ‘Oh! don’t you and your Missus have breezes,’ said Sally to me one night.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘No Place for a Woman’ in Roderick (1972) 399: He and his wife might have had a ‘breeze’ during the morning.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith in the City (1993) 120: All these petty breezes [...] must be very trying to a man in your position.
[US]H. Hunt East of Farewell 127: Tell those mess-boys to knock off the breeze [...] The jabbering ended.
[Aus](con. 1936–46) K.S. Prichard Winged Seeds (1984) 184: Gran tells me you had quite a breeze with Sir Patrick about going out with her and Dinny.

(b) a rumour, a scandal.

[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 4 Apr. 4/1: Oh, golly! I had almost forgotten to tell :you what a breeze there was at the Corner on Thursday about the - Eulid colt and the Newmarket Handicap.
[UK]R.L. Stevenson Travels in the Cevennes 215: There came a breeze that Spirit Séguier was near at hand.
[US]Denver (CO) Tribune Aug. n.p.: Give us a breeze on the subject.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 36: breeze.– [...] False information.
[US](con. 1906) G. Duffy Warden’s Wife 21: Since no one knew any of the dull, factual details concerning this latest ‘breeze,’ there was plenty of conjecture.

(c) (US Und.) a confidence trickster’s patter.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 19: breeze [...] Loquacity; guile; ‘hot air;’ ‘bull con’.

(d) (US) empty chatter.

[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 36: breeze.–Idle chatter; talk of no importance.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 792: breeze – Idle chatter.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 37: ‘Have you picked up anything we can use yet?’ Peck asked. ‘Or are they just shooting the breeze?’ ‘Well, you can pick a lot out of the breeze if you listen right,’ Hannibal observed.

2. referring to the breeze as uncontrollable, insubstantial, offering no barriers.

(a) (Aus./W.I.) freedom; thus give me breeze, give it a breeze, leave me in peace, give me some room.

[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 32: Give it a Breeze, give it a rest.
[Aus]L. Esson Woman Tamer in Ballades of Old Bohemia (1980) 61: Give it a breeze.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Dec. 38/3: Oh, give it a breeze. Do you want Tommy to grow up a white-livered milk-and-water son-of-a-gun – because I don’t.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Silent Member’ in Backblock Ballads 76: When all at once he ups and shouts, ‘Here, give a bloke a breeze! / Just take a pull for half a tick and let me have the floor.’.
[UK]C. Stead Seven Poor Men of Sydney 128: ‘Give it a breeze,’ groaned Joseph.
[Ire]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 150: ‘Will you give us a breeze?’ Tarry screeched. But the mother was relentless.

(b) anything easy, simple, no problems; usu. as phrs. it’s a breeze, (go) like a breeze.

[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 29: I went like a breeze with this girl.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Big Shoulders’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 586: They figure this game is just a breeze for the Princetons.
[US]I. Shulman Cry Tough! 196: Andy didn’t like having strangers giving him the double-o. The stick-up was a breeze.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 58: You’ll go like a breeze.
[US]Kerouac letter 6 Dec. in Charters II (1999) 231: If you’re still in Seattle, it will be a breeze to go see you.
[US]E. Shepard Doom Pussy 143: ‘How did the mission go?’ I asked. ‘Like a breeze.’.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 14: No, it’s easier than that. in fact it’s a breeze.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 88: Breeze Easy course.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 187: The rest was a breeze.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 112: If it’s a lady journo then it’s a breeze, no worries.
[Aus]R. McDonald Rough Wallaby 120: It’s a breeze.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 11 Feb. 11: Life’s a breeze.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 363: The Atlantic crossing was a breeze.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Irish Fandango [ebook] ‘Mate, it’s a breeze, you’ll piss it in’.

3. (US black) a great extent, a large amount.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 166: ‘What Mack doin’?’ ‘Lyin’ up a breeze.’.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 70: Each one was cussing up a breeze about the other’s mother until they began to rumble.
[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 16: They gave this Cat five cents worth of ink [...] and he sat down and wrote up such a breeze.

4. (US teen) a flirtatious girl.

N. Pepper in Indianapolis Star (MD) 6 Feb. pt 4 22/3: Breeze — A flirty-flirty girl.

5. (US black) a relaxed person; a smart, fashionable person.

H.L. Foster Ribbin’, Jivin’ and Playin’ the Dozens in Major (1994).
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 48: Breeze A cool relaxed person.

In compounds

In phrases

back the breeze (v.)

(US) to chatter, to gossip.

[US]McCulloch Woods Words n.p.: Backin’ the breeze— A man so gabby he makes the wind blow backwards.
bat the breeze (v.)

(orig. Aus./US milit.) to chatter, to gossip.

[US]Army and Navy Register (US) 18 Nov. 3/2: ‘Battin’ the breeze,’ a conversation which usually ends with an argument as to who won the Civil War.
[US]M. Hart Winged Victory II iii: Sit down and bat the breeze a while.
[US]R. Leveridge Walk on the Water 246: Let’s bat the breeze.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 106: It didn’t do to be seen batting the breeze with one of the bosses.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 326: They had sat late at night [...] drinking coffee and batting the breeze.
[US]N. Spinrad Bug Jack Barron 18: I’ll just have to bat the breeze about Mr Johnson’s public charge.
[US]J. Ellroy Silent Terror 219: We bat the breeze, and I ask her if she's dating anyone.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 65: I wasn’t there to bat the breeze.
fan the breeze (v.)

1. (US) to chatter, to gossip.

[US]Western Folklore V 387: One of the sailor’s chief activities during his free time is flapping his chops, [...] fanning the breeze, beating his gums [DARE].
[US] in DARE.

2. see also SE phrs. below.

3. see breeze v.1 (1)

kick up a breeze (v.) (also raise a breeze)

to make a fuss, to cause trouble.

[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 50: Afraid of kicking up a breeze in the presence of Doricourt, which would have for ever ruined my hopes , I resigned the seat.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: To raise a breeze; to kick up a dust or breed a disturbance.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 5: But, though we must hope for such good times as these, / Yet as something may happen to kick up a breeze.
[UK]Worcs. Chron. 15 Nov. 2/1: Mother and daughter were charged [...] with drunkenness and disorderly conduct; the latter with aiding [...] her honoured parent to kick up a breeze.
[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 290: I believe there is nothing to do here Christmas, the young Bucks tried to raise a breeze but could not make [it].
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 27 Apr. 479: Phrases derived from the sea [...] to ‘kick up a breeze’.
shoot the breeze (v.)

(orig. US) to gossip, to talk idly.

[US]Indiana (PA) Weekly Messenger 10 June 10/1: ‘Wait a minute, Dad,’ I said. ‘I’m no cop. I just wanted to shoot the breeze with you.’.
[US]N.Y. Herald Trib. 29 Aug. 14/5: But when the men of the U.S.N. have time to relax, they relax in a great big way. What is their favorite relaxation? Strange as it may seem to landlubbers, your naval man would pass up wine, women or song any time if only he be permitted to shoot the breeze. Shooting the breeze is yarn spinning, only I never heard it called the latter on shipboard.
[US]Bayler & Carnes Last Man Off Wake Island 123: The boys would come over and we’d ‘shoot the breeze’ in long bull-fests.
[US](con. 1944) J.H. Burns Gallery (1948) 243: I’ll go and shoot the breeze with Wilma.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 21: I wasted too much time shooting the breeze with Charles.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 28: He didn’t want to shoot the breeze.
[US]I. Freeman Out of the Burning (1961) 211: I rarely had a minute to shoot the breeze with the Imperial Deacons.
[US]G. Cuomo Among Thieves 35: It felt good just shooting the breeze and taking it easy.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 145: Lounging on the yard and shooting the breeze.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 37: Have you picked up anything we can use yet? [...] Or are they just shooting the breeze?
[Aus]M. Coleman Fatty 27: [T]he boys had been sitting around [...] shooting the breeze talking about footy and lying about women.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 6 Aug. 38: Glen would shoot the breeze with them, ask them about their families.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 13 June 57: We have these great telephone conversations where we just shoot the breeze about stuff.
[UK]J. Poller Reach 13: Why is it that I can effortlessly shoot the breeze with Steve and Clare [...] but, for the life of me, I’m unable to sustain a conversation with my father for more than one minute.
[UK]Guardian G2 19 Jan. 17: So, you’re sitting on the sofa, shooting the breeze, small-talking with your mate about nothing in particular.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 12: He’s [...] shooting the breeze with me.
[Aus]G. Disher Heat [ebook] ‘You shoot the breeze with colleagues from rival firms, swap stories, put buyers and sellers in each other’s way?’.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

In phrases

fan the breeze (v.)

1. (US) to go fast, orig. on horseback.

[US]D.J. O’Malley ‘The Cowboy Wishes’ in Stock Grower’s Journal 7 Apr. 🌐 I want to be a buster / And ride the bucking horse, / And scratch him in the shoulders / With my silvered spurs, of course. / I’ll rake him up and down the side, / You bet I’ll fan the breeze / I’ll ride him with slick saddle / And do it with great ease.
[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 39: The first Y.M.C.A. guy that faced me fanned the breeze on two outshoots.

2. see also under sl. phrs. above .

3. see breeze v.1 (1)

get the breeze up (v.) (also have the..., put the...)

to worry/to be worried, to disturb.

[[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 45: I have put the breeze under your Taile, I think I have netled you].
H. Champion ‘Any Old Rags?’ [monologue] When i fought the Turks what with all their dirty works, / I fairly got it in the neck.
[Aus]E.G. Dodd diary 27 Jan. 🌐 This time he chased an engine on the railway line. I’ll bet he put the breeze up the driver and fire man.
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 165: Some 48th bearers bound up my wounds and put the breeze up me by saying they didn’t like the look of them.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 35: Breeze up, to have the: to be nervous, to have the ‘wind up’.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 20 Aug. 11/2: Eventually the model ‘S.M. Herald’ leader will read like this [...] It’s the sort of thing that’d put the breeze up a tougher guy than ’im.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 248: He got a vertical breeze up every time he thought of that dead warder and the chap he’d thrown down the hole.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 91: That was all Sir Garnet with me, except that I had the breeze up that Ziegler might do his block.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 235: It put the breeze up me.
[UK]J. Orton Erpingham Camp in Crimes of Passion (1967) 80: Knees-up, Knees-up, Don’t get the breeze-up. Knees-up, Mother Brown-O!
[NZ]R. Morrieson Pallet on the Floor 141: I’ve had the breeze up going over this road to and from the quarry.
gi’ me breeze (n.)

(W.I.) ragged, torn, old work clothes (through which the wind blows).

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).
give someone the breeze (v.) [var. on give someone the air under air n.]

(orig. US) to dismiss, to reject, esp. when ending a love affair.

[UK] ‘My Faithless English Rose’ in M. Page Kiss Me Goodnight, Sgt.-Major (1973) 121: Instead of love and kisses, the girls gave me the breeze.
‘Astrological Compatibility Chart’ in Woman’s Own Feb. 🌐 Aries is hot in the sack, but his constant needling cools your ardor. If he won’t stop analyzing you, give him the breeze.
hit the breeze (v.)

(N.Z./US) to depart, to travel, to run fast.

[US] ‘The Jolly Vaquero’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 337: He ‘hits the breeze,’ and rides with ease.
Commoner (Lincoln, Neb.) 30 June 9/2: I am a busy man, earn my bread by the sweat of my face, hit the breeze early and late.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘A Word List From Montana’ in DN IV:iii 244: hit the breeze, v. [...] to set off on the road.
[US]Hayti Herald (MO) 2 Oct. 8/3: Life is blithe and sunny since the peace dove hit the breeze.
[US]M.E. Smith Adventures of a Boomer Op. 78: I believe I will [...] hit the breeze for Ohio.
C. Drew ‘Gorilla Grogan’ in Bulletin (Sydney) 26 July 41/2: We [...] drop out of the side window and hit the breeze for our pub.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 221: Other commands to ‘go’ were [...] ‘hit the breeze’.
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 297: I hit the breeze again.
[US]E. Sanders Family 47: Manson only recorded one three-hour session [...] then hit the breeze.
punch the breeze (v.)

(US) to leave.

[US]S.E. White Arizona Nights 113: But the other girl and the Jew drummer had punched the breeze.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 221: Other commands to ‘go’ were [...] ‘punch the breeze’.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 29: Put that gun away an’ punch the breeze – pronto.
take the breeze (v.)

to leave, to escape.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Bloodhounds of Broadway’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 101: She takes the breeze and I return to the other room.