Green’s Dictionary of Slang

blanket n.

1. (US) a currency note; thus money in general [it offers its possessor comfort].

[US]J.H. Green Reformed Gambler 165: Yes, sir, I am a drover, sir! a gentleman drover, sir. I have money enough to singe a canebrake. Yes, sir, enough of Uncle Sam’s thousand dollar blankets (meaning one thousand dollar notes) to make a carpet for a steamboat!

2. (S.Afr.) a peasant, an unsophisticated African; thus in synon. combs. blanket-boy, blanket-kaffir; and blanket-vote, the collective black vote [the trad. blankets that such individuals wear; note 19C US blanket brave, blanket indian, ‘an Indian of a low cultural level [...] a semi-civilized Indian’ (Matthews, Dict. Americanisms, 1951)].

[UK]B. Mitford ’Tween Snow and Fire 148: Milne’s ‘blanket friends’ have paid him off in a coin he didn’t bargain for. [Ibid.] 231: There were a few muttered jeers about ‘the nigger’s friend’ and getting into the Assembly on the strength of ‘blanket votes’.
[SA]Daily Chronicle (UK) 13 May 3: The ‘compound’ system is essentially degrading even for ‘blanket’ Kaffirs [DSAE].
[SA]C. Pettman Africanderisms 64: Blanket vote The collective Kaffir vote is thus designated.
[SA]E. Hellmann Rooiyard 103: Some women regard the custom with contempt as being performed only by ‘red’ or ‘blanket’ Natives and not by educated Natives.
[SA]A. Fugard No-Good Friday (1993) 12: Come on, Willie, give old Blanket-boy a break.
[UK]K. Mackenzie Dragon to Kill 140: Look at them in those countries up north – ordinary blanket kaffirs and they have independence already.

3. (US tramp) a (presumably broadsheet) newspaper (which is often used as a makeshift blanket).

[US]Morn. Comet (Baton Rouge, LA) 22 Feb. 2/3: A fellow who starts out to [...] act the part of correspondent for some 76 by 96 bed-blanket newspaper must [etc.].
[US]Seattle Star (WA) 3 Apr. 4/1: An evening is not half long enough to wade through a blanket sheet, and extract from it the news which it contains.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.

4. (US tramp) a griddlecake or pancake.

Commercial (Union City, TN) 22 May 5/1: ‘Stack of blankets.’ Wheat cakes.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 439: Blankets, Griddle cakes.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 30: Blankets.—Griddle, or pancakes, the staple food in many logging and contractors’ camps, and so called from their weight and thickness.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US] in DARE.
[US]A. Pearl Dict. Popular Sl.

5. (US tramp) an overcoat, which regularly doubles as a blanket.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK](con. 1930s–50s) D. Wells Night People 117: Blanket. Overcoat.
[US]H.C. Collins Street Gangs 221: Blanket Top coat.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Blanket. Prison issue coat. Particularly Tasmania.

6. a cigarette paper; thus tumblings and blankets, tobacco and papers.

[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 466: tumblings and blanket, The makings of a cigarette – paper and tobacco.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 192: Tumblings And Blankets. – Tobacco and papers for cigarettes.
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: blanket and freckles . . . the makin’s.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 29/1: blanket. (P) Cigarette paper.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 212: put a blanket on, v. – to hand roll a cigarette.

7. (US Und.) a bulletproof vest.

[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.

8. (US campus) ext. use of sense 6, a cigarette.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

9. (drugs) ext. use of sense 6, a marijuana cigarette.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Blanket — Marijuana cigarette.

10. (US) a partner within a sado-masochistic relationship.

[US]personal ad. bar in Murray & Murrell Lang. Sadomasochism (1989) 40: French and Greek teacher has lost her blanket and needs a new one fast!

In compounds

blanket-ass (n.) (also blanket-head) [ass n. (4)/-head sfx]

1. (US) a Native American.

[[US]A. Hamilton Tuesday Club Bk II in Micklus (1995) 28: They would call him a hundred abusive names [...] such as lousy, scabby scot, poor rascally pedlar, Itchified son of a bitch [...] Skip kennel Scrub, nasty, blewbellied, blanket ars’d, hip-shotten, maggot eaten, round about, Snuff besmeard, flyblown Son of a whore].
F. Nugent Searchers [film script] Let’s go, blankethead.
[US]J. Hurling Boomers 96: Johnny was [...] a half-blooded Sioux [...] His nickname, Blanket Ass, had been tacked on when the crew realized he was both a half-breed and a hard-nosed inspector.
[US]W. Terry Bloods (1985) 5: I had an Indian for a platoon commander who hated Indians. He used to call Indians blanket ass.
(con. 1889) Wub-e-ke-niew We Have the Right to Exist n.p.: The Metis interpreters called Bah-se-nos a ‘BlanketAss Indian,’ which they considered a derogatory term, but now these Metis grandchildren are trying to steal my grandfather as their own.
[US](con. 1956) J. Charnick ‘The Searchers: A Work of Art’ [Internet] Though not overtly mean or malicious toward Martin, he is constantly putting Martin down for being one-quarter Cherokee, by calling him such seemingly innocuous names such as [sic], ‘halfbreed,’ ‘blankethead,’ and ‘chunkhead’.
[US](con. 1953) R. Powless [speech] Nobody seemed to get my name right in them days. I used to get called all kinds of names. Blanketass, Hatchetman, especially when I had a good game in Fergus. [Internet] I and most other native vets I’ve talked to or read their accounts of service for my research recall being called chief, Geronimo, blanketass, raindancer, etc., but usually chose to avoid confrontations and just put up with it.

2. (US) a native of Oklahoma.

[US]Western Folklore 54: Other white inmate nicknames: Blanket Ass (someone from Oklahoma) .
blanket-buck (n.)

(US) a Native American.

[[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 48: They came upon a full-blood ‘blanket’ Ute, loafing about on the rickety sidewalk].
I. Cobb This Man’s World 115: Brother Fred circling and stamping as wildly as any blanket-buck there.
C. Fletcher ‘Tioga Jim’ in Cowboy Poetry (1986) 42: He lay on his bunk and got ‘Injun’ drunk — A typical old blanket buck.
[US]in DARE.
J. Prebble Spanish Stirrup 131: The Indian was an old blanket buck, with toothless mouth open in a foolish grin, greasy hair [...] and a tall beaver hat.
[US]F. Carter Gone to Texas 62: I’ll be a dumb blanket buck, the soldiers think all Indians with a blanket are too stupid to question.

In phrases

wear the blanket (v.)

(US) to have Native American blood.

[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 194: The familiar expression in the West, used with regard to a half-breed, that his father or his mother wore the blanket.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

blanket drill (n.) [note milit. blanket drill, sleep] (orig. milit.)

1. masturbation.

[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 55: Lofty was being charged with blanket drill. ‘Swinging the dolphin’ Sailor called it with a lapse into seafaring.
(con. c.1950) M.S. Mathews Myself and Others [Internet] Don’t try it on – ovverwise you’ll get it stuck like the bloke what did blanket drill wiv an ’Einz 57 Varieties salad cream bottle an’ ’ad to ’ave ’is knob cut orf.

2. sexual intercourse.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
J. Girdner Murder Most Mellow 128: ‘Bouncy bouncy,’ he explained. ‘Four-legged frolic, blanket drill—’ [...] He was embarrassed! Maybe that explained the exotic euphemisms.
blanket fair (n.) [the orig. Blanket Fair was the name given to that held on the Thames during the great frost of 1683–84]


[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
blanket hornpipe (n.)

sexual intercourse; thus dance the blanket hornpipe.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Blanket Hornpipe. The amorous congress.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 11: Blanket Hornpipe (the) — is danced at the commencement of every Honey-moon.
[UK]‘The Blanket Hornpipe’ in Rake’s Budget in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 76: Some may talk of a rel, / Or a country dance may try’t, / But the blanket hornpipe, oh, / It is supreme delight!
[UK] ‘Nanny, The Frisky’ in Flash Casket 75: Toast—The blanket hornpipe.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]J. McDonald Dict. of Obscenity etc. 67: As far back as the eighteenth century we have [...] dance a blanket hornpipe.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 6 Dec. 1: Our fragrant Estée Lauder-scented Liz has been dancing the blanket hornpipe with a variety of partners at the same time.
blanket job (n.)

1. (US prison) homosexual gang rape: the victim’s head is placed beneath a blanket while he is assaulted.

[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 243: A kid had been given what was known as a blanket job. Seven big black guys got him down at the end of the dormitory, threw a blanket over his head, and each had a crack at him.

2. (UK Und.) a form of gangland execution whereby the victim is tricked into hiding beneath a blanket, and then shot dead.

[UK]G. Tremlett Little Legs 128: In the end, Frank became a blanket job.

3. (also blanket treatment) a beating given by prison officers or fellow prisoners.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
N. D’Urso From Acrtoss the Tracks 336: If you were suspected of being a snitch, you’d end up with a blanket job. While sleeping, a squad of guys would surround your bunk and throw blankets over your head and beat the crap out of you.
blanket party (n.) [ironic use of SE]

1. (US) sexual intercourse.

[US] ‘Mae West in “The Hip Flipper”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 97: A scrumptious layout where he can run in whenever he feels like playing house and put on a blanket party.

2. (US prison) the murder of a fellow prisoner by tossing a blanket over the head and then bludgeoning or stabbing them to death.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 89: Blanket Party When a group of inmates throw a blanket over another inmate in a shower or cell area and then proceed to beat or stab him.

3. an initiation rite whereby a new prisoner is forcibly smothered in a blanket, then beaten up or gang-raped by their fellows; similarly applied to teen gang initiations.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 155: The rapist is not usually adverse to a blanket party: coercing another into a submissive position by covering his head and torso with a blanket to hinder escape.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 16: The platoon gives Leonard a blanket party [...] Four recruits throw a blanket over Leonard. They grip the corners of the blanket so that Leonard can’t sit up and so that his screams will be muffled.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 121: I guess they gonna give me a blanket party.

4. (Aus./N.Z./US prison, also blanket, blanketing) the throwing of a blanket over the head of a prisoner to facilitate a beating or robbery.

[Aus]Colonial Times (Hobart) 19 Nov. n.p.: The common practice in gaol called blanketing. When a prisoner receives a loaf or other provisions, before he has time to commence his repast, a blanket is thrown over him, he is wrested of his food, and held in durance until the whole is devoured [AND].
Principles & Problems of Naval Leadership 107: A petty officer called from the brig at 2200 to tell him a ‘blanket party’ had just taken place.
Antaeus 48-51 53: ‘There’s a blanket party tonight.’ ‘A blanket party?’ He looked at me. For a moment I thought Hubbard must be kidding. Everyone knew what a blanket party was.
[US]M. Braly False Starts 146: They gave him a blanket party [...] they slipped up behind and threw a woolen blanket over his head, and anyone who felt mean jumped in and began to kick him.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 245: blanket (v) Mode of assault, using a blanket to blind or confuse the victim.
S. Herbert Correctional Officer 134: A blanket party, military style, was held, whereas a blanket was draped over his entire body, including his face. Unable to identify his attackers, this man was severely beaten, as one inmate after another took a shot.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Blanket party: Throwing a blanket over a despised prisoner, so he or she can’t identify an attacker.
R.E. Boyd Project Boy 121: A blanket party starts after the lights are out and everything is quiet in the barracks. Someone would throw a blanket over the person; then everyone would punch on the guy.
S.L. Benson Collision of Destinies 117: Let’s throw this prick a blanket party [...] I’ve seen it done in the joint.
blanket stiff (n.) [SE blanket, a bedroll + stiff n.1 (5a)]

(US) a tramp, esp. a Western tramp.

[US]Century Mag. 47 107: The Western tramp is rough, often kind-hearted [...] The ‘blanket-stiff’ is perhaps the least violent of all; his long walking-tours seem to quiet his passion somewhat, and overcome his naturally wild tendencies.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 103: Vagabondage in this part of the country is composed principally of ‘blanket-stiffs’ [...] The blanket stiffs are men (or sometimes women) who walk, or ‘drill,’ as they say, from Salt Lake City to San Francisco about twice a year, begging their way from ranch to ranch and always carrying their blankets with them.
C. Johnson Highways and Byways of the Pacific Coast 222: ‘Blanket stiffs’ is what we call fellers who go about with their bedding.
[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Misc. 3/6: The terrible pseudonym ‘dynamiter’ is generally fastened on some harmless ‘blanket stiff’ who has specialized in chicken coops and in back doors for ‘hand outs’ on the ‘main stem’.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 179: Harvest workers were called blanket stiffs or gay cats.
[US]G. Milburn ‘The Timber-Beast’s Lament’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 114: And it’s ‘blanket-stiff’ and ‘jungle hound,’ / And ‘pitch him out the door’.
[UK]K. Mackenzie Living Rough 242: Why, hello, Pete, you lousy blanket stiff.
[US]F.H. Hubbard Railroad Avenue 282: The blanket stiff and his dog were put off a train near Dallas.
[US](con. c.1915) G. Duffy Warden’s Wife 53: Other members of the fraternity [...] referred to him contemptuously as a ‘blanket stiff’.

In phrases

blue blanket (n.)

1. the sky.

[UK]Defoe Hist. Of Devil in N&Q Ser. 7 II 289: We must be content till we come on the other side of the blue blanket, and then we shall know for certain [F&H].
[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 237: The vagabond brotherhood have several slang terms for sleeping out in a field or meadow. It is called ‘snoozing in Hedge-square,’ ‘dossing with the daisies,’ and ‘lying under the blue blanket’.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

2. a rough coat made of coarse pilot-cloth (an indigo cloth used for ships’ officers’ greatcoats).

[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 99: Blue Blanket a rough overcoat made of coarse pilot cloth.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
close to the blanket (adj.) (also close to the cushion) [gambling use, when a poker game would be played on a spread blanket; thus when one’s pile of money gets smaller and smaller and ‘close to the blanket’]

(US, Western) almost totally impoverished, very poor.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House 374: We’ll have to live pretty close to the cushion [...] but we can slide through.
L.C. Curtiss ‘Disjecta Membra’ in DN III vi 458: close to the cushion, adj.phr. Economically. ‘I guess they always had to live pretty close to the cushion’.
My Actor Husband 97: Mental arithmetic failed me. Will had told me before leaving New York that we were ‘playing pretty close to the cushion,’ and I knew what that meant.
Amer. Stationer 92 16: I carried a fair line, just as plenty of stores do, but I stuck pretty close to the cushion.
Hearst’s Int’l 82 57: Talkin' of money — and who ain't? — I’m gettin' pretty close to the cushion, Art. No kiddin’.
dance the blanket hornpipe (v.)

see under dance v.

fill a blanket (v.)

(US Und.) to roll a cigarette; thus filled blanket a hand-rolled cigarette.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 83: fill a blanket To roll a cigarette [...] filled blanket a rolled cigarette.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 69/1: Fill a blanket. (P) To supply enough tobacco to roll a cigarette.
live blanket (n.)

(W.I./UK black teen) a human body, particularly when covering another, as in sexual intercourse.

Shabba Ranks Live Blanket I need something warm. / What d’you want/ I need a live blanket. Hey girl...
[WI]Sean Paul ‘My Name’ [lyrics] Rude bwoy loving a nu something fi she ramp wid, / Everyman him need a woman fi be a live blanket.
[UK]D. Manley Candidate 319: Politicians who boast about having a nice ‘live blanket’ in every district.
red blanket (n.) [the otherwise unmarked red-painted tins in which it was sold]

(Aus.) tinned meat.

[Aus]A. Giles Exploring in Seventies 127: Tinned meat in 6 lb tins (‘red blanket’ we called it). The tins were painted red without labels or description of contents [OED].
stretch a/the blanket (v.)

1. (US) to exaggerate.

[US]J.H. Green Secret Band of Brothers 173: No man who bets upon elections should be entitled to his vote, nor to his oath; for a man who can be excited to bet upon an election, can be excited when upon oath to stretch the blanket; or, in plainer language, to swear to a lie.
[US]Dly Dispatch (Richmond, VA) 9 Jan. 2/1: I intended to write a book about it all; and I thought, when I left the United Srates, that I would have to stretch the blanket a good deal to make out our superiority.
J.N. Raymer letter 1 Apr. in Confederate Correspondent (2009) 55: If I should say five hundred souls of the aforesaid species, were congregated, I don't think I would ‘stretch the blanket’.
Wkly Register (Point Pleasant, VA) 11 Dec. 3/5: Now Mr Editor, if your reporter did not ‘stretch the blanket’ about eight hundred feet, he gets away with Peter Pindar as a story-teller.
[US]Pulaski Citizen (TN) 19 July 4/5: Every man [...] loves [...] newspaper notoriety [...] They not only love to see their names in the paper, but they want an editor to stretch the blanket for them on every opportunity.
[US]Frankfort Roundabout (KY) 6 Aug. 1/3: No relfections allowed on any one who happens to ‘stretch the blanket’.
[US]Monroe City Democrat (MO) 25 Jan. 5/5: Christ would not give the sporting, political and world news to suit the American people. He would not stretch a blanket for a candidate.
[US]Herald & News (Newberry, SC) 1 Aug. 7/1: Now Becky Ann, don’t stretch yore blanket too fur, or yew mite tare a hole in it.
[US]Ocala Eve. Star (FL) 4 Nov. 2/1: Ben is mighty optimistic, but not even he would ‘stretch the blanket that way.
[US]C. Woofter ‘Dialect Words and Phrases from West-Central West Virginia’ in AS II:8 348: blanket, to stretch the (verb phrase), to exaggerate.
B.A. Botkin Amer. People 221: Directed only by his ebullient and companion-loving nature, he may ‘stretch the blanket’ merely because, like the redoubtable Tom Ochiltree, he had ‘rather lie on credit than tell truth for cash’.
[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 289: stretch the blanket: phr. To exaggerate, to tell a tall story.
[US](con. early 20C) J. Monaghan Schoolboy, Cowboy, Mexican Spy 35: He asked me no questions about my experience working with cattle, so I did not have to stretch the blanket — very much.
A. Mayhar Slewfoot Sally 154: People think I’m a liar [...] and sometimes I do stretch the blanket a little bit. But in the main I base things on pure fact.

2. (US) to excel.

[US]Iron Co. Register (Ironton, MO) 21 June 8/1: [of a sportsman] The trump of fame shall sound his name / And nothing can out rank it, / While thousands throng to beat his game, / And see him stretch the lanket.