1. of an individual or individuals.
(a) [mid-9C+] a person; often used of a young woman, usu. in a sexual context; esp. as hot number
(b) [1930s+] a person, in a non-sexual context.
(c) [1960s+] (US gay) a potential or actual partner for casual sex, picked up from the street, bar or baths.
(d) [1970s+] (US) a romantically involved couple.
2. [late 19C+] an item of clothing, e.g. a dainty pink number.
3. in fig./abstract senses.
(a) [20C+] in general, a thing, place or situation, defined by context.
(b) [20C+] a scene or performance in a fig. sense, a display of excessive emotion.
(c) [1910s+] a job or task; esp. in phr. cushy (little) number, an easy job.
(d) [1920s] belief, commitment.
(e) [1930s–50s] (US black) a jail sentence, a life sentence.
(a) one’s house [a number on a door].
5. [1950s] a reputation.
6. [1960s+] (drugs) a marijuana or hashish cigarette.
7. [1970s+] a style, a way of living, a pose, e.g. the ageing rocker number.
1. to make and smoke a marijuana or hashish cigarette.
2. of cannabis, to take effect.
1. [1960s+] to make a fuss, to become emotional; to subject someone to emotional blackmail or at least some form of moral, friendship or ethical pressure.
2. to harm.
3. [1970s+] to manipulate emotionally, esp. through sexuality; to cheat, confuse or deceive someone.
4. [1970s+] to flirt, to entice someone with sexual behaviour.
5. [1970s+] to have sexual intercourse.
6. [1970s+] to beat savagely.
7. [1980s] (US) to get married.
8. [1990s+] to break, to cause harm (other than through deliberate, person-to-person violence).
9. to hurt severely.
1. [mid-19C+] to understand another person absolutely, despite all their possible evasions and excuses.
2. to know something disadvantageous about; to place someone in a difficult position.
[1970s+] anything or anyone seen as serious, important etc.
[late 19C+] a sexually attractive woman or in gay use man, also her or his telephone number, esp. if written on the wall of a phone booth.
[1990s+] (US prison) to finish one’s sentence.
[1910s+] to understand another person, to assess a situation.
1. [late 19C+] a phr. meaning that one dies.
2. [20C+] a phr. meaning that one is in trouble or has reached a point from which one cannot escape.
[1990s+] (UK prison) voluntary solitary confinement for the sake of a prisoner’s safety; child molesters, rapists etc. choose this in preference to the natural justice of their peers.
1. to trick, to deceive.
2. with a n., to act in a given manner, usu. in order to deceive.
[1960s+] (drugs) to prepare a marijuana cigarette; thus rolled number n.
[1910s+] (orig. milit.) an easy job.
SE in slang uses
As specific numbers
[1950s+] (US drugs) heroin.
[1980s+] (N.Z.) the best; the strongest; the most likely to succeed.
[early–mid-19C] the Fleet prison, situated at 9 Fleet Market, London.
see separate entries.
[1970s+] (US) very bad (cf. number ten thou adj.).
[late 19C] (US short order) a steak.
1. [mid–late 19C] a lock of hair shaped like the figure 6 and twisted from the temple back towards the ear.
2. [early–mid-19C] (US, also number 6) Thomson’s Compound Tincture of Myrrh and Capsicum, a popular household remedy [it was regularly listed as the sixth medicine in the firm’s catalogue].
see separate entries.
[1950s] (drugs) morphine.
[1950s+] (drugs) cocaine.
[20C+] masturbation, whether by oneself, a partner, or as ‘executive relief’ i.e. from a ‘masseuse’ or prostitute.
see separate entry.
[1930s] (US) an accountant.
an accountant or statistician.
[19C] the vagina.
see under numbers, the n.
[late 19C+] (Aus.) when the result is known.