Green’s Dictionary of Slang

eat v.

1. (US) to provide with food.

[US]D. Crockett in Meine Crockett Almanacks (1955) 93: Well, Capting, do you ate us, or do we ate ourselves? ‘Eat yourselves, to be sure.’.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. III 99: ‘Eat them?’ asked Angelina in a timid tone [...] ‘That is, we feed and lodge them!’ replied the landlady.
[UK]R.A. Proctor on Americanisms in Knowledge n.p.: Sometimes a host may eat his guests in another sense. I once, while staying at an hotel, found a finely coloured motto rather unfortunately spelt; it ran, Watch and Prey. Its owner carried out the idea [F&H].
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 21 Sept. 6/2: ‘I’ll give you fifteen bob a wake an Biddy ull ate yer’.
[US](con. 1860s) W.E. Barton Hero in Homespun 273: We’re mighty full. Got two in mighty night every room. We can eat you all right, but I ain’t right sure if we can sleep you.
[US]S.V. Benét John Brown’s Body 367: You ought to be et. We’ll eat you up to the house when it’s mealin’ time .

2. to defeat or destroy; thus I’ll eat him alive.

[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 165: If she com’d into the room when gentlemen was calling, master would eat her without salt.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 123/2: ‘Go on,’ said Sam to Schooly, ‘she won’t eat you, Bright.’.
[US]Ade Pink Marsh (1963) 164: If Peteh eveh comes back ’iss way, somebody has sutny got to be eat, yes, seh!
[UK]Sporting Times 31 Mar. 1/5: I saw a lot of young officers—mere kiddies—whom I could have eaten alive. I could have taken them on at boxing, riding, wrestling, field-days—anything you like—and beaten everyone of ’em.
[US]Van Loan ‘Sporting Doctor’ in Taking the Count 57: Eat him alive, old boy! [Ibid.] 218: He eats these rough sluggers.
[US]O. Strange Law O’ The Lariat 147: Bart’ll eat him, without salt.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 144: We’re waiting to eat them cats raw.
[UK]H. Tracy Mind You, I’ve Said Nothing (1961) 97: What’s the time? Sacred Heart! She’ll eat me!
[US]W. Tevis Hustler (1998) 89: Stay out of that place [...] They’ll eat you alive.
[US]E De Roo Big Rumble 94: Leave the deb. He won’t eat her.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 317: A good Yankee guard would eat him alive.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 167: Different circumstances, I’d eat you for that.
[Ire](con. 1970) G. Moxley Danti-Dan in McGuinness Dazzling Dark (1996) II ii: Sorry I nearly ate you. I’m in awful crabby form.
[US]D. Hecht Skull Session 287: She’d eat him alive in any legal battle.

3. (also eat at, eat off) to annoy, bother; thus What’s eating you?

[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 40: ‘Well,’ he growled, ‘what’s eatin’ yehs?’.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Sisters of the Golden Circle’ in Four Million (1915) 203: ‘What’s eatin’ you?’ demanded the megaphonist.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ Snare of the Road 85: What’s eating you, Texas Jerry?
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 58: Oh that’s what’s eating you is it?
[US](con. 1878) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 159: What’s the matter, Goldie? What’s eating off you?
[US]L. Dent ‘Angelfish’ in Goulart (1967) 233: What is eating you?
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act III: Cheap skate! I know what’s eatin’ you, Tightwad!
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 15: ‘Yeah,’ she said. ‘What’s eating you?’.
[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 267: ‘What’s eating off Joey?’ ‘He’s got some kind of beef about his booking at the Ali Baba.’.
[UK]A. Baron Lowlife (2001) 217: Maybe it is some personal thing that eats me.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 93: He knew just what was eating at him.
[Aus]M. Bail Homesickness (1999) 181: What’s eating her, for chrissake?
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 239: What’s eatin you, Baa Baa?
[UK]M. Collins Keepers of Truth 116: The not knowing is the hardest part, the waiting game. You see that, right, how the waiting just eats you?
S. Upadhyay Guru of Love 69: Look at you I don’t know what’s eating you, and why you won’t tell me.
[US]D. Sedaris When You Are Engulfed in Flames (2009) 193: ‘What’s eating you?’ I asked.

4. to perform hetero- or homosexual fellatio or, more usu. cunnilingus.

[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) VI 1156: ‘A prick’s nice wherever you put it [...] You’ll be ready to eat one a week after it’s been up your cunt’ [...] and she went on putting it in and out of her mouth.
[US]D. St John Memoirs of Madge Buford 89: I paid his kisses back to his cock [...] ‘You naughty boy, you want me to eat it up’.
[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 116: A pratter is similar to a fruiter. The only difference between the two is that one likes to ‘sit’ on it, and the other likes to ‘eat’ it.
[US] ‘You Nazi Man’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 131: The great Hipler grins in the grip, snorts in the gulley, yodels in the canyon and sneezes in the satchel [...] bravely he faces indigestion by eating between meals.
[US] ‘Chambers & Hiss in Betrayed’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 125: If I can’t fuck I can sure eat cunt.
[UK]C.MacInnes Absolute Beginners 14: Chérie, your are my Crêpe Suzette, I am going to eat you. Which no doubt he did.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 377: (in gay use) Babe, I’d like to eat you.
[Aus]‘Ricki Francis’ Kings X Hooker 84: ‘They won’t eat you ... well not in the true sense of the word, dear friend’.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 74: Diane [...] I’m gonna eat you right here on the rug.
[US]P. Califia Macho Sluts 49: I was going to let you eat my cunt.
[US]‘The Master Pimp’ Pimp’s Rap 51: ‘Eat me, eats me.’ I went straight to her clitoris sucking the quivering nubbin between my lips.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] She spread her legs a little more. ‘Well, like Candye Kane says, all you can eat, and you can eat it all night long’.
[US]N. Kelley ‘The Code’ in Brooklyn Noir 184: Mon Dieu, that boy is hung [...] But can he eat?
[US]UGK ‘Like That’ [lyrics] Damn this pussy drive me fuckin crazy / I’m fiendin to eat it baby.

5. (US Und., also eat on) to take a profit from criminality.

[US]N. Anderson Hobo 52: Everybody is eating on everybody he can get at, and they don’t care where they bite.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 90: They are too greedy. They will not eat and let eat.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 78: I’m in the joint for three years, not earning. This guy has to let me eat, for Chrissakes.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] Ya, if you was stackin’ yo’ shit instead of putting it around your neck and up your nose, you’d be EATIN’ EATIN’, B.

6. to strike face-first or be hit by (e.g. a bullet).

[US]S.C. Wilson Time Warp Tales [comic bk] Eat can ya lugnut.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (2007) 44: Hit him on the inner rear fender and he’ll eat the windshield.
[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 137: He ate a rocket in the command bunker [...] He took it in the head.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Grave Doubt’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 81: The vic died from gunshot trauma. He ate one .22 slug.

7. (S.Afr.) to have sexual intercourse.

[SA]J. Matthews The Park and Other Stories (2nd edn) 40: But we doan eat white goosies!

8. (US) to dispose of; to forget.

[US]R. Price Clockers 38: If he gives you Maldonado? We’ll eat the forty [i.e. bottles of crack], how’s that?

9. to perform anilingus.

[US]P. Beatty Tuff 165: Ah shit, now she licking the asshole! Ever have your asshole eaten?

10. to take responsibility for.

[US]Simon & Burns ‘Collateral Damage’ Wire ser. 2 ep. 1 [TV script] He found out I ate the charge.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 220: ‘How could you not give him a paraffin test?’ And I just had to eat it .

11. see eat up v. (3)

12. see eat up v. (5)

In phrases

eat at the Y (v.) (also eat box lunch at the Y) [Y n./SE Y, referring to the spread legs; box plays on box n.1 (1a)]

(US) to perform cunnilingus.

[US](con. 1930s) C.E. Lincoln The Avenue, Clayton City (1996) 17: The man who was suspected of oral sex was accused of [...] ‘eating at the Y’.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Muff diver {vulgar} (noun) [...] 2. A guy that likes to eat at the ‘Y’. (girls genitalia).
eat hair pie (v.) (also eat fur pie) [hair pie under hair n./fur pie under fur n.]

to perform cunnilingus.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 21: hair-pie, to eat (v.): Cunnilinctus.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 736: They never showed guys gettin right down and eating hair pie.
[UK]J. McDonald Dict. of Obscenity etc. 59: To eat fur pie or a fur burger is to practice cunnilingus.
posting at www.atforumz.com [Internet] HOLY SHIT!! She was the hot blonde in that movie Cruel Vibrations!!! Yeah she really knew how to eat hair pie.
eat out (v.)

(US) to perform cunnilingus or fellatio, or occas. anilingus.

[US] in Current Sl. IV:3-4 (1970) 17: Eat out, v. To have oral genital relations with a girl.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 219: Once a bitch wanted me to eat out her pussy, and she was going to pay me two hundred dollars.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 365: Cunt lick! Cunt lick! Eat me out, rah!
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 139: Another kid’s head clinched between her legs, eating out her raunchy box.
[US]Willowall ‘Amanda Gets Zipped’ [Internet] She was made to eat out about 20 assholes, and about six men even farted in her face.
[US]T.I. ‘King’ [lyrics] You say she wifey, I say she a party girl / Type to eat bitches out when she on molly.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘Where’s the wire?’ ‘Up your mother’s twat [...] Next time you eat her out, don’t say anything incriminating’.
eat poundcake (v.) [pun on SE + poundcake n.]

(UK gay) to suck a partner’s anus.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 36: poundcake, to eat (v.): To lick the anus.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 172: to lick or suck anus [...] eat poundcake (’40s).
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] eat poundcake. To lick or suck the anus. [...] Usually as a prelude to fucking, to lubricate with saliva the anus. To widen the opening of the anus with the tongue.
eat pussy (v.) [pussy n. (1)]

to perform cunnilingus.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Prostitutes and Criminal Argots’ in Lang. Und. (1981) 116/1: To eat pussy. Cunnilingus.
[UK](con. WWII) G. Sire Deathmakers 197: Cherney was again watching the German woman.‘Whoo-ee,’ Cherney said, ‘that is real eating pussy. Yes sir, I just think I would. Yes, sir, a man wouldn’t mind a little hair in his teeth for a piece of that.’.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 127: You know, daddy, you know you can find a grinder any time that can grind a while, / but tonight I want it did on the Hollywood style. / [...] I want you to fall down on your bended knees / and eat this pussy like a rat eat cheese.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 346: Don’t you ever try to tell me you never ate no pussy.
[US]R.R. Moore ‘Signifyin’ Monkey’ [lyrics] Said yo sister’s a prostitute and yo brother’s a punk, / And said I’ll be damned if you don’t eat all the pussy you see every time you get drunk!
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 159: This motherfucker keeps telling me he wants to eat my pussy.
[UK]C. Brookmyre Be My Enemy 122: You’re either gonna be eating pussy or out of a job.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] Trip was after a threesome, and she’d do it, but it was strictly a one-off and she wasn’t eating any pussy.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Bomb in the Garden’ Generation Kill ep. 7 [TV script] Next I’ll be eating raghead pussy.
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 339: I want tae eat your pussy.
J. Robinson Gospel of the Game 13: Man has warred over pussy, and killed over pussy. Hell, man even eats pussy.
Skepta ‘Shutdown’ [lyrics] You say you’re Muslim, you say you’re Rasta / Say you don’t eat pork, don’t eat pussy.
eat someone’s meat (v.) [meat n. (2)]

to perform oral intercourse.

[UK]Solar Project ‘Zeitgest’ [lyrics] on ...in Time [album] You sit on my face, I dine at your Y / Blow job, gob job, sixty-eight / You feed your face and eat my meat.
[US]M. Rammsonde ‘Firing Tyler’ on Nifty Erotic Stories Archive [Internet] He closed his eyes and felt his cock disappear into the wetness, but opened them when he realized he wanted to see this blond fuckstud eating his meat.
eat taffey (v.) [fig. use of SAmE taffey, toffee, based on colour]

(US black) to perform cunnilingus.

[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

eat-house (n.)

(US) a café or restaurant.

[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 218: Christopher Jonas went into an eat-house called D.J.’s.

In phrases

could eat a baby’s arse through the bars of a cot (also could eat a baby’s bottom/bum through a cane chair, ...nun’s bum through a cane chair)

a phr. describing someone that is very hungry.

[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 118–9: Threatened with such unappetising dishes it is an advantage to be so hungry that [...] ‘I could eat a baby’s bottom through a cane chair.’.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool (1986) 79: I’ve been suddenly that hungry I could eat a baby’s bum through a cane chair.
[Aus]S. Maloney Brush-Off (1998) 68: I could have eaten a nun’s bum through a cane chair.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] I could eat a baby’s arse through the bars of a cot (phr): I’m hungry.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 52: could eat a baby’s bum through a cane chair [...] Extremely hungry. ANZ.
could eat a horse (and chase the jockey/rider)

(Aus./US) a phr. describing someone who is extremely hungry.

Sumter Banner (Sumterville, SC) 18 Apr. 1/3: They were reduced to that pitch of famine that they could eat a horse behind the saddle, as the saying goes.
Scaramento Dly Record (CA) 6 July 8/2: An appeite which has been described as making one feel as if they could eat a horse and cart and chase the driver.
[UK]Manchester Eve. News 29 Mar. 3/4: He had been twenty-four hours without food. ‘Sir,’ he said, [...] ‘I could eat a horse’.
[Aus]J. Furphy Buln-Buln and the Brolga (1948) [Internet] I spoke up. ‘Yes,’ says I; ‘and at the present moment he could eat a horse, and chase the rider for his life!’.
[US]Van Loan ‘A Job for the Pitcher’ in Big League (2004) 65: I can eat a horse and chase the driver.
[US]Tacoma Times (WA) 26 Aug. 1/2: I’ve got such an appetite that I could eat planked horse meat and relish it.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 1 Nov. 30/3: ‘For me,’ said Carpentier, ‘I could — what you say — eat ze horse’.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 21 Apr. 1/1: [headline] These Trout Could Eat a Horse.
[UK]A. Petry Narrows 312: I could eat a horse. Stewed, fried, or pickled.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Legends From Benson’s Valley 186: ‘Are you hungry?’ ‘I could eat a maggoty horse, so long as there was sauce on it.’.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 7: I’m so flamin’ famished I could eat a horse and chase the rider.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 107: I could eat a horse.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 118–9: Threatened with such unappetising dishes it is an advantage to be so hungry that. ‘I could eat a hollow log full of green ants’ (a distinctively northern New South Wales or Queensland expression), or ‘I could eat a horse and chase the rider.’.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 27: LES: Wossfer tea? I could eat an orse an chase the jockey. MAUREEN: Spag bog. LES: Jeez, not ding food again. Woss wrong with chook?
[Aus]H. Lunn Fred and Olive’s Blessed Lino 106: After everyone started the day well with Kinkara tea from Olive’s best cups on the front verandah, Uncle Les arrived saying: ‘I’m so hungry I could eat a horse and chase the rider’.
‘Postcard from Australia’ Kenai Peninsula Online 29 Sept. [Internet] Just writing about this makes me think I could eat a horse and chase the jockey. Think I’ll pop out and find some nibblies. If only I could find a Mally’s bagel.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 52: could eat [...] a horse and chase the driver [...] Extremely hungry. ANZ.
[Aus]T. Peacock More You Bet 7: Someone might have been so hungry that they might have said that they could ‘eat a horse and chase the jockey (or the rider)’.
could eat a farmer’s arse (through a hedge) (also could eat the hind leg of a boudie)

1. a phr. describing someone that is extremely hungry.

[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 209: I could eat the hind leg of a boudie.
[Ire]J. Plunkett Coll. Short Stories 219: In the Stag’s Head Higgins said he could eat a farmer’s arse, so they had sandwiches .
[UK]C. Brookmyre Be My Enemy 225: By the time it [i.e. a meal] was finally sitting in front of him he’d have eaten a farmer’s arse through a hedge.

2. an emphatic expression.

[Ire]F. Mac Anna Ship Inspector 68: I’d rather eat a farmer’s arse through a hedge than go up in one of those things.
could eat an apple through a picket fence (also could eat a pumpkin/corn..., could eat an apple through a paling fence, could eat peas through a tennis racket)

a phr. describing someone with buck teeth.

[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 176: A person with buck teeth sports ‘a good pair of corned-beef grabbers’ with which she could ‘eat an apple through a paling fence’ or ‘a slice of watermelon through wire-netting’.
[UK]M. Dibdin Dark Spectre (1996) 129: I mean this little gal could eat corn through a picket fence and they were still all over her like stink on shit.
[US]ADS-L 28 Feb. [Internet] Someone once noted that a Southerner can get away with the most awful kind of insult just as long as it’s prefaced with the words, ‘Bless her heart’ or ‘Bless his heart.’ As in [...] ‘Bless her heart, she’s so bucktoothed, she could eat an apple through a picket fence’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 52: could eat an apple through a picket fence/eat peas through a tennis racquet Buck-toothed. ANZ.
could eat the crotch off a low-flying duck/emu (also could eat the bum out of an elephant, ...the arse out of a dead horse/possum)

a phr. describing someone that is very hungry.

[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 118–9: Threatened with such unappetising dishes it is an advantage to be so hungry that [...] ‘I could eat the bum out of an elephant.’.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool (1986) 78: I could eat the crutch off a low-flying emu.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 52: could eat [...] the arse out of a dead horse/dead possum/the crotch out of a low-flying duck Extremely hungry. ANZ.
eat a bullet (v.)

to commit suicide by firing a gun into one’s mouth.

[US]Greenberg & Gorman Cat Crimes 3 165: Then you know my dad ate a bullet about three months after Wanda — that was the girl friend — bought it.
[US]W.K. Kreuger Devil’s Bed 199: ‘He ate a bullet.’ ‘They’re sure it’s his body?’.
[US]F. Thomas Marked 62: After the doctor returned home, he sat at his desk in his home office, wrote down his last will and testament, and ate a bullet.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 188: Plenty of dirty cops ate a bullet once they were nailed.
[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] ‘Feel like eating anything else, champ?’ ‘Yeah [...] A bullet’.
eat a child (v.) [the price for the commutation (registering as legitimate) of a bastard child was ‘ten pounds and a greasy chin’ (Grose 1785), i.e. a good meal]

to share in a treat given to the parish officers.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Child, to eat a child, to partake of a treat given to the parish officers, in part of commutation for a bastard child. The common price was formerly ten pounds and a greasy chin.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
eat acorns (v.) [a peasant might eat acorns when deprived of a more nutritious source of food]

(US black) to suffer humiliation, to accept defeat.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 172: Heard somebody else in the game say, ‘Beggin’ ’ and the dealer told him, ‘Eat acorns’.
eat alone (v.)

(US Und.) to be greedy.

[UK]Observer Screen 1 Aug. 6: Eat alone: to keep for oneself, to be greedy.
eat boiled crow (v.) (also eat the blackbird, eat crow(s)) [the mid-19C story of a man who bet that he was able to eat a cooked crow, and duly did so, but remarked as he chewed the bird: ‘Yes, I can eat a crow, but I’ll be darned if I hanker after it!’]

to suffer humiliations and insults without responding in kind.

[[US]Sat. Eve. Post (Phila.) 2 Nov. 4: [heading] Can You Eat Crow? [...] Isaac sat down to the crow. He took a good bite, and began to chew away. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘I kin eat crow (another bite and awful face,) I kin eat crow, (symptoms of nausea,) I kin eat crow; but I’ll be darned if I hanker arter it.’ – Isaac bolted].
[UK]F. Whymper Travel and Adventure in Alaska 229: They ‘ken eat crow, tho’ they don’t hanker arter it.’.
[US]Gallipolis Jrnl (OH) 6 July 2/3: Walk up, you greenbackers, and eat your mess of crow [...] see how easy it is for a Greenback Democrat to eat boiled crow.
[UK] N&Q Ser. 5 VIII 186/1: A newspaper editor, who is obliged [...] to advocate ‘principles’ different from those which he supported a short time before, is said to ‘eat boiled crow’.
[US]Chicago Trib. 8 June 4/5: The politics of ‘eating crow’ is in the application of the original story to people who swallow a disagreeable candidate of their own party rather than vote for the candidate of their opponent.
[US]Staunton Spectator (VA) 31 Oct. 2/3: He must eat boiled crow and acknowledge that he is [an] unprincipled rascal.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ letter 21 Aug. Letters (1917) II 443: Warner and Clark are eating their daily crow in the paper .
[US]F. Harris ‘Eatin’ Crow’ Elder Conklin & Other Stories (1895) 156: I just ate crow right along for months.
Salt lake Herald 14 Apr. 12/2: If there is anything the inventor delights in it is to make the unbeliever eat ‘boiled crow’.
sun (NY) 21 July 4/4: They are willing to eat any amount of boiled crow, if they can only make the other fellow eat it too.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 97: I suppose Norris has explained our mistake and eaten crow for all of us.
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 21: eat crows — Suffer humiliation; eat humble pie.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: eat crows. Suffer humiliation; eat humble pie.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 159: It won’t be pleasant to eat crow to John Owen, but I’ll have to, I guess.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 115: He would rather eat crow to almost any extent than make public something where he played the part of a chump.
[UK]I. Fleming For Your Eyes Only (1962) 162: What was that American expression? ‘Eating crow?’.
[US](con. 1944) E.M. Nathanson Dirty Dozen (2002) 393: Breed looked [...] as if he might be forced to eat crow any second.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 36: Nacho ate crow, but he saved our lives.
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 10: black bird, to eat the [...] Police caught Eric selling that caine right out in the open, bubba eat that blackbird.
[US](con. 1969) N.L. Russell Suicide Charlie 75: Vince Lombardi was eating crow for claiming that the AFL was a league of wimps.
eat bull beef (v.) [the image of bull beef as tough meat]

to become strong, to become fierce.

[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 64: After a couple of bouts it was all over with the saucy mumper, Fred exclaiming [...] ‘You don’t eat beef enough for me, my covey’.
eat cheese (v.)

see separate entries.

eat concrete (v.)

(US) to drive fast, esp. a truck, down a highway.

[US]M. Tak Truck Talk 55: Eatin’ concrete: to drive a truck down a highway.
[US]National Lampoon July 55: The rolling house of ill-repute is eatin’ concrete on Mississipp Rt. 8 [HDAS].
eat crap (v.) [crap n.1 (2)]

(orig. US) to suffer and accept humiliation, to humble oneself, usu. in order to attain a desired goal.

[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Can All This Grandeur Perish’ Short Stories (1937) 215: They don’t eat nobody’s crap.
[US]T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 43: Gotta train her to [...] eat a little crap.
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 91: I started eating more crap and more crap. I was a complete slave.
eat dirt (v.) [proverb, ‘Every man must eat a peck of dirt (i.e. retract a number of errors) before he dies’]

1. (also eat dirt pie, eat dust) to retract a previous statement, usu. incurring humiliation and embarrassment by so doing.

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 121: Dirt, TO EAT an expression derived from the East, nearly the same as ‘to eat humble (Umble) pie,’ to put up with a mortification or insult.
[US]J.G. McCoy Sketches of the Cattle Trade 49: To say that he ‘eat dirt’ or got down low would be putting it mild.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 13/1: It is rather rough on a man to have to eat dirt pie at times, but when he is perfectly willing to fill himself out with the mess and is denied the luxury, he must feel a remarkably low down seat, indeed.
[UK]Marvel 13 Oct. 325: I thought you’d decide to eat dirt [...] rather than face the music.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 296: He would not, he swore, ‘eat dirt’.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 660: It might seem like he was crawling back, ready to eat dirt.
[US]C. Willingham End as a Man (1952) 109: Did you hear me. I ate dirt and apologised to that bastard.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 105: If that boneshaker o’ yours c’n do the Cross an’ back in an hour, I’ll eat dirt.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 13: eat dirt – To take severe criticism, insults.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 58: eat dirtv phr Retract one’s words, having been shown they are wrong.
[UK]H.B. Gilmour Pretty in Pink 81: Kate smiled at her and mouthed ‘Eat dirt.’.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 118: To eat dirt is quite another matter. This is comparable to eating one’s own words, that is, to make a retraction or eat crow.

2. to act in a demeaning, humiliating manner.

[US]N.Y. Eve. Post 4 Jan. n.p.: After eating so much dirt, are we asked to swallow free soil? [F&H].
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 42: ‘Why eat all that dirt?’ he exclaimed.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 175: You ain’t had to take care of an old mother an’ swallow dirt on her account.
[Aus]M. Garahan Stiffs 227: And you’ll eat dirt yet.
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 343: Once he showed the route inspectors his true metal, they would cow and eat dirt.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 486: Such broads would eat dirt for them.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 195: ‘You know we need every farthing — ’ ‘That doesn’t mean to say I eat dirt.’.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 68: Now I have to go to the cops and eat dirt.
eat dog (v.)

to suffer humiliation and insult without reciprocating.

[US]Tacoma Times (WA) 26 Dec. 4/3: Adrianopole is forced to eat dog. Imagine finding a tag in your stew.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 122: To eat dog is to endure disgrace, comparable to eating dirt.
eat dong (v.) [dong n.1 ]

(US) to suffer humiliation.

[US]P. Hamill Flesh and Blood (1978) 48: You better kick this dinge’s ass, Fallon, or half of us are gonna be eatin’ black dong tonight.
eat dried apples (v.) (also eat pumpkin seeds) [the way in which dried fruit swells up when placed in water]

(US) to become pregnant.

[US] in DARE.
[US] in DARE [...] Eating pumpkin seeds.
[US]J. Gould Maine Lingo 305: One look at her, and you can see she’s been eatin’ dried apples .
eat dust (v.)

(US) to leave, to travel.

[US]E. Custer Following the Guidon 31: Any man who calls sop gravy has got to eat dust or ’pologize.
[UK]A.B. Guthrie Way West 74: Drive, plod, push, tug, turn the wheels. Eat dust, damn you!
[US]A. Brooke Last Toke 202: Back to Georgia. Cotton fields an’ such. Eating dust to a town can’t rightly recall the name of.
eat face (v.)

(US campus) to kiss passionately on the mouth and face.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 112: Eat face To neck.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 2: eat face – kiss, cuddle.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 2: eat face – to kiss, neck.
[UK]I. Welsh ‘A Smart Cunt’ Acid House 246: They’re necking, or rather, Tina’s eating Ronnie’s face.
eat fist-meat (v.)

to receive a punch in the mouth.

[UK]Jacke Juggler Biii: Now handes bestur you about his lyppes and face And streake out all his teeth without any grace Gentleman are you disposed to eate any fist mete.
eat gravel (v.) (also eat dirt, eat grass)

(US) to be thrown or to fall on one’s face.

[UK]Marvel 22 Oct. 7: I’m going to let him face downwards lightly – so! [...] What a man he is for eating grass.
[US]J.V. Allen Cowboy Lore 60: Eating gravel. Being thrown from a bucking bronch or wild steer [HDAS].
[Aus]G. Casey It’s Harder for Girls 187: Joe [...] twisted my arm harder, and I doubled up until my nose nearly touched the ground. ‘That’s right,’ said Joe. ‘Eat gravel, skunk.’.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 57: The football went flying; the midget ate dirt.
[US]P. Watts Dict. Old West 124: Eat gravel. Also eat grass. To be thrown by a horse or cow; nice alternatives to ‘bite the dust’ [HDAS].
eat hempseed (v.) [the rope is made from hemp]

to be hanged.

[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) V ii: Why should I eate hempe-seed at the Hangmans thirteen-pence halfe-penny Ordinary, and haue this whore laugh at me as I swing, as I totter?
eat in Dutch street [Dutch adj.1 , i.e. stereotyping]

to share expenses.

‘The Cockney Handbook: Rhyming Sl.’ on powdermonster.net [Internet] ‘to eat in Dutch Street’, used to mean each pays their own bill.
eat it (v.)

see separate entry.

eat like a beggar man and wag one’s under jaw (v.)

see under beggar n.

In phrases

eat one’s gun (v.) (also eat bullets, eat the gun)

(US) to commit suicide by shooting oneself in the mouth.

[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 188: Yeah, it’s usually the workin cop who eats his gun.
[US]S. King Christine 401: Lots of cops eat the gun.
[US]S. King It (1987) 148: Unless you’re willing to take the pipe or eat the gun.
[US]P. Beatty White Boy Shuffle 226: The only officer in the history of the Los Angeles {Police Department to commit suicide by eating his gun [and] choking on the firing pin.
[US]J. Ridley What Fire Cannot Burn 250: Cops eating bullets as a substitute for doing any time at all.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘He ate his gun.’ Right out in the Manhattan North parking lot, Russo tells him. Two uniforms heard the shot.
eat one’s hat (v.)

see separate entry.

eat one’s head (v.) (also eat one’s elbow)

to go back on one’s words, esp. to admit that a public statement was, in fact, wrong.

[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 174: A beadle! A parish beadle, or I’ll eat my head.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Belgravia 29 491: Well, stay, I’ll manufacture a ‘doctor,’ and if that don’t set you up, I’ll eat my head.
J.P. Wheeldon Beaten on the Post 287: If his face and neck had ever known soap and water for a month, I’ll eat my head.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 4 June 30/3: If that does not cure you I’ll eat my head.
[UK]B.L. Farjeon Betrayal of John Fordham 285: I’ll eat my ’ead if ’e does.
[US]Times (Wash., DC) 12 Aug. 4/6: If that isn’t enough to overturn any theory of interest [...] I’ll eat my head.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 575: eat one’s head, v. A mock serious vow. ‘If I’m not there on time, I’ll eat my head’.
[UK]G.R. Sims Anna of the Und. 219: If that ain’t a German spy, I’ll eat my head.
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Gus Tomlins’ in Me And Gus (1977) 92: If he wasn’t rolling round in a Rolls Royce within two years, he reckoned, he would eat his head.
[SA]M. Melamu ‘Bad Times, Sad Times’ in Mutloatse Forced Landing 53: I say I’d sooner eat my elbow than walk to Magalies. Never!
eat one’s head off (v.)

1. (also eat its head off) to cost more than a person/thing is worth.

[UK]Country Farmer’s Catechism n.p.: My mare has eaten her head off at the Axe in Aldermanbury [N].
[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 142: She’d eat her head off in a month, and no mistake.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 234: As if it wasn’t enuff to have one lazy hound eatin’ our ’eads off.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 155: Eat his head off A horse who is kept idle in the stable is said to EAT HIS HEAD OFF. Of late the phrase has been applied to servants who have little to do but constantly ‘dip their noses in the manger’.
[UK]Cassell’s Sat. Journal 1 Feb. 384, 2: A lot of raw material in stock which, in local parlance, would eat its head off if kept warehoused [F&H].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Apr. 32/2: The Skinners themselves looked half-starved; especially the old woman. She was seventy-six, and as her dutiful sons believed she was ‘eating her head off,’ her demise was hopefully looked forward to.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 85: His bullocks were eating their heads off since his accident.
[UK]J. Cary Moonlight (1995) 232: There were three other girls in the kitchen eating their heads off.
[Aus]P. White Tree of Man (1956) 75: What is wrong, may I ask, with the old Hun that you have, eatun ’is head off, and bustin’ ’is pants in the shed out there, if he cannot pull an extra tit an deliver the milk?

2. (also eat the face off) to verbally abuse.

[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 34: It’s time to get back to the house, or Maggie’ll ate the face off us if we’re late.
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 34: Oh nobody can talk to you [...] if a person only opens their mouth ye ait the face off them.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Ship Inspector 43: I’ve a good mind to go round there now and eat the head off the lot of them.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Eat the head off (v): attack verbally.
eat one’s shorts (v.)

(US) to suffer, to die.

[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 287: Either one guy gets hit, nobody gets hit, or we all eat our shorts right here.
eat one’s tutu (v.) (also eat one’s toot) [Maori tutu, a New Zealand shrub yielding shining black juicy berries which can be eaten, but also containing poisonous seeds]

(N.Z.) to become acclimatized, esp. to colonial life.

Paul Letters from Canterbury 26: Those who came out in the last two or three ships have [...] passed with unprecedented rapidity through the crisis of unreasonableness, false pride and grumbling, which old settlers call ‘eating their tutu’. [*The tutu (or toot, as it is generally pronounced) is a native shrub, the leaves of which may be eaten with safety by cattle gradually accustomed to its use, but are often fatal to newly-landed animals].
[NZ]Williams & Reeves Colonial Couplets 20: You will gather from this I am not ‘broken in’, And the troublesome process has yet to begin, Which old settlers are wont to call ‘eating your tutu’; (This they always pronounce as if rhyming with boot) ’Tis that ‘experencia docet’ they mean [DNZE].
M. Wilson diary Land of the Tui (1894) 9 Feb. 291: I am only riding my hobby again, which is not the slightest use, for, as the saying is here, I shall have to ‘eat my Tutu’, and be very glad if it does not poison me, for to utter a protest is to beat the air.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 42/2: eat toot accepting local conditions; a reference to ‘tutu’, the poisonous plant, in the saying of new immigrants last century, meaning they must settle for the cold hard facts of pioneer life. Obs.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
eat out (v.) [var. on chew out v.]

(US) to tell off, to reprimand.

[US]J.H. Burns Lucifer with a Book 109: She stopped eating out her spouse when she saw Ralph and called him over to make the Old Man jealous.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 62: He didn’t do nothin’ but eat you out.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 29: Next time you eat me out, you might call me ‘Andy’.
eat popcorn (v.)

(US drugs) to take some form of pill.

[US]Current Sl. I:3 2/2: Eat popcorn, v. To take pills with a narcotic content.
eat razor soup (v.)

(US) to say something cheeky or impertinent.

[US]P.G. Brewster ‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in AS XIV:4 262: The wisecracker ‘has been sleeping by a grindstone’, has been ‘riding a grindstone’ or ‘eating razor soup’.
eat shit (v.)

see separate entry.

eat someone’s lunch (v.)

see under lunch n.

eat supper before you say grace (v.)

(US) to conceive a child before one gets married.

[US]R. Wilder You All Spoken Here 98: They planted corn-a-fore the fence was built: They had a baby in progress before they married. . . They ate supper before they said grace.
eat the cookie (v.) (also eat the porridge)

(US/Aus.) to be defeated.

[NZ]P. Newton Wayleggo (1953) 47: Casey swore that he could beat McPherson with both his arms tied behind his back, and McPherson vowed that no Casey ‘ate the porridge’ to outdo a McPherson at anything.
[US]Black Sheep Squadron [BS-TV] I’m afraid we’ll have to eat the cookie on this one. Without help – we’re stuck! [HDAS].
[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 56: I started bogulating and just about ate the cookie.
eat the greaser (v.) [dial. greaser, a lump of salt pork used to grease the bars of a griddle]

(US) to swallow one’s words, to recant.

[US]Monroe & Northup ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:iii 141: greaser, n. ‘I’ll do it or eat the greaser’.
eat the leek (v.) [the ‘sharpness’ of the SE leek]

to be forced to address unpleasant consequences.

[[UK]Shakespeare Henry V V:i: I peseech you heartily, scurvy, lousy knave, at my desires, and my requests, and my petitions, to eat, look you, this leek: because, look you, you do not 2910 love it, nor your affections and your appetites and your digestions doo's not agree with it, I would desire you to eat it].
[UK]Cambridge Indep. Press 12 Feb. 2/5: Faction Defeated [...] Faction, after this, has to eat its leek.
[UK]Leeds Times 27 Dec. 5/2: Russia [...] will have to eat her leek with regard to that [...] with the best possible grace she can.
[US]Dly Phoenix (Columbia, SC) 20 Sept. 2/1: We have to eat our leek, even as Pistol had to do. It is for the conqueror to impose the conditions.
[US]Jasper Wkly Courier (IN) 31 May 2/3: How to save the treaty means who shall eat the leek, or whether means cannot be invested whereby both parties shall agree to eat it in each other’s presence.
Dly Bull. (Honolulu) 8 Nov. 2/2: You [...] grumble from morn to night at ‘the Government’ [...] and a general and vigorous refusal to ‘eat the leek’.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 6 Sept. 6/2: It was decided to call the delinquents before Joethorpe's Bar, and there make them disgorge the ‘truth,’ swallow their own words, or eat the leek.
[UK]London Standard 3 July 3/3: How can the great Liberal Party eat the leek.
[US]Brownsville Dly Herald (TX) 13 Feb. 2/4: I’m not like Ancient Pistol, this time ‘I must even grin and eat my leek’ — gayly.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[US]S.F. Call 17 Nov. 33/7: The Turk has 24 hours within which to make up his mind whether to ‘eat the leek whole’ or continue a struggle with hardly a ray of hope .
[UK]Sun. Post 28 Mar. 1/4: Mr Lloyd George was compelled by his Tory friends to eat the leek.
[UK]Aberdeen Jrnl 8 Dec. 4/1: Irishmen For ced to ‘Eat the Leek’ at Wrexham.
eat up

see separate entries.

eat with both hands (v.)

(US) in context of corruption, to be greedy .

D. Winslow Border [ebook] ‘But you still want your taste.’ ‘Fuck yes I do,’ Cirello says. [...] ‘Cops, you eat with both hands,’ Andrea says.

In exclamations

eat it!

see separate entry.

eat me!

see separate entry.

eat my shorts! [SAmE shorts = SE underpants; the phrase moved into the mainstream with the success of television’s cartoon family, The Simpsons, whose renegade son Bart took it as his personal catchphrase] (US)

a dismissive excl., drop dead! go to hell! etc.

K. Kesey Garage Sale 151: Eat my shorts.
[US]Harvard Crimson 24 Nov. [Internet] They chant cheers as [...] unrefined as ‘A quart is two pints, a gallon is four quarts; Harvard men will eat Yale’s shorts’.
J. Hughes Breakfast Club [film script] Eat my shorts!
(con. 1980s) i80s.com [Internet] eat my shorts Phrase used as a comeback. Heavily in use in the 80’s and also used on TV’s The Simpsons. If someone was to put you down in anyway [sic], you can reply with this phrase.
eat shit!

see separate entry.