Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hit n.

1. in fig. use, a success.

(a) a successful coup of any sort, usu. based on crime.

[UK]J. Addison Drummer I i: Why, faith, thou wert a very lucky hit, that’s certain.
T. Killigrew Chit-Chat I ii: A fair Hit.
[UK]Defoe Roxana (1982) 359: But as it happened, things came to a hit better than we expected.
[UK] ‘Rolling Blossom’ in Festival of Anacreon in Wardroper Lovers, Rakers and Rogues (1995) 179: Yet every hit he brought the bit / And then we spent it rumly.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘The Royal Tour’ Works (1796) IV 85: Caesar and Drover haggle – diff’rence split – How much? – a shilling! what a royal hit!
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Blue Devils 36: This is a luckier hit than the other!
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London II 96: ‘The lucky hit was all a miss.’ ‘Yes, there was a Miss taken, and a Biter bit. Love is a lottery as well as life.’.
[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 3 Feb. 112: Well, this is a luckey hit.
[UK]A. Smith Adventures of Mr Ledbury III 265: Those pills have been a great hit.
[UK]Era (London) 3 June 3/4: As I made a hit on it over the Derby with my prophecy, I means to have another shy.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 29/2: I sould ’em two for three-ha’pence. That was a good hit.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 12 Oct. n.p.: The biggest ‘hit’ they [i.e. a team of pickpockets] say they made was at a ‘push’ at Folkestone.
[US]J.G. McCoy Sketches of the Cattle Trade 390: He concluded that a train load of cookstoves would be a ‘hit.’ [...] Of course the profits were enormous.
[US]Trumble Man Traps of N.Y. 25: If they make a ‘hit’ the money invariably goes into the faro bank.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 104: I seem to be makin’ a horrible hit with you to-night.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Bound for the Lord-Knows-Where’ in Roderick (1967–9 II) 197: ‘We have made a hit,’ or ‘we’ve made a bit,’ / And we’re bound for the lord-knows-where.
[US]Alaska Citizen 21 July 6/4: Fashion never made a better ‘hit’ than when she originated the stock cut with points at the sides.
[UK]X. Petulengro Britain Through Gipsy Eyes 76: ‘I once had a lucky hit,’ said Jack. ‘A young toff whose uncle had died asked me to clear out some old papers and books [...] and they fetched four quid.’.
[US]‘Toney Betts’ Across the Board 309: Fusco made a hit on the horses.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 167: With the Murphy, if you made one good hit, you came up with maybe two or three hundred dollars.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 95: We were all jumpy, but the big hit was developing.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 47: She uttered little growls of ecstasy when she made a hit on a bag of dope.
[UK]Guardian G2 22 July 14: Currently proving a big hit north of the border.

(b) a success, usu. in show business.

[UK]Congreve Way of the World II v: A hit, a hit! a palpable hit! I confess it.
[UK]O. Goldsmith Vicar of Wakefield (1883) 31: My wife called a council on the conduct of the day. She was of the opinion that it was a most fortunate hit.
[UK]B.H. Malkin (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas (1822) I 106: They paid me a hundred compliments during supper. Not a word escaped me, but they magnified it into an admirable hit!
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 415: After the hit I made in Monsieur Tonson, it’s d---d hard they don’t write more Frenchmen.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 36: His performance [...] proved such a decided hit.
[US]P.T. Barnum Letter in Saxon Sel. Letters (1983) 20 Mar. 17: The ‘bitch’ appears tonight for the first time. I reckon she’ll make a hit.
[UK] in G.D. Atkin House Scraps (1887) 154: Your Almanack has failed to make a ‘hit’.
[US] in K. Sampson Ghost Walks (1988) 6: Her character song is one of the greatest hits ever made.
[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 90: There is the Delightful Robinson in his last hit of ‘The Perambulator; or, Jemima’s Young Guard’.
[UK]W.S. Gilbert ‘The Haughty Actor’ Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads 240: This part was smaller, by a bit / Than that in which he made a hit.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 7: He was the real papa—the hit o’ the piece.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 22: I ain’t a hit with the wimmen. [Ibid.] 36: A hoped-for ten-dollar advance on salary owing to the unexpected hit they scored!
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Black For Luck’ in Man with Two Left Feet 160: I feel sure it is going to be a hit.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 99: And to be a husky makes a hit with the whole congregation, men’s as well as women.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 14 Nov. 6/4: You have only to hear him give one of his evergreen ‘hits’ to appreciate that the stage lost something when the Canon chose Book and bell.
[US]J. Weidman I Can Get It For You Wholesale 221: When I saw some of those boozehounds actually set their glasses down so they could clap their hands, I knew the line was a hit.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 34: It turned out to be the biggest hit in the history of British movies.
[UK]F. Norman in New Statesman 2 Dec. in Norman’s London (1969) 203: My first play [...] was a smash hit and ran for two years and one week.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 248: She’s made a great hit with Araba’s friends, I can tell you.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 260: I’m a hit with all the wrong chicks.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 Sept. 19: One of the hits of the decade.
[UK]Guardian G2 6 Jan. 5: Didn’t they have a big hit in 1967?

(c) (US gambling) a winning series of numbers in gambling.

in N.Y. Judicial Repository hit: a winning number in a lottery [DU].
[US]Morning Courier and N.-Y. Enquirer 12 May 2/4: Mrs. Fonnell it appeared made a hit of $100 on her policy.
[US]C. White Policy Players (1874) 3: Some of my heaviest players are getting discouraged [...] It would be a good idea [...] [to] let them get a hit, in order to keep their custom [DA].
[US]Porter’s Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 20 Dec. 261/3: This [lottery ticket] was number 37149, and it was a hit for $3,000, if it had been genuine instead of bogus [DA].
[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 9 Feb. 2/5: The poorest and lowest [...] will risk their last cent for the prospect of a ‘hit’ in policy.
[US]I. Wolfert Tucker’s People (1944) 56: All hits under $100 were paid off by the controllers.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 96/2: Hit, n. The simultaneous holding by many bettors of the winning number in the policy numbers racket.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 60: You did say you’d had a hit.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 26: It’s like he would sense a heavy hit coming.

(d) a good impression.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ John Henry 17: Coquelin made an awful hit with my lady friend.
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. iv: She had been telling one of the members of the party who she was trying to make a hit with that she got her money from her large estates in England.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 222: You’ve certainly made the biggest kind of hit with Bat.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Zone of Quiet’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 73: I guess I made quite a hit with Roy’s B.F.
[US]L.E. Lawes Twenty Thousand Years in Sing Sing 322: Did you notice how busy those newspaper men got every time I made a hit?
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 15: Jim has made a hit with them.
[US]Kerouac letter 14 July in Charters I (1995) 496: Gregory makes big hit with Boston socialites and Harvard boys and girls.

2. in the context of crime or violence.

(a) an attempted crime, esp. a robbery.

Port Folio 8 Aug. 125: To nimming Ned I went to bed, / Who look’d but queer and glumly, / Yet every hit, he brought the bit, / And then we spent it rumly.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 42: A big spender, or an easy hit, or someone she’d robbed.
[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 87: I met Cooly [...] and told him that the hit was off.
[US]Sepe & Telano Cop Team 114: All the other hits [i.e. sexual assaults] were in Linden.

(b) (UK Und.) a murder, esp. a ‘contracted’ gangster killing.

M. Rackin Enforcer [film script] It was a hit. I had the contract.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 23: Nobody’s nothing with the murder squad when they think you pulled a big hit.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 19: They traced the goddamned thing back to some guy that used it on a hit.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 107: It didn’t take anything for these guys to kill you. They liked it. They would [...] talk about their favorite hits.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 9: There’s going to be a hit on you this Saturday night.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 50: She was specifically targeted and a hit was put on her.
[US]A.N. LeBlanc Random Family 108: George put out a contract on Jessica. The plan for the hit was overheard.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 317: Have you ever heard of these guys putting a hit on us?
[SA]IOL Cape Western News (SA) 14 Feb. [Internet] I know Monenberg . . . It’s gangland. That was a hit, plain and sdimple.
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 128: This kid has been hacked up. It’s not a hit — it’s a message.

(c) (US Und.) the target/victim of an assassination.

M. Rackin Enforcer [film script] A murder is a contract. A hit is the sucker that gets killed.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 256: He was able to determine that the Hit, for that was how he thought of Juleson, the Hit moved in a limited pattern that never seemed to vary.

(d) (US Und.) an attack against a rival gang or gang member.

[US] in Star Trek [NBC-TV] What’s the matter? You guys never saw a hit before? [HDAS].
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 64: Dem must know the hit missed.
[UK]Guardian G2 12 July 17: When the victim of a mob hit protests his innocence, he is advised: ‘I got fucking Johnny Cochrane here for you’.

3. a portion of alcohol or drugs.

(a) a single drink of alcohol.

[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 54: I poured myself a small hit.
[US]G. Wolff Duke of Deception (1990) 170: Boys who liked to sneak a coffin nail or a hit off a bottle of Four Roses.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 20: Take a hit from the tomato jack and light a Camel.

(b) a swig of liquid, a measure of anything.

[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 86: I had [...] a hit of coffee.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 106: Timmy Gavigan took another hit of oxygen.
[UK]J. Poller Reach 39: When I’m at work I take hits from a hipflask in the toilets.
[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 203: Quinn was nearby, shouting out encouragement between hits from a can of beer.

(c) the effect that follows the taking of any drug or drink.

[US]J. London John Barleycorn (1989) 171: Alcohol became more and more imperative [...] I had to get the kick and the hit of the stuff.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]Current Sl. V:4 14: Hit, n. A sudden feeling of being high after smoking marijuana, a ‘rush.’.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 29: I get a better hit off of your sister’s pussy dandruff.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 10 Mar. 2: Nice hit, yeh?
[Aus]D. McDonald Luck in the Greater West (2008) 129: Fadi doubted he’d like the hit of beer. He didn’t even enjoy the hit of pot.

(d) (drugs) a purchase of a drug.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 122/2: hit. A word from the very cryptic and compact peddler-addict argot, used when delivering dope to the addict. While a direct translation is difficult, it signifies in general that the sale is consummated.
[US]Lannoy & Masterson ‘Teen-age Hophead Jargon’ AS XXVII:1 26: HIT, n. A meeting with a drug peddler.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]H. Feldman et al. Angel Dust 73: These ‘T-tabs’ cost $2 per ‘hit’ (per tablet).
[NZ]H. Beaton Outside In Act II: I’m always payin’ for your fucken hits.
[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z.
[UK]Observer 2 Apr. 16: A bunch of squiffy dopeheads queuing outside their local 7-11 Drugs-R-Us for ten-bob hits?

(e) (drugs) a puff on a cigarette, marijuana cigarette or pipe.

[US]G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 247: Take harder hits on it; don’t sip it like you’re scared.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 206: Man, let me have a hit off that reefer you smoking.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 72: ‘It’s the last hit.’ Brodie gave him the cigarette.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 32: He plucked the joint from her lips and took a hit.
[UK](con. 1960s) A. Frewin London Blues 171: Some black cat was rolling joints [...] I took a few hits and wandered out to the front steps to get some fresh air.
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 398: ‘You want a hit?’ the one with the joint asked.

(f) (drugs) a portion of any drug, a tablet of amphetamine or barbiturate; an injection or a line of heroin or cocaine, a ‘trip’ of LSD etc; cite 2012 refers to packages of heroin.

Hal Ellson Golden Spike 159: Do you think you can get a hit?
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 14: ‘You want a hit?’ ‘What you got?’ Furg asked. ‘Good stuff. Schmeck’.
[US]A. Hoffman Property Of (1978) 91: You’re not holding now? [...] Don’t you know I’m carrying my last hit?
[Can]Totally True Diaries of an Eighties Roller Queen [Internet] 10 May I [...] went to the Roxy. I danced with Wayne. He was on a hit of acid.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 17: Once you did your first hit, you were thinking about your next right away.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 12: When ee needs anothuh hit, or thuh money fuh oner, God, then no bastards’ safe.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 205: I poured my loose change into her hand [...] ‘Get yourself a hit’.
[UK]K. Richards Life 297: It [i.e. heroin] was incredibly powerful [...] One hit of it pure and boom. Good-bye.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 125: They took my last two hits from my purse.

(g) (drugs) the act of injecting a narcotic drug; the injection itself.

A. Trocchi in Evergreen Rev. 61: At the third attempt she found a vein and the blood rose up through the needle into the eye-dropper and appeared as a dark red tongue in the colourless solution. ‘Hit,’ she said softly, with a slow smile.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 230: At last he got a hit, and breathed a sigh of relief as the drug ejaculated into a vein.
[UK]C. Gaines Stay Hungry 145: The biggest hit ever – eighth of an ounce of pure speed. I just shot it up.
[US]J. Ridley Love Is a Racket 255: Maybe that’s [i.e. cannabis] what kept her going between needle hits.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 125: Taking out her kit, [she] starts mixing a hit as she’s talking.

(h) (drugs) a puff on a crack cocaine pipe.

[US]NWA ‘Dopeman’ [lyrics] Do anything for a hit or two; / Give the bitch a rock and she’ll fuck your whole damn crew .
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 107: Two men dicker about who took the last ‘hit’ (puff).
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 38: The high of a crack ‘hit’ only lasted a short time.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 241: Tony sucked in a lung-numbing hit — there was some gunky resin lodged in the bottom [of the crack pipe].

(i) in fig. use, a stimulus.

[US]A. Rodriguez Spidertown (1994) 69: I believe in crack I believe in it ’cause it saved me took me out gave me a hit on high life gave me a hit on power on the juice.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 207: Coming face to face with one of them [i.e. a Great White shark] would be the ultimate hit.

4. an example of suffering or loss.

(a) (US Und.) a prison sentence or denial of parole.

[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 49: He got five years in Leavenworth. Later on he got another and bigger hit.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 77: The first hit you get will be a small bit / but that won’t worry you so.

(b) (US Und.) an arrest or other form of problem.

Official Kresky Homepage [Internet] He set me up on a bad deal and I took the hit for it.
[UK]K. Richards Life 439: True friends [...] keep jumping in front of each other to save each other. Me, no, me, I’ll take the hit.

(c) a loss.

[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 33: You will make money [...] but you still gotta take a hit now and then.

5. a single example.

(a) (US) an instance, an attempt or time.

H.S. Thompson Fear and Loathing 139: Second-rate academic hustlers who get anywhere from $500 to $1000 a hit for lecturing.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘As One Door Closes’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Now it’s gotta be six or seven quid a hit these days innit?

(b) in gambling, a single card.

[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 18: Take a hit, honey.

In derivatives

In compounds

hit-head (n.) [-head sfx]

a user of crack cocaine.

[US]R. Shell Iced 59: You could do quiet deals in your apartment! . . . just you and a couple of hit-heads you know.
hit house (n.)

(drugs) a house where users go to inject narcotics and leave the owner drugs as payment.

[US]L. Pettiway Workin’ It 119: There are hit houses in the projects [...] These are houses you can go to hit.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 12: Hit house — House where users go to shoot up and leave the owner drugs as payment.
hit list (n.)

1. a list of those scheduled for assassination.

[US]Time 5 Jan. 46: One intelligence official, however, bitterly labeled Counter-spy’s roster of CIA agents as nothing more or less than a ‘hit list’.
[UK]Guardian G2 7 July 15: His daughter, an academic not active in politics, was put on a government ‘hit list’, a fate often entailing lethal ‘accidents’.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 36: I thought about Biz’s C.O. hit list. [...] Should I take his threat seriously?

2. any list that details tasks that are to be carried out.

[Can]Maclean’s (Toronto) 21 Feb. 29: One top mandarin is convinced that the Tories are keeping a ‘hit list’ of Liberal civil servants who would be dumped.
[UK]D. Lodge Therapy (1996) 3: The Before You Leave The Flat hit-list that Sally had written out and stuck on the fridge door.
hit man (n.)

1. (US Und.) a hold-up man.

[US]G. Milburn ‘Convicts’ Jargon’ in AS VI:6 439: hit man, n. A hold-up man.
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 25: Afraid that some hit man would Just Know that fifty dollars bulged inside his wallet.
[UK]G. Knight Hood Rat 113: Pilgrim was fifteen, known as muscle that would come down, rob someone and beat them up. He was like a hit man.

2. (orig. US) a hired or ‘contract’ killer.

[US]K. Vonnegut ‘A Present for Big Saint Nick’ in Bagombo Snuff Box (1999) 168: They could expect to be killed by a hit man, unless they fled to some godforsaken country where the Mafia didn’t have a chapter.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 75: I always thought Scalisi was pretty much of a hit man, didn’t do much of anything else.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 82: he just stood staring incredulously at the po-faced hit man.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 60: The hit man known as Chemo was not nearly as resourceful.
[US]Source Oct. 150: Crack czar Nigga Charlie and his motley crew of contract hit men, runners and steerers.
[Aus]P. Temple Black Tide (2012) [ebook] Could be a cardinal, could be a fucking hitman.
[UK]Observer Mag. 15 Jan. 14/2: New forensic evidence [...] will show that the two hit-men – ‘those muppets’ – were wrongly convicted.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 213: School Boy may look like a kid who’s lost his dog, but he’s a hit man who’s killed dozens.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I can’t imagine even hitmen want to spend time in our nation’s capital, so you’ll be quite safe there.

3. in fig., non-violent use.

[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 327: His Eminence Cardinal Danaher [...] the Right Reverend Monsignor Desmond Spellacy [...] Not the kind of hit men ordinarily found on a dais.

4. one who performs non-lethal violence for money.

[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 169: At school there’s a guy, thirteen, who’s the school hit man.
hit woman (n.) (also hit lady)

(US) a female hired killer.

TV Guide A 16 Oct. 70: ‘Hit Lady,’ a 1974 TV-movie written by and starring Yvette Mimieux as an artist who works part-time as a syndicate assassin.
TV Guide A 10 Dec. 7: Of course he’s got to be assassinated and an international hit woman is hired.
[UK]Wonder Woman 10 Feb. [CBS-TV] Violet used to be our number-one hit lady.
Reporter Dispatch 14 Feb. A14: Blanche Wright, accused ‘hit’ woman.

In phrases

make a hit (v.)

(orig. US) to make a favourable impression.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1859) 37: Teach me to make a hit of so Kean a quality that it may not only ‘tell,’ but be long remembered in the metropolis .
[UK]T. Hood Poems (1846) V 197: Nor yet did the heiress herself omit The arts that help to make a hit [F&H].
[UK]London Figaro 10 June n.p.: To make a great hit is, after all, more a matter of chance than merit [F&H].
[UK]Pall Mall Gazette 3 July n.p.: Madam Melba makes an especial hit in the valse from Romeo et Juliette [F&H].
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 63: A certain Preacher became wise to the fact that he was not making a Hit with his Congregation.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 98: The’re makin’ one big hit with me, all right.
[US]Van Loan ‘Excess Baggage’ in Score by Innings (2004) 396: He’s loaded with the sort of talk that seems to make a hit with women.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 50: I mean you wanting to make a hit Honoria Glossop.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 387: And I hear you made a hit with them.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 63: You seem to have made quite a hit with Shady this morning.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 45: Ya not a bad sorta joker or ya couldna made a hit with Rata.
one-hitter (n.) (also one-hit bowl) [bowl n. (2)]

(drugs) a marijuana pipe that contains just enough for a single inhalation.

Dynasty Acquisitions Inc. Glass Pipes Home [Internet] Check this phat 2" color changing, one hitter glass bat. Made with highly silver fumed glass for extreme color changing properties. Perfect for keeping in your pocket just in case you crave a quick smoke.
B.J. Jonser ‘A Look at the Hookah’ at Totse.com [Internet] Choose a small one-hit bowl to avoid leaving burning material in the bowl after your lungs are full.
[US]J. Stahl ‘Pure’ in Love Without 168: She took a quick suck off her one-hitter.
[US]Mother Jones July/Aug. [Internet] I find a one-hitter pipe made out of a pen.
on hit (adj.)

(US campus) fashionable, chic.

[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 21: That car’s on hit!
[US]Da Bomb [Internet] 20: On hit: When something is cool or happening.