Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gut n.

1. in physical senses.

(a) [early 16C+] in pl., the stomach.

(b) [mid-16C+] in pl., the insides, the contents.

(c) [late 16C+] in pl., a notably fat person; thus tub of guts, a grossly obese person.

(d) [mid-19C+] in pl., a glutton.

(e) [mid-19C] (Aus.) goods.

(f) [1910s–30s] (US Und., also redgut) a sausage.

(g) [1960s+] constr. with a, a fat stomach.

2. in fig. senses.

(a) [mid-17C+] (also bowels) in pl., courage, bravery.

(b) [mid-18C+] in pl., energy, vigour, power in performance.

(c) [20C+] in pl., the essence of a matter, the underlying meaning.

(d) [1910s–50s] in pl., cheek, audacity, ‘nerve’.

(e) [1910s+] (orig. Aus.) in pl., the facts, the information; esp. as good guts under good adj.1

3. pertaining to instinct.

(a) [20C+] (US campus, also gut course) an easy course; thus gut gunner, one who succeeds in such a course.

(b) [1920s] (US) a certainty.

(c) [1970s+] (US) an easy task.

(d) [2000s] (US) a gut feeling, an instinct.

4. [1910s–30s] (US Und.) in pl., the undercarriage of railroad trains on which tramps hitched a ride.

5. [1910s+] (Aus. gambling) in pl., in two-up, the centre of the betting circle into which betted money is tossed.

6. [1920s+] (US) the main street; thus shoot the gut, to drive along or cruise the main street; one-gutted, having a single street.

7. [1940s+] constr. with the, Strait Street, Valetta, the centre of Malta’s red-light district.

In derivatives


see separate entries.

In compounds

gut-ache (n.) (also guts-ache)

1. [late 18C+] a stomach-ache.

2. [1950s] (UK juv.) a greedy person.

3. [1950s+] (N.Z.) an irritating person; also used as a term of address.

gut-bomb (n.) [its deleterious effects]

[1960s+] (US) a very greasy hamburger or similar food.


see separate entries.

gut-buster (n.) [it ‘busts one’s guts’]

1. [1930s] a funny person; thus gut-busting adj., hilarious.

2. [1930s+] something powerful and dramatic; thus gutbusting adj., powerful, energetic, overwhelming.

3. [1950s+] (N.Z.) a very steep hill.

4. [1980s+] (US) something very funny, e.g. a joke or performance.

gut-check (n.) [orig. sporting use]

[1970s+] (US) a quick reassessment of strategy and stiffening of morale.

gut-foot (n.) [ety. unknown]

[1930s–40s] (US black) fallen arches, i.e. flat feet.

gut-foundered (adj.)

[mid-17C–18C] extremely hungry.

gut-fucker (n.) (also gut-monger, -sticker) [fucker n. (1)/sfx -monger/SE sticker]

[late 19C–1900s] a sodomite.

gut-head (n.) [-head sfx (1)]

[early 17C] one who is stupefied by an excess of food.

gut-hooks (n.)

[1930s+] (US) spurs.

gut-piece (n.)

[1960s] (US) the abdomen.

gut pudding (n.) [sausages were orig. encased in animal gut]

[late 16C–19C] a sausage.

gut-puller (n.)

[mid–late 19C] a poulterer.

gut-reamer (n.) (also gut-butcher, -stretcher, -stuffer)

[1920s–70s] (US) a pederast.

gut-ripper (n.)

[1940s] (US) any kind of knife used as a weapon.

gut-robber (n.) [orig. logging jargon]

[20C+] (US) a cook, esp. a bad one.

gut-rot (n.) [its presumed effect on one’s innards]

1. [1910s+] cheap wine or spirits (cf. rotgut n.).

2. [1930s+] unpalatable drink or food; also fig. use.

guts and garbage (n.)

[late 18C–early 19C] a very fat person.


see separate entries.

gut-scraper (n.) [the violin’s catgut strings]

[early 18C+] a fiddle player, a violinist.

gut-shoot (v.)

[1930s+] (US) to shoot in the stomach.

gut-shot (adj.) (US)

1. [1970s+] wounded in the stomach.

2. [1980s+] in fig. use, deeply hurt.

gutstick (n.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.

gut-wagon (n.)

[late 19C+] (US) a truck or wagon that carries cattle carcasses.

gut-warmer (n.) (also gut-bracer)

[1940s+] (US) a strong alcoholic drink.

gut-wrench (n.)

[1940s+] (US) the penis.

In phrases

break someone’s guts (v.)

[1930s] (US prison) to beat a prisoner in order to break their will and spirit.

bust a gut (v.)

1. [late 17C+] (also bust one’s gut) to work very hard.

2. [1910s+] (US, also break a gut, split...) to be overcome with emotion, e.g. rage, delight etc.

3. [1920s+] (also blow one’s gut, bust..., rupture a gut, split...) to strain oneself (esp. by laughing).

4. [1940s] to beat someone up.

carry guts to a bear (v.) (also bring guts to a bear, carry guts after a bear, pack guts to a bear, tote...)

[mid-17C+] to perform an extremely distasteful or absolutely basic task, usu. implying inadequacy or stupidity; thus he’s not fit to..., he hasn’t enough/the brains to...

come one’s guts (v.)

[1930s–70s] to give information.

double-guts (n.)

1. [early 19C+] a very fat person.

2. [20C+] (US) one who can consume a large amount of food.

drop one’s guts (v.)

1. [1970s–80s] (N.Z. prison) to act in a cowardly manner; to back down.

2. [1990s+] to break wind.

eat one’s guts out (v.)

[1960s] to agonize.

flog one’s guts out (v.)

[1970s+] to work very hard, to make an extreme effort.

get one’s guts up (v.)

[1970s] (Aus.) to have sexual intercourse.

gut it (v.)

[1910s+] (US campus) to stay up all night working without any amphetamines for stimulation but purely through strength of will and character.

gut (it) out (v.)

[1960s+] (US) to be strong, tough, in the face of adversity.

gut plunge (on butch) (n.)

[1920s–30s] (US) scrounging for meat from a butcher’s shop by a tramp.

gut through (v.) [gut (it) out ]

[1970s+] (US) to endure courageously.

hate someone’s guts (v.) (also hate someone’s gizzard, ...hide, loathe someone’s guts)

[1920s+] to loathe, to detest.

have guts in one’s brains (v.)

[mid-17C–early 19C] to be sensible, to show some intelligence.

have someone’s guts for garters (v.) (also garter up someone’s stockings with their guts, give someone their guts for garters, have someone’s guts for a garter, ...suspenders, make garters of someone’s guts)

[late 16C; late 18C; 1930s+] to punish comprehensively, to hurt.

in guts gully

[20C+] (W.I.) in serious difficulties.

jump someone’s guts out (v.)

[mid-19C] (Aus.) to kick someone to death.

keep one’s guts (v.)

[late 19C+] to remain silent under questioning.

kick someone’s guts in (v.)

[mid-19C-1930s] to beat, to assault.

lose one’s guts (v.)

[1950s] to vomit.

more guts than a Bedford truck

[1990s+] (Aus.) used of a brave and admirable individual.

more guts than brains

[mid-18C–early 19C] a phr. said of someone who is foolish but determined in their stupidity.

my great guts are ready to eat my little ones

[late 18C–early 19C] I am very hungry.

my guts are potato chips

[1970s] (Aus.) I am absolutely terrified.

my guts chime twelve (also my guts cry cupboard, ...curse my teeth)

[late 18C–19C] I am very hungry.

plenty of guts but no bowels [SE bowels, ‘pity, compassion, feeling, “heart”’ (OED)]

[late 18C–early 19C] a phr. used of one who is tough and ruthless but lacks compassion.

pop a gut (v.)

1. [late 17C+] to work very hard.

2. [late 19C+] to laugh uproariously.

3. [1940s+] to be furious.

puff guts (n.)

[mid-17C–early 19C] a fat man.

scare the guts out of (v.)

[1950s] to terrify.

she has to cross her legs to keep her guts from falling out

[1960s] (US) used of a promiscuous or supposedly promiscuous woman.

shut one’s guts (v.)

[1950s+] (Aus.) to stop talking.

spill one’s guts (v.)

see under spill v.

sweat one’s guts out (v.) (also slave one’s guts out, slog..., slug..., run..., tear...)

[late 19C+] to work to one’s utmost; also attrib.

throw one’s guts (v.)

1. [1920s–60s] (US tramp) to inform.

2. [1930s+] (US) to vomit.

up in someone’s guts

[2000s] (US black) of a man, having sexual intercourse.

SE, meaning entrails, in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.