Green’s Dictionary of Slang

man n.

also Mandy, mun

1. as a term of address.

(a) used emphatically in direct address [Gold, A Jazz Lexicon (1964), and Major, Juba to Jive: A Dict. of Afro-American Slang (1994), suggest that the term was adopted by US blacks to counter the common white use of ‘boy’ when addressing blacks: note McCall, Makes Me Wanna Holler (1994): ‘More fights started over one person calling another ‘boy’ than over anything else. To counter that indignity, we addressed each other respectfully as ‘man’, even though we were not adults’].

[UK]Chaucer Reeve’s Tale (1979) line 219: Step on thy feet! Com of, man, al atanes!
[UK]Skelton Bowge of Courte line 388: What the devyll, man, myrth was never one!
[UK]‘Mr. S’ Gammer Gurton’s Needle in Whitworth (1997) II i: Gog’s soul, man, […] Cha’ bit no bite this livelong day.
[UK]Greene James IV I i: Fall to it; dance, I say, man.
[UK]Chapman & Jonson Eastward Ho! I i: ’Slife, man, his father was a malt-man, and his mother sold gingerbread in Christ-church!
[UK]Fletcher Chances III i: She’ll grow stark mad, Man.
[UK]T. Heywood Royal King and Loyal Subject I i: Say you so, man?
[UK]Jonson, Fletcher & Middleton Widdow I ii: Why man, Fortune never minds us, till we are left alone to ourselves.
[UK]Behn Lucky Chance III v: Why, what a pox, are you mad? ’Tis I, ’tis I, man.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus I:9 11: But man, says he, I’ll tell thee what.
[UK]J. Miller Humours of Oxford V i: What’s the Matter now, Man?
[UK]A. Murphy Upholsterer II iii: Odsheart Man be of good chear.
[US]‘Andrew Barton’ Disappointment I i: By my saul mon!
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Blue Devils 9: Pooh, pooh! I can’t go, mun.
[UK]T. Morton A School For Grown Children II i: Oh, you must not be civil, mun!
[US]Standard (London) 20 Oct. 1/3: Take it all, man — take it all.
[UK] ‘Of All The Blowings On The Town’ Flash Chaunter 5: Her mother she’s a lushington, / And stone blind drunk all day man.
[US]H.L. Williams Ticket-of-Leave Man 23: Oh, man—can’t you help a chap get a good night’s rest?
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 273: Dash it, man, what’s the use of us wasting time jawing here?
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 17 Dec. 187: Why, man, your mother is sure to consent.
[UK]Sporting Times 13 May 4/4: Lor’ bless you, man, I haven’t bowled for ten years.
E.B. Morris Senior 30: Collins. She turned me down. But, man, I did it so well!
[Ire]Joyce ‘Two Gallants’ Dubliners (1956) 48: I was afraid, man, she’d get in the family way.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘The Making of Mac’s’ Man with Two Left Feet 130: ‘But, heavens, man!’ I cried.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Jim Maitland (1953) 83: Why, man – I wouldn’t have believed it possible!
[UK]Rover 18 Feb. 11: Man, the referee’s daft!
[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 26 Apr. 9/7: Peppermint candy is solid handy, when coming to the end of your ‘reefer session,’ Mandy.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 11: Man, it was wonderful to see the look in Murph’s eye when Yellow was blowing up a breeze.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 34: Oh, man [...] my lil ole pappy tole me not to leave our magnolia plantation.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 20: Man, this was a lot better.
[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 48: Man, I tell you we had some real beefs.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 53: Man, like I just can’t do no more time, you hear me?
[US]T. Wolfe Bonfire of the Vanities 4: We don’t want your figures, man!
[UK]Guardian Guide 15–21 May 23: Man, my mother was a woman. I loved my mother.
[UK]Z. Smith White Teeth 22: Man [...] dis life no easy!
[UK]J. Joso Soothing Music for Stray Cats 169: Man, I was pissed at these guys.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 6: Inmates exchange intrixcate handshakes and formal titles: OG, young G, boo, bro, baby boy, brutha, dude, cuz, dawg, P, G, daddy, pimpin’, nigga, man, thug thizzle, my boy, my man, homie.

(b) used in direct address, without emphasis, usu. to acknowledge a shared social or cultural identity (later usage sometimes includes women, children and animals).

[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 22 Dec. 187: ‘Hold hard, Jack,’ he cried; ‘why, man, don’t you see it’s only a garden hose?’.
[UK]J. Masefield Everlasting Mercy 40: At that I leaped and screamed and ran, / I heard their cries go ‘Catch him, man.’.
[US]Blind Lemon Jefferson ‘Long Lastin’ Lovin’ 🎵 She has dark brown skin and we call her ‘Chocolate Drop’ / Got this old-fashioned lovin, man it just won’t stop.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us 2: ‘Godamighty, Man,’ Jasbo said.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 144: Are you trying to be funny, man, or are you just stupid?
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 83: What about some sounds, man.
[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 145: He turns to me [i.e. a woman] and says, ‘I mean, man, now you have miss your chance.’.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 16: Don’t worry, man, you ain’t gonna have to fight everybody. Just me.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 5: man – universal label for all people: Yo, Mom, man. Let me speak to Dad.
[Aus]J. Byrell (con. 1959) Up the Cross 8: ‘Hi, man,’ said Mick the Muso.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 21: Say what, man? What line you mean?
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 76: Stay away from me, man.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 9 Aug. 1: ‘Man,’ says the new-generation Prankster, ‘you people really are sooo beautiful’.
[UK]Guardian Guide 1–6 Jan. 18: Hoping you is getting over the flu, man.

2. used to intensify the statement made and synon. with ‘goodness me!’, ‘my God!’ and similar; no gender is involved; .

[US]J. McConnell letter 27 Sept in Weeks (ed.) Greater Love Hath No Man (1939) 70: [to a woman] Yesterday we heard of the great news. I was at the Trench Phone Bureau when the report came in, and man! I almost yelled it out.
[US]T. Alexander ‘Farm Hand Blues’ 🎵 Sally went to cooking, man but she didn’t know how. / Sally went to cooking, man but she didn’t know how. / Say she put cayenne pepper, mama in my hot bow-wow.
[US]C. Himes If He Hollers 127: Man, I was bad [...] Man, I dared them chumps to open their chops.
J. Olsen Black is Best 128: The idea of going in the Army with all those strangers, [...] with white people at that—man, that really hit him where he lived!
R. Charles Brother Ray 34: [S]ex [...] gave me a buzz, and it felt awfully nice. Man, that was enoough for me.
[US]J. Ellroy Clandestine 94: ‘What a sharp drop top! Man, oh, man!’.
[US]B. Coleman Check the Technique 117: ‘Man, it [i.e. a song] was just dope’.

3. as a piece of money [the picture, usu. of a male monarch, that was engraved on most coins + iron man, a term for various units of currency].

(a) the head of a coin.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Living Picture of London 241: The person calling for ‘man’ or ‘woman’.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 73: I’ll toss you [...] Now then, ’man’ or ‘woman’. You cry.

(b) (US) $1.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 56: Here’s the salary with the three extra men for the night I worked.
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 191: I must of went crazy and played him for a thousand men.
[US]R. Lardner ‘A Frame-Up’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 420: If I was you I’d take my seven hundred men and invest it.

4. (US, also old man, son) the penis.

[Mennis & Smith et al. ‘Priest’s Anthem’ in Wit and Drollery 213: His name was Little Sir Walter [...] Yet Lord, how his man-Kellam stood!].
[UK] ‘The Chapter of Smutty Toasts’ in Icky-Wickey Songster 8: Here’s the hole that receives, and the man that can feel, / May he always be able to stand a good deal.
[UK]C. Deveureux Venus in India I 90: ‘I think Lizzie, we must have just one poke,’ and he asked me would I like to get his ‘man’ out.
[US] in P. Smith Letter from My Father (1978) 241: When I felt the ‘son’ was rising and could no longer be restrained I [...] rushed back again for the cold, cold shower.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Farm (1968) 210: I could feel her flesh [...] against me, where I could rest My Man on her thigh.
[Ire](con. 1960s) B. Quinn Smokey Hollow 59: Maisie McGee offered to swap a glimpse of her bum for a look at Damo Scully’s weewee man.
[UK]Guardian On Line 9 Aug. 🌐 The pecker pecking order, if you will: the bigger the mister, the bigger the man.

5. (orig. US) constr. with the.

(a) the holder of institutional authority, whether an individual, e.g. a prison warden, a senior military officer, or in sing. or pl., a group, e.g. policemen, prison officers.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 29/2: MAN (the). Executive Officer; as when a guard yells, Unuther goddam word out o’ you-all, an’ Ah’ll send ev’ry goddam one of ye up t’ the Man.
[US]C.G. Givens ‘Chatter of Guns’ in Sat. Eve. Post 13 Apr. list extracted in AS VI:2 1930 133: Man, the, n. Warden.
[US]H. Sebastian ‘Negro Sl. in Lincoln University’ in AS IX:4 288: man Anyone in authority. When I rode [q.v.] in that exam I took the Man out! means ‘When I cheated in that exam I put one over on the professor!’.
[US]C. Himes ‘Let Me at the Enemy’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 42: When them cats went in for dinner I found the man an’ said, ‘I’m quittin.’.
[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) 164: Here comes The Man! [...] The Man what brings the heat. Every dope fiend got off the street and hit his hole.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 25: Bitch, shut up that noise! [...] You wanna bring the man down on me or somethin’?
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 144: As long as he’s looking good to the Man [i.e. a superior officer], he couldn’t give a rat’s ass how many people are bleeding.
[Oth]D. Marechera House of Hunger (2013) [ebook] Know what The Man says? He says, If you think the world is all wrong, just turn your mind back to front and everything will be all right.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 251: ‘Man (n) ... 3. Police.
[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 71: When you live with killers on some lonesome mountain out beyond nowhere and you’re The Man, you do adjust.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 155: I got to see the man.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 113/1: man, the n. 3 a police officer.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 16: You see the Man coming, first thing to go overboard is the gun.
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 277: Okay, but that’s entrapment if you’re The Man.
[US]T. Pluck Boy from County Hell 76: Time to stop robbing The Man, and work for him.

(b) the holder of power, in a non-institutional context; anyone deemed exceptional in ability; thus (US black) you the man, a phr. implying one’s acceptance of another person’s superiority.

[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 306: the man Designation of abstract authority. He who trespasses where a sign forbids is asked: ‘Say, biggy, can’t you read the man’s sign?’.
[US]C. Himes ‘In the Night’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 344: Look, buddy, what are we fighting each other for, we’re both starving; let’s get together and fight the man.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 33: I’m digging a lot of Armstrong, ’cause he’s the man.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 107: For the younger kids ‘the man’ was school, for the older ones, employers, to the hustlers he was a trick or a score.
[US]N. De Mille Smack Man (1991) 34: I’m the Man, man [...] A bitch ain’t nuthin’ without her Man [i.e. a pimp]. They too dumb to handle it [prostitution] themselves.
[US]W.D. Myers Scorpions 207: ‘You got to run the Scorpions [...] You the man, Mack’.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 14: The Man with the Master Plan Who Be Takin’ It to the Man.
[UK]Observer Mag. 5 Sept. 35: We all like him. He’s the man. The first. The best.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Wind & Monkey (2013) [ebook] ‘Yo de man Les. Yo do fuckin man’.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 38: Giovanni — rest in peace — was the man. He always had the new mix tapes and the flyest gear.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 113/1: man, the n. 2 an inmate held in high esteem.
[US]W.D. Myers ‘the man thing’ in What They Found 120: ‘‘Man, you’re only seventeen and you copped your [high school diploma] papers already? [...] You the man, bro, you definitely the man!’’.
[WI]Jamaica Obs. 23 Aug. 🌐 ‘Bolt is still the man!’ ‘Bolt has distinguished himself as a truly legendary athlete’.
[US]T. Swerdlow Straight Dope [ebook] — I say we just go in there [to a pitch meeting] and kick ass. You’re the man.

(c) (US, also the Man above, the big man) God.

[US]J.T. Farrell World I Never Made 65: When we go, Mother, it’s because we are called by the Great Man above.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 316: I [...] bent my knees, feeling like for the first time in my life I was really going to get together with the Big Man.
[Aus]Hackworth & Sherman About Face (1991) 30: I was really talking to God. I was talking to The Man.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

(d) (orig. US) a (major) drug dealer.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 87: When I first hit New Orleans the main pusher – or ‘the Man’ as they say here – was a character called Yellow.
[US]Rigney & Smith Real Bohemia xx: The addict, known as a ‘junkie’ or ‘hype,’ purchases his heroin from ‘the man’.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 52: Half an hour later we were climbing the stairs of The Man’s house. [...] ‘This is it [...] The best Gunja you’re likely to smoke for a very long time’.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 57: The man, the pusher, would be back.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Johnnie I’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 118: Is there a connection a round? I have to cop [...] It’s too early to see my man.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 251: Man (n) .,. 2. Dealer in drugs or stolen goods.
[US]D. Barker (con. c.1945) Life in Jazz 171: ‘[S]omebody whispered—pulled my coat— “The man's coming with something for Charlie [Parker]”. [...] But that day, until those people came there, he was sitting around looking off into space, sweating’.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 48: Right now, I’m waiting for my man to come through.
[Scot]I. Welsh Trainspotting 21: With [...] all due reverence tae Mikey’s status as The Man, ah hand them [i.e. pound notes] ower.
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 13: Why bother waiting for the man when you could achieve oblivion with a couple of bottles of vodka at a fraction of the price.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 113/1: man, the n. 1 the person holding the drugs in the prison.
[US](con. 1962) E. Bunker Stark 14: Stark guessed he was a runner. Maybe he could lead him to the Man.
[UK]K. Richards Life 407: I’m under the benches, just hiding and throwing up, because the man hasn’t arrived [...] Any way you look at it, junkies are people waiting for the man.

(e) (US black) the white ruling class.

[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1010: The man: the law or powerful boss.
[US]H. Rap Brown Die Nigger Die! 3: negro america: Think white or I’ll kill you. / And if you think too white ‘the man’ will kill you.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 231: If I get busted and they put me in the joint, forget about me and keep doing that thing. Get the Man [...] get him.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 4: The [white] Man he ain’t down wid d’ happ’nin’s [knowledgeable about what is happening].
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 301: They talked white and thought white and even dressed goofy like the man.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 man, the Definition: 1. a working boss; the Caucasian male 2. a personification of white society, especially racially repressive white society [...] Example: The man is holdin me down.
[US]J. Hannaham Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit 76: ‘De prodigal dawtah home from de man jail!’.

(f) a crime boss, esp. when he masquerades as a respectable businessman.

[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 8: You’ve heard of The Man [...] One month he’s up before some government investigating committee. The next he’s attending a big political dinner.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 79: Maybe the Big Boy won’t let The Man ease out.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 5: Hey, Jack, he the man.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 217: You want to be on the right side of the man, you listen to me.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 39: Wondering why the fuck the man was after me. On account of I spoke to the Old Bill?
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 9: Just listen to him. Monsieur Mob. Signor Blag. The fucking Man.

(g) (US black) the US Government.

[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 27: When I hit eighteen, I went straight to the Man and got my card.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: The Man n. [...] 6. Uncle Sam; the government.

(h) an exemplary person.

[US]R. Blount Jr About Three Bricks Shy of a Load 36: [I]n ‘73, at least on offense, no Steeler ever became the Man.
[US]W.D. Myers Slam! 80: [B]efore the game everybody was looking at me like I was nothing and then after the game I was the man.
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry 🌐 the man n. [...] 2. a guy who is extremely cool. ‘Thanks for the hook up. You’re the man!’.
[UK]K. Richards Life 481: It wasn’t very long before I knew that he’s the man.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 133: We [...] dispensed backslaps and Freddy’s-the-Man pap.

6. (US black) a pint bottle of liquor [Scot. halfman, half a bottle of spirits; thus half-man n.].

[US](con. 1940) C.E. Lincoln The Avenue, Clayton City 64: If you want a man, or half-a-man, then pay your $3, or your $1.50, and get your whiskey.

7. as a quasi-suffix, a fan, an enthusiast; e.g. leg man n. (2)

[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 34: If you’re a boiler man, that’s just part of the package.

8. (UK black) oneself.

[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 11: Feds are definitely gonna be looking for man.

In phrases

half-a-man (n.)

half a dollar.

[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 106: ‘Hey, man, you got a couple charlies you can lend me?’ ‘Sorry, man, I wish I did have two bucks, but here’s half a man,’ and I really wouldn’t hear the ‘Thanks, man,’ as I slid half a dollar into a hand that somehow would convert that change into a fix of heroin.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

man-box (n.)

a coffin.

[UK]‘Peter Corcoran’ ‘King Tims the First’ in Fancy 34: When shall I have a long man-box bespoke?
[US]L. Pound ‘American Euphemisms for Dying’ in AS XI:3 201: Man box.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
man-catcher (n.) (also man-getter, -grabber, -hunter, -shark)

(US) a labour recruiter, an employment agency.

[US]N. Anderson Hobo 5: Here men in search of work bargain for jobs in distant places with the ‘man catchers’ from the agencies.
[US]J. Tully Jarnegan (1928) 60: The gentleman in charge of obtaining men for the different jobs was known as the ‘man hunter’.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 210: Man-catcher – The shark’s assistant who urges a job on the hobo – usually to fill a shipment of men.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 152: man catcher [...] man grabber [...] man hunter An employment agent; a foreman who hires men.
[US](con. 1920s–40s) in J.L. Kornbluh Rebel Voices.
man dumpling (n.) [the implication is either of being as big as a man, or a man-sized portion]

(W.I.) a very large dumpling.

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).
man muscle (n.) [note love muscle under love n.]

(US black) the penis.

[UK]Amatory Ink 🌐.
College Dudes 🌐 Hot Man Muscle Meat inside!
D,V. Brooks 18th & M 209: The way her hand massaged his man-muscle danced around his thoughts and he wondered just how good she could make him feel .
man pains (n.) (US black teen)

sexual frustration.

IGN for Men 14 Feb. 🌐 Absolutely, positively the hottest babe under 20 is none other than Ms. Spears. [...] Of course, there’s tons of others to list (Kim Smith, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson, Natalie Portman... OK enough! I’m getting man pains).
man Thomas (n.)

the penis.

[UK]School of Venus 108: To call a man’s Instrument according to its name, a Prick, is it not better than Tarsander, a Mans-Yard, Man Thomas and such like tedious demonstrations.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 143: They soon made a Shift to set Mr. Monger and his Man Thomas at Liberty.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Bacchanalian Mag. 102: John with shame and wonder, / Felt something in his breeches grow / [...] /That stronger grew, the buttons flew — / And out came John’s Man Thomas!
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]T. Rowlandson Pretty Little Games (1872) plate viii: With holy love he rolls his eyes, / Yet view his stout man Thomas rise.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 189: The reverse process of this [...] depersonification of the penis is its personification [...] as Dick, John Thomas, J.T., John Willie, man Thomas, etc.
man-trap (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

man-a-hanging (n.)

(US black) a person in trouble.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 187: Hanging in difficulties. A man who is in great straits, and who is, therefore, prepared to do anything desperate to retrieve his fortunes, is said, among sporting men, to be ‘a man hanging,’ i.e, a man to whom any change must be for the better. [Ibid.] 222: Man a-hanging a man in difficulties.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

(W.I.) a phr. used to issue a definite challenge to fight, with the implication of finding out who is the ‘better man’.

[WI]cited in Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).
man for breakfast (n.)

(US, Western) a killing.

Daily Nugget (Tombstone AZ) 18 Oct. n.p.: [W]e are disappointed in not having a dead man for breakfast.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 171: Of a killing there was said to be a ‘man for breakfast’.
man in a grey flannel suit (n.)

(Aus.) a shark.

[Aus]T. Winton Lockie Leonard, Legend (1998) 5: Hooley-dooley, that was no dolphin. [...] It was a Noah’s ark. A man in a grey flannel suit. The fish with a tax collector’s smile. A swimming lawyer.
man in gray (n.) (also gray)

(US black) a postman.

[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 258: man in gray (n.): the postman.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 241: The postman came on the first of May; / The policeman came on the very next day. / Nine months later there was hell to pay: / Who fired that first shot, the blue or the gray?
man in the moon (n.)

see separate entry.

man of the town (n.)

a debauchee, a libertine.

[UK]T. Betterton Match in Newgate II i: I shall never become heartily a man o’th’ Town, a kind of flat ungracious Debauchee.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Man o’th’ town a Lew’d Spark, or very Debauchee.
[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.
J. Lemprière (con. mid-18C) Biog. Dict. 123/1: Drunk with success, he [i.e. Charles Churchill] now quitted his wife, and, resigning his gown, with all clerical functions, commenced a man of the town, and indulged in all the gayeties, and even vices of it.
L. Hunt Byron 91: If he could have got rid of this and his title, he would have talked like a man ; not like a mere man of the town, or a great spoilt schoolboy.
man of the world (n.)

a professional thief, usu. a pickpocket.

[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 109: The ‘man of the world’ [...] is the professional or skilled rifler of other people’s pockets.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 48: Men of the World, professional pickpockets.
[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 143: [heading] A ‘Man of the World’.
man-o’-man (n.)

(US black) Manischewitz Wine.

[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 108: It was some kind of wine. ‘Man-o-man,’ Spade said, meaning Manischewitz wine.
man outside Hoyt’s (n.) [the commissionaire outside Hoyt’s Theatre, Melbourne, a gorgeously uniformed individual]

1. (Aus.) the source of all rumours; also as phr. don’t know — from the man outside Hoyt’s.

As You Were 90: ‘Who’s that swearing?’ The muffled reply is one of those meaningless army answers – ‘The Man outside Hoyts,’ Sister either doesn’t hear it or else it goes over her head. ‘What did you say?’ she asks. ‘The man outside Hoyts’.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks 133: Hoyt’s, the man outside, a mythical person who starts all false rumours; the source of stolen property which an innocent (!) receiver is found to have in his possession.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Hard Way 85: ‘Struth, it’s funny enough for a fat bludger dressed up like the man outside Hoyt’s* to come into a prison cell in the middle of the night.’ (*Uniformed announcer outside Hoyt’s Theatre in Melbourne who wears a most elaborate uniform).
[Aus]Sydney Morning Herald 5 July 9: We might be better off to abandon pre-selections and elections, and choose our politicians by having the Governor (or the man outside Hoyts) stick pins into the telephone book [AND].
Paul Keating in the Australian 30 Nov. 2: Who should be deciding these matters [of balance in reporting]? The man outside Hoyts? [GAW4].
[Aus](con. 1945–6) P. Doyle Devil’s Jump (2008) 42: Right. The Filthy Blighter. To be honest I thought it was something like ‘the man outside Hoyts’ [...] You know there’s no such bloke.

2. a beggar.

[Aus]P. Pinney Restless Men 173: You’re no good [...] And you never will be any good. You'll go round for the rest of your life with the arse out of your strides, like the man outside Hoyt’s.

3. (Aus. Und.) the source of any stolen property that the police might find with a receiver.

[Aus]cited in G. Simes DAUS (1993).
man upstairs, the (n.)


[US]N.Y. Times 22 Aug. BR11: Mr. McDougall says that the only thing that sustained him and kept him going through the hours in the water was the counsel he received from ‘the man upstairs.’ During those hours his God—for whom he seldom uses that word—became something very personal and very near to him.
[US]N.Y. Times 19 Mar. 35: That is why [...] we have so much juke box religion with its silly shallow sentimentalities of ‘Are You Friends With the King of Friends?’ or ‘Have You Talked With the Man Upstairs?’ [...] We seem to have a naive faith in the indulgent good naturedness of the Man Upstairs, and an equally naive faith in the magic of believing.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 141: Make yourself a big man, first with the cons, then the law, and then the man upstairs.
[US]L. Bing Do or Die (1992) 105: They gonna learn — the Man upstairs is watchin’.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 83: This is my operation. I call the shots, answer to nobody but the man upstairs.
man who rides the screaming gasser (n.)

(US black) a policeman in a patrol car.

D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 19 July 13: We’d better put out the fire, cause the man who rides the screaming gasser is in port.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive [as 1941].
man with a headache stick (n.) [i.e. his nightstick/truncheon]

(US black) a policeman.

[US]Gus Cannon’s Jug Stompers ‘Madison Street Rag’ 🎵 Oh man, we’re havin’ a good time. Mmm-mm. / In a few minute, here come the man with the headache stick. / And you know one thing, that boy run himself off and left me. / There he go, catch ’em.
[US]C. Major Dict. Afro-Amer. Sl.
[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 296: Man with headache stick n. (1950s–1960s) policeman.
man with a paper asshole (n.) (also man with a paper ass, ...rectum) [ass n. (2)/asshole n.]

(US) a talkative fool – all talk and little or no action.

[UK]P. Bowman Beach Red 92: You sound like a man with a paper asshole. Don’t you think I’d like to shoot my way out of this if I thought it could be done?
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 94: Properly loyal, my good and faithful Annapolis grad. But you’re talking like a man with a paper rectum.
[US]G. Sorrentino Steelwork 170: I do not know this gentleman too well but he talks like a man with a paper asshole.
C. Johnson Morning Light 212: And a man with a paper asshole ain’t a man.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 40: Not a [...] man with a paper ass, but a person of substance.
G. Sorrentino Pack of Lies 73: I’m beginning to sound to myself like the proverbial man with a paper asshole.
C. André Cuts (2005) 87: We were just bullshitting one day and he said to me, ‘Andre, you talk like a man with a paper asshole.’.
man with no hands (n.)

(Aus.) a miser.

[Aus]Baker Drum.
Tharunka (Kensington, NSW) 20 Sept. 6/3: You know, a real Casanova. One for the girls. Always throwing his money around like a man with no hands!
man with the fuzzy balls (n.)

see under balls n.