Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spot n.3

[SE spot]

1. a cake; thus spot and scalder, cake and tea [the spots are currants etc. in a fruit cake].

[UK]S. Watson Wops the Waif iv n.p.: [...] spot and scalder (which being interpreted, meant cake and tea) [F&H].

2. difficulties, trouble; usu. in phr. in a spot [i.e. ‘a spot of bother’].

[Aus]Call News-Pictorial (Perth, WA) 18 Jan. 3/4: ‘He’d had a few spots’ [...] ‘I don’t want slang in this court’.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 6: And when he’s got A out of a bad spot, A puts B on to him.
[US]D. Fuchs Low Company 62: I’m in a spot. I need money bad.
[Scot]Dandy 8 Apr. n.p.: Gee Dan, we’re in a tough spot.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 278: Don’t give me that double-talk [...] I’m in a spot.
[UK]G. Gibson Enemy Coast Ahead (1955) 66: What a spot to be in!
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 242: She’s in a spot. Her sister Mary’s pregnant.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 109: ‘If they’d happen to blast me, the Mover’d be in a hell of a spot.’ ‘The Mover? How about yourself?’.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 158: I was in one hell of a spot.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 54: It pained me deeply to contemplate the spot he was in.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 66: You see the spot you’re in now, don’t you?

3. pertaining to a place or environment.

(a) (US Und.) anywhere seen as a potential site for a robbery, e.g. a jewellery store, wealthy apartment etc.

[US]E. Booth Stealing Through Life 285: You want to spend all your life casing some spot instead of working.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 27: When we came to our ‘spot,’ Sprout [...] took out the Tommy-gun.
[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 8: Should one mob find bad features in any spot, they will advise other mobs of it.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 203/2: Spot. 1. A site selected for the commission of a crime.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 105: Found this spot [...] They practically asking you to take their shit.

(b) (orig. US black) a nightclub; thus the spot, the nightclub of fashionable choice.

[US]W. Winchell Your Broadway & Mine 31 Mar. [synd. col.] Captain Churchill, whose Broadway rendezvous was ‘the spot’ until three months after prohibition.
[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 67: She had come out of Harlem [...] to the glitter spots.
[US]M. Rand ‘Clip-Joint Chisellers’ in Ten Story Gang Aug. 🌐 Marge and Dot were two of a score of come-alongs that steered and decoyed for the spot.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 23: We’d usually hit our favourite spots together.
[US]Mad mag. Jan.–Feb. 4: This is the roughest spot in town.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 226: Shorty’s band played at spots around Boston three or four nights a week.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 22: It couldn’t really do all that much harm if I dropped into one or two spots.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 308: And if you want dinner or a glimpse of the night spots, I’ll be happy to oblige.
[UK]Indep. Traveller 17 July 5: A guy took me to a cabaret spot called Gio’s.
[US]Kanye West ‘Tough the Sky’ 🎵 Come up in the spot lookin’ extra-fly.

(c) a restaurant.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Too Much Pep’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 631: I often go to a spot in Harlem where a guy can get good Italian food.
E. Wilson Earl Wilson’s New York 24: We had overlooked one spot—Jennie Lou’s restaurant, ‘for soul food’ .
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 12: ‘At what spot?’ ‘Barribault’s grill-room.’.
[US]J. Fenton We Own This City 50: Gladstone was eating at a Peruvian chicken spot.

(d) (orig. US black) an after-hours club.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Dancing Dan’s Christmas’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 262: We stop in a couple of spots and have a few drinks.
[US]Hall & Adelman Gentleman of Leisure 8: I meet girls at parties, at clubs and after-hour spots.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 44: The police saw him leaving a spot one night and followed him.
[US]T. Williams Crackhouse 16: If you wanted to snort, you would go to the spot (after-hours club).

(e) (US und.) premises used for prostitution.

[US]C. Stoker Thicker ’n Thieves 127: No doubt, he had put two and two together and had figured that I was borrowing the officer to aid in knocking over Brenda’s spot.

(f) (US police/und.) premises used for numbers gambling.

[US]Knapp Commission Report Dec. 79: [I]t became clear that the police were aware of the spot’s existence and business. [...] Yet the business went on seemingly unhampered by police arrests.

(g) (S.Afr.) an illicit bar, a shebeen.

[SA]M. Tholo in Hermer Diary of Maria Tholo (1980) 99: One man arrived [...] soused. Everybody jumped up and asked, ‘Where did you get wet?’ I mean especially on Sunday, and when the children thought they had wiped out liquor. So he just laughed and said, ‘I am not telling because I don’t want my spot uncovered.’ [DSAE].
[SA]M.V. Mzamane Children of Soweto 81: Ma Vy [...] ran a spot (which is our euphemism for a drinking joint) at her house.
East Province Herald 11 Jan. 2: Mr Q- died [...] after he allegedly attempted to escape while pointing out ‘spots’ in Sebokeng township [DSAE].

(h) (US gay) any homosexual gathering place other than a gay bar.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 188: spot (kwn NYC, short for hot spot) any place besides a bar where homosexuals meet.

(i) (US) an apartment used spec. for the sale and use of drugs.

[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 19: He told me to go to this spot with him. He said he needed some back [backup or help] and he didn’t have anybody.
[US]M. McAlary Crack War (1991) 38: He used to, like, come inside the spot. He would just sit.
[US]R. Shell Iced 50: I was about to tell you about Eric’s spot the last time I wrote.
[US]T. Swerdlow Straight Dope [ebook] — It’s not a dope house. — Come on, man, I know this spot.
Central Cee ‘Hate It or Luv It’ 🎵 The music ting just popped, just in time ’cause the spot got hot.

(j) (US black/drugs) anywhere in the street that drug dealers congregate.

[US]Boogie Down Productions ‘P Is Free’ 🎵 We walked to the spot, she says she want a rock.
[US]S.L. Hills Tragic Magic 5: There were some days where I would go around to the spots and the pusher wouldn’t give me any dope.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 145: I can tell – by the bulge of his eyes and the tic in his neck – that he’s found a live spot.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 225: Raychelle, them niggers ain’t going to be at the spot forever.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 38: Look who just got out, talk to Parole [...] hit the dope spots .
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 12: ‘So where did you go? For the dope?’ [...] ‘Third Street. mainly that spot’.
Young Jeezy ‘Quarter Block’ 🎵 Spot open up, weed given on the weekend / Even on Sunday unlike Chick-Fil-A.

(k) (UK black) a meeting place for criminals, outside one’s actual home area.

[UK]G. Krauze Who They Was 6: We’re on our way to the spot [...] we’ve gotten way with it.

4. (US drugs) a functioning vein into which one can inject narcotics.

[US]T. Swerdlow Straight Dope [ebook] — You got a spot or you going to be in there for an hour? I was asking if she had a dependable vein or whether she was going to poke away and hope for the best.

In compounds

spot guy (n.)

(US Und.) a gang member who chooses the target for robbery.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Spot guy, the man who picks out the person or place to be robbed.

SE, meaning a small mark or dot, in slang uses

In compounds

spot killer (n.) [sense 2 above]

(US Und.) a hired assassin.

[US]J.E. Hoover Persons in Hiding 284: Eddie Doll [...] a reputed ‘spot killer’ for some of Chicago’s most desperate gangsters.

In phrases

a little of the spot around the neck

wearing a spotted silk handkerchief around one’s neck.

‘Some Road Slang Terms’ in Malet Annals of the Road 395: 4. Of Coachmen A little of the spot about the neck...Having on a bird’s-eye fogle.
off the spot (adj.) [reverse of on the spot ]

uncertain, lacking in awareness.

[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘What Winifred Wanted’ The Sporting Times 29 Apr. 1/3: The chatterers felt they were dead off the spot / When they asked, ‘Was it oof she required?’ Clearly not.
on the spot (adj.) [metaphorical, but note Saturday Evening Post 13/4/29: ‘Spot, the, n. A piece of carpet eight inches square on which an offending prisoner must stand for two days. In some prisons the Spot is a painted mark on the wall against which the prison must hold his nose’]

1. alert, aware.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 11/1: We can only assure our readers that our correspondent is on the spot, and will pursue his vocation to the very cannon’s mouth.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Founded on Fact’ Sporting Times 5 May 1/4: The bride’s youthful niece, little Alice, / As bridesmaid was well on the spot.
[UK]O. Onions Peace in Our Time 125: That other chap, murmuring to himself as he walked, didn’t look altogether ‘on the spot’.
[UK]G. Greene Gun for Sale (1973) 82: I was on the spot that day. Do you know what I said?
[US] ‘Honky-Tonk Bud’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 58: Judge Stern is hot, and he’s on the spot; / So he’ll make an example out of you.

2. (US Und., also on a spot) marked for death, facing assassination.

[UK]D. Ahearn Confessions of a Gunman 221: You might be on a spot in a cabaret or such a place, and walk into the lavatory and be stuck up with guns.
[US]C.B. Yorke ‘Snowbound’ in Gangster Stories Oct. n.p.: ‘You put Kate on the spot and — ’.
[US]J. Fishman Bullets for Two 8: It might mean that both partners were on the spot and they got La Sala somewhere, too.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 111: If I recalled Kelly’s drunken conversation correctly, the guy on the spot was me.
[US]C. Himes Cotton Comes to Harlem (1967) 22: He’s on the spot; the syndicate has voted to kill him.

3. (also on a spot) in trouble, facing problems.

[US]C. Martinez ‘Gats in the Hat’ in Gun Molls Sept. 🌐 ‘You won’t need them where you’re going!’ ‘You mean I’m on the spot!’.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 548: His old man almost on the spot.
[US]W. Motley Knock on Any Door 188: I’m in trouble. I’m on the spot.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 95: Talk about Jake being on a spot.
[US]S. Bellow Henderson The Rain King 229: I was on the spot.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Irish Fandango [ebook] This was getting too direct: she had him on the spot now.
put on the spot (v.) (orig. US)

1. (US tramp) to leave waiting at an appointed meeting place.

[US]V.W. Saul ‘Vocab. of Bums’ in AS IV:5 343: Put-on-the-spot—Left waiting at an appointed meeting place.

2. to arrange to have someone killed; to put someone in the position of being killed.

[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 239: spot—Place to which an individual is to be decoyed so that he can be murdered; e.g. ‘He’ll be put on the spot to-morrow in front of Tony’s place.’.
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 186: He put us all on the spot—all of us—all gone—wiped out—all but me.
Chillicothe (MO) Constitution Trib. 4 Nov. 6/8: The picture is described as bristling with underworld argot, with threats to put the hero ‘on the spot,’ to ‘bump ’im off,’ to ‘rub him out.’.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 127: [He] tried to have Stewart Donnelly put on the spot for swindling him of $38,000.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 169/1: Put on the spot. 1. To lure a victim to a murder tryst.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 111: The idiot had actually gone out and put somebody on the spot.

3. (also put in a spot, put the spot on) to place in a difficult or disadvantageous position.

[US]Detective Fiction Weekly 11 Aug. 735/2: We learned that the State still had one reliable witness, who could ‘put us on the spot’.
[US]C. Himes ‘Prison Mass’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 164: He hadn’t thought of one convincing thing to say during that squeeze, and Jean had gone haywire and put him on the spot.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Two Sharp Knives’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 182: Do you want em to put you in a spot where people can say you drove this chap to suicide.
[US]J.M. Cain Postman Always Rings Twice (1985) 143: Have a drink. You’ll feel better. That’s what Sackett said when he put the spot on me, the louse.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 233: Mr. Sharpe, you’ve put me on the spot.
[US]Chicago Sun-Times 18 Mar. 38/1: Some of the questions directed at him were obviously designed to put Stassen on the spot [DA].
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 120: I don’t like putting you on the spot any longer, and no use to talk to the Mover.
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 90: Every day he was put on the spot.
[UK]H.E. Bates A Little of What You Fancy (1985) 529: Well, that put him on the spot.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 129: He could put some of us on the spot.
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself (1985) 88: I guess he don’t want to put you on the spot.
[UK]A. Hollinghurst Swimming-Pool Library (1998) 245: It was graceless of me to put Charles on the spot.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 217: Shiner didn’t appreciate how Chub was putting him on the spot.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 44: Shit. Now he’s put me on the spot. I really wasn’t expecting this.
spot on (adj.)

perfect, exactly right, accurate.

[UK]A. Sillitoe Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 27: Arthur screwed his sandwich paper into a ball and threw it across the gangway into somebody’s work-box. ‘Spot-on’, he cried.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 104: Spot on, eh, almost in our bloody laps.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Minder on the Orient Express’ Minder [TV script] 85: Yes, everything’s spot on.
[UK]Beano Comic Library No. 190 45: Spot on, chum!
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 55: To be spot-on, Mr Byron-Moore was addressing his Melbourne Cup Carnival ‘special squad’ .
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 35: Leaving me there thinking how unbelievably spot-on Trevor was.
spot on burnt (n.)

a poached egg on toast; often in pl. with pfx two, three etc.

[UK]J. Manchon Le Slang.