Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rock n.

1. in monetary senses.

(a) (US) one dollar; thus half a rock, 50 cents.

[[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 59: His mother was upon board-wages when he was ushered into the world, which accounted for his not having a ‘rock’ too much!].
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune 143: Here I am in town without a rock in my pocket, and without a skirt to my coat, or a crown to my hat.
‘Asmodeus’ Sharps and Flats; or, The Perils of City Life 17/1: His pockets lined with rocks, the dashing knave left town for his personal safety.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ Down in Tennessee 113: Rocks is sca’ce, jest now; I hain’t got on’y three dollars in the wurle.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 151: Her dad has got the rocks — four or five million, I s’pose.
[Aus] ‘Prince Albert’s Fashion’ at 🌐 An’ runs accounts for underwear / An’ banks their beans an’ rocks.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 178: You remember that fellow from Vienna ’t I borrowed a hundred from [...] nice enough bloke, an’ had the rocks an’ all that.
[US]H. Hapgood Types From City Streets 335: ‘You mean not enough money?’ ‘Na, there’s plenty o’ rocks.’.
[US]N.I. White Amer. Negro Folk-Songs 401: [reported from Auburn, Ala., 1915–1916] Save up yo’ money / And haul out your rocks; / You will always have tobacco / In your own tobacco box.
[US]Reading (PA) Eagle 20 Mar. 7/3: Half a dollar is ‘half a schnooze’ ‘half a schmier’ or a ‘half a rock’.
[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1003: I don’t bet, but I’ll double you. Five rocks!
[US]W.L. Alderson ‘Carnie Talk’ in AS XXVIII:2 116: half a rock, half a slug, n. A half dollar.
[US]D. Mamet Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1994) 50: And goddam if she doesn’t lay half a rock on me for the cigarettes.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 163: Another half a rock down the drain.

(b) (US prison) one carton of prison cigarettes, the equivalent of $1 in a barter economy.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 65: Rock A prison dollar, equivalent to one pack of name brand cigarettes.

2. a diamond, thus bum rock, a flawed stone.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 69: I had [...] several Kimberley rocks.
[US]St Paul Globe (MN) 28 Feb. 26/5: The New Yorkers deposited their shiny rocks with the hotel clerk.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 83: Did you pipe the rocks she had on?
[US]Spokane Press (WA) 22 Sept. 7/3: The thief calls [...] diamonds with flaws [...] ‘bum rocks’.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Alibi Ike’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 48: I wouldn’t trust no strange girl with a rock o’ mine.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 44: ‘Austrian Max’ was a stone-getter [...] Sometimes Max rode for miles on different lines before he spotted a desirable ‘rock’.
[US]P.G. Cressey Taxi-Dance Hall 250: It’s about how they ‘fished’ a man for a ring with a big ‘rock’ in it.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 290: I’ll take all the rocks and give you a fair price for them.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 92: How much shall we ask Nutch for the rocks?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 160: The rock on his finger exploded blue-white.
[US]C. Loken Come Monday Morning 49: Four rings on her wedding finger one of ’em had a rock big’s a horse turd.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 38: I still cant imagine a man of your intelligence slinging that rock around Gloria Monday’s neck.
Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 rock n 1. a wedding ring. (‘Man, stay away from her. Didn’t you see that huge rock on her finger?’).
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 57: She made me nervous, with her big rock and chinchilla coat.
[US]R.A. Dickey Wherever I Wind Up 113: I pick out a rock and the setting, and pray that it’s not a fake.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Crime 101’ in Broken 72: He fences the rocks, washes the proceeds.

3. a man who is sturdy and solid both emotionally, physically and in his character.

[US]N. West ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ in Coll. Works (1975) 268: The rock remained calm and solid.
[US]W.D. Myers Fallen Angels 177: Walowick was a rock, a fucking rock, and he had freaked out.

4. (US) a fool.

[US]R. Kahn Boys of Summer 335: ‘Of all the dumb dago things to do. I was going to find a spot for you. Now I can’t. [...] What a rock’.

5. in drug uses.

(a) opium.

[US](con. 1926) G. Fowler Schnozzola 100: Social unequals, the Piping Rock boys and the White Rock boys, got up to participate in the entertainment, and the ladies and the flossies became sisters under the gin.

(b) a piece of hashish.

Hal Ellson Duke 106: You buy a small rock, a piece.

(c) cocaine, when in uncrushed form.

[US]R. Woodley Dealer 58: ‘What do you do with the rocks,’ I asked, ‘just throw them away?’ Jimmy snapped his head up. ‘Do what? Hey, hold it! I hope nobody’s throwin rocks away. The rocks are pure coke’.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 137: Rocks, in cocaine lore, are the lumps that appear dispersed throughout the sample. [Ibid.] 187: The rock weighed about a quarter of an ounce [...] The rock was cocaine – through and through. As pure as it gets.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 36: He produces a baggie filled with yellowish powder, ‘all flake – stuff off the rock’. [Ibid.] 39: By the winter of 1983, pure rock was the craze much as crack was to be four or five years later.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 86: He opens up a bigger wrap that’s full of selected charlie rocks.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 62: Lick some rock, boot some brown, boost two brew.

(d) (also rock cocaine, rock crack) crack cocaine; a piece of crack cocaine.

[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 44: rock A concentrated form of cocaine.
[US]A. Vachss Hard Candy (1990) 31: The franchise to distribute rock cocaine was disputed by teenage robot-mutant millionaires.
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 41: Robbie inhaled the thick smoke from the now red-hot rock.
[US]UGK ‘Pocket Full of Stones’ 🎵 Rock crack sho ain’t good in the city that / Had a fuckin hoe for every letter in the alphabet.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 220: She goes down for brown and sucks cock for rock.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 189: The price point of a bag of smack made dealers a lot more money a lot more quickly than selling jumbos of rock.
[US]E. Beetner ‘Zed’s Dead, Baby’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] He’d have enough [i.e. money] to get high on the cheap stuff — ten dollar crack rocks.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] You had as much as a roach on you, an old needle, a pipe with a grain of old rock in it, you’re going.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 66: ‘Base heads [...] offering to have their girl suck your dick for a ten-dollar rock’.
Central Cee ‘Dun Deal’ 🎵 Bro controlling the wok, soda in the pop, lock, make the yola rock.

(e) heroin, prior to being crushed to powder.

[Aus]G. Disher Deathdeal [ebook] ‘We’ve done business before [...] Buddha sticks [...] White rock. Pink rock’.
[Aus]L. Davies Candy 12: I hear there’s some pink rocks coming tomorrow.

(f) methamphetamine, when in uncrushed form.

[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 261: The vial was filled to the top with crystal rocks.

6. (US Und.) a prison.

[US]J. Blake ‘Day of the Alligator’ in Algren Lonesome Monsters (1963) 134: You know him in some other rock?

7. (US teen) a large, tough person.

[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Rock 81: Four of his boys follow him. They’re all rocks.

8. (US prison) a cellblock.

[US] Chapman NDAS.

9. (S.Afr.) an Afrikaner. [abbr. rock spider n.].

[SA] informant in DSAE (1996).
[NZ]Style Oct. 40: In the army [...] Afrikaners are ‘rocks’ or ‘pebbles’ [DSAE].
[SA]R. Malan My Traitor’s Heart (1991) 75: Most policemen [...] were rocks, or Afrikaners.

10. (US black) a basketball.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 5: shoot some rock – play basketball.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 6: pound the rock – to play basketball.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 5: rock [...] basketball ‘Let’s go shoot the rock.’.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 246: ‘Gimme the rock.’ R.C. powers up over top of Manny Man to snag the rebound.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 91: He put English on the rock and bounced it.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 4: He could catch the rock on a break, pull up for a bearded three-pointer [...] and talk shit as the ball popped the net.
Twitter 1 Nov. 🌐 Barack with the rock. I like how he grabs his coffee on the way out.

11. (US) in fig. use, the essence, the ‘bottom line’.

[US]A. Rodriguez Spidertown (1994) 98: I’m tellin’ you straight, right? Thass the fucken rock of it, bro’.

12. a piece of excrement, an individual stool.

[Scot]T. Black Ringer [ebook] There’s a sting in my ring like I’ve just dropped some serious rocks.

In compounds

rock ape (n.)

(Aus.) an unsophisticated person; a lout.

[Aus](ref. to 1970s) Aus. Word Map 🌐 rock ape. school slang, circa 1970’s [...] similar to Bogan; implied lack of class or style in dress and lack of sophisitication in manners.
rock crack (n.)

see sense 4d above.

rock head (n.) [-head sfx (4)]

1. (US) a fool.

[US]B. Appel Tough Guy [ebook] [A] rockhead of a gambler up in Boston moving into territory where he had no right.

2. (drugs) a consumer of crack cocaine.

[US]C. Fleming High Concept 211: [He] indicates no sympathy for what he calls ‘rock heads and rock doctors’.
rock hoe (n.) [ho n.1 (2)]

(US black) a woman who takes crack cocaine; thus a general derog.

[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 rock hoe Definition: referring to, but not limited to, a slutty biznitch who does crack. More generally, any slut you don’t like. Example: That bitch he’s with ain’t nuthin but a rock hoe.
rock house (n.)

(drugs) a place where crack cocaine is sold and smoked; also attrib.

[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl.
[US]G. Sikes 8 Ball Chicks (1998) 13: In the ghetto [...] there are hundreds of independent ‘rock house’ franchises.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 18: Rock house — Place where crack is sold and smoked.
rock kid (n.) [kid n.1 (4)]

(UK black/drugs) a smoker of crack cocaine.

[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 312: You’re not a rock kid are you? [...] I don’t know which is worse, the rock or AIDS.
rock lobster (n.) [note lobster n.2 ]

(Aus.) a $20 bill.

[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 47: He pulled a $20 bill out of his pocket [...] it was so long since the collection box had seen a ‘rock lobster’. [Ibid.] 211: ‘You got change of a rock lobster,’ said Norton, pulling a $20 bill out of his jeans.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] [H]e saw Les slip the kiwi waitress a rock lobster.
rock monster (n.) [monster n. (5)/SE monster?]

(US drugs/campus) an addict who is desperate for a dose of rock or crack cocaine; one who may steal to support their habit.

[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 45: rock monster Someone who is in need of rock cocaine.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 9: Some rock monster ripped off my tape deck.
rock star (n.)

(drugs) a smoker of crack cocaine, esp. a woman who trades sex for crack cocaine or money to buy crack cocaine.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 18: Rock star — Female who trades sex for crack or money to buy crack; a person who uses rock cocaine.
[US]G. Pelecanos Soul Circus 166: Phil say she was one of those rock stars, from back when he had that, what do they call it, epidemic here in the city.

In phrases

ride the rock (v.)

(US drugs) to smoke crack cocaine.

[US]Simon & Burns ‘Straight and True’ Wire ser. 3 ep. 5 [TV script] If I told anybody else but you you might think I’m ridin’ the rock.
rocked up (adj.)

(US black) sporting diamond jewellery.

LOX ‘Everybody Wanna Rat’ 🎵 Your hands, wrists, and neck was rocked up.
Lloyd Banks ‘Iceman’ 🎵 Look at me now, hat cocked up, wristwatch rocked up.
[US]Jim Jones ‘Blow Your Smoke’ 🎵 The sun is out, my wrist rocked up.
rock out (v.)

(drugs) to collapse through an excessive consumption of marijuana or pills.

E. Folb Compar. Study of Urban Black Argot.
rocks in socks (n.)

(N.Z. prison) a weapon whereby a pool ball, a heavy stone, etc is knotted in a sock and used to attack a victim.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 155/1: rocks in socks n. pl. a weapon made from a rock, a pool ball or some batteries in a sock.
roll the rock (v.)

(US) to send someone out with a container to have it filled with beer at the local bar or tavern.

[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 3 Dec. 17/7: ‘Chasing the can,’ ‘rolling the rock’ and ‘working the growler’ all mean sending the tin can down to the corner bar-room for beer.

SE in slang uses

Pertaining to prison

In compounds

rock crusher (n.)

1. (US) in prison uses [hard labour in the rock quarry].

(a) a convict.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

(b) a prison.

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 44: The three appellate court judges who will investigate the charges of irregularities in the Mutt case. This is Mutt’s only hope of dodging the state rock crusher.

(c) in fig. use, an overwhelmingly strong criminal case.

[US]E. Torres After Hours 69: I got him out of Lewisburg after five years. The feds had a rock-crusher case against him. I reversed the conviction, unanimous opinion by the Second Circuit.
[US]D. Heilbroner Rough Justice 254: The case is a lock, a rock-crusher.

2. as a form of machine.

(a) (US) an automobile.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 24: Listening to an egg with one way pockets as he tries to trade in his old rock crusher for a new rattler.

(b) (orig. US black) an accordion.

[US]Charleston (WV) Daily Mail 31 July 6/8: Musicans have slang terms for every instrument [...] Rock crusher – accordion.
[US]P.E. Miller Down Beat’s Yearbook of Swing n.p.: rock-crusher : an accordian.
rockpile (cure) (n.)

see separate entries.

In phrases

General uses

In compounds

rock ape (n.)

see under ape n.

rockchopper (n.) (also chopper, R.C.) [used by Protestants as a derog. ref. to the original Irish immigrants, who were mainly convicts and, as such, condemned to hard labour; the common initials ‘r.c.’ are strengthening, but not the origin]

(Aus.) a derog. term for a Roman Catholic.

[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 93/2: rock chopper Roman Catholic (after initials?).
[Aus]B. Moore Lex. of Cadet Lang. 77: chopper a Catholic ( a common shortening of rock chopper). [Ibid.] 296: RC a Catholic. [Ibid.] 303: At Duntroon, rock chopper would seem to have spawned some imitative coinages, with only one term for a Catholic (arsie = RC) punningly using the actual initials themselves.
[Aus]P. Doyle (con. late 1950s) Amaze Your Friends (2019) 118: I memorized it the way rockchopper schoolkids learn their taechism.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
[Aus]R. Hughes Things I Didn’t Know (2007) 67: The ancient tension between rock-choppers (Catholics) and Anglos.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Irish Fandango [ebook] Fucken rockchoppers stuck together.
rockhead (n.) [-head sfx (1)]

(US) a stupid person; thus rock-headed adj., very stupid.

[US]T. Thursday ‘Ten Dollars – No Sense’ in Top-Notch 15 Dec. 🌐 I’ve already got an idea that will prove to you, or any other rockhead, that my theory of honesty is correct.
[UK]I, Mobster 86: Rock-heads who wanted to give orders instead of taking them. [Ibid.] 101: He’s just rock-headed enough to start a crazy gang war.
[US]P. Rabe Benny Muscles In (2004) 311: ‘Just what do you call an emergency?’ ‘That I don’t get there, rockhead!’.
[US]C. Himes Big Gold Dream 119: Here, rockhead, take it and read it.
[US]T. O’Brien Going After Cacciato (1980) 25: ‘Why don’t he just leave the trail? Lose us [...]’ ‘A rockhead,’ said Stink Harris. ‘That’s why.’.
rockhound (n.) (also rock sharp) [-hound sfx/sharp n.1 (2)] (orig. US)

1. a geologist.

Amer. Union 30 Aug. 1/3: Both were employed on the Enterprise — Dan as the ‘rock sharp’ and Mark as the ‘funny man’ [DA].
[US]El Paso Herald (TX) 13 Feb. 5/5: A geologist trying to sell his services to an oil companay was called a ‘rock hound’ or a ‘pebble pup’.
[US]Great Falls Trib. (MT) 4 June 12/4: Nature never intended that I should be a rockhound, a peebble-pup or any of the [...] designations, whereby geologists are [...] profanely classified.

2. an amateur mineralogist.

[US]A.S. Evans A la Calif. 100: They bored everything from a lime-rock to a sandbank, in search of oil, and never struck it, despite the predictions of professional geologists, oil wizards and rock-sharps generally.
National Hist. May 220/1: There are numerous semiprecious stones to interest the ‘rock hound’ [DA].
rock spider (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

rock of ages (n.)

see separate entry.