Green’s Dictionary of Slang

slug n.1

[SE slug, a piece of lead (which may ult. refer to SE slug, the gastropod; SAmE slug, the name of various large gold coins issued privately in California c.1850, usu. worth $50]

1. as a projectile.

(a) a bullet.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Slug a piece of lead fired from a blunderbuss.
[UK]Cibber Double Gallant IV i: I shou’d clap a Brace of Slugs now into the very Bowels of this Rascal.
[UK]Stamford Mercury 28 Mar. 7/1: Yesterday Capt. Brown [...] being under some Discontent, discharged a Pistol at his head, the Slugs lodged therein.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 161: Two Bullets shot from the Carbine, struck him [...] a third Bullet, or Slug, stuck in the lower Part of the Timber of the Window.
[UK]Trial of Charles Drew 38: Humphries took the Gun [...] it was ready loaded with Slugs in it.
[UK]Sheridan Duenna I i: Reach me the blunderbuss! [...] Hence, or these slugs are thro’ your brain.
[Ire] ‘Squire Raynold’s Downfall’ Irish Songster 4: But Robert Mc. Keon that blood thirsty dog, / Then shot thro’ his forehead a three corner slug.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: Slug. A piece of lead of any shape, to be fired from a blunderbuss.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
[UK]Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 23: Where’s my pistols? I heard somebody in the house: they’re loaded with slugs – not garden slugs; where’s the pistols?
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 29: So you might as well give him a blunderbuss and slugs at once.
[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 197: Master Stephen hates him [...] and would like nothing better than to pick a quarrel with him, have him out, and, putting a brace of slugs into him, leave him—.
[UK]Era (London) 23 Dec. 6/3: The orifice formed by the slug entering her neck still remains open.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 10: A vision of a blunderbuss loaded to the muzzle with slugs.
[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) June 228: The vexed question as to whether blowing up an Irish gentleman’s house with dynamite, riddling him with slugs [...] should be held to be of the nature of ‘Boycotting’.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley in Peace and War 21: He tosses a few slugs at th’ Spanyards.
[UK]R.H. Savage Brought to Bay 77: The slugs are steel tipped and pointed!
[Ire]Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 5: The butler had shown him the marks of the soldier’s slugs in the wood of the door.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 164: Six feet away, I could feel the slugs hit him.
C.B. Yorke ‘Snowbound’ in Gangster Stories Oct. n.p.: He was still alive, but that slug had ripped a lung wide open.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Blackmailers Don’t Shoot’ in Red Wind (1946) 72: If I’d thought to bring my little pearl-handled gun I could say it with slugs.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 246: The final score being one slug in Barney and one copper down.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 51: They only learn when they finally catch a slug where it hurts.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 30: First prize is a slug in the head.
[US] D. D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 135: Each would have received a slug from a .45 calibre pistol in the temple.
[UK]A-Team Storybook 23: Pounding a stream of high calibre slugs.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 240: Fabulous Frank rocketed a slug right through the screen.
[UK]Guardian Guide 3–9 July 83: Terry’s temporary charge catches a slug in the shoulder.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 59: Selig took a slug in the arm.
[SA]A. Lovejoy ‘The Smell of Tears’ at [Internet] 7: He looks at the fat yellow slugs lying snugly in their sleeves [...] He spins the chamber.
Anniston Star (AL) 20 Nov. 26/3: Shotgun slugs are not moving that fast down the barrel. Shooters should hold the gun firm.

(b) a shell.

[US]F.C. Painton ‘The Devil Must Pay’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 22/2: You can see a mortar slug rise, hit the peak and drop.

2. in senses of drink and drugs.

(a) a fiery drink.

[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans III 112: Taking a dirty paper out of her bosom, in which was written the following words: Tape, glim, rushlight, white port, rasher of bacon, gunpowder, slug, wild-fire, knock-me-down, and strip-me-naked.

(b) a portion or measure of liquor.

[UK]Smollett Reprisal II viii: block: What d’ye say to a slug? brush: Slug!—O, I understand you—(Fetches a keg of brandy).
[UK]Smollett Sir Launcelot Greaves II 89: He ordered the waiter [...] to bear a hand, ship his oars, mind his helm, and bring alongside a short allowance of brandy or grog, that he might cant a slug into his bread-room.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 327: He is not to be gammoned with a slug.
[US]Durivage & Burnham Stray Subjects (1848) 110: ‘Cobblers for the party,’ – ‘snifters for the crowd,’ – or ‘slugs for the entire company’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 132/2: Taik a gooid slug eowt’n that bottle fur luck.
[US]Butte (MT) Daily Miner 14 Apr. 1/3: ‘Blizzard’ [...] There has been extensive use of the word in Pennsylvania for many years [...] A drink of any intoxicant, generally applied to whisky. Synonymous with the slang ‘a slug,’ ‘a smile,’ ‘a jigger,’ ‘a bumper.’ Example: ‘Let’s take a blizzard.’.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 126: Josephine gave them Allopathic Slugs of the Size that they feed you in the Navy.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 423: You haven’t some whisky, have you, Squire. A slug of that might hold me till the doctor comes.
[US]H. Wiley Wildcat 245: He absorbed three or four slugs of gin.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Sleeping Dogs’ in Spicy Detective Sept. [Internet] He poured himself a generous slug and downed it neat.
[UK]P. Gallagher My Story 64: I began to get a bit cold, took another slug, began to get warm, slugged it all the third time.
[US]J. Evans Halo For Satan (1949) 167: I found some brandy [...] and poured a slug into my cup and coffee over that.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 363: One of the officers gave me a slug out of a whiskey flask.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 45: Coffee with a big slug of Jamaica ginger in it.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 243: He poured himself a slug, the last of the whisky.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 17: Shade [...] demonstrated his recent conversions to cocktails rather than neat slugs of rum.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 135: She took a slug, shuddered.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 1 Apr. 29: I poured myself a large slug of Scotch.
[UK]Indep. 27 Dec. 13/5: [...] when offered a slug of whisky.
[Aus] A. Bergen ‘Dread Fellow Churls’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Pining for a cigarette and another slug.

(c) a portion (e.g. a sip, a cupful) of a non-alcoholic drink, e.g. coffee.

Indianapolis News (IN) 5 Mat 7/6: The Martini had been displaced by a slug of coffee, black.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 213: slug of mud A cup of coffee.
Pittsburgh Post-Gaz. (PA) 26 June 11/4: Miss Lee took a few minutes rest for a refreshing slug of iced coffee.
Express & News (San Antonio, TX) 20 Jan. 42/1: You couldn’t just walk in front [...] to get a slug of coffee and a sweet roll.
[US]Simpson’s Leader-Times (Kittaning, PA) 29 Nov. 22/2: The morning slug of coffee [...] Pennsylvanians must swallow.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 3 Apr. 45/5: Think back to that last tiem you smacked your lips after a deep slug of coffee.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 48: It looks like our guy took himself out with a slug of Drano.
[US]L.A. Times 28 Jan. 2/2: A rough-hewn cowboy [...] finished up his M-16 burrito and took a slug of coffee.

(d) in non-alcoholic contexts, a portion, a share.

[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 174: I gave Candy too much money. [...] You give him a big slug of the stuff to begin with and pretty soon he has a stake.

(e) a portion or measure of a drug.

[US]T. Wolfe Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1969) 76: She has never taken LSD before, but she looks fearless and immune [...] and she hooks down a big slug of it.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 154: I’ll start sneaking slugs of morphine [...] into her shots.

3. as a coin or token.

(a) (US) $1; thus half a slug, fifty cents; thus money, irrespective of amount.

C.L. Canfield Diary of a Forty-Niner (1906) 185: They were mean enough to search her [...] Sure enough they found six slugs (fifty dollars each) in her stockings, which they confiscated.
[US]H.L. Williams Joaquin 9: Shove her up, shove her up to the bolt, I’d rather have an ounce than a twenty-dollar note, for the slug it will sink and the flimsy’ll float.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 4 June 5: She’d sooner put up her ten slugs and go back to the pipe.
[US]R.J. Tasker Grimhaven 109: What are you here for, anyway? Stealing a lousy slug and a half out of the orphan’s box in church.
[US]T. Minehan Boy and Girl Tramps of America (1976) 123: Once I made two slugs in fifteen minutes.
[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago 200: Half a slug. Fifty cents.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 90/1: Half a case or slug. Fifty cents. [Ibid.] 198/2: Slug, n. [...] 2. A dollar.
Courier Jrnl (Louisville, KY) 4 Jan. 7/1: Those attending the sale pay half a slug at the door.
[US]W.L. Alderson ‘Carnie Talk’ in AS XXVIII:2 116: half a rock, half a slug, n. A half dollar.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 151: My nose is already running, man, and we ain’t got a slug.

(b) a token.

[US]B.T. Harvey ‘Word-List From The Northwest’ in DN IV:i 28: slug, n. A key. Round piece of metal for slot machines.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 360: He bought a slug from the cashier [...] and walked back to the telephone booths.
[US]I. Shulman Cry Tough! 29: Here’s five nickels and a coupla slugs.
[US]W. Brown Monkey On My Back (1954) 186: Danny’s first arrest was for a minor offence – dropping a slug into a subway turnstile.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 263: Riordan pulled out what looked to be a cigar box full of slugs and went to the jukebox.

In phrases

chuck a slug (v.) (also toss a slug)

to shoot.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Lily of St Pierre’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 137: Without being afraid every other guy you meet is going to chuck a slug at you.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Butch Minds the Baby’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 354: They are a little nicked up here and there from the slugs the coppers toss at them.