Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sleazy adj.

also sleazo, sleazy-ass, sleezy
[SE sleazy, of textile fabrics or materials, thin or flimsy; ult. sleazy, of ropes or yarn, rough from projecting fibres]

1. of a person, unpleasant, poss. criminal, generally distasteful.

[US]S. Walker Night Club Era 205: [C]auliflower ears, beggars, sleazy crones, skinny girls who would be out of place in even the cheapest dance hall.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 151: A heavily made-up, sleazy-looking bitch.
[UK]Oz 6 3/2: Your two sleazy would-be exposers managed to invent so much other rubbish about us [etc.].
[UK]Manchester Guardian Weekly 2 Aug. 20: Her sleazo routines seem half-rehearsed. Her dirty jokes sound almost like last-gasp fill-ins for the cleaner lines she was supposed to deliver but forgot.
Tel. (Brisbane) 3 Aug. 10/3: When I made the mistake of calling them ‘sleazy’ to their faces, their reaction was outrage. ‘Don’t call me a sleaze,’ said Miss Currie.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 39: Make sure sleazy ass Preacher doesn’t run in a couple of bogus tickets.
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 247: I kicked his sleazy ass out when I caught him trying to tape-record me.
[US]C. Fleming High Concept 133: I don’t understand why those sleazy bastards like whores so much.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 14 Jan. 2: Sleazy private dicks.

2. perverse, sexually or otherwise.

[US]S. Walker City Editor 152: Some of the sleaziest writing anywhere is in American newspapers. Some of the best is there also.
[US]E. Sanders Family 73: Death-trip [satanist] groups that must have provided powerful sleazo inputs into manson.
in J. Bailey Conversations in a Brothel 125: It’s not a sleazy industry. Sleazy people exist, but I am not a sleazy person and this is not a sleazy joint.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 3 4: Tanya was a sadistic whore and the whole thing was getting quite sleazy.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 273: Ah’ve goat a belter ah a hard-on n she looks as sexy and sleazy as fuck.

3. of a thing, dirty, run-down, decayed.

[US]N. Algren ‘A Place to Lie Down’ in Texas Stories (1995) 62: The paw seized Mack’s shirt [...] with a yank which ripped the sleazy cloth down to the navel.
[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 82: The sleazy hamburger joints.
[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 96: Old hands in the sleazy bypaths of crime, they could pretty well guess what had happened to her.
[US]C. Himes Big Gold Dream 190: A corner was curtained off for a clothes closet by a sleazy curtain.
[Aus]‘Geoffrey Tolhurst’ Flat 4 King’s Cross (1966) 98: Inside the sleazy, untidy room a man was sitting in an armchair, without a collar on, reading the racing results.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 42: They were glad to pinpoint him at a sleezy gin mill that featured a belly dancer.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 62: I was still living in a cheap rooming house in a sleazy district.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 15: [I was] putting the arm on some counter-culture bimbo for her sleazy bus. [Ibid.] 158: He’s got this hotel and bar that he owns. Really a sleazo racket.
[UK]Observer Screen 9 Jan. 11: An innocent country boy moves into a sleazy hotel near Time Square.
[UK]K. Richards Life 166: You were really in one of the sleaziest businesses there is, without actuallty being a gangster.

4. (US juv.) lucky.

[US]G.A. Fine With the Boys 169: Sleezy, adj. Lucky, often with the implication that the luck was undeserved (as in ‘sleezy catch’).