Green’s Dictionary of Slang

boiler n.1

[the steam or smoke that they all produce]

1. (US) the stomach; cite 1986 refers to the womb.

[UK]A. Binstead Gal’s Gossip 148: He spoke of one favour — well I recollect — / Oh, would I ‘pour a drink into his boiler,’ / He was so dry.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Dec. 34/1: Yessir. An’ my mate, ’earing of this, give me a – a coupon, you know, sir – one o’ those little books with a picture of a bloke with ’is bilers showin’, an’ tellin’ ye what time the stars rise, an’ stories about people what ’ad bin to see Dr. Porrson, an’ ’e saved their lives.
[UK]E. North Nobody Stops Me 182: And I was thirsty. I could have drunk the Yarra till it stopped running. [...] When I’d taken enough in to fill my boilers, I got my eyes open again.
[US]J. Bouton Ball Four (1981) 271: Boiler, as in ‘he’s got a bad boiler,’ or upset stomach.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 44: She’s too young dava bub. Should’ve adder boiler scraped when she adder chance.

2. (US) a (straw) hat.

[UK]T.B. Reed Fifth Form at St Dominic’s (1890) 110: The Fifth appeared next day in their ordinary ‘boilers,’ and the dignity of the monitors was vindicated.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 21 May [synd. cartoon] Indoor Sports — Trying to Get Away with Last Year’s Straw Kelly [...] He just got that last year’s boiler from the cleaner.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 19 May [synd. cartoon] Helping a Friend Buy a Hat [...] It’s a bear, Frank. You look right in that boiler.
[UK]M. Marples (ref. to mid-late 19C) Public School Slang 96: A boy may no longer refer to his tile or his go-to-meeting roof (=best hat), like the characters in ‘Tom Brown’s Schooldays,’ nor yet to boilers and chimney-pots, like those in ‘The Fifth Form at St Dominic’s’.

3. (US) an automobile.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 24 Apr. [synd. cartoon] ‘Riko the milionaire clam king would rather ride in that car than a $10,000 one.’ ‘I wouldn’t be found dead in that old boiler’.
[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 77: That’s what he calls this boiler.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Fly Paper’ Story Omnibus (1966) 56: I had picked up a boiler and parked it over on Turk Street.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Crash on Delivery’ in Flying Aces Nov. 🌐 The brakes of the Yankee boiler were none too good.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Alibi Bye’ in Popular Detective June 🌐 We ride home in the new boiler, honey.
H. Ellison Rites of Death n.p.: We’re still talking when this boiler screeches up and stops on a dime.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 791: boiler – An automobile.
[Can]W. Denton Twists, Slugs and Roscoes 🌐 Why get in a car when you can hop in a boiler? Why tell someone to shut up when you can tell them to close their head? Why threaten to discharge a firearm when you can say, ‘Dust, pal, or I pump lead!’.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad.

4. (US Und.) an illegal still or its minder.

[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/3: Here are a few more terms and definitions from the ‘Racket’ vocabulary: [...] ‘boiler,’ a still.
[US] ‘Und. “Lingo” Brought Up-to-Date’ L.A. Times 8 Nov. K3: BOILER: Moonshine still.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.

5. (US drugs) a spoon used to heat the mixture of water and powdered narcotic prior to an injection.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Boiler, spoon used by morphine addicts to dilute and warm the drug before injection.

6. (Aus. prison) any form of home-made device used to heat water.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 31/2: Boiler. 1. (P) A small contraband electric stove, usually built into a pocket-size tobacco can and concealed in a book with the center of the pages cut out.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Boiler. A home-made implement usually comprising two razor blades separated by matches used for boiling water. This practice is illegal because dangerous voltage fluctuations occur. Kits of this sort appear to have wide usage. In New Zealand they are referred to as ‘bombs’.

7. (US) a tobacco pipe.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

In phrases

SE in slang uses

In compounds

boiler acid (n.) (also boiler compound)

(US) extremely unpleasant tasting coffee.

[US]Bayler & Carnes Last Man Off Wake Island 120: Our volunteer pot-walloper heated up the remainder of last night’s coffee or ‘boiler compound,’ as it was more commonly known.
[US]‘Tom Pendleton’ Iron Orchard (1967) 93: Let’s go to the fire and take on a little more of Charley’s boiler acid.
boilermaker (n.) [? the preferred drink of a SE boiler-maker, or strong enough to clean a boiler]

1. a 50/50 mix of mild and brown ale.

[UK]A. Burgess 1985 (1980) 149: Just one more and make it a boilermaker.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 111/1: since ca. 1920.

2. (US, also boilermaker’s delight, ...helper) beer with a whisky (occas. rum) chaser, the US working man’s trad. drink [subseq. use is SE].

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 24/2: BOILERMAKERS DELIGHT. Rotgut whiskey; any moonshine.
[US]Weseen Dict. Amer. Sl. 273: [Drinking] Boilermaker’s delight – Poor whiskey, moonshine.
[US](con. early 19C) A.J. Liebling ‘The University of Eighth Avenue’ in A Neutral Corner (1990) 35: The present notion is that a beer chaser, or boilermaker’s helper, accelerates intoxication.
[US]B. Appel Tough Guy [ebook] Clip was drinking boilermakers, a shot of rye washed down with a beer.
[US]Kerouac in Charters II (1999) 381: On July 18, 1964, a reporter from Newsday described a visit to Kerouac’s home in Northport, where Jack sipped boilermakers.
[US]‘Philip Barrows’ Whores, Queers & Others I [ebook] All we could do was sit around the fireplace playing cards and drinking beer-and-rum boilermakers.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 129: They ate all the ribs they could hold, washed down with boilermakers.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 20: He will drink mug after mug of beer with shots of whiskey or schnapps — boilermakers.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 20: Places that open at six, to take care of that wake-up boilermaker crowd.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 280: I would join my fellow thieves at a bar, where would all down boilermakers and swap tall cabbie stories till dawn.
boiler-room (n.) (also boiler shop)

(US) any room full of noisy, energetic activity, e.g. a political campaign headquarters, a newspaper cityroom, a room used by illegal bookmakers, stock swindlers or confidence tricksters.

[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 220: boiler shop — Office for sale of fake securities.
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 19 Feb. 28/2: The ‘dynamiter’ may use a [...] ‘boiler room,’ in which a group of salesmen work by telephone, disregarding expense of long distance talks and probably settling bills every day.
[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 10: He’d run a boiler room all day, bossing a bunch of phone men.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 113: This looks like a boiler room.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 21: Boiler Room High pressure phone selling office.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 99: Kipper Garth’s law practice was, in essence, a high-class boiler room.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 295: Boca raton supposedly had more telephone boiler rooms than calcutta.

In phrases

burst one’s boiler (v.) (also bust one’s boiler) [fig. uses of SE] (orig. US)

1. as an expression of astonishment.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 76: ‘What!’ thought she; ‘make it all right with the chanter? She doss with him? Bust her precious boiler!’.

2. to come to grief, to get into trouble, e.g. financially.

[US]Owl (NY) 10 July n.p.: J.G.M. [i.e. a merchant] has burst his boiler not less than three times [...] by sailing upon the high-pressure principle.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Sept. 14 n.p.: [of a financial collapse] It is reported that Mr. ‘Red Flannel Drawers’ is about ‘bursting his boiler’ [...] But what will the Creditors say?
John o’Groat Jrnl 16 Sept. 4/6: The Rev. Mr Kirk is preaching from six to fourteen sermons per week in Boston. If he goes ahead at this rate he will burfst his boiler.
Northern Whig (Antrim) 18 June 4/4: Bendizzy was rather going it and some expressed a hint that he would burst his boiler.
[US]T. Haliburton Season Ticket 282: His heart has been bleeding without stopping for thirty years [...] It would have burst its boiler long ago, if that large safety-valve hadn’t been fixed in him.
[US]‘Johnny Cross’ ‘Jolly Sam Johnson’ in Orig. Pontoon Songster 15: The Italian from Wexford, she busted her biler.
[US]E.S. Ellis Huge Hunter in Beadles Half Dime Library XI:271 3/1: I thought she had upset or bu’sted her b’iler!

3. to lose one’s temper.

[US]W.A. Caruthers Kentuckian in N.Y. II 207: A man must let off a little of the extra steam, you know, or he would burst his biler.
[US]Burlington free Press (VT) 10 Feb. 2/5: The epithets used in the following apostrophe which we have consented to publish, lest the wirter, whose steam [...] is pretty well up, should burst his boiler.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 16 Sept. 4/4: The person he was evidently seeking a quarrel with was a doctor, who [...] had been on the ‘pynt of bursting his byler’ ever since this worthy ‘began to carry on’.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 306: Now don’t you get in a rage and burst your boiler.
Scaramento Dly Record (CA) 7 July 6/2: Temper is of itself a good thing. It’s ths steam in your boiler [...] the stuff that gives you snap, crackle and sparkle. But when we let it run away with us [...] then ‘the boiler bursts’.

4. to cause trouble for.

[US] ‘Get Out Of The Way!’ in Littell Clay Minstrel (1844) 176: We’ll head him soon or burst his boiler.

5. (also burst one’s boilers, burst the boiler) to overexert oneself physically.

[US]S. Smith Major Downing (1834) 196: We’ve had a kind of a hurly burly time [...] I did n’t know but we should burst the biler one spell.
[US]D. Crockett Narrative of the Life of D.C. (1934) 18: Here I waited until the old gentleman passed by, puffing and blowing, as tho’ his steam was high enough to burst his boilers.
[UK]Leeds Times 21 May 6/6: The Rev. Mr Kirk is preached from six to fourteen sermons per week in Boston. If he goes ahead at this rate he will burst his boiler.
[US] ‘Jack Lannigan’s Wake’ in I. Beadle Comic and Sentimental Song Bk 58: Teddy the tiler ’most bursted his biler.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Mar. 8/4: I nearly bust me blessed biler a luggin’ up this ’ere perambylatur and these duds for Johnnie, and parygoric for baby, and ’eaven knows what else.
[UK]Taunton Courier 29 Aug. 2/6: Have you seen old Farmer Giles, / Arm in arm with Polly Strong, / He looks as if he is going to burst his boiler, / He can hardly walk along.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘A Great Day’ in A Man And His Wife (1944) 26: Pull her round a bit with the left, Fred said. And there’s no need to bust your boiler.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 40: bust your boiler Collapse from over-exertion.

6. (also burst the boiler) to lose emotional control.

[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! I 193: Mrs. Judith would have undoubtedly burst the boiler of her curiosity, and exploded into scalding steam instead of tears.
W.C. Hall ‘Mike Hooter’s Bar Story’ in Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 26: I lay down an’ rolled an’ laughed sorter easy to myself, ’til I was so full I thought I should er bust my biler!
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘At the Tug-of-War’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 114: I thought he’s burst his boiler then, a-cheering for his boy.
[UK]G. Blake Shipbuilders (1954) 182: He roared like any happy boy, slapping his knee, [...] crying repeatedly: ‘Christ! I’ll bust my boiler if he doesna’ stop.’.