Green’s Dictionary of Slang

eat v.

1. [early 19C–1920s] (US) to provide with food.

2. [mid-19C+] to defeat or destroy; thus I’ll eat him alive.

3. [mid-19C+] (also eat at, eat off) to annoy, bother; thus What’s eating you?

4. [late-19C+] to perform hetero- or homosexual fellatio or, more usu. cunnilingus.

5. [1920s+] (US Und., also eat on) to take a profit from criminality.

6. [1960s+] to strike face-first or be hit by (e.g. a bullet).

7. [1980s] (S.Afr.) to have sexual intercourse.

8. [1990s+] (US) to dispose of; to forget.

9. [2000s] to perform anilingus.

10. to take responsibility for.

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)]

[1950s+] (US) to perform cunnilingus.

eat out (v.)

[1960s+] (US) to perform cunnilingus or fellatio, or occas. anilingus.

eat poundcake (v.) [pun on SE + poundcake n.]

[1940s+] (UK gay) to suck a partner’s anus.

eat pussy (v.) [pussy n. (1)]

[1930s+] to perform cunnilingus.

eat someone’s meat (v.) [meat n. (2)]

[1920s+] to perform oral intercourse.

eat taffey (v.) [fig. use of SAmE taffey, toffee, based on colour]

[1980s] (US black) to perform cunnilingus.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

eat-house (n.)

[2000s] (US) a café or restaurant.

eat joint (n.) [joint n. (3b)]

[1920s] (US) a restaurant, a café.

eat shop (n.)

[1960s] (US) a café, a restaurant.

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)

[1980s+] a phr. describing someone that is very hungry.

could eat a horse (and chase the jockey/rider)

[mid-19C+] (Aus./US) a phr. describing someone who is extremely hungry.

could eat a farmer’s arse (through a hedge) (also could eat the hind leg of a boudie) [20C+]

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

2. an emphatic expression.

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)

[20C+] a phr. describing someone with buck teeth.

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)

[1980s+] a phr. describing someone that is very hungry.

eat a bullet (v.)

[1990s+] to commit suicide by firing a gun into one’s mouth.

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]

[late 18C–19C] to share in a treat given to the parish officers.

eat acorns (v.) [a peasant might eat acorns when deprived of a more nutritious source of food]

[1930s] (US black) to suffer humiliation, to accept defeat.

eat alone (v.)

[1990s+] (US Und.) 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!’]

[mid-19C+] to suffer humiliations and insults without responding in kind.

eat bull beef (v.) [the image of bull beef as tough meat]

[late 16C–19C] to become strong, to become fierce.

eat cheese (v.)

see separate entries.

eat concrete (v.)

[1970s] (US) to drive fast, esp. a truck, down a highway.

eat crap (v.) [crap n.1 (2)]

[1930s+] (orig. US) to suffer and accept humiliation, to humble oneself, usu. in order to attain a desired goal.

eat dirt (v.) [proverb, ‘Every man must eat a peck of dirt (i.e. retract a number of errors) before he dies’] [mid-19C+]

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

2. to act in a demeaning, humiliating manner.

eat dog (v.)

[19C+] to suffer humiliation and insult without reciprocating.

eat dong (v.) [dong n.1 ]

[1970s] (US) to suffer humiliation.

eat dried apples (v.) (also eat pumpkin seeds) [the way in which dried fruit swells up when placed in water]

[1960s–70s] (US) to become pregnant.

eat dust (v.)

[late 19C+] (US) to leave, to travel.

eat face (v.)

[1960s+] (US campus) to kiss passionately on the mouth and face.

eat fist-meat (v.)

[mid-16C] to receive a punch in the mouth.

eat gravel (v.) (also eat dirt, eat grass)

[20C+] (US) to be thrown or to fall on one’s face.

eat hempseed (v.) [the rope is made from hemp]

[early 17C] to be hanged.

eat in Dutch street [Dutch adj.1 , i.e. stereotyping]

[1910s+] to share expenses.

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)

[1970s+] (US) to commit suicide by shooting oneself in the mouth.

eat one’s hat (v.)

see separate entry.

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

[mid-19C+] to go back on one’s words, esp. to admit that a public statement was, in fact, wrong.

eat one’s head off (v.)

1. [18C+] (also eat its head off) to cost more than a person/thing is worth.

2. [1930s+] (also eat the face off) to verbally abuse.

eat one’s shorts (v.)

[1960s+] (US) to suffer, to die.

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]

[mid–late 19C] (N.Z.) to become acclimatized, esp. to colonial life.

eat out (v.) [var. on chew out v.]

[1940s] (US) to tell off, to reprimand.

eat popcorn (v.)

[1960s] (US drugs) to take some form of pill.

eat razor soup (v.)

[1930s] (US) to say something cheeky or impertinent.

eat shit (v.)

see separate entry.

eat someone’s cookies (v.)

[1970s] (US) to defeat someone.

eat someone’s lunch (v.)

see under lunch n.

eat supper before you say grace (v.)

[20C+] (US) to conceive a child before one gets married.

eat the cookie (v.) (also eat the porridge)

[1970s] (US/Aus.) to be defeated.

eat the greaser (v.) [dial. greaser, a lump of salt pork used to grease the bars of a griddle]

[20C+] (US) to swallow one’s words, to recant.

eat the leek (v.) [the ‘sharpness’ of the SE leek]

[late 19C] to be forced to address unpleasant consequences.

eat up

see separate entries.

eat vinegar with a fork (v.)

[late 19C–1900s] to have a sharp tongue.

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] [1970s+] (US)

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

eat shit!

see separate entry.