Green’s Dictionary of Slang

joint n.

1. [17C; mid-19C; 1930s+] (US) the penis.

2. a man or woman.

(a) [late 19C–1900s] a wife.

(b) [late 19C–1950s] a person, a fellow, a ‘chap’.

(c) [1990s+] (US black/gay) a feminine male homosexual partner.

3. a place [according to the OED the orig. use applied spec. to Chinese-run opium dens and thence to illicit saloons; in both cases the joint was seen as a gathering place for criminals, a low-life nuance that remains with the word, even in its more general sl. use].

(a) [late 19C–1950s] (US drugs, also pipe joint) an opium den.

(b) [late 19C+] (orig. US) any place, esp. a bar or club, a brothel, a gambling establishment, a restaurant.

(c) [20C+] (orig. US tramp) a meeting place.

(d) [1910s] (Aus.) a firm.

(e) [1910s] a factory.

(f) [1910s] (Aus.) a public-house bar.

(g) [1910s+] one’s house or home.

(h) [1910s+] a country, geographical area, a town, a city.

(i) [late 19C+] (Aus./US carnival) any ‘sideshow’ devoted to gambling.

(j) [late 19C+] (US) prison, also as the joint.

(k) [1960s] (US) a police station.

(l) [1980s] (US) a detoxification facility.

(m) [1990s+] in fig. use; of any kind of object or place; often unspecified.

4. in Und. uses.

(a) [late 19C+] a swindling set-up or a place to be robbed; thus operator of such a place (see cite 1919).

(b) [1900s-10s] (Aus. Und.) a situation, usu. corrupt or swindling.

(c) [1940s] (US Und., also top of the joint) the total amount taken in a single confidence trick.

5. (orig. US) in drug uses.

(a) [1930s+] an opium pipe or hypodermic syringe and other drug paraphernalia [the ‘joining’ of the opium and its pipe].

(b) [1950s] a cigarette laced with paregoric.

(c) [1950s+] a marijuana or hashish cigarette [the ‘joining’ of the drug with tobacco to make the cigarette; by the 1990s the drug reference had become sufficiently common for the word to be used almost without comment or identifying quotation marks].

(d) [1990s+] marijuana.

6. [1940s+] (US) a gun.

7. [1970s+] (orig. US black) something excellent, as in the phr. the serious joint, the real thing.

8. [1980s+] (orig. US black) an artistic creation, typically a record or film [popularized by film-maker Spike Lee (b.1956) who credits his films ‘Another Spike Lee Joint’; subseq. used by many hip-hop/rap artists to describe their music].

9. [2000s] (US black/prison) a prison sentence.

In derivatives

jointwise (adj.) [-wise sfx]

[1930s–50s] (US prison) well-adjusted to prison life, capable of sustaining one’s existence in prison .

In compounds

jointman (n.)

[1920s+] (Can./US prison) any prisoner who toadies to the authorities.

joint togs (n.) [togs n. (1)]

[1950s] (US Und.) the clothes worn by a whore in a brothel .

In phrases

all over the joint

[1950s] (US) everywhere.

black joint (n.)

[1920s] (US black/Harlem) any black nightclub catering spec. to white ‘tourists’.

blast a joint (v.)

[1950s+] (drugs) to smoke marijuana.

book the joint (v.)

[1970s+] (US teen) to look over a place, to check its amenities.

bust a joint (v.)

[1950s–70s] (drugs) to smoke a cannabis cigarette.

crack a joint (v.)

[late 19C] to smoke an opium pipe.

do a joint (v.)

[1960s+] (drugs) to smoke marijuana.

go to the joint (v.)

[late 19C–1930s] (US) to come to the point, to achieve one’s aim, esp. in a criminal context.

have someone by the joint (v.)

[1970s] of a woman, to have a man sexually enslaved.

hot joint (n.) [hot adj. (5e)]

[1920s–60s] (US tramp) somewhere that is robbed while the owners are in occupation.

jump the joint (v.) [ext. use of SAusE jump, to take possession of a parcel of land, esp. in a deceitful or illegal manner]

[1910s–50s] (Aus.) to take command.

pipe joint (n.)

see sense 3a above.

pull one’s joint (v.)

[1970s] to whine, to complain.

real joint (n.)

[1950s] (US Und.) any nightspot frequented by criminals, spec. pimps and prostitutes.

spread the joint (v.)

[1930s–50s] (US drugs) to prepare the equipment for smoking opium.

stand on one’s joint (v.)

[1940s] (US) to have an erect penis.

top of the joint (n.)

see sense 4c above.