Green’s Dictionary of Slang

junk n.1

1. food [naut. jargon junk, old or second-rate cable or rope; ? + overtones of SE junk, a lump, a chunk].

(a) (also salt junk) salt beef; cites 1883, 1896 refer to a lump of salt beef.

[UK]Smollett Sir Launcelot Greaves II 9: I can as well bedaub your mistress Aurelia, whom I value no more than old junk, pork slush, or stinking stock-fish.
Naval Chron. Jan.-July 120: Salt Beef was formerly called Salt Junk [...] This Piece of Beef looks similar to the Fag End of a Cable.
‘Naval Officer’ Cruise 36: [footnote] Salt beef is term’d ‘junk’ by the Sailors, probably on account of cables, when old, hard and dry , being cut in junks, that is, certain lengths, for oakum.
[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome II 78: They dined on Junk and Cheese.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy II 218: A bit of tough yarn he was, too: hard as old junk without, and soft as captain’s coop meat within.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Old Booty! 35: May the swabs live upon salt junk.
[UK]D. Jerrold Men of Character I 245: You know what the fat of junk’s like.
[US]F.A. Olmsted Incidents of a Whaling Voyage 77: We did so much against our will, as the promise of ‘fresh grub,’ was exceedingly tempting, after the liberal exercise we have had upon ‘salt junk,’ for some time before.
‘Percival Plug’ Biscuits & Grog 41: I mean, by famine, the necessity of eating salt junk and biscuit.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 19 Aug. 2/2: No other one should [...] supply her lip with bohea from the pot of tin, or junk and damper from the bark hut shelf.
[US]C. Abbey diary 23 Apr. in Gosnell Before the Mast (1989) 29: The usual fare is for breakfast salt ‘junk’ or beef.
[US] letter in Silber & Sievens Yankee Correspondence (1996) 57: That big bull-headed Goddard getting his muscle up on salt junk and crackers!
[US]W.H. Thomas Goldhunters’ Adventures 17: We [...] ate a portion of the salt junk and biscuit that the cook of the ship had insisted upon our taking with us.
[US]G.G. Hart E.C.B. Susan Jane 7: And here’s our darling Sukey too, the last but not the least, / With dunderfunk and old salt junk she’ll give us all a feast.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Apr. 3/2: To cook salt junk — cut it into little bits with the same knife that you use in fossicking and cutting up your tobacco.
[UK]J. Keane On Blue Water 37: Large junks of carcase equal to a pound and a quarter each man were served out [...] This beef was soaked all night in a tub of sea- water, and, at day- light, put into the large coppers and boiled until noon.
[Scot]R.L. Stevenson Kidnapped 68: The meals were either of oatmeal porridge or salt junk.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘ Possum: ’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 82: He biled ’is taters soggy, an’ ’is junk was biled to rags.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 69: Salt Junk, salt beef.
[US]‘Frederick Benton Williams’ (H.E. Hamblen) On Many Seas 168: Me master, when he heard the news, / Said, ‘Salt him [i.e. a dead horse] down for sailors' use’ / [...] / Between the mainmast and the pumps, / They cut me up in four-pound junks.
[US](con. 1875) F.T. Bullen Cruise of the ‘Cachalot’ 6: A bit of salt junk and a piece of bread, i.e. biscuit, flinty as a pantile [...] made an apology for a meal.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Men Who Made Australia’ in Roderick (1967–9) II 9: While the men who made Australia live on damper, junk and tea.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Jan. 1/1: The inmates of a riverside girls boarding school have a perpetual hunger [and] the maidens are losing their plumpness and erubescence on the salt junk-burgoo regimen.
[UK]D. Stewart Dead Man’s Gold in Illus. Police News 6 Mar. 12/3: ‘I wouldn’t give a bit of salt junk for a woman that hadn’t got a spirit’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 585: I’m tired of all them rocks in the sea, he said, and boats and ships. Salt junk all the time.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 79: They camped in frost or rain and lived on damper and salt junk.

(b) poor or indigestible food or drink.

[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 5 Oct. n.p.: One or two in the ranks [...] were rather weak in the knees, probably from the effects of being shot in the neck by a junk bottle.
[US]W.J. Kountz Billy Baxter’s Letters 24: The first remedy which should suggest itself is a purgative which will act on the liver, and cleanse the system of all the indigestible junk with which it has been overtaxed.
[US]Dly Jrnl (Salem, OR) 13 Aug. 2/2: He said of these junk eaters [...] that the booze and muck-a-muck faded before them like dog-biscuit in a band of starving malamuts.
[US]J. Hersey Algiers Motel Incident 121: He went down to the corner shop and bought a lot of potato chips and junk like that.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 117: I hope that’s Nova Scotia lox [...] not that Alaskan junk.

2. (UK prison) oakum (loose fibre, obtained by untwisting and picking old rope), the ‘picking’ of which provided the main cell task for 19th century prisoners.

[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 46: Every morning the quantum of ‘junk’ was served out, and in the evening the taskmaster came round with weights and scales to take each man’s oakum.

3. inanimate objects.

(a) (orig. US) a usu. negative description of possessions or other unspecified objects; used dismissively of objects that are in fact sound but that the speaker no longer likes; also attrib.

[US]Congressional Globe 23 Feb. 261: Champagne was charged for under the head of ‘old junk’ [DA].
[US]Yale Tomahawk Feb. n.p. : The all receiving shop of some dealer in old junk.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 105: State how much pork, impendin crysis, Dutch cheeze, popler suvrinty, [...] pickled tomaters, old junk, perfoomery, coal ile, liberty, hoop skirt, &c., you hav on hand?
[UK]G.A. Sala America Revisited 76: The marine store or ‘junk’ dealer, as he is styled in New-York.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Conscience in Art’ in Gentle Grafter (1915) 131: What good is the art junk to us?
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 70: He would o’ sure landed in some big league if it hadn’t o’ been that he was caught comin’ out o’ the wrong flat with a lot o’ junk.
[US]H.C. Witwer Kid Scanlon 235: Tony gathers up his junk and [...] beats it.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Beyond Justice’ in Spicy Detective Stories Nov. 🌐 The huge silver loving cup [...] was a massive piece of junk.
[US](con. 1944) J.H. Burns Gallery (1948) 85: He lumped all his junk in the center of the floor.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Jennings Goes To School 168: How on earth do you expect to draw straight lines and accurate angles with this junk?
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 93: Hurry up and put that junk away.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 255: It’s junk [...] and it’s private, so stop scavenging.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 118: He kicked the tire. ‘Junk,’ he said.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 6: All they found was junk.
[US]T. Udo Vatican Bloodbath 115: All the riders wore leather hoods, though these weren’t any cheap junk that you bought from some Soho leather queen shop.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 26: [of an automobile] ‘Piece of junk just quit on me’.

(b) (Aus.) the dregs of a bottle or glass of alcohol.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 632/1: C.20.

(c) (US Und.) jewellery.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 19 May 11/3: She was a beaut! All done up in one of those new-fashioned spangled gowns, with huge rocks In her ears, enough junk on her fingers to open a pawnbrokers sale, and her front lit up like a walking advertisement for Tiffany.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 82: Gee, she’s got 8,000 pounds of junk [...] I saw ’em opening a jewel case.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 77: Of course we can’t get rid of the junk for six months.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 146: If you get your hands on the ‘junk’ walk out quietly.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Cemetery Bait’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 518: She has plenty of junk on her in the way of diamonds.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Ruby Ransom’ Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 You recover the loot and let him lam. That fixes it so he doesn’t have to fence the junk.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 136: junk [...] plated jewelry [...] imitation or cheap jewelry.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 323: Junk, [...] 2. Jewelry or imitation jewelry.

(d) a run-down vehicle.

[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘The Diamond as Big as the Ritz’ in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald V (1963) 45: It’s just an old junk we use for a station wagon.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 160: One hundred hell. I can out run that junk.
[US]Chopper Mag. Dec. 18/2: Cheap Jap junk.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 195: How about letting me use one of those old junks till my car is delivered?

(e) something unpleasant.

[US]W. Coburn Law Rides the Range 187: For the love of Jupiter, wash that smelly junk off your hair.

(f) (US, also junkst) cheap or inferior liquor.

Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 junkst n 1. cheap alcohol. (‘Let’s go get some junkst.’).
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 15: And now you drinking a Thirstbuster [...] That junk will make you sterile.

4. (US) rubbish, nonsense.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 48: It’s some junk his folks always done, he says.
[US]Mansfield (OH) News 7 Dec. 10(?)/3: Brother Russell declared, bo, that his crowd had already framed it up with some of the big guys in the music world to put the kibosh on this line of junk.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 173: Everybody has got to give salutes and all the rest of that junk, just like a regular army.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 256: Why read a lot of junk that wasn’t even true?
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 105: I never read such a lot of junk in my life.
[US]S. Bellow Henderson The Rain King 46: I felt I was entering the past – the real past, no history or junk like that.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 87: You know nothing of what people say and quotations and all that sort of junk.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 181: After all that junk you was just tellin’ me.
[UK]T. Lewis Plender [ebook] [I]f you didn’t [...] adopt the right attiude, all that junk [etc].
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 52: That gave me time to write out the junk I was going to say to him.
[US]Ice-T ‘Radio Suckers’ 🎵 Some stations don’t care They’ll never put on the air / Nothin but commercial junk.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 30 July 11: If we’ve got to have junk [...] then let it be junk as lively and ludicrous as this.

5. (US) money.

[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. ii: Oh, say, are you here with any extra junk? [...] But if you have got a reckless bundle I know how you can double it in a few weeks. [Ibid.] Ch. xx: Wilbur, after losing a little junk, gives the wise guys the office that he’s jerry to the fact that they are playing with newspaper.
[US]Dly Capital Jrnl (Salem, OR) 19 Aug. 4/2: He finds collecting silver junk beats blowing it, all hollow.

6. (US) a mean, despicable man.

[US]H. Hapgood Types From City Streets 36: A bloke’s a junk (bad man) if he don’t treat right [...] When a bloke wat ain’t got a nickel asks a junk for a nickel, the junk wat ain’t a gent, calls him a bum. You can always tell a junk that way.
[UK]E. Blair in College Days (Eton) 4 1 Apr. in Complete Works X (1998) 65: There were five junks in the bateau, four with the oars and one squatting in the stern.

7. in drugs use.

(a) (also jeesunk) opiates, orig. opium, later usu. heroin.

[US]Detroit Free Press (MI) 26 Apr. 82/2: The craving for ’coke’ grew so strong that i would do anything [...] even to picking up junk and selling it.
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 28/2: JUNK. Drugs.
[US]Helena (MT) Indep. 30 Dec. 2/5: Bundles and packages of morphine, cocaine, opium, yenshee and hashish [...] were burned in the kitchen range of the county bastille. The ‘junk’ [...] would have meant pipe-dreams for many addicts.
[US]E. Booth Stealing Through Life 267: You get those funny ideas of reforming. But a few drinks, a shot of junk, or a few hours with the bunch — aw, you know how it is.
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 102: I knew she was full of junk, which she had received in her mail. All her woes and days of torture were over.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 59: Nothing can take the place of junk — just junk.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 7: I have used junk in many forms: morphine, heroin, dilaudid, eokodal, pantopon, diocodid, diosane, opium, demerol, dolophine, palfium.
[US]J. Blake letter 26 May in Joint (1972) 136: Aspires to the jeesunk and chippys with it.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 96: “Now we’re on the junk. [...] Man, don’t ever associate the white stuff with me.
[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 32: Right there and then you got good junk, good heroin.
[US]S. Stallone Paradise Alley (1978) 75: This tomato dipped into some bad Chinatown junk an’ dropped dead.
[US]Ice-T ‘I’m Your Pusher’ 🎵 You’re just a toy punk to mess with that junk.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 139: Probably all the lactose in the cut: you were shooting ten times more sugar than junk.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 21: There’ll always be some cunt bringing junk into the city.
[UK]K. Richards Life 285: Mick chose flattery, which is very like junk - a departure from reality.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] Fudge your reports and your junk is free.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 209: ‘Sorry I popped your ass for junk outside the Club Alabam’.

(b) non-recreational drugs in general, often medicinal.

[US]G. Bowerman diary 8 July in Carnes Compensations of War (1983) 112: I [...] am now waiting for Hub to ransack the medicine chest to see what new kind of medicine he can discover. I imagine I will be OK in a day or so if I take his junk & go to bed.
[US]‘Paul Cain’ Fast One (1936) 240: Kells bought ome aspirin, swallowed two tablets. Borg said [...] ‘That junk don’t do you no good’.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 44: I sat on the bed and wondered if this might be it. Take a box of the junk [i.e. sleeping pills] and slip out of this world.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 136: She brought me pocketsful of junk - benzedrine, dexedrine, even some muck called opium pills.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 134: junk [...] (1) heroin. (2) any drugs. (3) inferior, diluted heroin.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 20: Then why the downers, Mo? Why the booze? How come you can’t get through a day without all that junk?
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 36: Three-quarters stoned on some newfangled junk.
[US]F.X. Toole Rope Burns 6: My memory half shot from the morphine and the other junk they pumped into me.

(c) cannabis; also attrib.

[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 30: Junk is bigger than ever.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 99: ‘You been smokin’ herb.’ [...] ‘You know damn well I don’t mess with none of that junk.’.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 24: The scourge of grasshoppers and junk fiends everywhere.

(d) amphetamine, benzedrine.

[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 43: So Georgette, flying in her world of junk, called the Greeks.

(e) an injectable medicine.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 30: Here I am mainlining this ammo junk – ammonophiline [i.e. an asthma treatment].

8. (US campus) offensive or abusive speech.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov.
R. Skloot Henrietta Lacks 146: [H]e yelled, saying one of them was his cousin, and they’d better stop messing with her. ‘I’m tired of your junk,’ June yelled back.

9. (US) the male or female genitals.

[[US]E. Wilson 13 May [synd. col.] [seen as ref. to his whole ‘cut’ body] Victor (Beautiful Hunk of Junk) Mature].
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 16: Junk: Privates. She was all over my junk.
[US] 23 June 🌐 I’ve been to a nude beach a couple of times and been completely comfortable. Yet somehow I’d feel weird if I went to the beach with nothing but bright, eye-catching fabric stretched across my junk.
R.W. Hart ‘Happy Ending’ in ThugLit Apr. [ebook] [S]he cleans the lube off my junk.
[Aus]N. Cummins Tales of the Honey Badger [ebook] [A] penis-pranking game among male friends where you lure an unsuspecting mate into looking at your junk.
‘Chelsea G. Summers’ in 12 Feb. 🌐 We have woken up horny and we have gone to bed horny; it’s a word we know with our mouths, our nipples, and our junk.
[UK]K. Koke ‘I’m Back’ 🎵 Beating off my junk to a picture of the meanest bitch.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] He saw men become women—start wearing wigs and makeup, tape their junk up between their legs, start taking it up the ass.

10. (US campus) constr. with the, the very best.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 4: The junk — great; the best. ‘I’m really happy you got early acceptance to med school — yo, that’s the junk.’ ‘Man, those shoes are the junk.’.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 4: the junk – awesome: He thought he was the junk.

In derivatives

junked-out (adj.)

suffering from heroin addiction.

[Scot]L. McIlvanney All the Colours 42: ‘I’m not some junked-out lassie on a sink estate’.

In compounds

junkball (adj.)

(US campus) annoying, disappointing.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 7: junkball – uninviting, frustrating. ‘It will be so junkball if my car cuts off again.’.
junk hawk (n.)

(US drugs) a heroin user whose entire existence centres on the drug.

[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 42: Kenny Wisdom was becoming what is known as a junk hawk, that is to say, all he ever did [...] pertained to junk, as his tolerance for the stuff grew even beyond his greed for it.
junkhead (n.) [-head sfx]

(US drugs) a drug addict or drug dealer.

[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 110: Some of them was cheap boosters, junkheads and prostitutes.
[US]P. Rabe Benny Muscles In (2004) 238: You lousy junkhead, did you give that kid a jolt?
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 806: junk head – A drug addict.
[US]G. Pelecanos Hell to Pay 233: One of her interchangeable male friends, hustlers and junkheads themselves, always hanging around the house.
junkheap (n.) (also junkpile) [SE heap]

1. a railroad train.

[US] ‘Casy Jones, Union Scab’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 82: Casy Jones kept his junk pile running.

2. a disgusting, filthy place.

[US]S. Lewis Main Street (1921) 29: And this town [...] This junk-heap!
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 121: Bix would sit at that old tinklebox [...] knocking out beautiful weird music in the middle of this junkheap.

3. an old, battered automobile; also attrib.

[US]Boy’s Life Jan. 3: Contemptuously dismissed by the more knowing spectators as a junk-heap, not only the boys themselves but those against whom the car was to run knew that it had possibilities.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 324: The two coppers [...] had told him to get that ‘junk-heap’ out of town.
[UK]R. Holles Now thrive the Armourers 131: Hey, you in front, driving this junk-heap.
[US]S. Yurick Warriors (1966) 25: A few joy-kids [...] looking out of their doctored junk-heap.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 156: Maybe I could find a way to get Mary’s junkheap. They obviously hadn’t seen me drive up in it.
[NZ]R. Morrieson Pallet on the Floor 133: ‘What a junk heap,’ sneered Miriam.
R.N. Peck Trig or Treat 45: All you do is sit in that old junkheap of a car and bark orders.
P.Z. Brite Love in Vein 2 25: Jimmy DeSade's junkheap car waits for them in the alley, rumbling hulk of a Lincoln, rust bleeding from a thousand dents and scrapes in its puke-green skin.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 159: Last night we stealth-raided that junkheap Dodge of his.
junk hog (n.)

(US drugs) a drug addict who is seen as excessive in their consumption.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 104/1: junk-hog. An addict who indulges to great excess – excess being a relative matter, for it is difficult to determine an ‘average’ consumption of narcotics.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie 21: Roy was such a junk hog that Herman and I had to shoot more than we needed to keep up with him and get our share.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Who Live In Shadow (1960) 21: Even the junk hogs aren’t too bad off. What the hell, they get cured of their habits, don’t they?
S. Frank Tales from the Geronimo 35: Earl was what’s known in the trade as a junk-hog. he was instabiable, utterly obsessed wioth pills, elixirs, powders.
R.J. Arobateau Street of Dreams 66: I’m just a chippie, she's the whole junk hog.
[UK]R.J. Arobateau Vengeance! 123: I thought she was just giving herself a little toot now and then, I didn’t know she was gobbling it up like a junk hog!
junk hound (n.) [-hound sfx]

(US drugs) a narcotics addict.

[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 114: Junker. – A drug addict, also known as a ‘dope fiend,’ ‘doper,’ ‘dope,’ ‘snow bird,’ ‘junk hound’ or ‘hypo.’.
D.H. Sterry Master of Ceremonies 206: My hands are all thumbs as I fumble with the clasp like a pumped-up junk hound.
junkhouse (n.)

(US drugs) a place – an apartment, a house – used for the consumption of narcotics, crack cocaine, etc.

[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 285: A dirty cop who was in the pocket of the drug dealer who had put his sister in a junkhouse.
junk tank (n.) [tank n.2 (1), with pun on tank n.1 )]

(US police) a cell reserved for drug abusers and alcoholics.

[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 95: Most of the girls in the junk tank at the House of D. are prostitutes, right?
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 7: Junk Tank Prison cells reserved exclusively for drug addicts or alcoholics.

In phrases

junk in the trunk (n.) [SAmE trunk, the ‘boot’ of a car]

(US black) large buttocks.

[US]Da Bomb 🌐 16: Junk in the trunk: An attractive rear end.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 junk in the trunk Definition: a phrase that describes a woman with a large butt Example: Hey you see dat big booty sista right there? She got junk in the trunk!
[US]Chicago Trib. 19 Jan. 🌐 [headline] Junk in the trunk? Find pants that fit.
(ref. to 2009) 7 June 🌐 Whitlock [...] slammed Williams in a 2009 Fox Sports column for having ‘chosen to smother’ her beauty ‘in an unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber. [...] I am not fundamentally opposed to junk in the trunk, although my preference is a stuffed onion over an oozing pumpkin’.
pop junk (v.)

(US) to gossip.

[US]MC Lyte ‘10% Dis’ 🎵 Waiting for some female to step up and pop junk.
Morn. Call (Allentown, PA) 24 May 38/1: ‘Popping junk’ — chatting.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 158: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Talkin smack. Poppin junk.