Green’s Dictionary of Slang

little adj.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

Little Africa (n.)

[late 19C] (US) the black area of a town or city.

Little Barbary (n.)

see separate entry.

little black book (n.)

1. [1920s–40s] (US Und.) police files, kept secret.

2. [1930s+] the volume in which every bachelor supposedly keeps lists of available and willing women; also fig. as any address book.

little black father (n.)

[early 19C] a quart jug.

little boys’ room (n.) (also little boys’)

[1930s+] (orig. US) a coy euph. for a men’s lavatory.

little breeches (n.) (also little britches) [UK use ends/US commences in mid-19C]

[late 18C+] an affectionate term of address to a small boy; or a term of abuse.

little britches (n.) [ety. unknown]

1. [1930s+] (US gambling) the point of three in craps dice or a three in cards.

2. see little breeches

little brother (n.)

see separate entry.

little casino (n.)

see separate entry.

little clergyman (n.) [his blackened clothes]

[late 18C–19C] a young chimney-sweep.

little davy (n.)

[19C+] the penis.

little deers (n.) [double pun on little dear and deer as a fem. version of stag n.4 (1), i.e. the single men who frequent the theatre]

[late 19C–1900s] young women who are involved in some way with the stage.

little Dick (n.)

[1930s+] (US gambling) in craps, the point of four.

Little Dublin (n.)

see separate entry.

little eight (n.)

[late 19C] (Aus.) a regular per diem payment.

little eva (n.)

1. [1950s] (US black) a loud-mouthed white woman.

2. [1950s] (US) used to reinforce a negative statement [f. sense 1].

little four (n.)

[20C+] (US gambling) the point of four in craps dice.

little friend (n.) [the ref. is to the welcome appearance of a period as a sign that, had one been worried, one was not pregnant]

[1920s+] (orig. Can./Aus.) menstruation; thus my little friend has come, I am menstruating.

little girls’ (room) (n.) (also l.g.r.)

[1930s+] a coy euph. for the ladies’ lavatory.

little go (n.)

see separate entries.

little green man (n.)

[2000s] (Irish) a small bottle of whisky.

little grey cells (n.) (also little gray cells) [coined by crime writer Agatha Christie in The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920) and always associated with her fictional sleuth Hercule Poirot]

[1920s+] the human brain.

little house (n.)

see separate entry.

Little India (n.)

see separate entry.

little jimmy (n.)

[20C+] in bingo, the number one.

little jobs (n.) [euph.]

[20C+] (Aus. juv.) urination.

little Joe (n.) (also joe, little Joe from Baltimore, little Joe from Kokomo)

[late 19C+] (US gambling) the point of four in craps dice, esp. as two twos.

little Joe in the snow (n.) [snow n.1 (2a)]

[1920s+] (drugs) cocaine.

little john (n.) [ety. unknown]

[1980s+] (N.Z. drugs) a cannabis cigarette made from two papers.

little joker (n.)

[mid-19C] (US) the pea or similar object used in the shell game.

little josie (n.) (also little josephine) [var. on little Joe ]

[20C+] (gambling) the point of four in craps dice.

little mama (n.)

[19C+] (US black) an attractive black woman.

little man (n.)

see separate entry.

[? rhy. sl. little Mary Kelly = belly] little Mary (n.)

the stomach.

little nigger (n.)

[20C+] (US) in poker, a game in which the low spade splits the pot.

little one (n.)

[1950s] (US) the penis.

little pal (n.)

[1920s] (US) a pretty young woman.

little ploughman (n.) [? pun on SE plough/plough v. (1)]

[19C] the clitoris.

little (red) wagon (n.)

1. [1930s] (US tramp) a dump truck.

2. [1920s–70s] (US black, also red wagon) a problem, a difficulty; usu. in the phr. that’s your little red wagon.

little shot (n.) [reverse of big shot n. (1)]

[1930s+] (US) an insignificant person.

little snakesman (n.) (also little nake, snake) [SE little + snakesman under snake n.1 ; the twisting and turning of the boy in his actions]

[late 18C–19C] (UK Und.) a small boy in a gang of burglars who is put through a narrow opening into a house, then lets the gang in.

little whack (n.) [SE little + whack n.2 (1)]

[late 19C] a small measure of spirits.

little wheel (n.) [play on big wheel under big adj.]

[1940s-50s] (US) a secondary rank of gang leader; one who has power but remains less important than an actual boss.

In phrases

little boy blue (n.)

see separate entry.

little end of nothing (n.)

[early 19C+] (US) anything very insignificant, utterly unimportant; also intensified as little end of nothing sharpened/whittled down (to a point).

little end of the horn (n.) (also small end of the horn) [the Horn of Plenty, which in mythology was one of the horns of the goat Amalthea by which the infant Zeus was suckled, and hence a symbol of fruitfulness and plenty. Its large end is depicted as pouring forth its bounty]

[19C+] (US) failure; usu. in the phr. come out of the little end of the horn; thus as opposite, the big end of the horn.

little man (in the boat) (n.)

see separate entry.