Green’s Dictionary of Slang

queen n.

1. as a heterosexual woman.

(a) (US, also quine) a pretty girl, a beauty.

[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Tony Lumpkin in Town (1780) 13: If you’d let me bring in a little queen with me, some night or other [...] you’d make me as happy as a king.
[UK] ‘Wha’ll Mow Me Now?’ in Burns Merry Muses of Caledonia (1965) 93: Now I maun thole the scornfu’ sneer / O’ mony a saucy quine.
[US]J.S. Wood Yale Yarns 84: ‘Any pretty girls go down there?’ [...] ‘No,’ said Paige. ‘It isn’t a suitable place for the queens.’.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 4: W’y, out there last night I see the measliest lot o’ jays—regular Charley-boys—floatin’ around with queens.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 53: queen, n. An attractive girl.
[UK]John W. Parks ‘My Susie’ [lyrics] Susie, ma dusky fairy / Coon queen with manners airy.
[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 3: The Queen received her Violets every Day or two.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ It’s Up to You 61: How about that brown-haired queen from Brockton, Mass.?
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 221: She’s a dancer, an’ a queen.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 54: I am engaged to be married. Her name is Hazel Carney and she is some queen.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 150: All the queens with spifly bonnets on their beans.
[US]H. Brackbill ‘Midshipman Jargon’ in AS III:6 454: Queen—’A femme who rates a cold 4.0 and is a perfect 34’.
[US]Don Redmond ‘How Ya Feelin’?’ [lyrics] Say, Mandy Green, that Darktown queen, / Never seems to hold her man.
[US]Cab Calloway Hi De Ho 16: queen (n.): a beautiful girl.
[US]C. Himes ‘Let Me at the Enemy’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 37: You works in the pool room all day an’ you makes ’bout ten bucks. Then comes night an’ you takes out yo’ queen.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 75: The rhythm really had this queen.
[US] ‘Mexicana Rose’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 39: I’ve had queens, stallions, all kinds of a whore.
[US]G. Swarthout Where the Boys Are 3: He needs some flesh for Friday night, no foul balls, nothing too brainy, all queens and amenable.
[US](con. 1920s) Carmichael & Longstreet Sometimes I Wonder 162: I remember having Coke with a campus queen and getting on the subject of sex.
[US]S.A. Williams ‘Tell Martha Not to Moan’ in Cade Black Woman (1970) 44: You my Black queen.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 12: I don’t want no teenage queen, all I want is my M-14.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 118: Teenage vernacular is heavily laced with expressions borrowed from the pimp’s vocabulary. Terms like [...] star, queen, and stallion.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 4: queen – a beautiful girl.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Real Life 18 July 8: Who, bar the utterly glam black dance-hall queens, can bear so much pain for beauty?
[UK]Yungun ‘Today Was a Good Day’ [lyrics] Queens walk by in their micros and tight jeans.

(b) (UK/US Und.) a female gang leader.

[Can]Gazette (Montreal) 14 Sept. 1/8: The chief of the band is said to be a woman known as ‘the diamond queen’, who is the brains of the gang.
[UK]Lancs. Eve. Post 11 Feb. 7/4: ‘Annie the Diamond Queen’ is now serving three months imprisonment for theft.
[UK](ref. to 1870s-1950s) Guardian 17 Dec. n.p.: Presided over by a formidable ‘queen,’ the Forty Elephants were resonsible for the biggest shoplifting operation ever seen in Britain between the 1870s and 1950s.

(c) a woman; in cit. 1990, spec. a wife and a mother respectively.

[US]J. London ‘The Road’ in Hendricks & Shepherd Jack London Reports (1970) 311–21: queens, women.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 10 Dec. 4/8: And he spends a tidy penny / On them there two self-same queens.
[US]Ethel Waters ‘Satisfyin’ Papa’ [lyrics] I mean, she’s a high brown queen.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 36: A sweet-lovin’ high-yaller queen’s got something different. [...] Something nigger.
[US]C.G. Booth ‘Stag Party’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2006) 101: ‘Who’s this Mayo queen?’ [...] ‘She’s been in pictures.’.
[US]C. Himes ‘Let Me at the Enemy’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 45: Come Monday I found myself ’mongst the old queens an’ chillun.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore 155: Queen – A female of flaccid moral habits who takes [...] beef injections.
[SA]C. Hope Ducktails in Gray Theatre Two (1981) 56: That old queen there, Sharon’s mom.
[SA]P. Hotz Muzukuru 21: His old queen, this stiff-necked old cow [...] schemed she was something special. [Ibid.] 27: Naomi’s old queen lent us the money for the deposit.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 61: Ahl queen dropped me change, that’s all.

(d) (US) the best, usu. used with a suitable n. or v., e.g. queen of maths.

[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 137: She’s a queen.
[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 60: I am cast as the queen of slut.

(e) a woman, usu. categorized by her job, e.g. candy counter queen.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 July 8/4: In Australia we have no great ‘tragedy queens’ dwelling among us. Our actresses are almost all of mushroom growth, springing as quickly into notoriety, and short-lived popularity.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 12 Jan. 5/2: The notorious Tip Little, the confidence and badger game man, the husband of Belle Litttle and companion of Molly Hask, the badger queen of the this city.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 2: Tear your eyes off the candy counter queen.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ You Should Worry cap. 7: Isn’t that a peach of a handle for a kitchen queen with a map like the Borough of The Bronx on a dark night?
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 114: Now that you’re keeping company with that delicatessen queen.
[US]N. Davis Rendezvous with Fear 7: She’s the fly paper queen. Her old man invented stickum that flies like the taste of.
[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 172: The orange queen turned back to her typing.

(f) (S.Afr.) a woman who runs an illicit township bar or shebeen [abbr. shebeen queen under shebeen n.].

[SA] A. Paton Cry, Beloved Country 35 : She is one of the queens, the liquor sellers [DSAE] .
[SA]Drum (Johannesburg) Oct. 6: Shebeens are run sometimes by Queens, sometimes by men, the Queens in Malay Camp and Fordsburg are mostly Europeans, who employ Africans as their assistants to sell the liquor [DSAE].
[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 77: Murderers and robbers [...] were frequently in league with the ‘queens’.
[SA]P.C. Venter Soweto 121: The queens prefer to pay their house-rent six months in advance. Who needs a rent collector banging on the door when there are thirsty clients to be served?
[SA]G. Slovo Ties of Blood 618: She made her way through a Soweto in which rumours abounded: the shebeens had been raided and the queens fought back said one [DSAE].

(g) (US gang) term used for a female gang member; specifics vary, e.g. she may not be expected to fight.

[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 70: ‘[She] showed me the ropes, kicked some lit to me and some knowledge. And then, after that, she made me a queen’.

2. as a male homosexual [16C SE quean, a woman; this sp. is still occas. used to distinguish it f. SE use (cf. quean n. (2))].

(a) an effeminate (older) homosexual male. Popular culture offers a number of variations based on words and phrases including queen, e.g. Queen for a day; Queen Mother; Queen of All the Fairies. The variety of homosexual tastes is often denoted by a comb. of adj. + queen (see -queen sfx).

[UK]Hell upon Earth 43: It would be a pretty Scene to behold them in their Clubs and Cabals, how they assume the Air and affect the Name of Madam or Miss, Betty or Molly, [...] and then frisk and walk away to make room for another, who then accosts the affected Lady, with Where have you been you saucy Queen? If I catch you Stroulling and Caterwauling, I’ll beat the Milk out of your Breasts I will so.
[[US] ref. in H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 318: When John Saul, a male prostitute involved in the Cleveland Street scandal of 1889, was asked in court the following year if he lived with ‘a woman known as Queen Anne in Church Street, Soho,’ the reply was ‘No, it is a man. Perhaps you will see him later on’ (in Montgomery Hyde Cleveland Street Scandal , 1976)].
[US] Transcript Foster Inq. in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 58: I never told anyone that I was a queen or a cocksucker or a pogue.
[Aus]G.H. Lawson Dict. of Aus. Words And Terms [Internet] QUEEN — Effeminate person.
[US]M. West Drag (1997) Act II: Well, I goes over and there was the poor queen ready to jump out of the window.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 237: It was a hell of a queen’s ball at two in the morning. Most of the gowns were off, and some of the most respectable people you ever saw were playing at 69 on the staircase.
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 186: Fay had decided to be brilliant and go as a queen. She had with her a drag – ‘Something gorgeous, simply devastating,’ Percy Chicho called it.
[US]L. Berg Prison Nurse (1964) 42: Whoops, dearie! I’m the queen of the pigeons!
[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Prison Parlance’ in AS IX:1 27: queen. An effeminate man.
[UK]J. Worby Other Half 169: I patted this ‘queen’ on the head and said: ‘Well, dear ...’.
[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 97: You must have thought a lot of that queen.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘That Summer’ in Coll. Stories (1965) 165: The cook, who was a fat little joker, and walked like a proper queen, came over.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 7 Jan. 19: Had a coffee in Forte’s. The place was positively full of queens!
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ et al. Gay Girl’s Guide 13: queen: Used with various connotations, like belle, such as 1) any homosexual; 2) a passé belle; 3) a very mad belle.
[UK]W. Sansom ‘Impatience’ in Lehmann Penguin New Writing No. 40 33: What the hell did this bleeding little queen think he was after?
[US]J. Blake Ex Post Facto in Joint (1972) 45: The Queen of the Rock, a really beautful faggot, was Bobby.
[UK]W. Talsman Gaudy Image (1966) 18: I’m a fairy, that’s why, a queen who falls in love with ass!
[UK]R. Hauser Homosexual Society Appendix 3 167: Queen, an old queer.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 33: The queens swished by in superficial gayety.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 219: That kid was a queen in Tracy. They called her Candy Cane.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 51: Earl [...] was not against queens and pretty boys.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 301: No, Fred. That’s bitchy. Don’t become a queen.
[UK]T. Wilkinson Down and Out 133: She’s a bold queen, fuck me, she is.
[US] (ref. to 1950s) in Walking After Midnight (1989) 80: I wasn’t going to school [...] and then started going downtown to the cruising park where all the young queens (as we referred to each other) met [...] and we’d sit there and dish and camp.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 198: One of the queens had promised to hem him cell curtains.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 269: The raddled old queen [...] who claimed to have been raped by Winston Churchill.
[UK]Guardian Travel 8 Jan. 4: Sixty drag queens on stilts mince up and down the main shopping thoroughfare all day.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 312: A doubt very much tha they’d have a ragin queen in their employ.
[UK]K. Richards Life 222: They put her in a room with all the other queens.

(b) (gay) used ironically by a homosexual of a heterosexual.

[US]J. Rechy Numbers (1968) 70: Oh, Mary, she’ll tell her ‘sisters,’ I’ll simply die all my life thinking of that living dream on the beach — the sexy number who saved me from those muscle queens.

(c) (US prison) an attractive, effeminate young prison homosexual; as such, much sought after and fought over.

[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 212: queen, n. – the female in any sex act.
[Aus]Adamson & Hanford Zimmer’s Essay 32: Desirable queens have extra tobacco and a lot of influence in prison affairs through their boy friends [...] In The Bay, the screws don’t allow queens to wear make-up.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 60: Queen An extremely feminine, passive homosexual.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 141: The queens used to shine our shoes, braid our hair, and, if one wished, do a few other things.

(d) (Aus. prison) a transsexual.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Queen. Transexual.

In compounds

queen Mary (n.) [Mary n. (2a)]

(US gay) an obese gay man.

[UK]J. Hayes ‘Gayspeak’ Quarterly Journal Speech LXI 256–66: Queen [...] may be used to build a limitless series of images: to describe sexual preference [...] or as an all-purpose term of derogation Queen Mary (large or fat).
[US]H. Max Gay (S)language.
queen mother (n.)

(US gay) an older homosexual man.

[UK]J. Hayes ‘Gayspeak’ Quarterly Journal Speech LXI 256–66: Queen [...] may be used to build a limitless series of images: [...] queen mother (older man who serves as counselor or social arbiter).
Queens’ Row (n.) [ref. to 1941 film King’s Row, starring Ronald Reagan (1911–2004)]

1. (US gay) the Public Gardens, Boston, Massachusetts.

[US]Jay & Young Gay Report 250: The night I got out on bail I was back on ‘Queen’s Row,’ the Boston Public Gardens.
(ref. to 1956) J. Wieners Sel. Poems 298: I first met Duncan in Boston on Charles Street in 1956 [...] [in] proximity to the Public Gardens, a heavy cruising place ‘Queen’s Row’.
Boston History Project Improper Bostonians 182: I went down to what they call Queen’s Row in the Public Garden. It was a dirt road. They had benches. Some older queens were there.

2. (US prison) a section of the prison where homosexual inmates have their cells.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 300: If you want to stay off queen’s row, you better lay low and do exactly what you’re told.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 286: The kid, he tipped me the wink like the oldest cocksucker on Queens’ Row at Q.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 8: Queens Row wallowed in a mixture of incredibly strong cheap perfumes [...] but there was always the slightly sour sexual reek of men.

In phrases

queen for a day (n.)

(S.Afr. gay) an ostensibly heterosexual married man, who has sex with men and then returns home.

[SA]K. Cage Gayle 90/1: queen for a day n. straight married man who frequents health clubs or public toilets for sex with other men, before returning home to his wife and children.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

queen’s head (n.) [the monarch’s head on the stamp]

a postage stamp.

[UK]R. Barham ‘The Ingoldsby Penance’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 94: Then he cuts with his dagger the silken threads / Which they used in those days ’stead of little Queen’s-heads.
[UK]C. Kingsley Two Years Ago I 105: Lend me a couple of sheets of paper and two queen’s-heads.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 313/1: ‘Have you got paper?’ ‘Yes, and Queen’s head, and all.’.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 29: [...] turning a kind of penny postage-stamp colour, for ‘Queen’s Heads’ were then a brick-red hue.
queen’s picture (n.) (also queen’s face, queen’s images, queen’s portrait) [the pictures of the reigning monarch, in this case Queen Anne and Queen Victoria, on one side of the coin]

money; orig. coins, currently notes.

[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus I:7 23: Money doth everything command / [...] / In short, Queens Pictures, by their Features, / Charm all degress of Human Creatures.
[UK]Disraeli Sybil Bk III 11: Ask for the young queen’s picture, and you would soon have to put your shirt on.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 27 Dec. 1/5: [...] picked up by the traps for getting malty and have the next morning to shell out to the beak five or ten of the queen’s images.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved With Gold 265: I’ve brought a couple of bene coves, with lots of the Queen’s pictures in their sacks.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Judy 27 Apr. 202: While we had the Queen’s portrait in our pockets we were well received everywhere [F&H].
67 ‘Waps’ [lyrics] I’m on money, I love the Queen’s face.
queen’s tears (n.) [? ref. to the tears Queen Victoria supposedly shed after the defeat at Isandhlwana]

(S.Afr. Zulu) alcohol, usu. gin.

[SA]O.Walker Proud Zulu n.p.: He gave them glasses of gin (which the Zulus call the Queen’s tears) for it was a chilly night [DSAE].
[SA]C. Endfield Zulu Dawn n.p.: The bugler boy handed over the rectangular gin bottle — the drink the Zulus called the Queen’s Tears [DSAE].
[SA]in Optima XXXIV:iv Dec. n.p.: A giant Swiss mercenary ... had taken the ‘Queen’s shilling’ and drunk of the ‘Queen’s tears’ [DSAE].

In phrases

draw the queen’s picture (v.)

see under draw v.4

queen of tarts (n.)

see under tart n.

queen’s gold medal (n.) [the monarch’s head on the coin]

a shilling (5p).

[UK]H. Baumann Londinismen (2nd edn).
where the queen goes on foot (n.) (also where the queen sends nobody) [note Urquhart, Gargantua & Pantagruel (1653): ‘Cagar. Spanish. To do that which the king himself can’t get another to do for him’]

the lavatory.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1327/2: [...] ca. 1860–1915.