Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cold adv.

1. (US) absolutely, completely, utterly.

[US]M. Griffith Autobiog. of a Female Slave 54: Hush your nonsense, you does know dat Ann is done cold dead.
[US]W. De Vere ‘A Black Hills Sermon’ Tramp Poems 25: I don’t mind telling you cold, pard, you’re yarn isn’t on the dead square.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 17: cold a. Used in such phrases as ‘To get a subject cold,’ to master a subject.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 126: He gives it out cold he’s goin’ to c’lect. He puts it up he’ll shore sue Cimmaron a lot.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Wagon Mound Sal’ in Sandburrs 149: She confides to me cold that she’s anxious to make a weddin’ of it.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Brief Debut of Tildy’ in Four Million (1915) 256: I turned him down, cold.
[US]J. London Smoke Bellew (1926) 62: They’ll drop you cold as soon as they hit Dawson.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 42: The other six deserted him cold. Johnny never uttered a whimper.
[UK]Wodehouse Clicking of Cuthbert 174: George Perkins is sure to foozle a few, and if we play safe we’ve got ’em cold.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 15: We quit him cold.
[US]H. McCoy They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 45: We turned him down cold.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Undertaker Song’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 334: Everything is a dead cold set-up for love.
[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1008: Cold: exceeding, well, etc.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 71: The time when he could [...] quit Schwiefka cold and go on the legit.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 74: I can’t sit in a corny place like this cold sober.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 88: They [...] saw a beautiful chance to nail me cold.
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘On Saturday Afternoon’ Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 109: The bloke looked hard, as if every one of the copper’s words meant six-months cold.
[US]Wisconsin State Jrnl 17 Jan. 1-2: A ‘heavy booker’ is one who studies a lot while one who does the opposite will probably go into a test ‘cold’ or unprepared.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 135: Even that first habit that I kicked, which was the worst that I ever kicked, I kicked cold on my own volition.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 158: Richard — you’ve got it cold. Nothing could be simpler.
[US] Ice-T ‘Six in the Morning’ [lyrics] Then she cold got stupid pushed me on the floor / Had me beggin’ to stop as I was screamin’ for more.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 166: When his men had him pinned cold they’d call County Probation and fix an arrest.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 32: We were busted cold.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 263: Busted Johnny Ray cold.
[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] cold kickin’ it live Definition: to have a good time with ones friends. Can be used as a more low key form of raisin’ tha roof Example: Me and tha dawgs was just cold kickin’ it live up in tha crib last night, sippin’ forties and throwin’ tha dice.

2. unprepared, unannounced.

[US]Day Book (Chicago) 27 Mar. 10/1: Gibbons has given it out cold that Clabby is the first man he will meet in twenty rounds, and Mike’s word is good.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘The English Way’ in Awfully Big Adventure (1919) 252: We’ve caught this party cold!
[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 222: cold — Unconscious; caught in a defenseless position.
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 195: ‘You — you got me c-cold this time,’ stuttered Annie weakly.
[US]J. Tully Bruiser 69: Maybe he got him cold.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 124: He didn’t even tip me off the plainclothes men were coming. He lets ’em walk in on me cold.
[US]J. Blake letter 21 June in Joint (1972) 23: They had us cold, of course.
[US]E. Hunter ‘First Offense’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 22: ‘ Look, you caught me cold, so let’s get this over with.’ .
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 35: When he catches up with ’em near the Red sea he thinks he’s got ’em cold.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 36: They just kicked in the door and caught everybody cold.

3. (drugs) in the context of giving up an addiction, without the aid of any medication.

[US]A. King Mine Enemy Grows Older (1959) 32: I’ll just have to make it cold.
[US]L. Block Diet of Treacle (2008) 114: They don’t do a pigeon routine. They don’t dare. They don’t want to be cut off cold.
[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 58: I kicked cold – well, not cold, I had dolophine pills.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 138: Having kicked cold himself, he didn’t particularly think anybody else should have to.

4. (orig. rap music) definitely, indeed, just.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Farm (1968) 67: ‘It says you assumed the blame for everything.’ ‘They had me cold.’.
[US]Run DMC ‘Hollis Crew’ [lyrics] I went to a party, cold stole the show.
[US] Ice-T ‘Heartbeat’ [lyrics] Cold chillin’ rhyme villain on the m-i-c.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 245: Donal, I really think we have the bastard cold this time.

In compounds


see separate entries.

cold-busted (adj.)

(US campus) caught in the act.

[US]Beastie Boys ‘Posse In Effect’ [lyrics] You tried to steal my fresh and you got cold busted / Because your crew’s all soft and I’m disgusted.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar.
[US]Tucson Weekly 2 Jan. [Internet] Five Chandler teenagers took Polaroids of themselves burglarizing vehicles, then left seven of the photos at the scene. ‘I think they just forgot them,’ said Officer Steven Lamy. ‘They denied it at first. Then when I showed them the pictures, they were cold busted.’.
W. Modes ‘How to Sneak Around’ at [Internet] Again, it is important to maintain plausible deniability through it all. [...] It’s better to be dead wrong than cold busted.
cold chill (v.)

1. (US) to relax.

[US]Run-DMC ‘Sucker MC’s’ [lyrics] I cold chill at a party in a b-boy stance.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 61: What did you do last night? — We just cold chilled at my place.
[US]Lerner et al. Dict. of Today’s Words 37: Cold chillin’ – a good time.
[UK]Guardian Guide 1–6 Jan. 18: Cold-chillin’ with his niggaz in the ’hood.

2. (US black) to perturb, to spook.

[US]G. Tate ‘Public Enemy’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 127: His allusion to the Middle Passage as the first penal colony for blacks is cold chillin’ for real.

see separate entries.

cold-conk (v.) [conk v.2 (1); var. on cold-cock v.]

(US) to knock unconscious.

[US]J. Flynn Action Man 137: She cold-conked herself [HDAS].
[US]M. Cherry On High Steel 88: You got to cold-conk him.
News Times (Danbury, CT) 3 Mar. [Internet] He is headed to the hardscrabble West Texas homestead of his brother [...] when he’s forced to cold-conk the troublemaking town marshal.
‘Apology to a Psycho Sole-Licker’ at [Internet] I struggled and fought like a man possessed and waited for Lamarque to cold-conk me with a right to my jaw or something.
cold-crushing (adj.)

(US black) a general term of approval; thus cold crusher n., something outstanding.

[US]Spoonie G ‘Monster Jam’ [lyrics] He’s the cold-crushin’ lover and you know there is no other.
[US]N. George ‘The New Street Art’ in Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and Bohos (1994) 73: But for me the cold crusher occurs about four minutes into its 5:49.
cold lamping (n.) [lamp v.2 (3)]

(US black) acting in a relaxed manner.

[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan. 74: The usual resident bizniz plus Flavor Flav cold lampin’ his way in through the chimney in a Father Christmas outfit.

In phrases

have someone cold (v.)

(orig. US) to have at one’s mercy, to have at a disadvantage.

[UK]J.N. Hall Kitchener’s Mob 73: They rush into the trap, and when it filled with strugglling men [...] ‘You got ’em cold.’.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 265: You had him cold, or at least you thought you had, and so did he.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Zigzags of Treachery’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 120: I can’t think of any reason why I should bargain with you [...] I’ve got you cold and that’s enough.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 58: Copernik laughed jeeringly. It didn’t make any difference to me. I had him cold.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 197: We’ve got you. We’ve got you cold.
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 221: I stopped breathing. I thought she had me cold.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 65: He was charged with Murder One, and they had him cold.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 283: He now understood why the blackmailer was so cocky – he had him cold.
[UK]K. Richards Life 14: Gober thought he had us, or at least he had Freddie, cold.
have (something) down cold (v.)

(US) to know something thoroughly.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 29: cold, adj. Perfect, complete. In phrase: to have down cold = to be perfectly prepared, as on a lesson.
[US]R. Price Breaks 45: He did a perfect impersonation of Julia Child [...] He had it down cold.
[US]S. Frank Get Shorty [film script] Well, you had it down cold. Watching you in the movie, if I didn’t know better I’d have to believe you were a made guy and not acting.
[US]J. Ridley Everybody Smokes in Hell 81: Buddy had that dazed stare down cold.