Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bone n.1

1. resemblance in shape and/or colour.

(a) the penis.

[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 26 22–30 Nov. 225: I mean such a Mary-bone that the Mary-bone man held in his hand when he was pissing against Hatton-Wall; methought it was the finest white bone I ever saw in all my life.
[UK]Rochester ‘Rhyme to Lisbon’ in Vieth Complete Poems (1968) 20: A health to Kate! [...] But the Devil take Hyde, / And the bishop beside / Who made her bone his bone.
[UK] ‘A Servingman on his Mistress’ in Wardroper (1969) 168: My mistresses loves no woodcocks / Yet loves to pick the bones.
[UK]D’Urfey Songs [...] Pleasant and Divertive 208: He that rules in Lisbon, / In next Scene survey; / Plagu’d (’tis said) in his Bone, / The Venereal way.
[UK]Memoirs of an Oxford Scholar 149: The hard bone of my instrument.
[UK]Nocturnal Revels I 52: Lady Loveit [...] desires to be [...] well mounted this evening [...] Captain O’Thunder, or Sawney Rawbone.
[UK]Satirist (London) 8 Jan. 13/2: [T]he smoke arising from burnt bones and hoofs, or any kind of horn, operates effectually in preventing the spread of contagious disease,.
[UK] ‘Rogering Is But Arithmatic’ in Frisky Vocalist 24: I think with me you will agree, / That rogering is the rule of three : / There’s quantity, price, and then you’ll own, / All added together make bone of thy bone.
[UK]H. Champion ‘Father Did Look Funny’ 🎵 Conductor said: 'That poor old chap’ll let you sit upon his lap. / She flopped down he gave a groan, it must have hurt his funny bone.
[US]C. Rafferty ‘Mr Carl’s Blues’ 🎵 Some men don’t care for biscuits, they like the doggone big fat bone.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 90: Have you heard of young Franchot Tone, / Who felt of his own peculiar bone? / It was long and quite narrow.
[US]C. Himes Pinktoes (1989) 44: Mr. Bile, whose mouth was working az though he had a bone stuck down his throat, or was desirous of one. [Ibid.] 182: What she wanted now was a big piece of solid meat with a bone in it.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 135: When you fall down on your good gal and lower your bone, / you got to make that pussy call your dick ‘Bad Mr. Al Capone’.
[US](con. c.1900) J. Thompson King Blood (1989) 21: How one of them wenches could carry on when she got the bone in her! [Ibid.] 85: Might even have watched while Little Sis got the bone put to her!
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 111: I don’t even know if my dogs can get their bones up for you.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 320: Think banana and bird and bone.
[US](con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 104: Your bone’s gonna tear a hole in your pants.
[Aus]B. Moore Lex. of Cadet Lang. 52: Old Mother Hubbard, she went to the cupboard / To fetch her poor dog a bone, / But when she bent over, / Old Rover he drove her / ’Cos he had a bone of his own.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 14: Not that she wasn’t a slave to the bone to begin with.
[US]M.E. Dassad ‘Chickenhawk’ at 🌐 No doubt remembering her uncle’s bone pistoning in and out of her tight young twat while his friend’s meat ravaged her wet, gaping mouth, choking off her air passage.
[Aus]T. Winton ‘Boner McPharlin’s Moll’ in Turning (2005) 263: Hard-faced sluts [...] wanted to know how big Boner’s bone was.
[US]F. Bill Donnybrook [ebook] Ned flashed a meth-mouth smile, wanting to embed his old bone in her.
[UK]Skepta ‘Mastermind’ 🎵 M.O.B. ’til I D.I.E., these bitches can suck my bone (icy).

(b) a thin man.

[UK] in Surrey Pantomine script in Ware (1909) 341/1: The bone has made a remark.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Nov. 32/2: He was a Greek prince, I believe – a wiry little bone of a man, with diamond rings on every finger and a tall hat tilted rakishly on a mass of black, curly, well-oiled hair.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

(c) (US black) a thin woman.

[US]G. Smitherman Black Talk 65: bone [...] A skinny person, usually female.

(d) (also bone-on) the erect penis.

[US]Bawdy N.Y. State MS. 3: Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard, / To get her poor dog a bone; / But while she was gone, a bitch came along, / And the dog had a bone of his own.
[US]H.N. Cary Sl. of Venery.
[US]Immortalia 121: He was always there with a bone on.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 3: Animals with a bone in the penis. Hence, a bone on.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 57: There was an old man of Cajon / Who never could get a good bone.
[Can]M. Richler Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1964) 165: Boy, have I ever got a bone on tonight.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 204: I swear to Christ, B., I never got such a terrific bone-on in my life!
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 153: Virtually all the terms for penis, rod, pipe, stick, pole, bone [...] characterize the penis in its hard state.
[Aus]J.T. Pickle Aus.-Amer. Dict. 39: BONE ON: Some things are international and are to be found in all shapes and sizes. An erection is no exception .
[US]‘Bill E. Goodhead’ Nubile Treat 🌐 Babs spoke. ‘I think I’d better take care of that bone-on you’ve got before it breaks off. What kind of position would you like to fuck in?’.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 355: You saying you wouldn’t stick a bone up that tight little ass?
[US]T. Pluck Boy from County Hell 326: Evangeline bet that [i.e. a half-dressed girl] had made the men in the crowd sprout a crop of patriotic bone-ons.

(e) the figurative bone that makes a penis erect and potent.

[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 286: Try putting some Geritol in his beer. I hear it puts the bone back in.

(f) (US drugs) a cannabis cigarette.

in Adolescence XII 500: Marihuana cigarettes were called ‘joints,’ ‘j’s’ or ‘bones.’ [HDAS].
[US]T. Wolff ‘Leviathan’ in Back in the World 183: Mitch was standing at the counter, rolling a bone.
[US]Snoop Doggy Dogg ‘Gz Up Hoes Down’ 🎵 Doggy Dogg with my bone in my hand.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 48: He smiled, leaned forward from his place on the couch, where he sat twisting up a fat bone.
[US]T. Dorsey Florida Roadkill 236: Coleman: ‘Pot, grass, weed, dope, hemp, rope, thing, shit, gage, spliff, doobie, joint, number, ganga, blunt, Mary jane, smoke, blow, roach, bone, jay, toke, hit, Bogart . . .’.
[UK]Music from the Corner ‘The Promise’ 🎵 Smoking a bone to get me high again.
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 59: Coleman torched the bone and exhaled a small cloud.

(g) (US black/drugs) a cigarette rolled with a mix of tobacco and crack cocaine.

[UK]C. Newland Scholar 20: We go back to Greenside man, go check Levi, an’ hold a bone.

(h) (US black/prison) a cigarette.

[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z.
[US]Big L ‘Ebonics’ 🎵 Cocaine is nose candy, cigarettes is bones.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July 🌐 Bone: Cigarette. (NY).

(i) (US drugs) (a $50 piece of) crack cocaine.

[UK]C. Newland Scholar 118: You bin’ smokin’ bone today or what? [Ibid.] 202: [They] buy two, maybe three bones each.
[UK]Observer Rev. 13 Feb. 4: Stroller’s selling bone from his drum.
Jeezy ‘Let Em Know’ 🎵 My partner pulled up, I had to chef it up, hibachi / Two bones on the side, yeah you know a little broccoli.

2. made of bone.

(a) a gambling chip; usu. in pl.

[US]Night Side of N.Y. 58: At his side sat the cashier, very busy in converting greenbacks into ‘bones’.
[UK]Sporting Times 13 May 3/1: Ten minutes later as I passed out into the fresh air Mr. Harbottle was still leaning against the cash-register and staring at the opposite wall with the fishy eye of one who has played his last red bone on the wrong number.

(b) a domino, usu. in pl.; see also bones n.1 (7)

[UK]Binstead & Wells A Pink ’Un and a Pelican 276: To bluff his opponent, who he thought would surely be forced to draw presently, he drew a second bone.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 92: He slammed a bone down on the board.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 90: He [...] snatched up his bones on both fists, convictstyle.
Dominoes Online 🌐 Standard domino sets consist of 28 pieces called bones, tiles, stones or dominoes.

(c) see bones n.1 (1)

In compounds

bone-ache (n.)

1. (W.I.) an erection.

[UK]N. Farki Countryman Karl Black 87: He managed to roll over on his stomach to hide the ‘bone-ache’.

2. see also SE compounds below.

bone dance (n.)

see separate entry.

bone-eater (n.) [eat v. (4)]

(US black) a male homosexual.

[US]Thug’s Journal 1 July 🌐 I gots to give props to my dawg Rat Snatch for packing a bone eater’s peanut butter. Nigger left a monkey bite.
bone-on (n.)

see sense 1d above.

bone phone (n.) (also bonaphone)

(US) the penis.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 61: Bone Phone The penis.
‘Descent into Horror’ 🌐 She talked on the bonaphone for a minute and a half before relinquishing hobbing on the nob to her friend.
bone-riding (n.) [ride v.]

having sexual intercourse, whether vaginal or anal.

[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 57: Your bone riding skills might come in handy on long drunken tours.
bone stroker (n.)

a masturbator.

ZCKZ82D ‘Rev. of Big Babies in Budapest’ 29 July on 🌐 I took it as a given that any video from Elegant/Evil Angel would be enough to satisfy even the most ardent bone-stroker.

In phrases

bite the bone (v.) [? fig. use of sense 1 above]

(US teen) to be disgusting, unpleasant, second-rate.

[US]D. Bredes Hard Feelings 248: To put it in common language, it bites the bone.
[US]N.Y. Metro 19 Aug. 🌐 Too bad End of Days bites the bone, especially compared with such other New York-based apocalyptic sagas as Rosemary’s Baby.
bone down (v.)

(US) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 153: I wanted to bone her down — but it doesn’t look like I can pay the tariff.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 62: Bone Down Copulation with a female.
bone up (v.)

of the penis, to become erect.

[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 26: He staggered backstage, his dick boning up like nothing he’d ever known.
bury one’s bone (v.) (also bury one’s beef)

(US black) of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[US]R.A. Wilson Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words.
[US]Snoop Doggy Dogg ‘Gz Up Hoes Down’ 🎵 And in the booty, he buries his motherfuckin bone.
bury one’s bone in the backyard (v.)

to sodomize.

[US]RimPig ‘My Jock Dad – My 18th Year’ on Nifty Erotic Stories Archive 🌐 I obliged by snapping my hips forward and burying my bone in Troy’s backyard in one push.
get one’s bone on (v.)

(US) to get an erection.

[US]J. Stahl Pain Killers 104: Chicks in go-go boots! The reverend get his bone on just sayin’ that.
give someone a bone (v.)

of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

[US]Dr Dre ‘Fuck You’ 🎵 Take that bitch home, and give her a bone / And give her the number to my cellular phone.
give the dog a bone (v.)

to have sexual intercourse.

[US]D. Lypchuk ‘A dirty little story’ in eye mag. 8 July 🌐 He fed the dumb glutton and gave the dog a bone until the rat went up the drainpipe.
gnaw the bone (v.)

to perform fellatio.

Herbert Wizzle Enterprise ‘The Rapist’ on Wizzles World 🌐 Moan, groan, gnaw the bone. If you don’t love it you can shove it because you are so alone. It’s just you and I and the big beef guy so unzip my fly or you will fucking die!
hold a bone for (v.)

(US) to lust after, to desire greatly.

[US]T. Wolff (con. mid-1950s) This Boy’s Life 43: At five o’clock we turned on the television and watched The Mickey Mouse Club. It was understood that we were all holding a giant bone for Annette [Funicello, star of the ‘Mousketeers’].
put the bone to (v.)

to have sexual intercourse.

[US]F. Pandozzi North Side Story 54: I put the bone to her right there in the bushes.
[US]J. Frank Serpent’s Quest 43: ‘You put the bone to Kady?’ ‘Nah. I didn’t get that far. [...] I’d just got her skirt up when...’.
smoke someone’s bone (v.)

(US, to fellate, thus bonesmoker, in N.Z. prison) , one had acts as a servant to another prisoner, whether in practical duties or as a sexual partner.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 23/2: bonesmoker n. an inmate who acts as a sexual bum boy for another inmate.
[US]M. Pilinski Without Embarrassment: The Social Coward’s Totally Fearless Seduction System 1: Drop trou and ask her to smoke your bone.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

boned (adj.)

see separate entry.

In compounds

bone-ache (n.) (also bone-ague) [the side-effects of syphilis]

1. venereal disease.

[UK]Skelton Magnyfycence line 2254: And I bequethe hym the bone ake.
[UK]Nashe Pierce Pennilesse 33: Cucullus non facit Monachum, tis not their newe bonnets will keepe them from the old boan-ach.
[UK]Shakespeare Troilus and Cressida II iii: After this, the vengeance on the whole camp! or, rather, the Neapolitan bone-ache! for that, methinks, is the curse dependant on those that war for a placket.
[UK]Rowlands Greenes Ghost Haunting Conicatchers C6: So crazed with the Italian bone-ache, that they are afraid to be crusht in pieces, if they sould earne their liuing in a crowde.
[UK]Jonson Alchemist III ii: A lord, that is a leper, / A knight, that has the bone-ache.
[UK]S. Marmion Holland’s Leaguer IV v: Can’t a man have the venerable gout, Or the bone-ache, but you must imitate him?
C. Clobery Divine Glimpses n.p.: Which they so dearly pay for, that oft times They a bone-ague get to plague their crimes [F&H].
[UK]London-Bawd (1705) Ch. i: She’ll leave them such a Twinging Remembrance in their Joynts, that their very Bones shall ake, but she’ll make them repent that e’er they had to do with her.
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 93: The bone-ache. Lues venerea.

2. see also sl. compounds above.

bone-baster (n.) [SE bone + SE baste]

a cudgel.

[UK]S. Rowlands Letting of Humours Blood Satyr 4 n.p.: Tut cloth-breech doth deride him with a laffe, / And lets him see Bone-baster, that’s his staffe.
bone-bender (n.) (also bone-breaker, bone-butcher, bone-carpenter, bone-chiseller, cobbler of bones, shipwright of bones)

1. (US) an orthopedic surgeon, occas. a dentist (see cite 1899).

[Ind]Hicky’s Bengal Gaz. 1-8 Sept. n.p.: I have [...] three of my Timbers in, but the shipwright of bones gave me no other assistance than telling me it was bad enough [...] but time [...] would splice them together again [Ibid.] n.p.: Russle, by the help of the Cobbler of Bones, can walk.
[US]Dly Delta (New Orleans, LA) 30 May 1/6: So master donkey mut a thought some bone carpenter or other had got at him for his tail, and began kicking like all nation.
[US]Des Moines Register (IA) 7 June 3/4: Cheap quacks and human slaughterers and bone carpenters.
[US]Green-Mountain Freeman (Montpelier, VT) 28 Sept. 4/1: The rider came to grief with a dislocated shoulder, but he got some bone carpenters, and they set his shoulder.
[UK]W.A. Baillie-Grohman Camps in the Rockies 47: That thar boss bone-carpenter.
Home Reule Movement (Topeka, KS) 20 Jan. 2/3: The M.D.’s were parying for sickness, the lawyers for deaths, and the bone carpenters for the toothache.
Minneapolis Jrnl (MT) 20 May 7/1: Bone Carpenters Coming [...] The convention of military surgeons meets from May 30 to June 1.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 3 Mar. 32/1: Milwaukee — G. Chiappi fell 8 floors. Broken back. Mended by bone carpenter. Will live.
Nat. Underwriter (Chicago) 21 65: When a bone butcher miscalculates and botches a job of surgery there are a thousand scientific excuses.
Sentinel (Carlisle, PA) 10 Feb. 2/7: Surgeons of Today Must Be Good Carpenters [...] Electrically driven circular saws in the hands of a bone carpenter can now be used to slot, splice and alter a fractured part of one’s skeleton.
Bookman July 525: I [...] see the shacks and the hoggers carryin’ the kid over to the bone bender’s [HDAS].
[US]L.A. Times 21 Dec. 11/3: Doc Spencer, the local bone-bender, who has had so much success in bringing to life many ‘dead’ baseball arms.
Columbus Telegram (NE) 22 Mar. 2/4: Surgeons To Give Secrets of Skill at Dallas Parley [...] ‘Bone Carpenters’ of 22 Nations to Attend.
[US](con. 1919) C. Emmett Give ’Way to the Right 269: I’ll mark your record so the ‘bone-chiselers’ will keep off you.
Jackson Sun (TN) 5 May 2/3: Rather than call himself a doctor, he said he was a ‘bone carpenter’.
Columbis Herald (IN) 3 Dec. 5/2: ‘We are sometimes called “bone carpenters” [...] After viuewing the array of tools used by the bonesurgeon, ir is easily understood.
[US]McCulloch Woods Words 15: Bone butcher — The company doctor.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 52/1: bone-bender, bone-breaker.
[US]M. Jenkins Man’s Life 94: Michael Wasser, MD, master bone carpenter and shoulder specialist at Gem City Bone & Joint, the local orthopedic clinic.

2. see bonecrusher n. (2)

bone box (n.)

see separate entry.

bone-breaker (n.)

1. (Anglo-Ind.) a powerful hunting rifle.

[Ind]Bellew Memoirs of a Griffin I 220: His rifle [...] was a piece of the kind commonly called in India a ‘bone-breaker,’ and carrying a weighty ball, eight or ten to the pound.

2. fever, ague [the aches it induces in the bones].

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 113/2: late C.19–20.
bone cart (n.)

(Aus.) an ambulance.

[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 89: Ring in a bone cart ’n’ police assistance fer three. Here’s a maddo offrin’ marriage to all ours.
bone-cleaner (n.) [SE bones, objects made of ivory + cleaner]

a domestic servant.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 113/2: late C.19–early 20.
bone crusher (n.)

see separate entry.

bone-dome (n.)

1. a protective helmet, initially for fliers, latterly motorcyclists and cyclists.

[Scot]Aberdeen Eve. Exp. 30 June 11: [pic caption] ‘Bone domes’ (jet helmets) and ‘boneshaker’ to match for these pilots.
[UK]I. Mackersey Into the Silk 192: Not that the bone dome took the brunt of the impact with the hood. The top of the seat did that, [...] but the bone dome protected the pilot’s head against plastic splinters.
[Aus]J. Laffin Israeli Army 34: The ‘bone dome’ CVC helmet with integral radio equipment is, like the overall, of US origin.
[UK]J.J. Savarin Target Down! 38: His ‘bone dome’ was his flying helmet, the aerial warrior's casque.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 141: Takin’ off his dayglo green bone dome.
[UK]J. Grayson Rescue Pilot 74: I would [...] hang my bone dome on the hook provided for the purpose just inside the door.

2. a bald person.

[US]Cincinnati Mag. June 22: He’s a sawed-off bone dome with a beer belly, the face of a pit bull and he's brass balls from head to toe.
bone-grubber (n.) (also bone-grabber, bone-hunter) [SE grubber]

a scavenger who specializes in collecting old bones and selling them to rag-shops or to the bone-grinders; thus bone-grubbing n.

[UK]Yorks. Gaz. 6 Apr. 2/1: Old Cobbett, the bone-grubber, paid a visit to this city yesterday.
[Scot]Blackwood’s Edinburgh Mag. Dec. 636/1: They [i.e. the poor] seem really to have been set up as a sort of target for ingenuity to try its hand upon [...] from Papin, the Bone Digester, down to Cobbett, the Bone Grubber.
[UK]Odd Fellows’ Mag. (Manchester) 265: He is in fact what is termed a ‘Bone-grubber’, obtaining a living by collecting bones [...] The ‘Bone-grubber’ has a regular set of rounds, and he may be met with almost at the same spot every morning — he is one of the first busy tenants of the streets.
[UK]New Swell’s Night Guide to the Bowers of Venus 38: The bar is surrounded by some of the most outré in London – dustmen, knackers, bone grubbers, cadgers.
[US]N.Y. Trib. 31 May 5/4: Another hop is looked forward to [...] the ball of the ‘bone-hunters,’ alias rag-pickers.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 28: You startle maybe some bone-grubber [...] who seems to have been taking advantage of the Sabbath to purloin a slice of meat from the two or three carcasses that are left hanging. [Ibid.] 75: They came to a bone-grubber, in his shiny grimy tatters [...] ‘routing’ among the precious mud-heaps for rich rags and valuable refuse.
[UK]J. Greenwood Unsentimental Journeys 151: Mud-larks are of two kinds; the coal-finder and the bone-grubber.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 72: We don’t fight about our rounds; our fighting days are pretty well over before we take to bone-grubbing.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 10: Bone Grubber, one who hunts dust-holes and gutters for refuse.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: Among these small fry of the profession may be included the [...] the bone grabber or sham marine store dealer, the buff napper or dog stealer, the buz bloke or confidence man.

see separate entries.

bone-hider (n.)

(Aus.) an undertaker.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Oct. 13/4: [A] recent hospital ball was presided over in the character of M.C. by the local undertaker. But there is a lovely fitness of things in the bone-hider – who looked quite as lugubrious as the occasion demanded – bawling out directions for people to perform the dance of death and waltz into eternity under the auspices of the resident surgeon.
bone-house (n.)

1. a mortuary, a morgue.

[UK]Satirist (London) 25 Nov. 378/4: She lays in the bonehus [in Newgate prison], and we’d be glad for to see you, for to look at the boddy.

2. a coffin.

[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 568: Lie in bed — starve — die — Inquest — little bone-house.
[US]L. Pound ‘American Euphemisms for Dying’ in AS XI:3 201: Bone house.

3. (also bone factory) a house or vault in which the bones of the dead are piled up, a charnel-house.

[UK]Trial at Large of Nicholas Wilkinson et al. 16/2: The gravedigger told me he had taken these bones out and thrown them onto the bone-house.
[UK]Gentleman’s Mag. Mar. 286/2: Dug out of the ruins, by the firemen, Mr. Mayo, of No. 8, Quebec-street, near Oxford-street, in a most shocking state, and conveyed to the bone-house for the Coroner's Inquest.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie III i: The body to the bone-house take.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 61: I might be conveyed to a bone-house to be owned, by making my exit from society before my time was come.
J. Forster Life and Times of Oliver Goldsmith II IV 165: The body [of a man who had poisoned himself] was taken to the bonehouse of St. Andrew’s, but no one came to claim it [F&H].
[US]Sweet & Knox On a Mexican Mustang, Through Texas 153: Having eaten until his jaws had become too tired to masticate more, and the chicken dish looked like the front yard of a bone factory, he gradually thawed .
[Scot]Aberdeen Press 21 June 7/4: After lingering a few minutes in the bone-house, the gravedigger returned.
[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 40: The Mainfarer bonehouse has a further advantage.
[UK]H.E. Bates A Little of What You Fancy (1985) 560: Ma, struck speechless for the third time that morning, told herself she would go to the bone-house. She didn’t for the life of her know what things were coming to.

4. the human body.

[US]R.W. Emerson Society and Solitude 190: Intellect is a fire; rash and pitiless it melts this wonderful bone-house which is called man.

5. (US Und.) a hospital.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
bone-juggler (n.)

(orig. US) a doctor.

[US]Transactions Texas Medical Assoc. 33 103: All the skepticism as to the doctor being a bone juggler and a man who experiments with doubtful and poisonous nostrums fades out.
[US]Outdoor Life 41-2 104: Last month [...] I got my right hip out of place [...] A bone juggler experimented with me for a while, so now I can write again.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 19: Excited talk about how he had sent Terry Flynn to the bone-juggler’s.
bone-licker (n.)

a valet.

[UK]W. Clarke Every Night Book 47: A whey-faced half-and-half exquisite [...] inquired of the steward, in an affected drawl, for his valet. The bone-licker was sent to him. ‘Oh, Thomas,’ lisped the creature, ’ you’re there, are you’.
bone-melter (n.)

(Aus.) brandy.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 28 Sept. 2/2: His fondness for pewters of teargut and nobblers of bone-melter, miscalled brandy.
bone orchard (n.) (also bone factory, bone pile)

(US) a cemetery.

[US]F.B. Goodrich Flirtation 16: You must learn to talk slang, and call things by flash namnes [...] Call the Communion ‘a free lunch’ and Grenwood ‘a bone orchard’.
[US]Santa Fe Wkly Gaz. (NM) 19 June 1/6: Modern slang has converted the title of Gray’s immortal masterpiece into ‘An Elegy in a Country Bone Orchard’ .
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 415: You’re makin good time towards the bone-orchard – you are.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 1 Jan. 1/2: How much more his friends thought of him when they sat at that feast than if they had been sent home from the bone-orchard with empty stomachs.
[US]H. Inman Tales of Trail 199: The belligerents would recover from their fearful encounter, but oftener took up their last ‘claim’ of six-feet-by-two in ‘The Bone Orchard’.
[US]Ade ‘Hickey Boy and the Grip’ in In Babel 110: I figured that I was booked for the crazy-house or the bone-orchard, I couldn’t tell which.
[UK]Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 19 Aug. 4/3: There was only one bone orchard up to his class when it came to put him away.
[US]Gazette-Times (Heppner, OR) 25 Nov. 5/1: The American who called a cemetery a ‘bone orchard’ revealed a bit of imagination.
[US]I. Cox [title] Bone Orchard Blues.
[UK]Buckingham Advertiser 7 Jan. 8/4: Their bodies are laid to rest in the ‘Bone Orchard’.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 11/1: Bone orchard, a cemetery.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Short Order Crook’ in Ten Detective Aces Apr. 🌐 Them Chinks’ll commit murder t’ git the bones of their relatives back to a Chinese bone orchard.
[US]W. Guthrie Seeds of Man (1995) 260: Me ’n’ you’s got too much ta lose, Wood Eye, ta let a coupla perty titties throw us over onta th’ boney pile.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 31/2: Bone-orchard. (P) A cemetery, especially the prison graveyard. ‘A twenty-year bit (sentence) and nine years short time (unexpired previous sentence); I’ll finish this bit in the bone-orchard.’.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 52/1: bone factory [...] 2. a cemetery.
[US]T. Williams 27 Wagons Full of Cotton & Other Plays 201: WILLIE: (very solemnly) She’s in the bone-orchard. TOM: What? WILLIE: (violently) Bone-orchard, cemetery, graveyard! Don't you understand English?
bone-picker (n.)

1. a footman [the poor standard of the meals, often based on leftovers, given to servants].

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

2. a scavenger, a rag and bone man; thus bone-picking, scavenging; also attrib.

Morning Advertiser (London) 23 Feb. 3/4: The deceased was well known as a bone-picker at the west end of the town.
[UK]Bucks Herald 15 Feb. 4/5: On Saturday an inquest was held [...] on the body of Edward Stokes, a miserable bone-picker.
[Aus]Examiner 3 Apr. 11/2: I thought I vould jest see if I could do summmit for myself in the bone-picking line.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 26 Aug. 4/4: It appars that of the class of bone-pickers [...] people living on the produce of dung-heaps in mews, courts and by-lanes insufficiently cleansed, 598 are known to the police.
[UK]Hereford Jrnl 24 Aug. 2/2: An authentic report on the sanitary conditions of the [...] class of bone-pickers, mud-rakers, people living on the produjce of dung-heraps.
[UK]London Eve. Standard 19 June 1/6: Nearly all the inhabitants of the district [...] are very poor [...] casual job labourers, bone-pickers, cinder women, match-sellers, beggars etc.
[UK]Mayhew London Labour 2 139/1: The bone-picker and rag-gatherer may be known at once by the greasy bag which he carries on his back. Usually he has a stick in his hand, and this is armed with a spike or hook, for the purpose of more easily turning over the heaps of ashes.
[UK]Ruskin Crown of Wild Olives 25: The deceased was a bone-picker, He was in the lowest stage of poverty, etc .
[Scot]Edinburgh Eve. News 19 Sept. 3/5: The back attic was occupied by an old man, a bone-picker.
[UK]Derry Jrnl 26 Nov. 4/3: The bone picker’s motto — Pro bona publico.

3. a female servant.

[UK]Paul Pry 1 Jan. n.p.: Miss R. R—s, sister to a young woman who some time ago left her father’s house and turned bone-picker.
bone-polisher (n.)

1. a footman; any servant [ the ‘bones’ or ivory objects that require cleaning].

J. Davis Travels [...] in the United States 430: Mr Adams. — The steward and the doctor are quarrelling. I wish Cuffey would raise a mouse on his head. Black-cook. — Who you call doctor? I your superior officer. Put a handle to my name when you speak to me, you bone-polisher.
[UK]Casket (Phila., PA) Apr. 182/2: ‘Ah, John, how do you do?’ said a said a liveried servant to a brother bone-polisher, in Pall Mall.
[UK]F. Marryat Old Commodore 167: He became body servant, and bone-polisher No. 2. The captain's steward is always bone-polisher No. 1, and is generally called Mister.
[US]African Repository Aug. 241: We well recollect his answer to our question [...] as to his former occupation: ‘A bone polisher, Sir.’ ‘A what?’ ‘A waiter, Sir, to see other folks eat and then pick the bones, we call our business bone polishing’.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 206: ‘Jacket!’ cried a dandy bone-polisher of the gun-room.
[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 15: Bone-polisher – a tailor’s helper.

2. the cat-o’-nine-tails or the man who wields it [the ‘polishing’ of the malefactor’s bones].

[UK]Marryat Life of a Sub-Editor in Metropolitan Mag. XV 162 : Tumble up there [...] Master-at-arms, brush up the bone-polishers .

3. (US tramp) a (vicious) dog [the bones are those of animals, or of the victims the dog attacks].

[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 439: Bone polisher, A vicious dog.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 200: bone polisher – A vicious dog.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
bone-setter (n.) [SE bone-setter, a surgeon]

1. a brothel bully, a male bawd .

[UK]Tourneur Revenger’s Tragedy (1967) I iii: lus.: What hast been? Of what profession? vin.: A bone-setter [...] A bawd, my lord, One that sets bones together. lus.: Notable bluntness!

2. an impassioned lover [he crushes his partner’s bones in his passionate embrace].

[UK] F. Lenton Characterismi in Stanford Studies in Lang. and Lit. (1911) 132: A Country Widow is a broken ribbe of Adam, turn’d loose into the world againe, and is searching for a new Bone-setter.

3. a horse that gives its rider an uncomfortable journey .

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]P. Egan Key to the Picture of the Fancy going to a Fight 19: His bone setter could not stand [the weight of passengers] any longer.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
H.J. Nott Thomas Singularity I 116: That horse you are perched upon looks like a real bone-setter.
[UK]J.P. Kennedy (1872) Horse Shoe Robinson 195: As to Backbiter, the rat-tailed and spavined bone-setter, curse me if I would have him as a gift: a noble beast! ha, ha, ha!
[Scot]Aberdeen Jrnl 16 Sept. 8/3: There is the ‘rum prad,’ the ‘queer prancer,’ and the ‘willing tit’ [...] There is the hard trotting ‘bone-setter’.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 11: Bone Setter, a hard riding horse.

4. (US) in fig. use, a surprise, i.e. a jolt.

[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 2nd series 30: Gave the cards a flirt and a cut [...] won! — Broke up the bank in one deal and a quarter, and marched off with a cool six hundred! [...] Wasn’t that a bone-setter, my boy?

5. a hackney coach.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry I vii: A hack! if that is the thing we rattled over the stones to-day, it might properly be called a bone-setter.
[UK]Kelly & Hook Reminiscences Michael Kelly 1 147: We had hired a German post waggon, which they call a chaiser, and a complete bone-setter it was!
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
bone-shaker (n.)

1. an early model of bicycle, with solid rather than rubber tyres; thus later use implies any old or run-down bicycle.

[UK]A. Howard Bicycle 10: In 1870 and 1871, the low, long bone-shaker, as the ribald cyclist of the present day designates the ancestor of his present bicycle .
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Mar. 14/2: The Coventry Machinists Company have constructed a new bicycle, which, while it retains all the improvements and speed of the tall machine now in such common use, is of such reduced size as to be almost identical in dimensions with the ‘bone-shaker’ of 16 years ago.
[UK]Coventry Herald 30 Jan. 6/6: Several specimens of the boneshaker of different dates [...] follow.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 1 June 552: A ‘bone-shaker,’ as the ancestor of the modern bicycle is now irreverently called.
[Scot]Dundee Eve. Post 6 Apr. 3/6: King Edward’s first cycle — a ‘bone-shaker’ ridden in his boyhood — is said to be still in existence.
[Scot]Aberdeen Jrnl 27 Dec. 9/1: How rapid has been the evolution of the motor-bike since the days of the iron-tyyed, ungeared boneshaker.
[UK]Nottingham Eve. Post 4 Oct. 5/4: ‘Boneshaker’ Memories [...] Heped by a friendly lamp-post, they tried in their youth to climb up on the old high ‘boneshaker’.
[UK]Gloucester Citizen 24 Aug. 7/4: A wooden-wheeled bone-shaker dated 1860 was sold for 10s.
[UK]Sussex Agric. Exp. 6 Sept. 8/6: Among a collection of ancient bicycles is a first-class boneshaker.
[UK]Grantham Jrnl 30 Nov. 1/2: Alwyn [...] borrowed a velocipede or boneshaker [...] This machine is 91-years-old and has solid tyres on iron and wooden wheels.
[US]N.B. Harvey Any Old Dollars, Mister? 92: Saw young Nuts getting down the hill on that boneshaker of his.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 415: [He] grabbed his ancient boneshaker and pedalled up Parkwest.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 11: Some clever clogs invented the bicycle, otherwise known as the ‘boneshaker’.

2. a decrepit motor vehicle with, inter alia, inadequate springs, thus jolting its passengers.

[UK]Marvel XIV:344 June 11: Thy frouzy, mean, and groaning old boneshaker will be an object of historical interest!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Dec. 14/3: Bairnsdale covered itself with glory by giving the singer a ride in a bullock-dray. [...] The bone-shaker was turned for the nonce into a bower of greenery, and ameliorated by armchairs.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Mar. 2nd sect. 1/3: [headline] [of railway coaches] Johnny Short’s Bone-Shakers.
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Gus Tomlins’ in Me And Gus (1977) 133: No need to lumber along in that old bone-shaker, now the bike is in order.
[Scot]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 11 Oct. 1/5: Boneshakers. One hundred antique motor cars chugged into Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to-day.
[Aus](con. 1936–46) K.S. Prichard Winged Seeds (1984) 20: Missus Sally and me were on the road in the old boneshaker, at dawn.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 73: The old bone-shaker didn’t improve their hearing.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ Cop This Lot 164: He was riding down a hill track on the back of a small cooter, driven by a large ex-Italian. When we reached home he said, ‘Glad we didn’t ride one o’ those bone-shakers all the way from Mannheim’.
[US]D. Dempsey ‘Lang. of Traffic Policemen’ in AS XXXVII:4 267: boneshaker, n. A high-speed police motorcycle.
[Aus]P. Adam-Smith Barcoo Salute 166: The Ghan is no longer the rough and ready, colourful old bone-shaker of the days when stockmen used to boil their billies [...] on fires they lit in the corridors.
[UK]P. Baker Blood Posse 57: We got into his old boneshaker and sped along Church Avenue.
boneshop (n.)

1. the human body.

[UK] ‘The Mill’ British Minstrelsy 110: ‘Neat fibbing in the fourth round.’ ‘Yes, I shouldn’t like such a wisit to my bone shop.’.
[UK] ‘The Mill’ Museum of Mirth 45/2: [as 1827].

2. the workhouse [the paucity of the provisions].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 41/2: Two of ’em lives in the blooming bone-shop and the other little devil is in the small-pox hospital.
bonetop (n.) [top n. (3)]

(US) a fool, a dullard.

[US]Sun (NY) 13 July 6/4: The Kunni, to give him his just dues, is [...] not as big a bonetop as many say he is.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 25 Oct. 4/7: The compositor has made us refer to Detective Bonetop as ‘defective’.
boneyard (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

bag of bones (n.)

see separate entry.

do one’s bones (v.)

(US prison) to qualify as a prison gang member.

[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] ‘Whose car are you in?’ ‘I’m doing my bones with Eme now’.
Fat Jack of the bonehouse (n.)

(US) a thin person.

[UK]Marryat Mr Midshipman Easy 295: ‘Fat Jack of the bone-house,’ obseryed the lieutenant, looking at Oxbelly.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 1 Oct. n.p.: ‘Fat Kack of the bone house’ has been getting fat and able-bodied since he left off going over to Merrion street.
[Aus]A. Harris Martin Beck 117: [H]e’s half a natural, and looks as if a good gust of wind would blow him to pieces — a proper fat Jack of the bone-house.
J.H. Stocqueler Memeoirs of a Journalist 34: Most of the men were happily well disposed towards ‘fat Jack of the bone-house,’ as they complimentarily denoted my slim proportions .
flag a bone (v.) (also flag the bone, flip a/the bone, ...finger, give a/the bone, shoot a/the bone) [the SE bones inside the finger]

(US) to make a gesture of contempt by raising the middle finger.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 85: Bone, flag the [...] Bone, flip a [...] bone, give the [...] bone, shoot a To gesture with the middle finger.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 174: As I went by, I flipped him the bone.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 12 Nov. 2: He returned the compliment to a passing carload of kids who flipped the finger.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 finger (flipping the... ) v. making a fist with the index finger extended and making an motion upwards with vigorous action. Intended to signify the insertion of the digit into the anus.
four bones (n.)

(Irish) the human body; thus oneself.

[Ire]Waterford Mail 13 Dec. 4/1: I have also the law of nature, which forbids taking from me [...] the earnings of my four bones, which are the only property a man brings into the world.
[Ire]Neary Examiner 29 July 4/2: There wasn’t a hardier man from this to Arraheeranabinna than my four bones.
[Ire]Wexford Indep. 21 Sept. 4/3: He had nothin but my four bones to get; that was all I after was.
[UK]Bristol Times & Mirror 20 Apr. 2/6: The judges of the assizes [...] know my own four bones better than they know yourself (laughter).
Newry Herald 12 Apr. 2/2: But asorra place cud I get to lave my four bones.
[UK]Belfast Morn. News 19 Oct. 3/5: If ever a man [...] had right to be proud, it’s my own four bones.
[Ire]Waterford Mail 14 Jan. 4/3: Chairman— Have you any family? Ned— Wisha, no, but my own four bones.
[Ind]H. Hartigan Stray Leaves (2nd ser.) 47: [T]hat’s my own four bones, captain, as you know!
[Ire]Freeman’s Jrnl (Dublin) 21 Nov. 7/4: It would appear that I am a ‘gay Lothair’ [...] without any charge or anxiety whatever but my own four bones.
[Ire]P.W. Joyce Eng. As We Speak It In Ireland (1979) 127: You care for nothing in the world but your own four bones.
[Ire]Seumas O’Kelly Leprechaun of Kilmeen 106: I only came up the tree to save my four bones from being broken .
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 203: It is between the lines of his last written words, it is petrified on his tombstone under which her four bones are not to be laid.
make one’s bones (v.)

1. (US Und.) to arrange and carry out one’s first contracted murder.

[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 101: He made his bones in Sicily.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 65: Probably some tough young kid we never heard of, yet. Looking to make his bones.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 48: Legend had it that they made their bones taking out Bugsy Siegel.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 42: Made your bones at seventeen, not bad.
[US]J. Stahl Pain Killers 39: A young Zulu out to make his bones [...] stuck a spork in his aorta.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] [T]wo ambitious up-and-comers who wanted to make their bones.

2. (also earn one’s bones) to achieve a successful course or action, in one’s profession or work.

[US]B. Davidson Collura (1978) 15: He was a young Mafioso, trying to ‘make his bones’ [...] by taking on a major narcotics buy, an assignment the dons and caporegimes would not touch.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 185: All jittery and gung-ho, eager to make his bones in the department.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 105: His PR man, a young, third-tier grunt trying to make his bones in a large firm.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 23/1: make one’s bones to earn one's gang patch.
[US]J. Stahl OG Dad 167: If I’d made my bones as a devil-may-care female impersonator in Taliban-held Marja [etc.].
[US]T. Pluck ‘Big Snip’ in Life During Wartime (2018) 9: The Neuter Scooter was the front lines, where you earned your bones.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 205: Boone Daniels can flat-out surf, he’s made his bones, so they don’t give him the hard time.
on bone

(US prison) out of favour among fellow prisoners after committing some form of mistake in terms of inmate standards.

[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July 🌐 Bone: In disfavor after doing something wrong, as in ‘He’s on bone.’ Usually refers to something personal rather than official.
pick the bones out of that

a phr. of dismissal, retaliation, challenge, now see what you can do with that.

[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 167: So pick the bones out of that.
put a bone in someone’s hood (v.) [ext. of SE phr. put a bone in someone’s hood, to break or cut off someone’s head]

to cuckold someone.

[UK]Nice Wanton Aiiii: I could tell you who putteth a bone in your hood.
to the bone (adv.)

(orig. US black) to the extreme, to the ultimate extent, usu. in combs.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Nov. 14/4: Dinny was a big Irish navvy, Roman to the bone, and touchy and suspicious concerning religious references.
[US]C. McKay Gingertown 12: Although they were all chocolate-to-the bone, they would choose the yaller girls.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ ‘Tell Them Nothing’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 28: Man, you look beat to the bone.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 4: Turn your back for five minutes and they strip the place to the bone.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 154: A loved aunt has sweated herself to the bone trying to save her god-child.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 330: There comes a time when a sucker knows he’s beaten, whipped to the bone.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 62: You can kiss my ass right down to the bone / If you catch me back in this place called Ole San Antone.
[US]R. Woodley Dealer 69: Coke will only take so much whackin. It may be good coke, but it’s whacked to the bone by the time you get a twenty-dollar spoon.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 42: Come fiendish, righteously dap to a tee, silk to the bone. [Ibid.] 176: Man, you stoned to d’ bone!
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 176: Man, you stoned to d’ bone!
[US]O. Hawkins Chili 81: One of the grooviest [...] of the bunch was a stone to the bone sister named Althea.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 55: It’s got me blue to the bone.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 285: He was a hard core tough guy to the bone.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 158: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Round the way. To the bone. To the nines. To the max.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 146: He was country to the bone.
[US]K. Brown Kingdom Come’ in C. Rhatigan and N. Bird (eds) Pulp Ink 2 [ebook] He’ arrived early [...] giddy to the bone .

In exclamations

give it a bone! [the silencing of a dog by giving it a bone; 20C+ use mainly N.Z.]

shut up! stop talking!

Barrère & Leland Sl,, Jargon, & Cant 409/2: Give it a bone (common), ‘stop it,’ or ‘that’s stale.’ The metaphor is, of course, that of giving a dog a bone to stop his noise.
[Aus]H. Drake-Brockman Blister Act I: Oh, give it a bone.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Roaring Nineties 124: ‘Give it a bone, Ma!’ a man’s voice sung out.
[Aus]D. Hewett Bobbin Up (1961) 117: Ah Mum, give it a bone.
[UK]M. Shadbolt Among Cinders 122: Give it a bone, will you?
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 41: Gawd, what about givin’ that tooth-harp of yours a bone?
Ridley & Turner That’s Unusual 1: Give it a bone, Mum. It’s New Year’s Eve.