Green’s Dictionary of Slang

reefer n.1

also reef
[abbr. greefo n.]

1. a marijuana cigarette, esp. a large and slender version.

[US]Bessie Smith ‘Gimme a Pigfoot’ [lyrics] Gimme a reefer and a gang of gin.
[US]L. Berg Prison Nurse (1964) 96: I hear you’re pushing reefers at two bits the pack. How in hell do you expect my boys to get thirty-five cents for marihuana if your lugs cut the price.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 203: Hell, I thought he sold reefers [...] With the right protection behind him. But hell, that’s a small-time racket. A peanut grift.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 120: ‘Reefers’ (cigarettes made from marihuana) used to sell in thousands in the West End before the war.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 181: It was like waiting for the accentuated beat of your heart when you’re on a reefer jag.
[US]Mad mag. Apr.–May 16: Rackstraw took me to sell cigarettes to the schoolchildren ... Strange cigarettes called reefers!
[US]W. Brown Monkey On My Back (1954) 21: From Houston, Texas, came a report of the arrest of five teen-agers who had been selling ‘thousands of reefers’ to high school students.
[Aus]A. Seymour One Day of the Year II iii: mum: What are y’doin’ in there? hughie: Smoking a reefer [...] Having a drag. Marijuana.
[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 101: Two young girls [...] smoking cigarettes which might have been ‘reefers’.
[Aus]‘Charles Barrett’ Address: Kings Cross 32: ‘There’s a place a couple of streets away where they hold marihuana parties,’ Greg said. ‘Everyone sits around on beds and smokes reefers’.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 8: The glass-topped coffee table where Charles was busy twisting reefers.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 205: He was pulling on a king-sized reefer.
[SA]P. Hotz Muzukuru 4: The guard was busy rolling himself a reef.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 168: Skinning up a large reefer of skunk.
[UK]Guardian Guide 22–28 Jan. 83: Patrick McGoohan plays a reefer-smoking Iago, a jazz drummer.

2. marijuana.

[US]Jazz Gillum ‘Reefer Head Woman’ [lyrics] She musta have smoked that reefer and it’s bound to carry her down.
[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 32: Maybe you don’t like the reefer smoke?
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 26: [They] said there was no reefer-smoking in its schools.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 70: Nothing had ever affected him like that, not reefer, whiskey, or anything.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 140: They come to school drunk or fucked-up on reefer and pills.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 192: Some people call it pot, some people call it reefer.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 104: Its floor was thick with crushed pills and shredded reefer.
[UK]Observer 15 Aug. 15: The myth of ‘reefer madness’ arises from murder trials in the United States in the 1940s in which lawyers used a ‘not guilty because of marijuana insanity’ defence.
[US]G. Tate Midnight Lightning 82: They had no references on what to expect or know what reefer was.
[US]C.W. Ford Deuce’s Wild 46: ‘Reefer? Coke?’ I waved him off. ‘No thanks.’.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Farm (1968) 198: ‘They give us reefer chocolate bars to eat.’ [...] He grinned in a happyfoolish reefer way.

4. someone who smokes marijuana.

[US] ‘Smokers’ Sl.’ in AS XV:3 Oct. 335/2: One who smokes is [...] a reefer (especially a smoker of marihuana).
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 815: reefer – A marijuana smoker.

In derivatives

reefered (adj.)

(US drugs) intoxicated by marijuana.

[US]O. Hawkins Chili 50: Reefered to the jibbs.

In compounds

reefer man (n.)

1. (US drugs) a smoker of cannabis.

[US]Cab Calloway ‘Reefer Man’ [song title] Man is that the reefer man? / That’s the reefer man. / I believe he’s losin’ his mind.
P. Whiteman in Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 17 Sept. 11/1: A reefer man or a man whose technique comes out of a bottle couldn’t last two minutes with one of our first-rate swing bands.

2. (drugs) a marijuana seller.

[US]Don Redman [song title] Reefer Man.
[US]N.E. Williams His Hi De Highness of Ho De Ho 36: A ‘reefer man’ is a peddler who bootlegs these cigarets.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Weed (1998) 140: He was [...] the only reefer man in Westphalia.
[US]C. Cooper Jr ‘Yet Princes Follow’ in Black! (1996) 195: Go over and see Carl-O the reefer man, and get about half a dozen joints.
reefer pad (n.) (also reefer den, reefer flat, reefer joint) [joint n. (3b)/pad n.2 (2)]

(drugs) a house, apartment or room where cannabis users can gather to smoke.

[US]S. Longstreet Decade 317: The John Laws are knocking over cathouses, clip-joints, black-and-tan parlours, reefer flats.
[US](con. early 1930s) C. McKay Harlem Glory (1990) 43: They were far removed from the [...] tea-hounds of the reefer joints.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Weed (1998) 221: Do you think I got that hangin out in some reefer pad all night?
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 815: reefer den – A resort where marijuana furnishes the stimulation.
[US](con. 1930s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 132: When I was a kid, we used to go to a reefer pad and buy it and smoke it in the pad.
reefer rat (n.)

(US black/drugs) a marijuana smoker.

[US](con. early 1930s) C. McKay Harlem Glory (1990) 42: The reefer rats, those Harlem snakes!
[US]T. Thursday ‘Case of the Honest Thieves’ in Famous Detective Story [Internet] It looked like a jungle for winos and reefer-rats.
reefer weed (n.) [weed n.1 (4)]


[US] ‘Jargon of Marihuana Addicts’ in AS XV:3 Oct. 336/2: The drug, itself, is known as [...] reefer weed.
reefing man (n.)

(US drugs) a marijuana smoker.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 125/2: reefing man. A marajuana addict, or a twister.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.

In phrases

bang a reefer (v.)

to smoke marijuana.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 22/2: Bang a reefer. To smoke a cigarette of marijuana. ‘I got the leaps (nervous reaction) after that trick (crime). I’m gonna hit the camp (flat) and bang a few reefers.’.
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 303: bang a reefer. To smoke a marihuana cigarette.
[US](con. 1940s) J. Resko Reprieve 237: A reefer or muggle is blasted, banged, and blown—never smoked.