Green’s Dictionary of Slang

swing v.

1. to be executed by hanging.

[UK]Nashe Death and Buriall of Martin Mar-Prelate in Works I (1883–4) 204: Upon the first post. / Here swingeth he, / One of three, / Well knowne to be, / rebellious mates.
[UK]J. Cooke How A Man May Choose A Good Wife From A Bad Act V: I will not part hence till I see him swing.
Rowlands Knave of Spades and Diamonds 109: You by this time stinke in Newgate jayle, / Where we will leave you till the cart do call, / To ride up Holbourne to the hangman’s hall, / To [...] swing.
[UK]Mercurius Democritus 28 Sept.-5 Oct. 598: Were both to swing, and I to grant reprieve, / I’d hang the Broaker, and I’d save the Thiefe.
[UK]E. Gayton Wil Bagnals Ghost 32: I knew ’twould never come to lesse / Then swinging for’t.
[UK]Answer to the Fifteen Comforts of Whoring 3: For which if they shou’d at the Gallows Swing, / Their End I’d in some merry Ditty Sing.
[UK]Cibber Rival Fools IV i: He shall answer both, now I have him, or swing for’t.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy III 187: At Old Tyburn they never had needed to swing / Had they been but true Subjects to drink and their king.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c 344: He must certainly have swung for it.
[UK]N. Hooke Sarah-Ad 25: Nay, Gad! ’twas well he didn’t swing.
[UK]H. Howard Choice Spirits Museum 114: I’d have ’em all swing In a strong hempen String.
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) I 195: There are so many lime-twigs laid in his way, that I’ll bet a cool hundred he swings before Christmas.
[US] in F. Moore Songs and Ballads of the Amer. Revolution (1855) 260: If you are taken, no doubt you will swing.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Lyric Odes’ Works (1794) I 130: The man condemn’d on Tyburn-tree to swing.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Wicklow Mountains 38: The cord will be put round your neck, and off you go swinging. [Ibid.] 39: Yes, I shall swing.
[Ire] ‘Swaggering Jack’ in Luke Caffrey’s Gost 3: Now Popery made the blade to swing, / And when tuck’d up he was the thing [...] They allow he was the thing.
[UK]Covent Garden n.p.: [pic. caption] Tippy Bob – the Natty Crop. This young gent ‘quite the tippy’. My name is Tippy Bob / With a watch in each fob / [...] / If I am not the thing – may I wish I may swing.
Poetry of Anti-Jacobin (4th edn) 7: For this act Did Brownrigg swing. Harsh laws! [F&H].
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 163: If I ever catch you inside my door agin [...] you’ll swing for it yet.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 350: I’d as soon swing as be so hard up again, and a great deal sooner to feel pleasure of having you dangling from the same beam.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 60: They should both swing at Tyburn for it.
[UK]H. Kingsley Recollections of G. Hamlyn (1891) 56: I says to Madge, ‘Your boy shall swing, for I know enough to hang him.’.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 267: I means tu toas’ yu es yu swings, yu dam maleafactory.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 134: He shall swing for it, if convicted, as sure as my name is Murphy.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 4 Dec. 4/4: ‘I know I killed Dora, and I suppose I shall have to swing for it’.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Mohawks III 49: You were an accomplice in a felony, for which you shall swing higher than Jack Shepherd.
[US]G. Davis Recoll. Sea-Wanderer 114: Men, you have done a terrible thing! Don't you know every one of you will swing for this?
[UK]Kipling ‘Danny Deever’ Barrack-Room Ballads (1893) 144: They ’ave ’alted Danny Deever by ’is coffin on the ground; / An’ ’e’ll swing in ’arf a minute for a sneakin’ shootin’ hound.
[US]Princeton Union (MN) 5 Sept. 6/3: Three minutes later Hank Bloodgood, the ‘Killer’, was swinging from the limb of a tree.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 15 June 577: You’re not to swing, boys! We’ve got you out of that!
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 88: He’ll swing for this.
[UK]D. Stewart Tragedy of the White House in Illus. Police News 20 Aug. 12/4: ‘[S]eeing as how he’s bound to swing at Newgate’.
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 191: There you go and shove your damn neck into th’ noose for the strikers [...] Catch me swinging for the peo-pul!
[Ire]K.F. Purdon Dinny on the Doorstep 203: Where’s the man that done it – he ought to swing for it!
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 51: He told me that he had fully expected to swing.
[US]L. Hughes Mulatto in Three Negro Plays (1969) II ii: Every white man that’s able to walk’s out with the posse. They’ll have that young nigger swingin’ before ten.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘Pat Hobby’s Christmas Wish’ Pat Hobby Stories (1967) 34: I’d rather swing.
[UK]P. Wentworth Latter End (2001) 195: There’s someone in this house that’s going to swing for what they done.
[Aus]T. Ronan Vision Splendid 94: Well, if I can belt the liver and lights out of you first I’ll swing happy.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 126: I made sure the boys from the press got the letter first. Man swings for love, and all that.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 50: If it goes to the grand jury, you won’t swing.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 2 Feb. n.p.: 20,000 people made the journey to Stafford to see the doctor swing.
[UK]N. Bradley ‘Blind Old Kate’ 🌐 I was there when Ruth Ellis was hanged [...] boys [...] counted down on their watches and announced the moment when she was ‘swinging’.

2. (also swing off) to execute by hanging.

[UK]R. Edwards Damon and Pithias (1571) Gi: Such lackies meake melacke, an halter beswenge them.
[UK]Nashe Praise of the Red Herring 70: So in a halter was hee swung.
[UK]J. Eachard (trans.) Plautus’s Rudens III viii: You shall be swing’d to some tune.
[UK]J. Gay Polly II viii: Let a gibbet be set up, and swing him off.
[UK]E. Collins ‘Poem’ Misc. 103: A sad Dog this! The Farmer said, Slipping an Halter o’er his Head, Then swung him on a neighbouring Tree.
[UK] ‘Quiz’ Grand Master VII 202: Had he the pow’r he’d change the case, / And swing some col’nels in their place [OED].
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 51: If I’ve killed her and they swing me, it’ll be a happy release for both of us.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 21 Jan. 6/2: He was swung off at 10:13 a.m. and died easily.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 28 Oct. 1/4: And men are killed, and women ‘swung’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Informal Execution of Soupbone Pew’ From First to Last (1954) 66: He’s nutty. He was nutty to go. It ain’t exactly right to swing that guy.

3. (US) to purchase, to display.

[US]Wkly Varieties (Boston, MA) 3 Sept. 6/2: We do not see how they [i.e. shop girls] can swing such harness on the $3 per week they earn.
[US]Piersall & Hirshberg Fear Strikes Out 72: I began to wonder if I could swing a house. I had some cash in the bank and if I could work out reasonable payments—.

4. (also swing it) to arrange, to achieve.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ & C. Warner Gilded Age 405: You will find we can swing a two-thirds vote.
[US]Ade Pink Marsh (1963) 171: No talk ’at I can swing is eveh goin’ ’o move ’at lady.
[US]H. Hapgood Types from City Streets 59: He will exaggerate the number of votes he can swing for the ‘big fellow’.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 80: It’s 100 to 1 that he swings Ned for the meal.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 180: He tells me that he thinks he can swing it for a hundred bucks.
[US](con. 1910s) J. Thompson Heed the Thunder (1994) 32: Maybe next year we can swing it.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 156: He planned it years ago, [...] figured out how it could be worked, how he could swing it.
[UK]J. Iggulden Storms of Summer 265: I guess there might be . . . oh, mitigating circumstances, they call it. Your lawyer might even swing manslaughter on it.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 127: How did you manage to swing a place like this.
[Ire]J. Healy Grass Arena (1990) 30: ‘How did you swing it?’ ‘Bribed the company clerk!’.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 109: Mack told Guy it was the roses that swung it for him.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 62: ‘How’d you swing this?’ [...] ‘Reptile cunning.’.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Coorparoo Blues [ebook] ‘I suppose I can swing one’.

5. (US) vtr., to persuade.

[US]Sun (NY) 12 Oct. 18/2: As I rubbered into the meatshop I saw Dippy’s wife . She was swinging the butch for a chop or so for supper.
[US]Inter Ocean (Chicago) 25 Jan. 34/3: The cafe, where the ex-Congressman swung me for the double sawbuck.

6. (US Und.) of a crime, to be remunerative.

[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 263: I got a sneak on a jug and it swung heavy, but in making my get-away, the cush got my mug.

7. to make a sneering remark.

[US]H.C. Witwer Classics in Sl. 12: Blanche is a cutey, which stops traffic every time she goes downtown for a walk, but this Kate is a tough baby and swings a mean tongue.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene x: ’E ain’ swingin’ that one on me.

8. (US) to act or live in a given manner.

[US](con. early 1930s) C. McKay Harlem Glory (1990) 83: ‘I got a good job swinging among them,’ said Buster.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 14: Some cats swing like that, I guess.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 24: If here, to learn and to listen, he would swing.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 192: swing butch to be virile, manly. Ant: swing femme, swinger one who enjoys pluralism.
[US]R. Carver Stories (1985) 354: She said she told her she didn’t swing that way.
[Can]O.D. Brooks Legs 4: I’m not after your boy. I don’t swing that way.
[US]J. Lansdale Bad Chili 198: You wouldn’t believe how many propositions I got from goober-grabbers [...] I was flattered, but I don’t swing that way.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘She can come too. I swing that way. Yeah, the three of us can party, baby’.

9. in terms pertaining to sex.

(a) to enjoy an active and varied sex life, to have sexual intercourse (with); thus swinging n.

[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 351: Swing your little Lulu gal, / Swing her good an’ strong, / What you going to do for swinging / When your Lulu’s dead and gone?
[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 193: She’s an Angel woman. Hell, she should swing.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 99: He said some guys spend more time getting stoned and swinging.
[UK]J. Briskin Too Much Too Soon (1986) 444: We could swing right here.
[US]R.P. McNamara Times Square Hustler 42: He is currently trying to make up his mind which way he would like to ‘swing.’ He claims bisexuality [...] does not interest him.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 11: The Tiki Torch Village swung hard.

(b) (gay) to fellate.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 132: Not that I got anything against anyone swinging on a joint, dig?
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 33: to suck a penis [...] swing on it (early ’60s).
[US]J. Roe The Same Old Grind 144: [of a woman] ‘I don’t suck’ [...] ‘Then why do you go around — ’ ‘I want people to think I swing’.

(c) (US) to work as a prostitute.

[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 111: This is a tough town for a girl to come across to to swing. You have to have the connections.

(d) to pimp out.

[US]N. Algren ‘Watch Out for Daddy’ in Entrapment (2009) 126: Don’t up-jump so fast, else you’ll be swinging a one-legged whore.

(e) to carry on an affair with someone.

[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 123: He’s free, dark and way over twenty-one. If you two got eyes you gonna do it anyway. So swing.

(f) of a place, to be devoted to sex.

[US]J. Rechy Numbers (1968) 93: It’s actually possible that another theater nearby swings only on Saturday afternoons.

(g) to arrange and participate in husband-and-wife swapping parties; usu. as swinging n.2

small ad in J.R. & L. Smith Beyond Monogamy 247: Couple, attractive, 26 and 25, who have not yet swung, desire to meet swinging couple.
‘Brad Harris’ Naughty Little Sister cap. 1: The kids at school claimed that her parents were members of a swinging crowd. The way some of the men were always looking down the tops of women's dresses, the wives of other men, she figured that at a party they would do more than just look.
[US]Indianapolis Star 28 Nov. 8/2: We’ve swung with Senators. We’ve swung with governors [...] We’ve swung with movie stars.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 244: Hey, we should grab a photographer. One of those guys from Swing World. You ever read that. You can only buy it at truck stops.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 230: The detainees are new-breed swingers. They swing within set guidelines.

(h) to choose a sexuality.

[UK]M. Herron Joe Country [ebook] It was the twenty-first century, for Christ’s sake. Nobody gave a damn which way he swung.

10. in terms describing a positive experience.

(a) to enjoy oneself, to have a good time.

[US]Andy Kirk ‘Fifty-Second Street’ 🎵 The mamas ain’t blue because the mamas swing, too!
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 20: I had a six-pack of Luckies on the floorboard , and a pack of empties on the back seat. I had been swinging since yesterday [...] I hadn’t been to bed yet.
[US]A. Zugsmith Beat Generation 54: They were moldy figs who vegetated while Stan and Stan alone swung.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 59: The set is on the fifth floor and the floor is creaking an’ groaning under the weight of all the coolies that are swinging.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 188: Whiskey soon loosened everyone up and they started swinging full blast.
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 67: Joey The Lips wanted to loosen up Dean, to get him swinging.

(b) (US drugs) to experience the effects of a drug; thus swinging adj.

[US]E. Hunter ‘. . . Or Leave It Alone’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 56: ‘You swingin’, sister?’ [...] ‘The swingin’est, man,’ she said.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 45: Then I began to stop swinging.

(c) (orig. gay) to achieve the supreme level of satisfaction or success; thus swinging adj.

[US]S. Allen Bop Fables 47: She is the swingin’est, but let’s take it from the top again.
[UK]Mersey Beat 15–29 Nov. n.p.: If the Beatles manage to establish themselves on a national scale they’ll be really swingin’!
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 10: His two most recent pictures had copped the coveted Oscar — and, in short, he was swinging.
[US]G. Sculatti Catalog of Cool 🌐 (to) swing (verb): To achieve the highest state of well-being. To soar free and clear. Bobby Rydell attended a ‘Swingin’ School.’.

(d) of anything, to work out well, as planned.

[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 101: Now I go to a new town, you know. It [i.e. a performance] swings, you know.

(e) of a party, a club, a place of entertainment, to go well, to be enjoyable.

[US]Rigney & Smith Real Bohemia 8: A young man plopped down next to him, wondering aloud when ‘things were going to start swinging’.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 84: His place [...] wouldn’t begin to swing until after the bars closed.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 10: Harlem was swinging.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 129: But first, they were going to have to spend a few quid out of the Turnbull twenty-first fee in making this party swing.

11. (US, also swing it) to leave, to go.

[[UK]G. Douglas House with Green Shutters 221: I kenned young Gourlay was on the fuddle when I saw him swinging off this morning].
[US]Hal Ellson Golden Spike 71: Get your stuff, we’re swinging. [Ibid.] 74: Let’s swing it to the poolroom.
[US]Hal Ellson ‘Cool Cat’ Tell Them Nothing (1956) 83: I’m ready to swing. We move to the door.
J. Roe Same Old Grind 122: ‘’Smatter, pal,’ asked Max, ‘afraid the little lady is gonna swing with your change?’.

12. in terms pertaining to crime.

(a) (US Und.) of a pimp, to run a prostitute.

[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 160: Small wonder that to say ‘Finnerty swings her’ afforded a girl real distinction among the women of Perdido Street.

(b) (US drugs) to cheat.

[US]H. Ellson Golden Spike gloss.: Swing – to cheat [...] Swung – cheated.
[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 158: You can’t con or swing with the Lindy hung-ups any more.

(c) (US) to be a member of a teenage street gang; to fight as a member of a teenage street gang.

[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 4: Anybody could go out swinging wild, maybe shooting wild. It took a general to win the battles.
[US]W. Bernstein ‘The Cherubs Are Rumbling’ in Short Gang Delinquency and Delinquent Subcultures (1968) 25: ‘It’ll [i.e. a fight] be on again,’ Benny said [...] ‘Soon as the cops lay off, they’ll swing again.’.
[US]R.L. Keiser Vice Lords 64: Now maybe in their younger days they was swinging, but they weren’t shit then—not anything, lots of wind.

(d) to involve oneself in corruption or illegality.

[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 105: I only swing about once a year now. If something doesn’t look extra good, I don’t touch it.

(e) (US black) to be dealing narcotics.

[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 245: As for a job, [...] I’m swinging stuff for Jim.
[US]J. Maryland ‘Shoe-shine on 63rd’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 210: Red was known to be ‘swinging’ (pushing narcotics).

13. (US) to give, to hand over, to pay.

[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 79: His Worship would even swing for the tux rental and the corsage.
[US]J. Ridley Conversation with the Mann 85: They come, they drink, so Ray swings me a little extra.

14. (UK black/gang) to stab.

[UK]T. Thorne (ed.) ‘Drill Slang Glossary’ at Forensic Linguistic Databank 🌐 Swing - wield or thrust (a knife), stab.

15. see I’ll swing (for)...

16. see swing (with)

17. see swing both ways

18. see swing the lead

Pertaining to hanging

In phrases

big swing (n.)

(US) the prison gallows.

[US]T. Capote In Cold Blood 295: He intended taking every step possible to avoid ‘a ride on the Big Swing.’.
Morning Sun (Pittsburg, KS) 3 July n.p.: More than four decades after the last murderer rode the Big Swing, prison officials are nearing completion of a death chamber that will be used when the state gets back into the execution business.
I’ll swing (for)... [the implication is that the speaker is willing to commit murder to get what they want and thus face the gallows]

a general threat.

[UK]Annual Reg. Jan. 11/1: No, I would sooner die for it, I would swing for it first.
Southern Qly Rev. July 90: Take him away; if he crosses my path again I’ll kill him, even if the next moment I swing for it upon that gallows.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 21 Oct. 3/2: He hoped ere long to have the felicity of swinging for her.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 358: Phil determined, ‘if he swung for it,’ to make Lucy Grant change her name to Lucy Vautrin before she was a month older.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 4 May 3/4: [headline] Butchering his Wife and Hacking his own Throat / ‘i’ll swing for you’.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 229: ‘I’d give him the length uv id, as sure as God made Moses.’ ‘And swing for it,’ said Father Hannigan.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Oct. 32/2: Once when he went to try an’ make it up with her she threatened to get him into the logs. He admits he fell-in over her, an’ swears he’ll swing for her.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 25: I’ll swing before that ’appens.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 357: You’ve trapped me you — swine. I’ll get even with you over this if I swing for it!
[UK]C. Day Lewis Otterbury Incident 46: We’re going to get this money if we swing for it!
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: I’ll swing for that ration corporal one of these days.
[UK]K. Waterhouse There is a Happy Land (1964) 147: I’ll break every bone in his bloody body! I will! I’ll swing for him!
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 139: ‘I’ll swing for you yet,’ said Algernon. ‘Mind it ain’t from your old school tie,’ I said.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Strained Relations’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] If I hear another nautical yarn I’ll swing for him!
[Ire]R. Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 206: I’ll swing for you.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 281: A lot of the old hold-me-back I’ll-swing-for-the-fuckin-cunt business.
[Scot]T. Black Gutted 2: There’s a phrase, hear it all the time, I’ll swing for you...
swing in a halter (v.)

to be hanged.

[UK]Udall (trans.) Erasmus’ Apophthegms in Oliphant New Eng. i 486: Among the verbs are to gossip... swing in a halter, take his heels [F&H].
[UK]Florio Worlde of Wordes n.p.: TANTARARE, to swing in a halter.
letter in J. Rogers Life and Opinions of a Fifth-monarchy-man (1867) 153: Saying they hoped to see me dance in a rope and swing in a halter, calling us Hypocrites, Liers, Deceivers.
[UK]C. Arnold ‘Antigallican Song’ in Poems on Several Occasions 206: As for those Poltroons, howe’er high their Station; / Who, as Cowards - or Knaves, - embarrass the Nation; / Who Fighting avoid, - or when Fighting do run; / Let them swing in a Halter, or die by a Gun.
Annals of Crime 31 246/1: As for telling your fortune, I’ll be so plainly with you, that you’ll swing in a halter as sure as your name is Sawney Cunningham.
J.D. Lang Freedom and Independence for [...] Australia 49: For I am not to be trusted, and have cheated him to an amount that he could have made me swing in a halter for.
[UK]North-Eastern Dly Gaz. 9 June 3/3: ‘You wouldn’t like to swing in a halter, would you, Sol?’‘I vouldn’t swing in a halter for killing you ven you were trying to rob me’.
Pubs Navy Records Soc. 33 321: But if to sea I go again, I’d sooner swing in a halter, / Before I'd sail in any ship commanded by Mickey Walker.

Pertaining to deception

In phrases

swing (it) on (v.) (also swing one across)

(mainly Aus./N.Z.) to deceive, to impose on, to do a bad turn.

[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Speedy Sprite’ in Ade’s Fables 28: Once a year the Ladies [...] swung on their Gentlemen Friends for enough Dough to pay the Vacation Expenses of Neglected Wives and Kiddies.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 44: ‘Swinging it on the fucking rookies, they are, the old sweats,’ grumbled Tug.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 1188/1: C.20 [...] mostly Aus.
[NZ]N. Marsh Died in the Wool (1963) 234: ‘You’re trying to swing one across me.’ ‘No.’.
[UK]B. Naughton Alfie I ii: ’Ere, you ain’t comin’ it on me, are you— trying to swing it? [...] swing the old ’filiation order—two nicker a week until he’s sixteen.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 205: swing one across To deceive somebody. Mid C20.
swing someone off (v.)

(Aus.) to prevaricate with, to refuse to commit.

[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 371: He’s been swingin’ me off for a week. It’s only when I asked Bill Wrench that I got the strong of the sod.
swing (with) (v.)

(US) to steal.

[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 45: Some boob left it on his front lawn. So I swung with it.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 343: You didn’t swing with that gold did you, old man?
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 102: Quick, baby, the woman saw you swing.
[US](con. 1950s) D. Goines Whoreson 122: There was nothing above the counter I could swing with.

Pertaining to sex

In compounds

swing (party) (n.)

(orig. US) an orgy, esp. when the participants are husband-and-wife swapping couples.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1187: [...] since ca. 1955.
[US]Orange Coast Mag. Sep. 62: The undercurrent of potential sex clearly differentiates a swing party from, say, your average Elks club mixer.
[US]K. Curtis American Males' Guide on How to Get More Pussy 66: Clothing particularly adapted for swing party wear [...] robes, lingerie, terry cloth wrap-arounds and other simple wear that is easily removed.
I. Anupindi Trip to India 81: I told her that I had heard about the swing party after 1990 when I was doing a small research project for a professor in Delhi. I explained to her that at that time it was too difficult for me to find a swing party group.
[US]N. Felts Explore Express Expand 44: A swing party is a party where a group of like minded adults get together with the purpose of cuming.

In phrases

swing both ways (v.) (also swing, swing either way, ...three-sixty)

to practise bisexuality.

[US]K. Brasselle Cannibals 212: Joe Ballantine swings. Bryan is a fag.
E. Wilson Show Business Laid Bare 320: ‘If you swing both ways, you really swing,’she said. ‘I just figure, you know, double your pleasure’.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 25: Miriam’s easy; she swings either way.
[US]K. Vacha Quiet Fire 124: I think most actors do swing both ways.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] Tommy is a steamer, though that’s not strictly true, because he swings both ways.
[US]J. Stahl Perv (2001) 286: He’s bi as the day is long. They all are. Mick Jagger swings three-sixty.
Drunk Girls Homepage 4 Oct. 🌐 Floyd does Lynette Kerry swing both ways or bat for the other team?, her pictures seem to indicate the latter.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] ‘She’s so hot she’d make me turn.’ ‘Don’t you already swing both ways?’.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 40: Blew the whole jubilee Gang [...] Went hame n licked the missus oot tae prove thit eh swing baith weys.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 64: Burt [Lancaster] swings both ways.
[UK]R. Milward Man-Eating Typewriter 4568: Jibbering, both-way-swinging, reprogramming, reverse-servo-lathering [...] Raymond Novak Experience.
swing low (v.) [sense 8a above + SE low]

(US black teen) to have oral sex.

[US]P. Atoon Rap Dict. 🌐 swing low. To have oral sex.
swing with (v.) [sense 8 above]

1. to associate with [may be SE swing, i.e. on buses or other public transport].

[[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 98: Shadow him: swing and rattle with him no matter where he goes].
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 16: They were talking about the Speed Demons now. ‘You belong?’ she asked him. ‘Swing with them?’.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 175: If he wanted to get into the street life, he had to start swinging with somebody who was already into it.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 21: Cheri’s breakin’ his balls [...] She started swingin’ with Mott.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 67: Shell Shock, who started swinging with the fellas an me when we got to high school.

2. to have a relationship with, to have sex with.

[US]W. Murray Sweet Ride 25: Vickie swung with Denny [...] She was his piece of meat.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 220: I hear you been swingin’ with my woman.
[US]J. McCourt ‘Vilja de Tanquay Exults’ in Queer Street X298: Not that / I imagine you’d have swung for mum, but swung / For – swung on – dad.

3. to ally oneself to a group, or individual, to agree with a concept.

[US]B. Malamud Tenants (1972) 37: Thanks for swinging with me, baby. Lots of appreciation.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 34: Had things been different on the home front, he would have swung with this development.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 11: SWING – agree with or comply with.

4. to enjoy, to appreciate.

[US]J. Blake letter 1 July in Joint (1972) 234: I just don’t swing with respectable people, they’re all murderers.
[US]T. Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1969) 64: Kesey loved this Low Rent stuff. He was ready to swing with it.

Other senses

In compounds

swingdinger (n.)

(US black) a successful party.

[US]A.E. Duckett ‘Truckin ’round Brooklyn’ in N.Y. Age 10 Apr. 7/1: The little swing-dinger the Chrysalis kidlets gave [...] at Minnie Abel’s Clubhouse.
swing man (n.) [? he makes things go with a swing or ? sense 9 above]

a drug dealer.

[US]Lannoy & Masterson ‘Teen-age Hophead Jargon’ AS XXVII:1 29: SEE THE SWING-MAN, phr. To meet with a drug peddler.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).

SE in slang uses

In compounds

swing-out (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

swing a bag (v.) [the prostitute’s inevitable handbag]

1. (Aus.) a to work as a bookmaker.

[Aus]Cairns Post 10 July 4/4: Bookmaking and boxing does not mix, says Fred Henneberry, former middleweight champion of Australia, who has been swinging a bag in Sydney for some months.

2. (Aus.) to work as a street-walker.

[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks.
swing by (v.) (also swing around) [SE swing, a trip]

(orig. US) to visit.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar.
[US](con. 1946) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 49: Why don’t you swing by Nick Stefanos’s grill, say in about an hour.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 190: Hon, I think I might swing ’round Flynn’s Spa a couple hours.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 26: We’re in the area. I’ll swing by and settle up.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 131: I’ll swing by and get you, same time as usual.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 187: We’ll [...] swing by the hotel and pick you up.
[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 23: Ah’ll swing by later.
[Ire]P Howard Braywatch 29: I decide to swing by just for the laugh.
swing in (v.)

(US) to arrive.

[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 7: The day that the All Hip Mahatma swung in on the scene, The Lion was into that supply cupboard shoulder high.
swinging on the meat (phr.)

(US) overly anxious to please.

P. Kendall Service Sl.
swinging the stick (n.) [the physical action of the bludgeoner]

robbery with violence.

[UK]H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 329/1: Other robberies are perpetrated by brutal violence with a life-preserver or bludgeon [...] This is termed ‘swinging the stick’ or the ‘bludgeon business’.
swing it (v.)

1. see sense 3 above.

2. see sense 10 above.

3. see swing the lead

swing of the door (n.)

the seventh drink of a session, supposedly the very last one has before leaving the pub.

[UK]Sun. Dispatch (London) 3 July n.p.: Publand [...] first round is known as ‘one’, second as ‘the other half’, third as ‘same again’, fourth as ‘a final’, fifth as ‘one for the road’, sixth as ‘a binder’, and seventh as ‘swing o’ the door’ [DSUE].
swing on (v.)

1. (US black) to attach oneself; to enter a vehicle .

[US]J. Harrison ‘Negro English’ in Anglia VII 265: To swing on = to attach oneself to, to get in (a vehicle).

2. in fig. use, to talk forcefully.

[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 129: ‘[I] fergives him anyt’ing he ever done to me an’ even stands fer it w’en he swung on me fer a case note’.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 91: I’m sorry [...] I didn’t mean to swing on you like that.

3. (US) to hit or punch.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 130: I had to swing on her right from my heel every two or three days.
[US]W. Smith Bessie Cotter 108: Did he swing on you again?
[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 22: Unless I get a chance to swing on somebody I figure myself punking out.
[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 276: You could take a drink with Miles without wondering if he was going to swing on somebody.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[US]in J. Miller Getting Played 105: ‘If they try to break up a fight, you might have a student that’ll be bold enough to just swing on a teacher’.

4. (Aus., also swing on to) to keep, to take.

[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 62: Why shouldn’t we swing on to all the dough for ourselves, and bugger his Lordship!
swing one’s dick (v.)

(US) to act arrogantly, overbearingly.

[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 22: ‘[You] swing your dick around you like you the cock of the walk’.
swing out (v.)

see separate entry.

swing the dice (v.)

(US black) to accept that much of life is a matter of luck and to live it accordingly.

[US]C. Major Juba to Jive.
swing the gate (v.) [orig. sheep-shearing jargon, used of a fast and expert shearer]

(Aus.) to work hard, to do well, to win in a contest.

Glen Innes Examiner NSW) 7 June 4/1: There are several other fast shearers on the board, but Mr. Zimmerlie ‘swings the gate’ .
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 3 Jan. 20/3: ‘Who swung the gate’ at the Blow Blow when you were there, and who ‘dragged the chain,’ are phrases which convey no meaning to the uninitiated. Well, the man that shears the most sheep in a shed is the man who ‘swings the gate,’ and the man that shears the least is the man that ‘dragged the chain.’.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 28 June 9/7: Come on blokes, let’s swing that gate, the time has come to nominate [i.e. for a ‘glammer gal’ competition].
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 240/1: swing the gate – work willingly.
swing the lead (v.) (also swing (it), swing the hammer) [the image is of a leadsman, taking soundings from a ship, but that job is skilful rather than easy] (orig. milit.)

1. to malinger, to avoid one’s duties.

[UK]W. Muir Observations of Orderly 222: When I went sick the doctor thought he’d rumbled me swinging the lead.
[Aus]Kia Ora Coo-ee 15 Sept. 4/2: ‘Summer’ is a Boer war veteran, cunning, and the owner of a tongue that could raise blisters on the desert. He had ‘swung it’ often in Australia, and when, at length, he arrived at Moascar he lost no time in reporting sick.
[UK]N&Q 12 Ser. IX 348: Swinging it/Swinging the Lead. Malingering.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 146: Swinging the lead so cunningly that the long spell [i.e. of P.T.] took little out of us.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 114: Hammer, To Swing The: To malinger.
[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 51: ‘‘Hullo, Geordie, they got you at last?’ ‘Couldn’t swing it no longer, Bill?’.
[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 109: I knew he had dozens of ‘swinging the lead’ cases.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 88: ‘What is Skiving?’ ‘The same as Swinging It. Trying to get out of things.’.
[Aus] in A. Marshall These Are My People (1957) 145: If you are workin’ where there’s a woman you always want to humour her and never swing the lead when she’s about.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 52: If it is going to make you happy to swing, go on and swing.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 20: When I went for my medical in the war they [eyes] were A1, but I swung the lead and got off 3C.
[UK]G.W. Target Teachers (1962) 54: She’s swinging the lead – sick headache!
[UK]Galton & Simpson ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ Steptoe and Son [TV script] harold: Are you sure he’s not swinging the lead? doctor: Quite sure. He’s in great pain.
[UK]Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 96: Anyone who fails to pull his weight [...] ‘swings the lead’.

2. to brag, to boast.

[UK]Lichfield Mercury 4 May 5/2: Swinging the Lead—This is the equivalent of the civilian expression, ‘Telling the tale’.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 1188/2: from ca. 1919.