Green’s Dictionary of Slang

heavy adj.

1. [mid-19C] respectable.

2. in lit. uses [the weight of one’s purse or wallet, or the gun].

(a) [mid-19C+] (US) in possession of a great deal of a commodity, usu. money; flush.

(b) [20C+] of money, substantial.

(c) [1990s+] armed.

3. [mid-19C+] (US) of an object or idea, remarkable in a positive or negative way.

4. fig. uses in negative senses.

(a) [mid-19C+] ponderously dignified; stern, repressive, unbending; esp. as heavy father, heavy uncle.

(b) [mid-19C+] thuggish, violent, unpleasant.

(c) [1920s+] intense, urgent, busy.

(d) [1920s+] of words, a situation or an atmosphere, shocking, frightening, threatening.

(e) [1970s+] physically menacing.

5. fig. uses in positive senses.

(a) [mid-19C+] (US) of a person, powerful, wealthy, influential, popular.

(b) [1920s] (US/W.I.) enthusiastic.

(c) [1920s+] meaningful, important, emotionally strong; a general intensifier, esp. loved by late 1960s hippies and radicals, varying as to context.

(d) [1930s+] (US/W.I.) physically attractive, sexy.

(e) [1940s+] (US black) wonderful, amazing, admirable.

(f) [1940s+] very passionate, either physically or emotionally.

(g) in criminal terms, substantial, highly remunerative; serious.

(h) [1950s+] of a thing or situation, intellectual, highbrow.

(i) [1960s] (US black) of a person, highly intelligent.

6. [1950s+] of a jail sentence, substantial, lengthy.

7. [1950s+] (US) in drug uses [ext. of sense 2a; the fig. ‘weight’ of the drugs].

(a) in possession of drugs.

(b) referring to a narcotic drug rather than a soft drug such as cannabis.

8. [1970s+] of a crime, important, large-scale.

9. [1970s+] in sex, pertaining to sado-masochism.

In compounds

heavy booker (n.)

[1960s] (US campus) a very hard worker.

heavy cruising (n.)

[1970s] (US gay) sexual encounters between studiously masculine rather than effeminate male homosexuals.

heavy gee (n.)

[1930s–40s] (US Und.) a safe-blower.

heavy hen (n.)

[1940s] (US black/Harlem) a mature woman (as opposed to a young girl).

heavy hitter (n.) [baseball imagery]

1. [1970s+] an important, influential person, esp. in the world of business, politics or crime.

2. [1970s+] (US) a violent criminal, a hired thug.

3. [1980s+] (US) a heavy drinker (but not an alcoholic) [hit v. (3b)].

heavy job (n.)

[1900s–30s] (US Und.) a violent crime.

heavy lard (n.) [1940s] (US black)

any impressively, convincingly told story, true or otherwise.

heavy lump (n.) [pun on Sugar Hill n. (1)]

[1940s] the fashionable area of contemporary Harlem, New York City, otherwise known as Coogan’s Bluff, between Amsterdam and Edgecombe Avenues, between 138th and 155th Streets.

heavy man (n.)

see separate entry.

heavy manners

see separate entries.

heavy mob (n.)

see separate entry.

heavy rackets (n.)

[1900s–40s] (US Und.) those forms of crime that depend on violence or coercion for their success.

heavy stuff (n.) [stuff n. (5c)]

[1960s] (drugs) drugs like narcotics, rather than tranquillizers, cannabis etc.

heavy swell (n.)

see separate entry.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

heavy baggage (n.) [they weigh down the man who is in pursuit of pleasure or focused on work; note milit. use heavy baggage, equipment that is not easily carried]

[late 18C–19C] women and children.

heavy brown (n.) (also brown gater droppings)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) brown ale.

heavy cavalry (n.) (also heavy dragons, ...dragoons, ...horsemen)

[mid-19C–1930s] bedbugs, lice etc.

heavy (cheer) (n.) [SE cheer, happiness, contentment, esp. as a result of drinking alcohol]

[early–mid-19C] a mixture of porter and beer.

heavy-duty (adj.)

see separate entry.

heavy-foot (n.) [identified as such by his shoes]

[1930s–40s] (US Und.) a plain-clothes detective.

heavy horsemen (n.)

1. [mid-19C] Thames thieves who pose as dock-hands to enter ships and steal the cargoes.

2. see heavy cavalry

heavy plodder (n.) (also heavy toddler)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a stockbroker.

heavy soul (n.) [its long-term effects]

[1950s] (drugs) heroin.


see separate entries.

heavy wet (n.)

see separate entry.