Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pit n.

1. (also sawpit) the vagina.

[UK]T. Buckley ‘Libel of Oxford’ in May & Bryson Verse Libel 312: A Sammon in a Sawyer’s pitt / Did seeke to scape the fysher’s ginn.
[UK]Gesta Grayorum (1688) 19: Three hundred able and sufficient labouring Men, [...] also shall repair and mend all common High and Low-Ways, by laying stones in the Pits and naughty places.
[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 112: I call him Capon; but said the other, never Cocke of the game [...] no I will see him in the pit first, which word may carry a double meaning.
[UK]R. Herrick ‘Cherry-pit’ Hesperides 17: Julia and I [...] Playing for sport, at Cherry-pit: / She threw; I cast; and having thrown, / I got the Pit, and she the Stone.
[UK] ‘Madame Be Covered’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 39: You not to one, but, unto all, / Shew both your hills and naked pit.
[UK]F. Fane ‘Iter Occidentale’ Harleian Mss. 7319.20: That glorious Name, That moved thee to divest thy covering Carnall Sin Shelt’ring Smock, and Shew thy Pit Infernall.
[UK]Dorset ‘A Faithful Catalogue of our most Eminent Ninnies’ in Works of Rochester, Roscommon, Dorset (1720) 32: In some deep Saw-pit, both their Noddles hide.
[UK]Cleland Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1985) 32: His red-headed champion that had so lately fled the pit [...] was now recover’d to the top of its condition.
[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 93: She is very tall, and the pit in her black heath is said to have a considerable profundity.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 170: An ignorant virgin of Dee / Entertained a man’s cock just to see / If the darn thing would fit— / It went off in her pit, / And she cried, ‘Hey, that’s no place to pee!’.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 182: The simplest words in common use for this ‘nasty thing’ [...] are those accepting the female sexual apparatus as a simple receptacle. These include [...] pit, placket and many others.

2. (UK Und.) the common grave, beneath the gallows, in which those who fail to pay a burial fee of 6s 8d are buried after their remains have been cut down.

[UK]A. Dowriche French Hist. in Wynne-Davies Women Poets of the Renaissance (1998) 24: In prison where they were, / The thieves and bloody murderers did find more favour there, / For they that death deserved were taken from their clink, / And in the cold and ugly pits which breathed a deadly stink / These men were thrust and bound.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Pit c. the hole under the Gallows into which those that Pay not the Fee, viz. 6s 8d, are cast and Buried.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue .
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

3. a breast pocket; thus (UK Und.) pit-worker n., a pickpocket who specializes in robbing inside pockets.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Pit. A watch fob. He drew a rare thimble from the swell’s pit. He took a handsome watch from the gentleman’s fob.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US](con. 1910s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 41: ‘In the pit,’ says one, meaning that the article they are after is in the inside coat pocket.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 332: pit (the) : The inside jacket pocket.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 158/2: Pit. (Among pickpockets) The vest pocket; or, less frequently, the inside breast pocket of coat.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 196: Pit An inside pocket in a jacket.

4. (UK Und.) a wallet [from sense 3].

[UK](con. 1900–30) A. Harding in Samuel East End Und. 283: Pit – Wallet. ‘There’s more money in the pit, who wants to be a miner.’.

5. as a place, usu. untidy, dirty.

(a) a bed.

[UK]K. Waterhouse Jubb (1966) 25: Right [...] flop into me pit, spark out, that’s it for the night.
[Ire](con. 1940s) S. McAughtry Sinking of the Kenbane Head 90: In came the self-important cockney Corporal. ‘Wot!’ he yelled, ‘still in the pit.’.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 113: One white arm / with digital / cheap one upon his wrist comes snaking out the pit where scrubber lies a-snoring.
[Ire](con. 1945) S. McAughtry Touch and Go 160: What goes on when a man climbs into the pit with a brass nail is as sacred as the confessional. Call yourself a pro?
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 132: It was way after three in the afternoon and the sweaty lovers were still stinking in Gerry’s pit.

(b) a real mess, esp. a room that is untidy.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 172: Pit [...] A messy or untidy room or place.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 56: The place was a pit and she was a slob.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 173: Wheezer collapsed into his deal old Farm Place pit.

(c) an unattractive, unpleasant place.

[US]H.S. Thompson letter 17 Dec. in Proud Highway (1997) 359: Jesus I worry about you there in NY, that rotten pit.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 114: I didn’t even want to eat there because the place was such a pit.
[US]B. Gifford Night People 4: I can’t believe we survived three and change in that pit [i.e. a prison].
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 63: Withyood, the housing estate, was a pit.

6. (orig. US) in fig. use, as the pits.

(a) a situation, object or person seen as totally undesirable.

[US]Newsweek 2 Nov. 54/3: A bad exam experience would be ‘I’m wasted’ at Howard, [...] It was ‘the pits’ at Vassar.
[US]Poston & Stillman ‘Notes on Campus Vocab.’ in AS XL:3 194: pits, n. This is a slang abbreviation of the term armpits, again with an extension of meaning to entail the idea of body odor (‘He’s got the pits’) or, more broadly, something unpleasant (‘It [the party] was really the pits’).
[US]Frank Zappa ‘Eddie, Are You Kidding?’ [lyrics] I saw your double knits / I thought they were the pits.
[UK]T. Paulin ‘From the Death Cell: Iambes VIII’ in Liberty Tree 53: This is the pits and yet we feed and sleep.
[Aus] in Tracks (Aus.) Jan. 5: And to all locals who put themselves a mile higher than westies, I and others think you’re the pits.
[US](con. 1960s) G. Washington Blood Brothers 162: This half assed place was the pits, the real asshole of the world.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 11: I am the pits, the fuckin dregs uv humanity.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] Jim owes me big time. This is the pits.
[UK]K. Richards Life 406: When there’s no shit at all, then you’ve got to go down to the pits and you know it’s going to be like a fucking pool of piranhas down there.
[UK]Times 1 Apr. [Internet] I would not much like to have been a female prostitute in Georgian England. [...] Being a female one, anyway, seems to have been the pits.

(b) the depths of despair; thus in the pits, very depressed.

[US]C. McFadden Serial 32: It [i.e. bad news] sent Kate really into the pits.
[SA]Sun. Times (S.Afr.) 12 July [Internet] [headline] Vehicle sales in the pits as disposable income drops.
[US]Salon.com 19 Dec. [Internet] [headline] Music industry in the pits! Record sales are down, no one’s seeing concerts, no one’s advertising on radio and the stars are revolting!

7. an armpit, with an implication of body odour; usu. in pl.; thus the pits, body odour.

[Ire]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 285: Put a little touch of Miss Frost’s mum in the pits.
see sense 6a.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 172: Pit A. Armpit. B. Armpit stain. C. Body odor.
[US]Current Sl. IV:1 12: Pit, n. Perspiration odor.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 54: pits ‘body odor’.
[US]B. Gutcheon New Girls (1982) 129: Okay, just wait till I finish shaving my pits.
[UK]Kirk & Madsen After The Ball 305: Ripe pits sourballs [...] pit sniffin’.
[UK]K. Lette Foetal Attraction (1994) 32: What was it, Maddy pondered, that the shopping urge always struck the day you [...] hadn’t shaved your pits?
[UK]Guardian G2 24 May 11: Spray your pits and wash your bits.

8. (drugs) the place on the inside of the elbow that is often used for injections.

[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 211: pit The main vein leading to the heart, considered the ‘original main line’ and the best vein to inject by some addicts.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US](con. 1939–59) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 114: I shot in this one vein from here to here [points to arm] for twenty years; that’s what you call ‘the pit’.

9. (orig. US) a pit bull terrier [abbr.].

[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 47: The pit licked his hand. Wayne scratched his ears.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] The pit looked offical, but Lil’ B knew dogs like the back of his hand [...] the pit didn’t come from a strong bloodline.

In derivatives

pitty (adj.)

(US campus) messy, untidy, disgusting.

[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 64: This is a pitty looking room.

In compounds

pit-hole (n.)

1. hell; a grave; thus pit-holed adj.

[UK]Middleton Widdow of Watling-streete I ii: All my friends were pit-holed, gone to graves.

2. (also pit mouth, pit of darkness) the vagina.

[UK]Middleton Blurt, Master Constable E2: I thinke she does not greatlie care whether you fall to her vpon your honour, or no: So, all’s fit, tel my Ladie that I goe in a suite of Durance for her sake; that’s your way, and this Pit-hole’s mine.
[UK]Middleton Mad World (1640) I ii: That villanous ring-worme, womans worst requitall; ’Tis onley lechery that’s damb’d t’th pit-hole.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 113: Éteignoir, m. The female pudendum; ‘the pit of darkness’.
pit-man (n.)

1. a small pocket-book, worn in the inside pocket of a jacket.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 232: Here’s a pit-man, captain.
[US]A. Pinkerton Thirty Years a Detective 44: A pocket-book is called ‘leather,’ a wallet, or ‘a pittman’ or ‘pitt’.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
Buffalo Courier (NY) 8 Sept. 67/1: Many men carry their money in a big long wallet, which used to be called a ‘Pitman’.

2. (US Und.) a front trouser pocket.

[US]F.H. Tillotson How I Became a Detective 94: Pitman – A front trouser pocket.

In phrases