Green’s Dictionary of Slang

blow-out n.1

1. (US) a brawl, a noisy argument.

[US]J.K. Paulding John Bull in America 198: We had a blow out here last Sunday.
[US]J.C. Neal Charcoal Sketches (1865) 165: He has a prompt alacrity at a ‘blow-out’ and has been skyed in a ‘blow-up,’ two varieties of blow which frequently follow each other so closely as to be taken for cause and effect.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) 33: ‘Falling out,’ however, would be much less dangerous than ‘falling in,’ and there is some little difference between a ‘blow up’ and a ‘blow out,’ as you and I happen to know to our cost.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. V 65: Then I’m mighty sorry – ha’n’t had no muss, ’cept a little blow out last night, for ever so long.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan , 1936 198: His father and mother were having a big blowout.
[US]Archie Seale Man About Harlem 29 Aug. [synd. col.] [of a boxing match] Why was John Henry Lewis [...] present at the Louis-Sharkey blowout igged.
[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 290: I went along with this rush, really needing some such thing now because of my blowout with Simon.

2. (also blow) a binge of eating, drinking and debauchery, in weaker senses a party or dinner; also drug-taking; also fig. use.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 54: A blow out may likewise be found as savory and as high scented at Mother O’Shaughnessy’s in the back settlements of the Holy Land.
[UK] ‘Chummies’ Societys Feast’ in Fun Alive O! 54: D’ye hear, have a jolly blow out, / To make up for tomorrow and yesterday.
[UK] ‘Tear Duff Billy’ in Ri-tum Ti-tum Songster 18: Do as I have done, / Have a good blow out of mutton.
[Aus]True Colonist (Hobart, Tas.) 21 Apr. 585/3: ‘I can give a very capital blow out, and you have good cause to recollect the last claret you drank at my home’.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 11 Feb. 3/3: His Excellency entertained the [...] Mayor and Alderman to dinner [...] Sat wishes to know how the parties behaved themselves — and whether there was a good blow-out.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 76: And it’s a saxpence we’ve got, and a bloody good blow-out we’ll have uv it.
[UK]Sam Sly 24 Mar. 4/1: [H]e had a prime supper last night of roast fowl and pickled pork, and was devilish sorry he could not eat the bones, as he liked a good blow out.
[US]C.L. Canfield Diary of a Forty-Niner (1906) 74: He said he did not feel like having a stag blowout.
[US]N.Y. Clipper 30 July 3/2: Who's the next to feed the press. Hurry up—no time to lose—a good puff for a free blow.
[UK] ‘Have You Seen the Emperor’ in Henderson Victorian Street Ballads 1937 147: Such a lot of fried liver and bacon, / And they had a jolly blow out.
[Ind]G.F. Atkinson Curry & Rice (3 edn) n.p.: Thus have we conspired with the good Mrs. Byle in the inauguration ‘blow-out’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Night in a Workhouse 20: I’ve had some rum. Two glasses of it; and a blow out of puddin’ – regler Christmas plum puddin’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 26 Oct. n.p.: She means to have a greater blow-out than when she coupled with Tommy Murphy.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 12 Mar. 88/1: She alludes to meals as a ‘feed,’ and I think I once heard her speak of a dinner as a ‘blow-out,’ and a supper as a ‘tightener’.
[US]L.H. Bagg Four Years at Yale 43: Blow-out, a supper, spread, convivial entertainment, especially a society celebration.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 235: Once we had a rare blow-out at some swell’s place at Aigburth.
[US] in M. Lewis Mining Frontier (1967) 129: The old gent invited all the neighbors and killed the fatted calf, and gave the biggest blowout the camp had ever seed.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 9/1: [He] was mistaken by the landlord for the eccentric and masquerading Count Ridolfi […] The ‘vittles’ were too good for him to remedy the mistake – at all events before he got a substantial ‘blow-out.’.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) IX 1741: I’ll have a good blow out before the public’s closed.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 27 May 1/7: A ‘retired Australian’ recently gave a ‘big blow out’ [...] on the occasion of his eldest daughter’s birthday.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 149: ‘[H]e wants to take me acrost de lake dat ev’nin’ to annoder hotel w’ere dere was goin’ to be a blow-out’.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 6 Nov. 90: I’ve never had such a blow-out of lobsters before in my life.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 252: One of these fresh-air blow-outs that always seem like an invitation for trouble.
[Can]R. Service ‘New Year’s Eve’ in Songs of a Sourdough 43: It’s fine to have a blow-out in a fancy restaurant, / With terrapin and canvas-back and all the wine you want.
[US]‘Lord Ballyrot in Slangland’ in Tacoma Times (WA) 10 July 4/4: Every guy what gets into the blow-out has to doll up.
[UK]A. Brazil Patriotic Schoolgirl 126: I meant to give you a regular blow-out, so far as the rationing order would allow us.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ Long Trick 48: ‘[I] stood him a blow-out at the tuck-shop’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Enter Previous’ in Roderick (1972) 883: The gent bloke ketches the Dartmoor cove [...] an’ gives him a blow-out of bread and milk, an’ cold turkey, an’ a bottle o’ wine.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 122: Entertainments open house. Big blow out.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 210: What I always say ... there isn’t a hash house in the sou’-wst ... where you can get a blow out like you can here.
D. Burley Chicago Defender 7 Dec. 17: The birthday blowout for John Sengstacke.
[UK]E. Garnett Family from One End Street 167: How about a Regular Blow Out in a Posh Tea shop – does that appeal to any of you?
[US]A. Kober Parm Me 121: My goodness, a regella blowout she got here.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 143: A Good Blow-out for Twopence.
[UK]C. MacInnes Mr Love and Justice (1964) 42: Frankie wasn’t greedy about money and only felt the urgent need of it for explosive blow-outs when ashore in port.
[UK]Observer Mag. 24 Feb. 14: My life alternated between blow-outs and diets.
[NZ]J. Charles Black Billy Tea 32: I’ve been out here a year, / No races, girls or beer, / And I think it’s time I took a real good blow!
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 244: We decided it’d be best to first purge ourselves of all temptation with one last big blowout [...] both of us being longtime veterans of the pipe.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 16 Aug. 3: A junk-food blow-out.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan , 1936 445: It might be a good idea to get all the boys together, and have a blowout party.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 379: I’d bought a bottle of brandy for the occasion, and poured everyone a shot after the blow-out dinner.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 189: Sunday dinner was always something really special. Their one blow-out meal.

4. a party.

[Scot]W. Scott St Ronan’s Well (1833) 376: ‘She sent me a card for her blow-out,’ said Mowbray, ‘and so I am resolved to go.’.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 58: In a very short time, by his blows-out and his bachelorship [...] he became the very glass of fashion. [Ibid.] II 265: There’s some swell cove of a lord gives a blow-out to-day.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 23 Apr. n.p.: The landlord retires on the 1st of May. So he thought he would have a blow out.
[Aus]Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: If asked to an evening party, it is a ‘loose’, a ‘blowout’.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home 327: Come right along, friends [...] This is a free blow-out.
[US]K.S. Bonner Dialect Tales 151: When they has a blow-out they kind o’ jines together, and makes the feathers fly.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 371: Why didn’t the tenantry have a blow-out, and fireworks, and all the rest of it.
[US]Albuquerque Eve. Citizen (NM) 20 Nov. 5/3: The big blowout at the Driscoll red-light joint [...] held last Saturday has caused a big stir.
[US]A. Adams ‘In the Hands of His Friends’ in Cattle Brands 🌐 Jack and his bride must have a blow-out right.
[US]Van Loan ‘Pearl Brooch’ in Taking the Count 252: Some fellow is sick or dead [...] and his lodge is giving a blow-out to get some coin.
[US]M. Levin Reporter 371: Blowouts and wild parties that table had served.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Brain Goes Home’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 225: A blow out of some kind is going on there.
[US]M. Horowitz ‘Sl. of the American Paratrooper’ in AS XXIII:3/4 319: blowout. Celebration.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 139: I remember one blowout [...] wild, Doc, real wild.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 135: How would you like to [...] go to a fancy blowout with me?
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 115: The Shlimhoff blow-out.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 1: blow out – big party.
[UK]Guardian Guide 10–16 July 29: Booty-shaking blowout.

5. a good time, an exciting event.

[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 584: A blow-out is here, as in England, a great demonstration.
[US]E.W. Townsend Chimmie Fadden 83: De clerk had mistook her for one of dem forn queens what was going t’ Chicago, where dey is having a big blowout for Columbus.
[US]Times Dispatch (Richmond, VA) 10 Mar. 53/4: ‘This blowout to-night [...] will get in the Boston [...] and New York papers’.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 119: When I was a kid it was my big blow-out of the year [...] like Christmas Day and all that piffle!
Dan Burley ‘Dan Burley’s Clothesline’ 22 Oct. [synd. col.] Sunday went down strong with three major blowouts drawing the folks.
[US]G. Tate ‘GOP Throws a Mammy-Jammy’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 99: The Republicans were putting on a rhythm-and-blues blowout for the inaugural.

6. (Aus./US) expenditure.

[US]G.P. Pelecanos Firing Offense 19: That bitch Fein called [...] ‘Said we’ve got to stop using the word sale in the head of our ads if we’re not lowering our everyday prices.’ ‘So I’ll call this next ad a blowout.’ ‘Perfect’.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) 28 Jan. 🌐 It seems that Wigan went down to the local cash converters and pawned everything they owned [...] If the club’s prepared for that big a blowout, it would be selfish of Wendell not to get in for his chop while the money lasts.

7. an organized dance, held in a dancehall and frequented by lower-class young people.

[US]I.L. Allen City in Sl. (1995) 67: In the slang of the day, these affairs were called rackets, blow outs, or hops.

8. (US prison) a riot.

[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 178: After the ‘blowouts’ they get more Chicano teachers.