1. (US) a vermin-infested lodging house (latterly hotel).
|Swell’s Night Guide 68: Vhy, thunder me groggy! if any trav’ler gets rest there – why it is a reglar bug trap.|
|Five Years before the Mast 29: ‘We can safely say, [...] we have slept in a big-bug bed!’ ‘Yes! replied he laughing, ‘and lodged in a big-bug house, too.’.|
|Coconino Sun (Flagtaff, AZ) 11 Dec. 3/1: We don’t say bughouse in Boston; it isn’t elegant. We say beetle-garage.|
|Tropic of Cancer (1963) 127: ‘This is a bughouse,’ says Van Norden.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Down Among the Meths Men 60: You could see as well as hear the fattened lice as they moved up the wallpaper in these bug-joints.|
|(con. 1950s–60s) in Little Legs 65: I don’t want to stay in this poxy bughouse.|
2. a hospital, esp. a lunatic asylum; thus bughouse fable, an exaggerated story; bug ward, bughouse ward, a psychiatric ward; thus bughouser, an asylum inmate, a mad person.
|Barkeep Stories 17: ‘[D]en I t’ink he’s a mark dat’s broke out o’ some bughouse. He was de wildes’ lookin’ guy ever I see’.|
|Sandburrs 243: I ought to give myself up to d’ p’lice [...] an’ ast ’em to put me in Bloomin’dale or some other bug house.‘Skinny Mike’s Unwisdom’ in|
|Songs of a Sourdough 13: It put me queer, and for near a year I never drew sober breath, / Till I found myself in the bughouse ward with a claim staked out on death.‘The Parson’s Son’ in|
|Old Man Curry 59: If Old Man Curry is a fool, there’s an awful lot of wise people locked up in the bug houses.‘Playing Even with Obadiah’ in|
|Lingo of No Man’s Lnd 18: BUG HOUSE Shell-shock hospital; also used to refer to a dug-out or to flea-pots.|
|Chicago May (1929) 186: If a prisoner would complain to the visiting magistrates about abuses in the prison, she was doomed to a ride to the bug-house.|
|‘Concentratin’ on You’ [lyrics] Now since your spell is over me, / Boy, I’m bughouse bound!|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 285: ‘Bug House Fable Number 999,’ said Young Rocky.Young Manhood in|
|Tropic of Cancer (1963) 296: The chateau, they called it. A polite way of saying ‘the bughouse’.|
|End as a Man (1952) 138: Who cares whether you’re free or locked in a bug-house? You’re crazy.|
|Alcoholics (1993) 7: Any other guy [...] would be in the bughouse or Alcatraz.|
|Sweet Thursday (1955) 67: If there’s a bughouser within miles he’s drawn to me.|
|Sisters of the Night 69: She wound up in the bughouse after taking some pills.|
|Proud Highway (1997) 396: It also rekindled my interest in a subject I’ve been avoiding – namely, that of plunging once again into the Latin bughouse.letter 9 Sept. in|
|Carlito’s Way 140: I could get sent to the federal bughouse.|
|Go-Boy! 885: You’re not getting me on some bug ward so you can stick some wires in my head.|
|House of Slammers 77: Ol’ Bru goes a little off once in a while [...] He’s done been down to th’ bughouse [...] maybe four times.|
|Guardian Rev. 15 Jan. 1: A real-life teenager fresh from the bughouse.|
3. attrib. use of sense 2.
|Mr Dooley’s Chicago (1977) 243: ‘So are we,’ says th’ bughouse people.in Schaaf|
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 51: Mutt won a couple of million more in bughouse money yesterday. The odds he gets in the daffy joint are something fierce.|
4. (US) the brain.
|Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum Introd. n.p.: The better known modern synonym for brain, ‘bug-house’.|
5. (US) nonsense, rubbish.
|DN III:i 72: bug-house, n. Nonsense, bosh. ‘O bug-house, I don’t believe you.’.‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in|
|Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 50: Then it’s plain ‘bughouse,’ no use talking.|
6. an eccentric; a psychotic.
|Side-stepping with Shorty 26: If a Lady Bughouse has strayed in here, we got to shoo her out as quiet as possible.|
|Torchy 267: A flyer! Say, every bughouse in the country is at work on one of them.|
|Way Home (2009) 51: Lawrence Newhouse, who some called Bughouse [...] not considered dangerous unless he was off his meds.|
7. (US) a prison.
|[||Lives of indian Officers II 167: A poor wretch, confined without food for three days and nights in the Bughouse, an infernal hole used for severe imprisonment].|
|Day Book (Chicago) 10 Nov. 26/2: I don’t want ’em to send me back to that hell-hole at Joliet or to any bughouse.|
|Keys to Crookdom 414: Prison. [...] bughouse.|
|Sister of the Road (1975) 7: Police and pinches, jails, bughouses, and joints seem to have been always a part of my life.|
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 11 July 21/1: Bolling [...] who stabbed Marchand [...] of the Apollo theatre a few weeks ago, will face a grand jury. He may be sent to the bug-house as an over-due guest.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
8. (orig. S.Afr.) a run-down, dirty, third-rate cinema.
|Inside Mr Enderby in Complete Enderby (2002) 161: Here was the authentic fleapit [...] eptiome of every bughouse that Enderby had, as a child, queued outside.|
|N.Z. Jack 164: ‘How about coming to the pictures with me tonight.’ [...] ‘All right if I see you outside the bughouse at a quarter to eight?’.|
|Bastards I Have Known 48: The Bughouse was where all the courting was done and the romantic melodramas that came on the big screen were being acted out.|
|Yes We have No 116: There was a picture house right on Granby Street. We called it the Bughouse, and that was what it was, flea-ridden.|
|Big Ask 108: He snuck into some bughouse screening a midnight-to-dawn Star Trek marathon.|
|(con. 1930s)Pie & Mash 71: For ted it’s tickets to the Saturday morning tupenny rush at the Ritz (also known as the bughouse).|
9. any place that drives one crazy.
|Iceman Cometh Act I: Be God, this bughouse will drive me stark, raving loony yet!|