Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ballocks n.

also bolix, bollix, bollocks, bollox, bollux
[ballock n.]

1. (also ballyx, bollax) testicles.

[[UK]Gloss. in Wright Vocab. I 283/2: Testiculi, beallucas].
[US]J. Mandeville Travels (translation) There is so grete hete [...] in that Ile that for the grete distress of the hete mennes balokkes hangen doun to here knees, for the gret dissolucioun of the body.
[UK]Towneley Mysteries ‘Play of the Dice’ line 166: I haue brysten both my balok-stones.
[UK]Dunbar ‘Flyting of Dunbar & Kennedie’ in Mackenzie Poems (1932) 9: Thow hes na breik to latt thy bollokis gyngill; Beg the ane club, fo, baird, thow sall go naikit.
[UK]D. Lyndsay Satyre of Thrie Estaits II (1604) 145: Marie, on ane Sow, Sir scho hes sworne that scho sall sla me, Or ellis byte baith my ballocks fra me.
[UK]W. Sampson Vow Breaker IV i: You were borne under Caster, and Bollux then, for you had two children before you weare married.
[UK]Le Strange Merry Passages and Jeasts No. 487 134: He is such an Insatiable wenching knave, that if his Ballocks were made of Brasse Hee’d Breake them.
[UK]Rochester ‘Seigneur Dildo’ in Works (1999) 251: The good Lady Sandys burst into laughter / To see how the Ballocks came wobbling after.
[UK] ‘Ballad on Betty Felton’ in Wilson Court Satires of the Restoration (1976) 48: She’s always attended with ballocks and tarse, / Sweet Candish in cunt and bold Frank at her arse.
[UK]Robertson of Struan ‘On Mris. F-----n’ Poems (1752) 82: ’Tis all the World to twenty Pound / His Ball---s are the Cause.
[UK]J. Wilkes Essay on Woman 19: Prick, Cunt and Bollocks in Convulsions hurl’d / And now a Hymen burst, and now a world.
[UK]C. Morris ‘The Great Plenipotentiary’ Collection of Songs (1788) 39: He searched the Divan till he found out a Man / Whose Ballocks were heavy and hairy.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Bullocks — (cant) — for testicles.
[Ire] ‘The Brummagh an Waler’ Munster-Man’s Bothabue 7: He [a horse] has a good stout pair of B----x.
[UK] ‘Madgie Cam to My Bed-stock’ in Bold (1979) 134: Cunt it was the sowen-pat [i.e. gruel pot], / An’ pintle was the ladle; / Ballocks were the serving-men / That waited at the table.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘The Ballet Girl’ in Fal-Lal Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 27: A policeman came and said to me, / ‘You mustn’t show these frolics; / It isn’t right that you should thus / Expose to all your [blank space]’.
[UK] ‘The Queen’s Wedding’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 34: They said your hat was shocking bad, / and ’mongst other lying frolics, / You had no coat, nor waistcoat, breeches, / nor a shirt, nor pair of ...
[UK]The C — , The Open C — [broadside] Her black hair bristl'd, her white arse roll'd, / And rattl'd about my boll—ks so cold.
[US] in T.P. Lowry Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) 160: The Prince of Love, of which I spoke yesterday, alluding to the ‘ramrod and ballocks,’ even now larger, stiff and rising.
[UK] ‘Bear-Ass Ride’ Rakish Rhymer (1917) 153: Into the ring there came a p—k, as big as any bull, / With bollocks like a hogshead beneath the waving wool.
[UK] ‘The Reverie’ in Pearl 4 Oct. 30: My bollox hanging down below, / And banging ’gainst her arse of snow.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) I 63: Attempting to put my hand up her clothes, sometimes succeeding, pulling out my ballocks, and never ceasing until the cook came home.
[UK]‘Neaniskos’ Priapeia Ep. xiii 15: I stand in the open air [...] my ballocks exposed to view.
[US]Bawdy N.Y. State MS. n.p.: Then his bollix swung around like the weight of a clock, / Much lower I think than the head of his cock.
[Ire]Joyce letter 2 Dec. to Nora Barnacle in Ellman Sel. Letters (1975) 181: Feeling your fingers fondling and tickling my ballocks or stuck up in my behind.
[UK]Hole in the Elephant’s Bottom in Bold (1979) 111: The elephant’s bollocks hang low / And part of my job is to knot ’em.
[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 571: My name is Joe Taylor, my prick is a whaler, / My ballyx weigh ninety-four pound.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 240: There was an old person of Gosham / Who took out his ballocks to wash ’em.
[UK] ‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier’ in M. Page Kiss Me Goodnight, Sgt.-Major (1973) 19: Don’t want a bullet up me arsehole, / Don’t want me bollocks shot off.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 301: A patrician young fellow named Lear / Used to wash off his bollox with beer. / Said he, ‘By the gods, / This is good for the cods’.
[UK]P. Larkin letter 6 July in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 35: I awoke feeling the thumb of God in the small of my ballocks.
[US](con. c.1912) in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 586: Prick and Ballyx ran a race / Up and down a hairy place.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 72: I’ll come after the quacks have had a shot at me. They can cut me about [...] long as they leave me my pants and bolicks.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 110: He would catch him by the ballocks and twist and pull on them.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 78: ‘I nearly smashed me testicles.’ [...] ‘Me testicles, me ballocks,’ he said, a pain coming into his face.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 118: You’re involved way over your ballocks.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 22: A good old-fashioned, honest-to-God boot up the bollocks!
[UK]A. Burgess Earthly Powers 31: Did you ever meet [...] Chunky, the man with the pineapple ballocks.
[UK]F. Pitt-Kethley Sky Ray Lolly 55: Last week I put / my bollocks through a mangle, and loved it.
[Ire](con. 1930s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 115: My cousin Paddy [...] endorsed my opinion by informing me that ‘his bollix is an unmerciful size’.
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 37: I’d bite your bollix off yeh if yeh went near me, yeh spotty fuck, yeh.
[Ire]R. Doyle Snapper 109: I’d chop his bollix – excuse me, Sharon – off. I would.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 121: They may have cut off my bollocks [...] but my dick doesn’t know that yet.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 11 Sept. 9: Howya, Bukes! I’ll buke your bleedin’ bollix in!
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 70: A nirly froze me fuckin bollax off yesterdey.
[UK]Observer Mag. 27 Nov. 10: I ran out with a towel around my bollocks.

2. a parson.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Ballocks [...] a Vulgar nick name for a Parson.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: A rude fellow meeting a curate, mistook him for a rector; and accosted him with the vulgar appellation of, Bol---ks the rector. No, Sir, answered he, only Cods the curate, at your service.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.

3. a mess.

N.Y. Supreme Court Appeal Book 149: Do you know how you came to make that mistake on that memorandum [...] how Mr. Washington E. Hall explained to you how he made it when he said to you, ‘Oh, you made a bollix of it’ [...]?
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 160: He was so blind drunk that he nearly made a bollocks of the entire proceedings.

4. (also bollixing) rubbish, nonsense [? developed f. sense 1 on the premise that sermonizing is, de facto, nonsense].

[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 12: bollocks (n. or adj.) — Absurd; an absurdity.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: bollocks. Absurd, an absurdity; an embellishment of ‘balls’ (the testicles) used derisively.
[US]E. Hemingway letter 24 May in Baker Sel. Letters (1981) 390: If you want to see my correspondence with Cape on that bollixing will send it to you.
[UK]K. Amis letter 18 June in Leader (2000) 284: God did you see that pillar of crap-smoke? Utter bollok sutter boll.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 164: [They] thought it was all ballocks.
[UK]G. Melly Owning Up (1974) 157: Any other food, soup for instance or cheese, came under the heading of ‘pretentious bollocks’.
[UK]F. Norman Norman’s London 13: Well why don’tcha write my story, it would be betta than all that bollox yer bin writin’.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 224: That’s ballocks [...] I apply myself.
[UK]A. Sayle Train to Hell 61: We talked about my character’s motivation and all that bollocks.
[Ire]T. Murphy Conversations on a Homecoming (1986) 43: Now it’s all bollocks talk about Protestants.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 31: Ballocks, which is British for nonsense or rubbish, synonymous with balls or all balls, used on both sides of the Atlantic.
[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 371: I think, by my faith, it’s a load o’ bollix.
[UK]Guardian Sport 18 Sept. 16: You mean someone actually got paid for writing all that boring bollox.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 21 Feb. 6: Pushing things all around just so as you can talk this ballocks.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 31: Ah, a dunno; it’s all bollox anyway.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 116: We weren’t taking any bollocks.
[US]K. Bruen ‘Fade To . . . Brooklyn’ in Brooklyn Noir 311: I never heard such bollix in me life.
[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 82: Your little article or whatever the bollocks you were doing.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 19 Dec. 12/4: This ‘10 more shopping days to go’ bollocks is such a wind-up.
[UK]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 139: The usual. Analysing evidence from fires [...] The usual bollocks.

5. (also ballicks) a fool, a general term of abuse; one who is performing or talking ballocks (cf. ballock n. (2)).

[Ire]Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 272: I’m a ballocks, he said, shaking his head in despair.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 724: Didnt he look a balmy ballocks.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 116: If they got it up for me too much, I’d make a bollocks of them.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 43: Any ballocks can be a carpenter or a bricklayer.
[UK]A. Bleasdale Scully 150: Shove off, bollocks.
[Ire](con. 1930s) S. McAughtry Sinking of the Kenbane Head 61: It’s all right for a ballicks like him [...] but you’ve got brains.
[Ire]B. Behan ‘The Catacombs’ in After the Wake 79: You are a dying old bollocks.
[UK]A. Bleasdale ‘Jobs for the Boys’ Boys from the Blackstuff (1985) [TV script] 34: Why don’t you buy a banner, bollocks?
[UK]A. Bleasdale No Surrender 33: And don’t call me bollocks!
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 95: Come here, you bollox. There’s only one E in Heroin.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Secret World of the Irish Male (1995) 20: You scum-sucking sweaty-buttocked foul breathed bandy-legged ballocks.
[Ire]P. McCabe Breakfast on Pluto 82: Do him! Do him, Kerr, you bollocks you!
[UK]Guardian G2 11 Aug. 22: Colourful blagger-speak like [...] ‘a silly-bollocks’.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 148: ‘What, killin ’em?’ ‘No, silly bollocks.’.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 92: Silly-bollocks-secret-squirrel Roy? [...] Roy’s a turn — a tonic for the troops.

6. a person, often used affectionately.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 280: Who’s the old ballocks you were talking to?
[UK]M. Frayn Now You Know 247: The silly bollocks has knocked Jacqui’s handbag off the desk.
[Ire]D. Healy Sudden Times 15: In your pyjamas talking to some bollacks about the phallus.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 79: I really do like the old bollocks for all his faults.

7. (orig. Irish) an unpleasant person; esp. as (right) old bollix.

[UK]P. Larkin letter 10 July in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 172: I know I am a ballocks, not writing all this time.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 21: Now, you poxy looking ballocks. [Ibid.] 86: Sucking up to bullying big bollixes.
[Ire]H. Leonard Da (1981) Act I: You’re right son, a bollix, that’s what he is.
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 15: Tha’ bollix ratted on us, d’yis remember?
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Ship Inspector 210: A cluster of small white stars splattered onto the windscreen. ‘My brand new windscreen. The little bolixes.’.
[UK]C. McPherson The Weir 39: You’re a bollocks.
[UK]Guardian 2 Feb. 16: The wee bollix had been asking for it [...] He’d been warned often enough.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Cartoon City 165: I have decided to personally handle blowing the head off the bolix, if that’s OK with you.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 100: Taxi! Taxi, ya bollix!

8. courage, vigour.

[US]Sounds 24 Jan. n.p.: He thought it (a recording) needed more bollocks [KH].
[UK]Guardian G2 29 July 5: You’ve got to have real bollocks if you’re a girl trying to make your way in this game.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 9 Dec. 14/3: If you’ve got the bollocks to do that, come and fuckin’ see me.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 121: We all hoped that he would have the bollocks to keep his mouth shut.

9. used as an intensifier in phrs.

[UK] in D. Campbell That Was Business, This Is Personal 13: Everyone still manages to laugh and joke. You laugh your bollocks off . . . nervous release of some kind I suppose.

10. used as a direct, pej. term of address.

[Ire]T. Murphy Conversations on a Homecoming (1986) 9: junior Well, bolix!
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 65: Ay, bollocks, I’m talking to you!

11. constr. with the, something superlative.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 47: Is this the bollocks or what, Roy? [...] Nobody giving ya a moment’s grief.
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 238: Orwell was the bollocks [...] the cunt ain’t ever been equalled.

12. see dog’s ballocks n.

In compounds

ballocks worker (n.)

any overbearingly unpleasant person or circumstance.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 19: Ballocks workers – (US) 1. something very difficult. 2. a woman who deprives a man of his virility.

In phrases

ballocks in brackets (n.) [visual appearance]

a bow-legged man.

[UK]L. Gibson Cowan Loud Report in DSUE (1984).
big ballocks (n.) (also big balls)

a self-important man.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 75/1: 1954.
[Ire](con. 1945) S. McAughtry Touch and Go 170: Does big balls here do the fighting for you?
do one’s ballocks (v.) (also do one’s bollocks)

1. to make the utmost effort.

[UK]Guardian G2 11 Nov. 22: I done my bollocks last year, you know what I mean. I went to every fucking single one [...] I was out in Slovakia and all that bollocks.

2. to bet heavily; to lose one’s money.

[UK]P. Marber Dealer’s Choice 14: Look on the bright side boys, you're not gonna do your bollocks for another week.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 362: Spendthrift ruffians [...] doing their bollocks at the racetrack.
have one’s ballocks in the right place (v.)

to be deserving of praise, commendation, approval by one’s fellows; can feasibly be used of a woman.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 44: C.20.
in one’s ballocks (also in one’s arse, ...bollix, ...ring, ...wick, on one’s pratt)

a general intensifier, usu. negating the previous statement; note ad hoc vars.

[US]Hecht & MacArthur Front Page Act III: walter whispering: Shut up! hildy: On my pratt in a monkey cage!
[US]O. Strange Sudden 73: ‘Yeah, in my belt,’ sneered the miner.
[UK]B. MacMahon Children of the Rainbow 112: ‘It’s the highest notion in my head to be a nun.’ ‘You are in your tail-board!’ I said.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 20: I will in my bollocks, I thought to myself.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 176: ‘Tell her you’re a bumboy,’ I said [...] ‘I will in me ballocks tell her I’m a queer.’.
[Ire]H. Leonard A Life (1981) Act II: dolly: Don’t I know? I was there. kearns: You were in me boot. You were at home in your pram.
[Ire]R. Doyle Commitments 144: Do you paint, Jimmy? – I do in me bollix. [Ibid.] 163: We’ll need two guitars. – We will in our arses, said Outspan. – I’ll use both hands.
[Ire](con. 1916) R. Doyle A Star Called Henry (2000) 106: Did you pay your fare? I asked him. – We did in our arses, he said.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] I will in me ring (phr): certainly not! / I am in me wick (phr): you must be joking!
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 7: Yeah course it ain’t. On the pope’s bollocks.
knock the ballocks out of (v.)

(Irish) to beat severely.

[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] The only excuse they need to knock the bollix out of you is that you’re from Dublin.
not give a ballocks (v.)

(Irish) not care in any way.

[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] ‘I don’t give a bollix if they put me in the pad’.

In exclamations

my bollocks! (also my bollix!)

a dismissive excl.

[Ire]R. Doyle Snapper 96: You got it wrong, Jim. – Wrong me bollix! – Yeh have, I swear. – Me bollix.
[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 616: I didn’t say annythin’, said Bimbo. – Me bollix, said Jimmy Sr, just over his breath.
[UK](con. 1970s) G. Byrne Pictures in my Head 79: Artist, me bollocks. The only thing you can draw is the dole.