Green’s Dictionary of Slang

green n.1

[SE green, naïve]

1. an unsophisticated, naïve person; a novice at an institution.

[UK]Spirit of Public Journals (1825) 63: It appears that George Charteris [...] had been ‘doing’ the green, and taking in the ‘deep ones’, quite in the gull-catching style, for a considerable period .
[UK]‘True Principles of Milling’ in Corinthian in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 57: First to frighten your man by your chaffingne’er try, / Tho’ a few greens may laugh, still it is all my eye.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 182: ‘Well, well,’ said the Dodger. [...] ‘That hasn’t got anything to do with young Green here.’.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 5 Mar. n.p.: Oh lauks! how snug I gulls the greens.
[UK]New Sprees of London 8: Do not imagine for a moment that bounce or swagger will carry a greenhorn through a flash crib. It may do for downey coves [...] but a green is sure to get served out.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Feb. 17/2: [of a junior cadet] Of course he never conescends to address a ‘green’ unless to send him to fetch gloves, tobacco, or any such necessary.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Victoria (Melbourne) 8 Aug. 2/6: Ned had got two thousand pounds upon Fernhill [...] This largeo outlay being made by a ‘green,’ did not advance the price one fraction.

2. (US black) a white person.

[US]H. Thomas ‘Arkansas’ 🎵 Little wife said, ‘Honey, I’m done with beans, I’m goona pass for green’.

In compounds

John the greenman (n.)

(UK und.) an unsophisticated individual, a naive victim.

[UK]New Sprees of London 14: There are too many chanting slangs faking away now, and it's no go to come John the pinchman with John the greenman.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

see any green (in my eye)? (also see anything green (about me)?)

a phr. meaning do you think I’m a fool? do I look stupid?; ad hoc vars. are found and note extrapolation in cit. 1866.

[[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: He cannot see black in the White of my Eye i.e. he cannot point out a blot in my character].
[Ire]Tom And Jerry; Musical Extravaganza I vi: Do you see anything green about me?
[UK] ‘Do You See Anything Green About Me’ in Sam Weller’s Favorite Song Book 8: That they got the wrong sow by the ear / They saw, when with me they made free, / For I said with a wink and a leer, / ‘Do you see anything green about me?’.
[US]A. Greene Glance at N.Y. II i: D’ye see anything green? – ha! ha! ha!
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 61: gonniff: Nix my schickster; do you see anything green about me? cos I doesn’t! its no bite my switcher, do you stag that? – walker! cracksman: What a flat, send I may live, if he can stag chaff from square patter.
[US]‘Major Jones’ Sketches of Travel 77: The little ragged cus [...] put his thum on his nose and wiggled his fingers at me. ‘Do you see anything green,’ ses he.
[US]W.K. Northall Life and Recollections of Yankee Hill 23: ‘Beg your pardon, sir, but we have given the whole entertainment.’ ‘No, you ain’t: do you see any thing green, eh?’ ‘I can’t imagine to what you allude.’.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Oct. 125/2: ‘My name is Green: but my eye: — c’est une autre chose par de tout’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Mar. 3/3: His eye was discolored from the effects of the blow, but there was not a bit of green to be seen in it.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor II 41/2: I’m not a tailor, but I understands about clothes, and I believe that no person ever saw anything green in my eye.
[UK]C. Reade Hard Cash II 92: He used to inquire very gravely, [...] ‘Do-you-see-anything-green-in this here eye?’.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 32/1: [He] ain’t got nothing of wot the cove calls the werdant wegetable in his hie.
[US]‘Johnny Cross’ ‘Max And Nap’ in Orig. Pontoon Songster 12: So have a care, friend Louie, there’s no green in our eye.
[Scot] ‘The Spooney Velveteen’ in Laughing Songster 49: But ’twas all no go, for ‘something green’ / Was easily twigged in the Velveteen.
[UK]Isle of Wight Obs. 6 June 5/5: You’ll let anyone twig the green in your optic.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer and Free Lance (Auckland) 20 Mar. 23/2: The Dr. has discovered some green in the white of J’s eye.
[UK] in G.D. Atkin House Scraps 161: Major P---’s unco’ sly, / There is no green about his eye.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 16 Nov. 2/3: [He] said, putting his finger up to his eye and lifting up his eyelid, ‘Och, now! Do you see any green there?’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Squatter, Three Cornstalks, and the Well’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 73: But he got something in his eye; / It wasn’t green, that’s very plain.
[UK]Morton & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Poor Thing 🎵 Sal was a nice girl, but so shy, poor thing / There was lots of green in Sally’s eye, poor thing.
[US]J.K. Bangs Three Weeks in Politics 82: I’ll ask them if they see any green, long or short, in my eye.
[Aus]G. Seagram Bushmen All 20: Why the bloomin’ traps [...] would have the darbies on us in no time. See any green?
[US]R. Lardner Treat ’Em Rough 51: I have caught him looking at me 2 or 3 times and I had a notion to ask him if he seen anything green but what is the use.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 308: One of the bottlenosed fraternity it was went by the name of James Wought alias Saphiro alias Spark and Spiro, put an ad in the papers saying he’d give passage to Canada for twenty bob. What? Do you see any green in the white of my eye?
[UK]F. Jennings Tramping with Tramps 146: There was no green in Annie’s eye!
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 218: ‘See anything green?’ asked Paulie.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 53: ‘Look at my eye [...] what colour is it?’ ‘Blue.’ ‘Ah. I thought perhaps you might have seen some green in it.’.
[UK]J. Symons Man Called Jones (1949) 35: ‘Take more than her,’ Filby said indignantly, and pulled down the lower lid of his eye. ‘See any green?’.
[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 266: The phrase is rarely rendered as, ‘Got your eyeball full?’, but ‘See any green in my eyeball?’, meaning Do you take me for a fool, is more commonly heard than ‘See any green in my eye?’.
[UK](con. 1930s) D. Behan Teems of Times and Happy Returns 163: Now I as’ yeh ... Is there any green in that eye?
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 438: You see something green?
[Ire]H. Leonard Out After Dark 37: Oh, I’m sure it was. Jasus, do you see the green in me eye?