Green’s Dictionary of Slang

banana n.

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

[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 296: Shut up, you ingrateful [sic] banana!
[US]H.C. Witwer Classics in Sl. 4: One Punch McTague would be a better moniker for this banana, as that’s all he lasted!
[US]H.C. Witwer Yes Man’s Land 229: Are you engaged to me or this prancin’ Gordon banana?
[US]Memphis Minnie [song title] Banana Man Blues.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Kid Killer’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 110: The other boys had mothers, but he had a banana! A looney tune.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 102: She would certainly be turned off if he were [...] a banana.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 1: banana – a person who acts foolish or idiotic.
[US]Birmingham Post Herald (AL) 27 Oct. 1: Mondale has called Bob [Dole] a bananna [sic].
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 283: That fuckin’ banana.
[UK](con. 1960) P. Theroux My Secret Hist. (1990) 126: They don’t want a banana, man. They want class.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 293: Be no good at fighting, decided Keith as he climbed the stairs. A total banana.
[US]N. Green Shooting Dr. Jack (2002) 86: I can’t believe I wanna quit my job and come work for these two bananas.

2. the shape.

(a) the penis.

[[UK]N. Ward London-Spy 14 336: The Bonana-Tree, which bears an Evil Fruit, of which Women are most wonderful Lovers: Beneath its Umbrage are a great number of the kind Sex, contending for the Wind falls; and some are so unreasonable, that notwithstanding they have Gathered up more than they are able to stick in their Girdles [...] some measuring what they had pick’d up by their Spans, to try whether the Size was Standard; others Quarrelling for those of the largest Growth, like so many Sows for a great Apple].
[US]Edna Hicks ‘If You Don’t Give Me What I Want’ [lyrics] You’re worse than that, old, loose and green, / You have no banana all this week; / So, if you don’t give me what I want / I’m gonna get it somewhere else!
[US]Bo Carter (?) ‘Banana in Your Fruit Basket’ [lyrics] And I’m tellin’ you baby, I sure ain’t gonna deny, / let me put my banana in your fruit basket, then I’ll be satisfied.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 83: There was a young Jewess named Hannah / Who sucked off her lover’s banana.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 315: Standing like a mope in the middle of the street with my banana in my hands.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 313: One thing led to another and before you knew it my big, hairy banana was whistlin’ Dixie when it struck gold in them thar hills.
[US](con. 1966) P. Conroy Lords of Discipline 222: I’d love to stick a big, hot, hairy banana in that sweet piece of Italian poon-tang.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 35: The banana suggests the penis, therefore sex, as in a popular English music hall song of the WW1 period. ‘I had a banana / with Lady Diana’.
[Ire]R. Doyle Snapper 52: He was just a big thick monkey. – Lookin’ for somwewhere to stick his banana, wha’, said Yvonne. They screamed.
[US]Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] banana Definition: [...] 2. the penis in expressions such as ‘have one’s banana peeled’.
[US]Simon & Pelecanos ‘Duck and Cover’ Wire ser. 2 ep. 8 [TV script] ‘What d’you know? A pussy that’s got some grapes on him.’ ‘Banana too’.
[UK]New Statesman 23-29 Aug. 36/3: Beach bars advertise cocktails with names that are well-used euphemisms for a large penis [...] ‘Big Bamboo,’ ‘Dirty Banana,’ ‘Jamaican Steel’.

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

[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 150: Here one heard fruit, banana, meat, fish, tomato, cream, dozens of everyday words used with double meaning.
[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.

(c) a tube used for snorting cocaine.

[UK] in G. Tremlett Little Legs 192: banana tube used for snorting cocaine.

3. the colour.

(a) (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.

[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 12: I’m stiffing the stroll on the flag spot when up pops a fine banana with a cluck stud hanging on her crook.
D. Thoreau City at Bay 125: The punk with him was Danny ‘Banana Boy’ Pong. Called Banana Boy because of his preference for white girls.
[US]Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] banana Definition: 1.a sexually attractive mulatto or light black woman. From the yellow color [...] Example: Mariah Carey? Mmmm, I’d like to eat that banana!
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 156: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Colorstruck. Babylon. Bananas.

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

[US]Wall Street Journal 8 Aug. 9: Young protesters have picketed S.I. Hayakawa [...] calling him a ‘banana’ — yellow on the outside, white inside — the equivalent of the blacks’ epithet ‘Oreo’.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 121: Minority students who act white are identified with slang, for example, apples for ‘Native Americans’, bananas for ‘Asians’, and oreos for ‘African Americans’.
[US]Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] banana Definition: [...] 3. a person of East Asian descent who acts ‘too much’ like a Caucasian. Yellow on the outside, but white on the inside.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 5: banana Disparaging term for a New Zealand-born Chinese [...] used by Chinese immigrants about local Chinese from 1980s.
I. Jin at Taiwan Ho! 18 July [Internet] I am an Asian-American of Chinese heritage. I arrived in Taipei from Washington, D.C., four months ago, and I am a ‘banana’: white on the inside, yellow on the outside. People have remarked how interesting it must be for ‘bananas’ like myself to be ‘back home’ in Asia.

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

(a) (Aus.) a £1 note.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn).

(b) one dollar.

[US]D. Ponicsan Last Detail 182: That kid Meadows and his eight years for a lousy forty fucking bananas.
[US](con. 1967) P. Conroy Lords of Discipline 415: We just laid over fifty bananas on him.

(c) in pl., money.

[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 158: They making very big bananas on them Porsches.

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

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 19: Bananas – Special Patrol Group: ‘They hang around in bunches and are yellow and bent’.

6. (US campus) a bad thing.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 1: banana – a bad thing: Did you lose the game? That’s a banana!

In compounds

banana cake (n.) [var. on fruitcake n.1 ]

(US) an eccentric.

Barney Miller [TV script] 24 July: They’ve got some banana cake on top of a building with a pair of home-made wings.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 35: Variations include banana-cake, a crazy person (similar to fruitcake).
banana factory (n.) [? bananas adj. (2)]

(US campus) a hectic, horrible or futile situation.

[US]Post-Crescent (Appleton, WI) 24 Mar. B1/5: Trying to get the state’s attention on this whole income maintenance thing is a banana factory. It’s absolutely nuts.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 70: Banana factory was a ‘hectic, horrible, or futile situation’, and duck soup was ‘something easy’.
banana farm (n.) [farm n.3 ]

a psychiatric institution in a tropical or semi-tropical country.

[UK]W. Marshall Hatchet Man in DSUE (1984).
banana filler (n.)

(US) a cheap cigar.

[US]H. Green Mr. Jackson 4: The stranger bought a couple of dollar cigars [...] John swore that he liked them, but privately longed for a good old nickel ‘banana filler,’ something a man could ‘taste’.
banana head (n.) [-head sfx (1)]

(US) a simpleton, a fool.

[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 266: Haven’t you bothered me enough [...] You big . . . bananahead!
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 35: Variations include banana-cake, a crazy person (similar to fruitcake); bananahead, a stupid person.
E.P. Kraft Miracle Wimp [ebook] What are you talking about, you bananahead?
bananaskin (adj.)

of a black person, having light skin tones.

[US]C. Himes ‘The Something in a Colored Man’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 403: The memory of Hal taking his fine banana skin chick away from him.

In phrases

green banana (n.)

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

[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 102: I gimmed this fine green banana at half past a colored man a deuce o’ dims and darks on the cutback.

2. the penis.

[US]J.H. Burns Lucifer with a Book 102: I’m slippin the green banana to three at once. Broth-er ...
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]

to have sexual intercourse with.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 46: ca. 1905–30.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Who Live In Shadow (1960) 183: banana – Sexual intercourse.
rough bananas (n.)

(US) something that is very hard to achieve.

[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 27: I gotta stand with Candle. Gonna be rough bananas, though.
tummy banana (n.)

the penis.

[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 19: The policeman shone his torch at Bazzie’s tummy banana.
[UK]J. McDonald Dict. of Obscenity etc.
rtw132 Maureen’s Lusty Confessions [Internet] I wish that you would poke me in my nether eye with your tummy banana and insist that I was wholly enjoying myself.
[UK]Metro 22 May 37/2: Men display a lot of bravado when discussing their tummy bananas.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

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

1. (Aus.) a Queenslander.

(ref. to 1940s) Aus. Library Jrnl I 41/1: [note] In Australian service slang, ‘Banana Bender’ was employed inevitably as a synonym for Queens- lander during World War II; possibly even earlier.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxii 6/1: banana bender: Queenslander.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 300: ‘I’m Q.X. Queenslander.’ ‘Banana-bender, eh.’.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 42: The Australian populace is divided into four distinct groupings: eastern states, [...] banana benders (Queenslanders), crow eaters (South Australians) and gropers or sandgropers (Western Ausgrtalians).
[Aus]B. Moore Lex. of Cadet Lang. 23: banana bender a Queenslander.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) 24 Feb. [Internet] Poor former Bananabender Benny is homesick and wants to leave New South Wailes [sic].
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 75: bananabenders or bananalanders [come] from Bananaland or Queensland.

2. a fool [stereotyping of sense 1].

[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 58: He was a total boof-head, a banana-bender.
banana boy (n.)

1. (Aus.) a native or resident of Queensland.

[UK]A.J. Vogan Black Police 79: ‘Advance Australia,’ yells Mr. Corn-stalk (N.S. Wales), John Chinaman Crow-eater, Esq. (South Australia), or hot-headed Master Banana-boy (Queensland).

2. (S.Afr., also banana girl) a resident or native of Natal; also attrib.

[SA]Bantu World 8 May (Supplement) 11: In the few crowded hours of her visit to Johannesburg, Durban’s ‘Banana Girl’ was given a pretty good idea of the city’s musical and stage talent [DSAE].
N. Gordimer in Wright S. Afr. Stories (1960) 69: Young white men brought up in the strong Anglo-Saxon tradition of the province of Natal are often referred to, and refer to themselves, as ‘banana boys.’.
J.H. Du Plessis Diamonds are Dangerous 125: Sandy, you old banana-boy (everyone from Durban is known to other South Africans as a banana-boy), what on earth are you doing here?
[US]S. Terkel Talking to Myself 137: A pale young bus driver, a ‘banana boy’ — Durban-born are so called — giggles.
[SA]P. Slabolepszy ‘Under the Oaks’ in Mooi Street (1994) 9: corky: Out from England, hey? richard: Good gracious no. Natal, actually [...] corky: Banana Boy!
[SA]‘T. Cobbleigh’ in Sun. Times 2 Jan. 19: Nicest place in the country to be just now is [...] Johannesburg! During the school holidays, the city so scorned by Kaapies and Banana-boys acquires a leisurely atmosphere, almost an elegance of its own [DSAE].
[US]Daily Dispatch (S.Afr.) Online 6 May [Internet] A Banana Boy hockey coach ended up in the salon of local look guru Nelson Restom yesterday.
W. Clewlow at International Association of Universities General Conference [Internet] I come from Durban and of those of you who know Natal well, if you come from this part of the world you are called a banana boy.
Banana City (n.) [on model of Bananaland ]

1. (Aus.) Brisbane, Queensland.

[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 230/1: Banana City – Brisbane.

2. (S.Afr.) Durban.

Drum (Johannesburg) n.d. 40: Yes. for the days that the Jazz Parade was in Durban the whole Banana City went jazz-crazy.
[SA]Drum (Johannesburg) 8 Nov. 43: Collecting beauty crowns comes sort of naturally with this peach from the Banana City. She is Miss Durban, Miss South Africa [DSAE].
[SA]Voice (Johannesburg) 31 Jan. 1: Suspense is about all that scores of soccer fans who live outside the Banana City, will be left with today ... The next best alternative to being physically present at Umlazi Stadium, in Durban, today is to [...] ogle the epic on the magic ‘goggle-box’ [DSAE].
S. Sello Chiefs n.p.: A move which angered Durban fans some of whom threatened the lives of Chiefs’ players and officials should they set foot in the Banana City.
www.durbanet.co.za [Internet] Well, Durban is called The Banana City, KwaZulu-Natal is The Banana Province, and people from KwaZulu-Natal are called Banana Boys and Banana Girls.
Bananaland (n.) [the banana crop produced there]

1. (Aus.) Queensland; thus Banana-lander, Banana-eater, a native of Queensland.

[Aus] Clarence & Richmond Examiner (Grafton, NSW) 6 July 3/1: Brisbane Letter. According torequest, I purpose from time to time to furnish you with a few passing notes anent matters in general in ‘Banana land,’ which may interest your readers.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 June 3/1: [heading] Notes from Banana Land.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 June 7/1: Shortly afterwards, however, the banking authorities had a suspicion that the hitherto gay young financier had either tied the nuptial knot or contemplated such an atrocity, so they generously gave him the choice of expatriation to Bananaland, or of sending in his resignation.
[UK]‘Aus. Colloquialisms’ in All Year Round 30 July 67/2: A native of Queensland is a ‘banana-lander’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 1 Apr. 1/5: The following comes from Bananaland and is consequently as true as gospel.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 30 Dec. 1/6: Who should i run against but Groggy Graytrix, a Bananalander, who had made his pile and retired.
[UK]E.E. Morris Austral Eng. 16/2: Banana-land, n. slang name for Queensland, where bananas grow in abundance. Banana-lander, n. slang for a Queenslander.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Jan. 14/3: The Fassifern line was just opened, and the flag-bedizened first train, lodged with Bananaland big wigs, was struggling up a grade when […] it suddenly came to a full stop.
[UK]J.H.M. Abbott Tommy Cornstalk 2: Because the popular banana finds the climate of Queensland suitable [...] the inhabitants of that Colony are dubbed ‘Banana-landers’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 30 Mar. 3/1: The aborigine will shortly be as extinct in Bananaland as the diprotodon.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 July 14/3: When Bananaland passed a statute for the protection of the fast disappearing bear and platypus, there was a howl from the pelt-hunters about the ruin that would ensue in the fur trade.
[Aus]Aussie (France) 12 Mar. 5/2: Bananaland and Tassy got to grips.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 29 Mar. 16/8: ‘Bananalander’ writes: Queensland, the land of sin, sweat, sand [etc.].
[Aus]J. Doone Timely Tips For New Australians 15: BANANALANDER.—A term used in certain southern journals to denote a Queenslander.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Dec. 2s/6: [headline] The Exodus from Bananaland.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 18 July 16/7: Jack Ford [...] a Bananalander, scaling 15 stone.
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 17 Oct. 12/6: We are all Bananalanders— All Bananalanders here!
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 5 Oct. 20/3: You strive to keep Australia white / Bananaland! Bananaland!
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 17 Mar. 13/6: The other Bananalander, blonde Vera Askew, impressed everybody with her good looks.
[Aus]D. Walker We Went to Aus. 72: The people of Queensland are known as [...] the Banana-landers.
[Aus]North. Standard (Darwin, NT) 21 Jan. 1s/5: Well, I’m home again from Bananaland.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 230/1: Banana-eater (Bananalander) – Queenslander [...] Bananaland – Queensland.
in D.J. Opperman Spirit of the Vine 299: Campbell was a ‘Bananalander’ by birth.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 140: He came back brown as a berry from Queensland [...] ‘Been up north,’ he says. ‘Banana land.’.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 75: bananalanders [come] from Bananaland or Queensland.

2. (S.Afr.) the province of Natal, now KwaZulu-Natal; thus Bananalander.

R. Campbell Wayzgoose in T. Hopkinson South Africa (1964) 119: Attend my fable if your ears be clean, / In fair Banana Land we lay our scene – South Africa, renowned both far and wide / For politics and little else beside].
[SA]E. Rosenthal Encyc. of Sn Afr 35: Natal is jocularly referred to as ‘Bananaland.’ [DSAE].
C.J.D. Harvey in Opperman Spirit of Vine 299: One must remember that Campbell was a ‘Bananalander’ by birth and upbringing .
[US]Daily Dispatch (S.Afr.) 15 Sept. 9: You’re wrong if you think ‘banana land’ is Natal. The banana image cultivated by the lads up the coast is a false one [DSAE].
[SA]C. Mitchell in Personality 6 June 12: This [...] Durban City Councillor [...] has been the driving force behind preparing the young men from Bananaland for their military duties [DSAE].
banana man (n.)

(Aus.) an inhabitant of Queensland.

[Aus] Maryborough Chron. (Qld) 10 Dec. 2/7: The gallant ‘Knight of the Lancet’ recently elected a member of the Local Court, who though perhaps the last ‘Banana’ man who ventured to this field from the metropolis, yet modestly assumes the pretension of being a pioneer digger on Gympie.
Gympie Times (Qld) 26 Oct. 3/1: Of the gerat melbourne M.D.’s, with their heavy fees, / Will find our Banana man come to the fore!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Oct. 4/1: Thorne, M.L.A., wants to know what has become of the blacks’ blankets. Most ‘Banana men’ begin to think things look fishy.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Aug. 14/1: The team is no way ‘representative’ of Sydney football, and, should it win the matches engaged in, the result will redound less to the glory of N.S.W. than to the disgrace of the Banana-men.
[Aus]Chron. (Adelaide) 24 Mar. 43/3: Queenslanders, Bananalanders, banana men and sugarlanders: Victorians, Yarrasiders, cabbage gardeners, cabbagelanders.
banana nose (n.) [resemblance]

(US) a long or hooked nose; thus used as a nickname or epithet; also attrib.

(con. 1917) McKenna 315th Infantry 152: Jack Fields, better known as ’Old Eagle Beak’ and ‘Banana Nose.’ .
[US]Amer. Mag. 138 146: Eddie [Arcaro], known familiarly as Banana Nose, decided to become a jockey when folks in his home town of Newport, Ky., began kidding him about his stunted growth.
C. Reeve Murder Steps Out 80: ‘If it isn’t Banana-Nose! What's my old pal been up to now?’ ‘Judas-Priest-in-a-jug! [...] do you recognize this face?’.
[US]G. Radano Walking the Beat 36: Now if you don’t start back to that pier I’ll change your banana nose into a cherry smash.
[US]New York Mag. 28 Apr. 66: Cabagehead? Whoya callin’ uh cabbagehead, yuh fogging . . . banana-nose!
Evenden & Cunningham Cultural Discord in Modern World 205: Listen, you Banana Nose guinea [...] you too dumb to do your homework. You can’t even read.
W. Herrick That’s Life 58: We arrived at the back door simultaneously with a pair of metal-rimmed eyeglasses on the bridge of a banana nose stuck into the upper third of a long, thin head.
banana oil (n.) [the supposed smoothness of the fig. oil]

(US) nonsense, insincere or hypocritical talk; thus as excl.

[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 155: Surely you can see for yourself that this is pure banana oil.
[US]J.P. McEvoy Showgirl 5: Well, I got to go out and pour a lot of banana oil into Miss Schwartz’s ear.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Alleys of Peril’ Fight Stories Jan. [Internet] ‘Banan orl!’ sneered the Cockney. ‘She was spoofin’ you proper, mate.’.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 149: Tuppy, my dear old ass [...] this is pure banana oil.
[US]E. Ferber ‘Grandma Isn’t Playing’ in One Basket (1947) 546: A curious grocer’s list vocabulary of rejection: ‘Nuts!’ ‘Applesauce!’ ‘Banana oil!’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 81: I mean the sort of banana oil that passes between statesmen at conferences.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 126: Biddle, I’ve swallowed enough of your banana oil.
[US]G. Swarthout Melodeon 86: ‘What about the meaning of Christmas?’ ‘Banana oil!’.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 33: banana oil. Nonsense, especially of the insincere or unctuous sort.
banana peddler (n.) [the trade in which some immigrants worked]

(US) an Italian immigrant.

[US]J. Lait ‘The Gangster’s Elegy’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 249: You penny-ante Castle Garden banana peddler.

In phrases

bite the hairy banana (v.)

to be unpleasant, to cause one annoyance, to be distasteful.

[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 101: School really bit the hairy banana these days.
bust one’s bananas (v.)

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

[US]I. Faust Willy Remembers 112: I bust my bananas and what do I get? Looks and vomit.
orange banana (n.)

(US campus) a flaring effect produced by breaking wind next to a lit match.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U.

In exclamations

have a banana!

a dismissive excl.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 46: [...] earlier C.20.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 122: It’s just a way of saying something, like Bob’s Your Uncle, or Have a Banana.