Green’s Dictionary of Slang

blab v.

[blab n.]

1. to talk; thus blab it out, to hurry and finish talking.

[UK]T. Ingelend Disobedient Child Biiii: Make hast Blaunche Blabbe it out, and come a waye.
[UK]‘I.T.’ Grim The Collier of Croydon I iv: I will not blab unto the World.
[UK]Lyly Mother Bombie II iv: I blabd nothing of the marriage.
[UK]Look About You viii: If she be displeased at any news I bring, it’s more than I must blab.
[UK]Jonson Silent Woman IV i: All blabbing is taken away, when shee comes to be a part of the crime.
[UK]Dekker Welsh Embassador I i: Hange padlocks best on yor owne lipps, you and Voltimar should you blabb all, this can outface you both.
[UK]F. Quarles Divine Fancies 146: My Pleasures, that so much inflame / My Thoughts will blabb how full of sores I am.
[UK]T. Heywood Love’s Mistress V i: I am soul-vext, that any mortal eye should see our Customs, and [...] blab them to the wide ear of the world.
[UK]Witts Recreations Epigram No. 187: Children fondly blab truth, and fools their brothers.
[UK]Vanbrugh Confederacy II ii: I wish my old hobbling Mother han’t been blabbing something here she shou’d not do.
[UK]R. Wodrow Analecta II (1842) 380: A woman who had been employed [...] to sweep the room and stairs, and put on fires, had blabbed out her being present in the room when the Earl of Leicester and the Princess were in bed together.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 20 Apr. 6/2: For upon this Quarrel Partridge to be revenged on Herrington, had blab’d something of the Secret, and afterwards gave a large Information of a great many others.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 327: If he should order mutton, don’t blab out that we have none.
[UK]Last Act in New British Theatre I iii: Blab all over the village.
[UK]D. Roberts Sequel to Military Adventures of Johnny Newcome II 125: Urged by vanity, he can’t be mute, And blabs to shew he’s clever and acute.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 76: ‘If so be as you von’t blab, I’ll tell you a bit of a secret.’.
[US]S. Smith Major Downing (1834) 125: It’s like as not, the newspapers ’ll blab it out.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 120: I hope you have not blabbed much about our affairs.
[UK]D. Jerrold Heart of Gold Act I: You’ve not gossipped – blabbed?
[UK] ‘New Political & Reform Alphabet’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 83: And blab not of the ill-gotten spoil.
[US]G.G. Hart E.C.B. Susan Jane 8: That Mizzen there is sure to blab.
[US]H. Frederic Seth’s Brother’s Wife 321: I ain’t much of a han’ to blab everythin’.
[UK]E. Pugh Street in Suburbia 39: What do you want to go an’ blab it out like that for?
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 15 June 583: The tortoise cannot blab.
[Ire]J.M. Synge Playboy of the Western World Act I: Don’t tell your father and the men is coming above; for if they heard that story they’d have great blabbing this night at the wake.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 5 Mar. 8/1: He blabs it all out to Maria how he killed the foreman.
[US]C. Sandburg ‘To a Contemporary Bunkshooter’ Chicago Poems n.p.: You come along squirting words at us [...] always blabbing we’re all going to hell straight off and you know all about it.
[UK]A. Christie Secret Adversary (1955) 19: Who’s been blabbing? Rita?
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 126: He hoped that O’Brien and Mulroney wouldn’t blab out their wise jokes that weren’t funny.
[US]W. Smitter F.O.B. Detroit 233: I’ll tell you something, if you’ll keep your mouth shut, don’t blab it around.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 142: I don’t want to go on blabbing this.
[US]A. King Mine Enemy Grows Older (1959) 80: I suppose Irving had blabbed to them about my job.
[UK]P. Theroux Murder in Mount Holly (1999) 53: So we sit here blabbing about it [...] Why don’t we do something about it?
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 15: ‘It is strictly confidential’ she blabbed.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 284: Blabbing desperate, boastful nonsense about your work.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 12: Don’t go blabbin’ y’fuckin head off.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 124: Ah remembur this mot blabbin on abou’ fuckin Noraid an shite.

2. (also blab out) to inform.

[UK]Stanyhurst Of Virgil his Æneis II: To scorne theyre persons, to blab theyre secrecy priuat.
[UK]Jeronimo (1605) Fii: reueng: No, youle blab secrets then and: By Charons boat. I will not.
[UK]Nashe Praise of the Red Herring 70: A secret that all Tapsters will curse mee for blabbing.
[UK]Machin & Markham Dumbe Knight I i: His eie steales to my heart, and lets it see More than it would, peace, blab no secrecie.
[UK]Rowley Shoo-maker, a Gentleman Act IV: Oh my good dame, I to your eares must now unlocke A secret, which if ere you blab abroad...
[UK]Mercurius Democritus 5-12 Oct. 607: Her Mother [...] calling her base foolish Slutt, that could not be content to make her Husband a Cuckold [...] but that must blab and tell him of it.
[UK] ‘De Vino & Venere’ in Ebsworth Westminster Drolleries (1875) 71: Blind Love will blab what he in secret did.
[UK]J. Crowne Married Beau V i: He has been blabbing: he has told my Master.
[UK]Farquhar Love and a Bottle II i: It must be as private as Devotion. No blabbing, unless a squalling Brat peeps out to tell Tales.
[UK]Bailey (trans.) Erasmus’ Colloquies 198: If you should blab it out [...] I should lose a great many good Cullies.
[UK]Smollett Reprisal I viii: One of the foolish fellows has blabbed that Miss Harriet is not your sister, but your mistress.
[UK]G. Stevens ‘Mum’ Songs Comic and Satyrical 220: Ye Gossips who blab out the secrets of State.
[UK]H. Cowley Belle’s Stratagem III iii: I am sure I would not blab.
[UK]Sporting Mag. May VI 114/2: And, old Quibus come down for’t, or damme I’ll blab.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie I iv: marcellus: What news? – What said the Ghost? hamlet: You’ll blab. marcellus: Not I.
[WI]M. Lewis 1 May in Journal of a West India Proprietor (1834) 400: The child was sent by her mistress [...] to hide some stolen ducks upon a distant property, and on her return blabbed out the errand.
[UK]W. Combe Doctor Syntax, Consolation (1868) 140/1: This same Muse, a tell-tale drab, / On a past page has dar’d to blab.
[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! II 155: Come, sit down here, and we’ll have a talk; a little piece of secret biography, for there’s nobody to blab here.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. IV 14: She’ll blab to the old man.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 68: Do you think he’ll blab if he’s caught?
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 383/1: There was never any blabbing. We wouldn’t do one another out of a farthing.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 151: I mean to know whether she’ll blab, or keep her mouth shut.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Mohawks III 93: I believed in his discretion [...] now he has begun to blab to that silly wife of his, my confidence is destroyed for ever.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 266: Jim and I and Starlight were not likely to blab.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 20 Nov. 123: How hard the temptation to blab what he knew.
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 118: ‘Did the fellow blab – or what?’ I asked.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 27 Jan. 1/1: Quack and Co. threaten the [...] patients with exposure if they blab to the hospital authorities.
[UK]J. Buchan Thirty-Nine Steps (1930) 35: I’ll see that nobody blabs.
[US]Van Vechten Nigger Heaven 183: They won’t blab on you.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 22: Oscar was accused of that worst of all offences in Civil Service — Blabbing.
[UK]K. Amis letter 25 Aug. in Leader (2000) 184: I have just done a ’phone call to Caton: ‘just stops them, what?’ But I won’t blab until the job is completed.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 14: Who’s going to go blabbing to that bunch of striped-pants bums?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 39: Ah don want him blabbin’ tu Papa.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 195: He was blabbing all sorts of horribly incriminating things.
[UK]Flame: a Life on the Game 140: I couldn’t prove to anyone that it wasn’t me who had blabbed to the police.
[Ire]R. Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 160: My ma saw us and she blabbed to my da.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 11 Feb. 5: DiCaprio is exiled from the community for having blabbed about its existence to other backpackers on the outside.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 237: It’s that son of yours. Blabbing his arse off in court like he owned the place.

3. to confess, to tell about.

[UK]Lyly Pappe with an Hatchet B2: Ile blabb all, and not stick to tell, that pews and stews are rime in their religion.
[UK]C. Cotton Scoffer Scoff’d (1765) 171: I a Secret will not blab.
[UK] ‘West-Country Wooing’ in Ebsworth Roxburghe Ballads (1891) VII:2 253: Young-men are apt to blab what’s done in private.
[UK]Cleland Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1985) 84: He never gave me the least reason to complain [...] of his indisretion in blabing.
[UK]Foote Knights in Works (1799) I 80: You have not blabbed, Jenny?
[UK]Foote Patron in Works (1799) I 358: The giddy baggage will blab all.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ A Dict. of the Turf, The Ring, The Chase, etc. 11: Blab—to let out a secret.
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) II 159: I have only to blab, and his business is settled.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 6: Blab, to – to nose, to chatter, to tell secrets.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 142: If he means to blab us among his new friends, we may stop his mouth yet.
[UK]Leicester Chron. 21 June 12/1: Women’s tongues are loose, and the slops might frighten ’em into blabbing.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 257: Peter was a fool, and if there was anything to blab, sooner or later Peter would blab it.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Knight’s Return’ in Chisholm (1951) 84: I’ll blab it to the crowd – / If I’m allowed.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 247: ‘Hell,’ said Coke, ‘I don’t go around blabbing things.’.
[UK](con. 1928) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 107: He went off and blabbed the whole thing to the police.
[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 36: They give you the cold-turkey treatment for a while, they offer you a cap, and you blab everything you know.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 61: I’d better not blab my mouth and tell her why I want the advice.
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers III i: If you hadn’t blabbed about bloody tarts we wouldn’t be here.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 179: I blabbed my soul and you won’t say anything.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 74: Maybe he was ready to blab to the authorities.
[Ire]P. McCabe Breakfast on Pluto 111: Why I had to go and do a stupid thing like blab it all to Louise instead of keeping it to myself.
[UK]T. Blacker Kill Your Darlings 290: No way would I blab his big secret around the place.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skinny Dip 127: She’d blab to the water district about his phony samples.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 89: We’re trying to keep a lid on it but the kids that found him will probably blab it.

4. (Aus.) to boast.

[Aus]Gippsland Times (Vic.) 1 Oct. 5/3: Or per’aps some clever blighter / Cud make uv me a fighter; / But, er corse, not been a skiter / I do not wanter blab.