Green’s Dictionary of Slang

noise n.1

1. a complaint.

Wolverhampton Chron. 24 Jan. 3/4: [He] took the prisoner aside and asked him in slang terms if he had been passing a bad note, prisoner inquired if there was noise about it. and he (Colley) told him there was.
[Aus]J. Armour Diggings, the Bush, and Melbourne 19: The transaction was looked upon not as a robbery, but as a first-rate practical joke, marred only by the two jokers having to absent themselves [...] on account of ‘the noise’ the victim had made about it to the police.
[US]Mad mag. May–June 20: My life were better busted by their noise.

2. (UK Und.) a row.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor II 495/2: He’d always have a noise with mother when he came home.
[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 1 Sept. 7/3: Strikes me there’ll be a noise about this business [...] I shall make tracks to Hull to-day.

3. (US) chatter, gossip, empty, foolish talk.

[UK]Trial of Elizabeth Canning in Howell State Trials (1816) 555: Then this affair had made a great deal of noise in the country?—Yes, it had.
[UK]Thrale Thraliana ii 20 Feb. 758: Graves’s imitation of Swift & Arbuthnot is pretty in its way, but makes no Noise .
[Scot]J. Hogg Justified Sinner 250: [T]he judge’s sudden death made a great noise.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 236/1: A clever patterer [...] is very particular in his choice of a mate, frequently changing his ordinary partner, who may be good ‘at a noise’ or a ballad, but not have sufficient acuteness or intelligence to patter politics as if he undestood what he was speaking about.
[Scot]R.L. Stevenson Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde 10: [H]is eye lighted up with professional ambition. ‘This [i.e. a crime] will make a deal of noise,’ he said.
[US]Eugene Stratton ‘The Cane Brake Song’ 🎵 Shut yer noise, gals and boys, now mind I told yer plain.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Libelled Ladies’Sporting Times 20 June 1/3: Any lie will do to stop the old girl’s noise.
[US]E. O’Neill (The Web) in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 63: I wanted to give the noise time to blow over.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 94: Where do you get that Noise?
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 276: I [...] seen a young punk in puttees lookin’ for guys to pick oranges, and I thought hell with that noise.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 279: Dargan made nearly as much noise as when I made him shell out for those shares.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 83: I think it makes sense [...] I heard noises like that from the boys.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 130: I object to all this noise about Jorge Betancourt when he ain’t even here.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 93: The likes of them that care nothin’ for people but only for gettin’ up with a microphone there and makin’ a lot of damned noise.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 248: The girl was in tears, makin’ up a whole ’eap o’ noise.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 202: I’m tiredah ya noise — take a hike.
[UK]A. Wheatle Crongton Knights 13: ‘Delete your noise and listen up’.

4. (US) the world of the city (as opposed to the supposed quaintness of the countryside).

[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 251: He looked over the Correspondence and dictated a few Letters and got the Noise in his Ears and began to feel Good again. His Associates told him to clear out and play with the Deer.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Corkscrew’ Story Omnibus (1966) 221: ‘Living out here isn’t any different from dying in the big city.’ ‘How long have you been away from the noise?’ I asked her.

5. a (self-)important person.

[US]G.H. Lorimer Jack Spurlock 153: A lot of people are beginning to think that Teddy’s a mere noise [OED].
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Lonesome Camp’ in Ade’s Fables 260: Elam became the Loud Noise around a dinky Manufacturing Plant down by the Yards.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 52: Up to the time he closed his Desk every Day he was a Loud Noise.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Third Round 537: With the best will in the world you couldn’t call him a financial noise.

6. (US) fashion, popularity.

[US]B. Fisher Mutt & Jeff 21 Sept. [synd. strip] One of the new wide-brimmed English birds [i.e. hats] [...] Those are the real noise in London.
M. Williams Jazz Masters 14: ‘[T]he man who started the big noise in jazz was Buddy Bolden [...] I guess he deserves credit for starting it all.
B. Greco q. in Firestone Swing, Swing, Swing (1993) 354: ‘I was starting to make a lot of noise as a singer’.

7. (US) information, the know.

[US]C.G. Givens ‘Chatter of Guns’ in Sat. Eve. Post 13 Apr.; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 133: noise, n. Tip. Cf. blow-up.

8. (US/W.I.) serious trouble.

[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 185: He found out about it, and he was giving me all kinds of noise about it.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 7: What a kid [...] He probably was up some friend’s house. I’m gonna talk to him in the daytime. It’s too late to make noise now.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 286: She’d sulk an’ mek up noise.
[US]Source Aug. 48: He doesn’t really get into fights, but he’ll tell you what’s on his mind if you’re trying to bring that type of noise.

In derivatives

noisy (adj.)

(US) of clothes, showy, ‘loud’.

[US]H. Blossom Checkers 231: You’re [...] makin’ a swell front, with your noisy duds and plenty of money.

In compounds

noisebox (n.)

(W.I.) the voice.

[UK]A. Mendes ‘Afternoon in Trinidad’ in Lehmann Penguin New Writing No. 6 69: You carn’ keep your noise-box quiet, enh gerl?

In phrases

make a noise (v.)

(Aus.) to buy a round of drinks.

[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxvi 4/1: make a noise: Hit the kick, rattle the bin, buy a drink in turn.
make noises (v.)

to discuss, with the implication that one wishes to take some form of action.

[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 8: A lot of guys wouldn’t like you comin’ around making noises like you’re making.
[UK]New Scientist 22 June 718: General Electric and Alcoa, for example, are making noises about getting into city building.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 290: You was makin’ noise about wantin’ to help me out, so help me out nuh?!
real noise (n.)

(US) the height of fashion.

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 84: Golfing is the real noise in the eastern burgs at this season.

In exclamations

hold your noise! (also hold your din! ...row!)

shut up! stop talking!

[UK]Leeds Times 15 July 5/2: I heard him say [...] ‘Hold your din’.
[UK]Berks. Chron. 9 May 2/3: Hold your noise; he’s going to pay his poor-rates.
[UK]Thackeray Barry Lyndon (1905) 30: Hold your noise, Mick!
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 124: Hold your row, quiet you.
[UK]Leeds Times 27 Dec. 7/2: D—n you, hold your din, or else I’ll murder you.
[UK]Liverpool Dly Post 29 Sept. 3/2: He said, ‘No matter who I am; you hold your noise‘.
[UK]B. Hemyng Eton School Days 13: Hold your row, will you?
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 131/1: ‘’Aud th’ noiyse, wilt t’a? thau druckin kow,’ shouted Harriet.
[UK]R.D. Blackmore Lorna Doone (1923) 34: Hold your noise!
[UK]East London Obs. 11 Oct. 7/1: Armed with a long knife [he] said with an oath, ‘If you don’t hold your row, you will get this’.
[UK]Oxford Jrnl 23 Aug. 3/6: Dear Nursey-pursey [...] who, when I yell’d, cried ‘Hold your din’.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 18 May 3/2: Confound you, hold your noise.
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 68: Howd yer row, will yer?
[UK]D.C. Murray Rainbow Gold III 131: ‘Hold your noise!’ cried Aaron.
[UK]Burnley Exp. 6 Feb. 7/2: If you don’t hold your din, I will punce you.
[UK]Essex Newsman 13 Sept. 3/3: Hold your row, don’t be afraid.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 20 May 539: ‘You hold your row,’ growled Judd.
[UK]News of the World 7 Jan. 4/4: Mr. Williams told his wife to stop and she told him to ‘hold his noise or she would serve him the same’.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘Captain’s Defaulters’ in Naval Occasions 11: The Second-class Stoker [...] suddenly sniffled and was reproved in an under tone by the Master-at-Arms. ‘’Old yer row!’ said that dignitary.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 31 Mar. 3/2: Oh, hold your row, mother!
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 634: Howd thi noise, Sam!
[UK]A. Mendes ‘Afternoon in Trinidad’ in Lehmann Penguin New Writing No. 6 81: ‘Hol’ you noise, all you,’ Napoleon shouted.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 272: Hold your noise, Duchess.
[NZ]B. Mason Awatea (1978) 84: Hold your noise! You know nothing.
[UK]T. Wilkinson Down and Out 75: Hold your ruddy noise.
[UK]S. Armitage ‘D-notice’ in Dead Sea Poems 31: To hold my noise for ever, that / would be my pleasure.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

make a noise like... (v.) [the original (perfectly serious) use apparently came in Baden-Powell’s Scouting for Boys (1908), in which scouts in danger of detection are advised to take cover and ‘make a noise like a (say) thrush’, although cits. predate this; cit. 1910 refers to an incident in 1906 where Capt. Lyons emphasized the necessity of clear commands and overheard a private telling his friends, ‘make a noise like an officer’]

to pretend to be, usu. as an imper. command that is rendered humorous through its impossibility, e.g. go into the changing room and make a noise like a cricket bat (cf. make like (a)... v.).

[US]E.W. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 274: ‘Climb a tree, and make a noise like a nut,’ I says.
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. i: If you make a noise like a dollar-bill anywhere between the two Flatirons you’re liable to be the center of a raging mob.
[US]Ren Shields & J. Fred Helf [song title] Whoop! Whoop!! Whoop!!! Make a Noise Like a Hoop and Roll Away.
[US]Daily Trib. (Bismarck, ND) 12 Jan. 6/3: Captain Henry G. Lyon, U.S.A., was the innocent cause of the slang expression about ‘making a noise like’ this or that.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 144: ‘They’ve been following me for an hour [...]’ ‘Maybe you’ve been makin’ a noise like a wienerwurst.’.
[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 296: Suffish. Make a noise like a hoop and roll away!
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 366: Couldn’t you just make a noise like a hoop an’ roll away?
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 289: I make a noise like an ant’s egg and drop them [i.e. goldfish] in the sink every morning.
[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 11/2: Make a noise like a trunk – Express yourself.
[US]C.W. Willemse A Cop Remembers 84: Just make a noise like a fish but keep your eyes open.

In exclamations

fuck that noise! [fig. use of fuck v.]

(US) forget it! rubbish! what a bore!

[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 233: The Mid-fuckin’-west. Cows and hillbillies. Fuck that noise.
Les Visible Dark Splendour 178: Once again, Douglas, fuck that noise. I’ve got reason to believe that you’re wrong.