Green’s Dictionary of Slang

it n.1


1. [17C+] sexual intercourse.

2. [mid-17C+] the male genitals.

3. [19C] a chamberpot.

4. [late 19C+] the female genitals.

5. [late 19C+] (US) a fool or an unpleasant person, a term of contempt.

6. [late 19C+] (orig. US) the acme of fashion, the ultimate, usu. when applied to a person, e.g. he really thinks he’s it.

7. [20C+] (US) money.

8. [20C+] a cover-all for such special qualities that are required for social or professional success.

9. [20C+] sex appeal [note that although the term was popularised in Elinor Glyn’s It (1927), see R. Kipling ‘Mrs Bathurst’ (1904) for earlier use. Cited as such in the OED and by Andrew Lycett in Rudyard Kipling (1999) who adds ‘Possibly he gleaned this idea from Lord Milner, who had courted Glyn’].

10. [late 19C+] a person.

11. [1920s] ejaculation.

12. [1930s] (US) excrement.

13. [1930s] (US Und.) death; also fig. use.

14. [1930s+] a ref. to a casual, picked-up partner as opposed to a lover.

15. [1930s+] sexually available females.

16. [1940s+] virginity.

17. [1950s] (US) a dose of an addictive drug.

18. [1950s+] (US black) the quintessence of black spirit, sensitivity etc.

19. [1970s] masturbation.

In compounds

it girl (n.)

an attractive and devotedly party-going young woman, her primary qualifications being her looks and her family’s wealth; coined much earlier, but esp. popular in late 1990s/early 2000s; also attrib.

it man (n.)

[1920s] (US) a male sex symbol.

In phrases

at it

1. [late 16C+] fighting, lit. or fig.

2. [17C+] indulging in sexual intercourse.

3. [18C+] involved in something illegal, or bad.

4. [19C–1900s] kissing and cuddling.

5. [mid-19C] drinking heavily.

6. [late 19C+] involved in an argument, emotionally moved.

7. [1920s+] teasing, provoking.

8. [2010s] addicted to narcotics.

get it in (v.) [1920s+]

of a man, to enter a woman before sexual intercourse.

get someone at it (v.) [at it sense 7 above]

[1940s+] to tease, to drive into a fury.

go at it (v.)

[1980s] to fight.

go to it (v.)

1. [early 17C–early 18C; 1960s] to have sexual intercourse, to pet.

2. [early 19C; 1950s+] to fight.

have it (v.)

see separate entry.

have it all on (v.)

see separate entry.

have it away (with) (v.)

see separate entries.

have it for (v.)

see separate entry.

have it in (v.)

see separate entry.

have (it) off (v.)

see separate entry.

have it on someone (v.) (also have it all over someone)

see separate entry.

have it up (v.)

see separate entry.

put it about (v.)

[1950s+] to indulge in a wide-ranging sex life; to work as a prostitute.

put it down (v.)

[1950s+] (US) to sit down.

put it in (and break it) (v.) [the erect penis ‘breaks’ after orgasm]

[late 19C+] of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

put it to (v.) [note Shakespeare’s Love’s Labour’s Lost (c.1595): ‘If their daughter be capable, I will put it to them’]

[1930s+] to have sexual intercourse with.

put it up (v.)

[mid-19C; 1990s+] of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

put it up to (v.) [‘it’ being a fist or boot]

1. [1910s] (US) to attack verbally, to criticize.

2. [1990s+] (Irish) to attack physically.