Green’s Dictionary of Slang

buzz v.1

1. in the context of speech [SE buzz, echoic of the bee].

(a) [late 16C+] (also buzz it up) to talk about, to gossip, to promote a rumour; to inform on; thus buzzing n.

(b) [mid-19C–1960s] (US) to question, to interview; to intimidate.

(c) [mid-19C+] (US) to flirt with.

(d) [late 19C] (US) to scold, to tell off; thus buzzing n., a scolding.

(e) [1900s–20s] to speak.

(f) [1910s–20s] (Aus./US tramp) to solicit handouts, to beg; thus buzzing n., begging.

(g) [1910s+] to telephone or to use an intercom.

(h) [1950s–60s] (US) to irritate.

2. [18C+] (also buz) to make a move: to go, to arrive, to leave, to depart; usu. in comb. with a prep.

3. (also buz) in the context of crime [buzz n. (3)].

(a) [late 18C+] to pick pockets; thus buzzing n.1

(b) [late 19C] in fig. use, to cheat.

(c) [1950s] (US Und.) to work as a purse-snatcher.

4. [1920s+] to happen.

5. [1950s] to make, to prepare, to put on.

6. [1950s+] to become lively, energetic, esp. of the atmosphere at a party or the performance of a rock band; thus buzzing n.

7. [1960s] (US black) to gaze at admiringly.

8. [1960s+] to experience a drug pleasurably; usu. as buzzing adj. (2)

9. [1960s+] to swoop on, in an aircraft or vehicle.

10. [2000s] (US) to fail to stop at a red traffic light.

In compounds

buzz kid (n.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a pickpocket.

In phrases

buzz a chariot (v.)

[1930s] (US Und.) to pickpocket the passengers on public transport.

buzz around like a blue-arsed fly (v.) (also buzz around like a bee in a bottle, run around like a blue-arse(d) fly)

[late 19C+] to be excessively busy, often to the detriment of others, to rush around headlong.

buzz in (v.) [antonym of buzz off v.]

[1930s] to arrive, to enter.

buzz it (v.) [buzz n. (4)]

[1950s] (US) to relax, to stay calm.

buzz it up (v.)

see sense 1a above.

buzz off (v.)

see separate entry.

what’s buzzin’ cousin? (also what’s buzzin’, cuzzin? what’s buzzin’?)

[1940s–50s] (US) what’s happening? how have you been?

In exclamations

buzz off!

see separate entry.