Green’s Dictionary of Slang

banana n.

1. [1910s+] (US) a stupid or worthless person, a simpleton [? the fruit is soft adj. (1) and yellow adj. (4)].

2. the shape.

(a) [1910s+] the penis.

(b) [1930s–40s] (US Und.) a homosexual [like the SE banana he is a bent adj. (5) fruit n. (2)].

(c) [1980s] a tube used for snorting cocaine.

3. the colour.

(a) [1940s+] (US black, also bananaskin) a light-skinned black person, esp. an attractive woman; one of the many terms that equate women with food; she is yellow adj. (2a); also attrib.

(b) [1960s+] a derog. term for an Asian who has chosen to adopt white, Western values, they are ‘yellow outside but white inside’.

4. in monetary uses [it is ‘sweet and acceptable’].

(a) [1950s] (Aus.) a £1 note.

(b) [1960s+] one dollar.

(c) [1990s+] in pl., money.

5. [1970s+] a corrupt policeman [coined during the 1970s investigation of London’s Special Patrol Group, declared to be ‘yellow, bent and hanging around in bunches’].

6. [1980s] (US campus) a bad thing.

In compounds

banana factory (n.) [? bananas adj. (2)]

[1980s+] (US campus) a hectic, horrible or futile situation.

banana farm (n.) [farm n.3 ]

[1960s+] a psychiatric institution in a tropical or semi-tropical country.

banana filler (n.)

(US) a cheap cigar.

banana head (n.) [-head sfx (1)]

[1940s+] (US) a simpleton, a fool.

bananaskin (adj.)

of a black person, having light skin tones.

In phrases

buff the banana (v.) (also buff one’s helmet) [SE buff, to polish + helmet n. (1)]

[1980s+] to masturbate.

fine banana (n.) [fine adj. (3) ]

[1930s–40s] (US black) an attractive, light-skinned young woman.

get one’s banana peeled (v.)

[1960s] (orig. US) of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

green banana (n.)

1. [1930s–40s] (US black) a young, light-skinned woman [SE green, naïve].

2. the penis.

have a banana with (v.) [lines from the song Burlington Bertie, ‘When they ask me to dine I say “No. / I’ve just had a banana with Lady Diana.” / I’m Burlington Bertie from Bow.’ Whether the double entendre, with its ref. to socialite goddess Lady Diana Cooper, was deliberate is unknown]

[1910s+] to have sexual intercourse with.

ripe banana (n.)

[1950s] (W.I.) a derog. term for an albino.

rough bananas (n.)

[1950s] (US) something that is very hard to achieve.

tummy banana (n.)

[1960s+] the penis.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

banana bender (n.) [the state’s major crop]

1. [1940s+] (Aus.) a Queenslander.

2. [1990s+] a fool [stereotyping of sense 1].

banana boy (n.)

1. [late 19C] (Aus.) a native or resident of Queensland.

2. [1950s+] (S.Afr., also banana girl) a resident or native of Natal; also attrib.

Banana City (n.) [on model of Bananaland ]

1. [late 19C+] (Aus.) Brisbane, Queensland.

2. [1950s+] (S.Afr.) Durban.

banana jockey (n.)

[20C+] (W.I., Gren.) one who gets a free ride from the country by climbing onto a banana lorry heading for town.

Bananaland (n.) [the banana crop produced there]

1. [late 19C+] (Aus.) Queensland; thus Banana-lander, Banana-eater, a native of Queensland.

2. [1950s+] (S.Afr.) the province of Natal, now KwaZulu-Natal; thus Bananalander.

banana man (n.)

[mid-19C+] (Aus.) an inhabitant of Queensland.

banana nose (n.) [resemblance]

[1910s+] (US) a long or hooked nose; thus used as a nickname or epithet; also attrib.

banana oil (n.) [the supposed smoothness of the fig. oil]

[1920s+] (US) nonsense, insincere or hypocritical talk; thus as excl.

banana peddler (n.) [the trade in which some immigrants worked]

[1910s] (US) an Italian immigrant.

banana splits (n.) [the drug’s odour of ‘rotten bananas’]

[1960s+] (drugs) amyl nitrite.

In phrases

bite the hairy banana (v.)

[1960s] to be unpleasant, to cause one annoyance, to be distasteful.

bust one’s bananas (v.)

[1970s] (US) to work to the limits of one’s ability and strength.

orange banana (n.)

[1980s+] (US campus) a flaring effect produced by breaking wind next to a lit match.

In exclamations

have a banana!

[1930s+] a dismissive excl.