Green’s Dictionary of Slang

reefer n.1

also reef
[abbr. greefo n.]

1. a marijuana cigarette.

[US]Bessie Smith ‘Gimme a Pigfoot’ 🎵 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.
[UK]P. Hoskins No Hiding Place! 191/2: Reefers. Marihuana (Mexican hemp) cigarettes.
[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.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 31: ‘Pot — Shit — Tea — Gunja — Tampi — Reefers — Weed — or if you want me to be really square — Indian Hemp!’.
[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.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 168: Skinning up a large reefer of skunk.
[Aus]P. Doyle (con. late 1950s) Amaze Your Friends (2019) 10: Leaving me and Chet with the pile of reefers.
[UK]Guardian Guide 22–28 Jan. 83: Patrick McGoohan plays a reefer-smoking Iago, a jazz drummer.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 152/2: reefer n. a marijuana cigarette.
[US]T. Robinson Rough Trade [ebook] ‘[W]hy don’t you go check the restrooms and make sure that nobody’s smoking a reefer’.
[Aus]C. Hammer Silver [ebook] Smoking reefers in Bali.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 17: I planted two reefers in his sax case and buzzed the fuzz.

2. marijuana.

[US]Robinson & Razaf ‘Reefer Man’ 🎵 ‘Man, what’s the matter with that cat there?’ ‘Must be full of reefer.’ [...] ‘You mean that cat’s high?’ ‘Sailing’.
[US]Jazz Gillum ‘Reefer Head Woman’ 🎵 She musta have smoked that reefer and it’s bound to carry her down.
[US]E. Wilson 1 May [synd. col.] A little reefer, now and then, if taken after work when one has his shoes off [...] is a man’s own business.
[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.
[Aus]P. Doyle (con. late 1950s) Amaze Your Friends (2019) 16: Full of dexes, Remy and 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.’.
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 9: I was pissed off the Reef and those shots.
[US]T. Pluck ‘Six Feet Under God’ in Life During Wartime (2018) 191: ‘You should be quoting Hamlet, not smoking reefer’.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 61: The stale reefer smoke made me sneeze.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 10 Sept. 10/7: Musicians say that the kids frequently invite them to a ‘tea’ party [...] They say the reefer habit stemmed from Harlem.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Farm (1968) 198: ‘They give us reefer chocolate bars to eat.’ [...] He grinned in a happyfoolish reefer way.
M.E. Fitch ‘Tommy, Who Loved to laugh’ in ThugLit Sept. [ebook] Reefer smoke and the deep dark; stargazing on the porch.

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]N.C. Heard When Shadows Fall 128: A strange, uninhibited sensation crept into his reefered brain.
[US]O. Hawkins Chili 50: Reefered to the jibbs.

In compounds

reefer-head (n.) (also reefer fiend) [-head sfx (4)]

(US drugs) a smoker of marijuana.

[US]Jazz Gillum [song title] Reefer Head Woman.
[US]H.M. Anderson Strip Tease 31: ‘There’s a lot of reefer fiends’ [...] ‘That’s marijuana cigarettes’.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 142: This was a fairly decent hotel [...] Not a single junky. Only a few reefer heads’.
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 🌐 It looked like a jungle for winos and reefer-rats.
reefer weed (n.)


[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.