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]Myrrour of the Worlde n.p.: [T]hey [i.e. beavers] byte wyth their teeth their owne genytoirs or ballocks.
[Scot]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]Seynge of Uryns n.p.: [L]et her take the ballockes of a Barowe or of a Boore and dry them well and make powder therof & let her drynke therof with wyne.
[Scot]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]Booke of hauking, huntyng and fysshyng : Also geue her the hitballockes of a bucke as hote as they be kut out.
[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]W. Turner Herbal n.p.: Whyte hares coddes / or in other more vnmanerly speche / hares ballockes.
[UK]Niewe Herball n.p.: [T]he floures of Fooles ballockes or Cuckowes Orchis: of colour sometimes white, & sometimes purple, or redde, or a light skie colour.
[UK](con. 13th cent.) A. Bartholomaeus De proprietatibus rerum 61: Ye ballock stones, that are called Tefticuli in Latine, the diminutiue of Testis witnesse.
[UK]Florio Worlde of Wordes n.p.: Coglia, a mans ballocks.
[UK]R. Chester Loves Martyr 94: Hares ballockes, or great Orchis, Prouoketh Venus.
[UK]H. Parrot Epigrams and satyrs n.p.: Who lisping chides him with words finicall, / Thirra remoue your Ballocks from my Stall.
[UK]Gerard Herball 219: [S]ome call them Sweet Ballocks, sweet Cods, sweet Cullions.
[UK]W. Somner Antiquities of Canterbury 347: Stour-street, at the other against the Chapell-Church-yard, to this day remembred by the name of Ballock-lane.
[[UK]Urquhart (trans.) Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) I Bk II 229: Others did grow in the matter of ballocks so enormously, that three of them would well fill a sack.
‘In Laudis Navis Geminæ’ in Carpenter Verse in English from Tudor & Stuart Eng. (2003) 396: [of a ship] Cause her Bottoms hung down like Bollucks, / He named her Castor and Pollux.
[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.
[Scot]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.
[Ire]Spirit of Irish Wit 143: ‘Crupper your B— you old son of a b—h,’ answered the nymph.
[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]‘Experiences of a Cunt Philosopher’ in Randiana 32: Fearing to frighten Lucy [...] I readjusted my bollocks.
[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.
[UK]‘Ramrod’ Nocturnal Meeting 79: How funny his bollocks felt rolling about on my diaphragm.
[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.
[Scot]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.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 36: ‘[W]here I can find a dealer who’s not up to his bollocks in the same swamp I was just fucked out of?’.

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’ [...]?
Actionable Offenses ‘Michael Casey Exhibiting His Panorama’ (2007) [cylinder recording ENHS 30193] ‘Ladies and Gintlemen, I take pleasure tonight in intertroducing to you Mister Michael Jeremiar Casey, the great American explorer from New York City. He has tonight that he’s going to show you ther, uh, panny-murra, pa-, panny-ma, panny-’ ‘Aw, sit down, you’re making a bollocks o’ the whole damn business’.
[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.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘TV Ads’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] [I]f you were curious about some of the bollocks that goes on in the glitzy, glamour world of TV commercials [etc].
[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.
E. Kurz ‘Nothing You Can Do’ in ThugLit Mar. [ebook] ‘I know a dozen pubs better’n this one [...] Karneval…bollocks’.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 106: ‘It’s [i.e. a piece of music] awful,’ he said. ‘Lazy, simple bollocks’.
[Scot]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]T. Lewis Billy Rags [ebook] ‘Tell silly ballocks to put it [i.e. a jacket] on himself’.
[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.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Class Act [ebook] ‘That bollocks, he’s useless’.

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!
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 49: ‘Dirty little bollocks,’ she said.
[Ire]L. McInerney Rules of Revelation 97: [T]he killer wasn’t excited by his crimes because it felt bad to be acting the bollocks.

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.
[Scot](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?
[US]R. Hobbs ‘Brass’ in ThugLit Feb. [ebook] [M]y boss [...] told me he had a couple of big-balls hitmen coming to town.
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. 🌐 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.
[Ire]Breen & Conlon Hitmen 230: ‘I put it into first [gear]’ [...] ‘You did in your bollix put it into first, you fucking mongo, ye!’.
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.
[Ire](con. 1970s) G. Byrne Pictures in my Head 79: Artist, me bollocks. The only thing you can draw is the dole.