Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sling n.2

(US prison) a belt with a sharpened buckle, used as an offensive weapon.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 88: Sling A belt or a strap with a sharpened belt buckle or metal object attached to one end.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

sling shot (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

get one’s ass in a sling (v.) (also have one’s butt in a sling, get one’s tail…, put one’s ass…) [ass n. (2)/butt n.1 (1a)/tail n. (1)]

(US) to get into bad trouble, physical or otherwise; note inversion constr. with out in cits. 1990 and 2001 (cf. put someone’s ass in a sling ).

[[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 16 Nov. 4/2: If I’da carried on as that old party did at the love feast I’da expected to ’av my nose in a sling in lessen five minutes].
[[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Malibu Mess’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 The circumstantial evidence would put my adenoids in a terrific sling].
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 280: Remember that she had her own ass in a sling.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 142: Klemy loans everybody his truck [...] Someday he’ll get his ass in a sling.
[US]T.T. Chamales Never So Few (1958) 252: You mean we got our ass in a sling for stopping this?
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 129: You betta get this guy off the job or youll find your ass inna sling too.
[US]D. Goines Daddy Cool (1997) 104: Mack’s ass would be in a sling, whether or not he knew it.
[US]S. King Christine 532: He really had his butt in a sling there for a while.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 134: I have no intention of putting my girlish ass in a sling.
[US]E. Ruggero 38 North Yankee 215: Next time you want to go grandstanding, you can get your own ass out of a sling.
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 471: Join hands and pray for God [...] to get our asses out of the sling they’re in.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] Now his own ass is in a sling.
get one’s eye in a sling (v.) (also have one’s eye in a sling)

1. to be depressed, crushed, defeated; thus put someone’s eye in a sling v., to depress someone; with one’s eye in a sling, depressed, crushed, defeated .

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 12 Apr. 5/2: He stood in the dock with his eye in a sling.
[UK]Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 8 Oct. 3/4: Bugby, pointing at him, said, ‘You will get your eye in a sling when you get to Sandbeck’.
[UK]Tamworth Herald 29 Dec. 8/2: He was then told that if he did not shut up he would get his eye in a sling.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 125/2: Eye in a sling (Peoples’). Crushed, defeated. From the doleful appearance presented by a sufferer with a bandage over the suffering eye.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Nov. 44/1: He reaches over the bar, taps me in the eye, and I sits down in the sawdust. ‘Now,’ says he, ‘git after yer mate, if it’s yer turn to swig the lush nex’ time while he has a free feed. An’ I hope the Lord ’ll put his eye in a sling, same’s yours is.’.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘To the Boys Who Took the Count’ in Moods of Ginger Mick 101: So ’ere’s to the coot wiv ’is eye in a sling.
[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 273: To get one’s ‘eye in a sling’ is to get into trouble.

2. to assault physically.

[UK]W. London Obs. 18 Jan. 7/1: I met some people who put my eye in a sling [...] though I never said a blind word to ’em, they smacked me in the mouth’.
have one’s head in a sling (v.)

(orig. US black) to be defeated or depressed.

[US]W. Thorin letter 29 Dec. in Weeks (ed.) Greater Love Hath No Man (1939) 101: We are going to the front the 14th next month and I guess before long I will have my head in a sling and if they don’t kill me altogether, I will sure come up to give you some more lies again.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad 85: Head in a sling Troubled, weighed down with worry.
have someone’s nuts in a sling (v.)

to have someone at one’s mercy, lit. or fig.

[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 15: Niddrie’s got my nuts in a sling.
in a sling

(US) in difficulties.

[US] ‘Wise Egg’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 114: I didn’t give a fuck about being in a sling.
put someone’s ass in a sling (v.) (also have someone’s ass/tail in a sling) [ass n. (2)]

(US) to cause trouble for.

[US] in T. Shibutani Derelicts of Company K (1978) 208: [...] If the colonel finds out about it, the old man’s gonna have his ass in a sling. [Ibid.] You fellows just keep your mouths shut about this. You’ll get my tail in a sling [...].
[[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia n.p.: You want your face in a sling. You want me to kick your — ].
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 110: Ain’t no Nigger pimp going to put my ass in a sling.
[US]J. Crumley One to Count Cadence (1987) 121: If there is any trouble out of this, soldier, I’m going to have your ass in a sling.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 357: You tell him if he grabs me, it’s your ass going to be in a sling.
[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 40: And he calls the cops, he’s gonna have her ass in a sling before dark.
[US]Rebennack & Rummel Under A Hoodoo Moon 30: He ignored segregation [...] If you came out publicly with this view in the fifties, you were putting your ass in a sling.
[US]S.A. Crosby Blacktop Wasteland 26: ‘Boy, your Mama would have both our asses in a sling’.