Green’s Dictionary of Slang

split v.

1. to have sexual intercourse (with).

[UK]R. Brome Eng. Moor I i: But he will never split her, that’s the best on’t. I hope she’le break his heart first.
[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 57: Hardy: I foresee my Letty and you will fit one another to a hair. Silver Tongue: It will afford me infinite pleasure, then, to split the hair!
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 247: A lady came in for some pea soup one day. / ‘What will you have?’ said I. / ‘Split,’ she said, and split her I did.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 42: He laid her down beside a stump, / And then he missed her cunt and split the stump.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 30: Oh, mother, oh, mother, / I thought I was able, / But he split me up the belly / From the cunt up to the navel.
[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 58: This magic sceptre that laser-like splits and cracks through walls.

2. in lit. or fig. senses of departure [the fig. split or ‘tear’ in a group that such a departure makes].

(a) (also take a split for it) to walk or run at great speed.

[US]R. Tyler Contrast II ii: I was glad to take to my heels and split home, right off .
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 246: Higglety piglety, heels over head, like sheep taken a split for it over a wall.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 133: To see him splitting away at that pace, and cutting round the corners [...] oh, my eye!
[US]J. Palmer Journal of Travels over the Rocky Mountains 32: The enraged animal sprung to its feet and made at him. Creighton wheeled and ‘split’ for the camp; the buffalo pursuing.
[UK]A.L. Gordon ‘Wolf and Hound’ in Poems n.p.: We had run him for seven miles and more, As hard as our nags could split [F&H].

(b) to leave, to depart.

[UK]Sporting Mag. 12 57/1: He‘s had — he’ finsh’d — he‘s tipt all nine! / He’s split — he’s cut and run.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 55: Nothing was then done, for had there been, i should have split and turned honest, as is usual.
[UK]Morn. Post 15 Sept. 4/1: As soon as ever they split, I seed it was all over.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 12 May 116: I did not say to Mrs. Woodfield, ‘Do not split, for God's sake! for I shall be a ruined young woman’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 30/1: I instantly pressed myself between her and the ‘wire’ [...] at the same time telling them all to ‘split,’ and Jack to ‘namase’.
[US]J. Miller First Fam’lies in the Sierras 93: Go! Split!
[US] ‘Lady Kate, the Dashing Female Detective’ in Roberts et al. Old Sleuth’s Freaky Female Detectives (1990) 33/2: We all ‘split’ when the drum beat.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 374: split, v. To run away hurriedly.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 127: Give her a hundred dollars and let her split [...] let her haul herself out of here.
[US]J. Blake letter 21 Nov. in Joint (1972) 96: There is a time to sit and a time to split.
[Aus]‘Charles Barrett’ Address: Kings Cross 26: ‘This is funny, just watch the girls split ,’ he said. ‘There must be a prowl car on the way’.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 49: I gotta go ’cross the street a minute. Be right back, hear? Then we can split.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 129: We could’ve just split.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 156: Pack a bag so we can split.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 263: They would split in a heartbeat and talk about your ass on the way out.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 64: Why not just split and save the hundred bucks?

(c) (US black) to die.

[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 15: These fine Studs have Not Split in Vain!!

3. in senses of disclosure [to split or break a confidence].

(a) to betray, to inform against; usu. split on/split upon; note mis-defined as a n. in cit. 2001.

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]‘Cant Lang. of Thieves’ Monthly Mag. 7 Jan. n.p.: He has Split or turned Snitch against his Palls, He has turned evidence against all his Companions.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 268: split to split upon a person, or turn split, is synonymous with nosing, snitching, or turning nose. To split signifies generally to tell of any thing you hear, or see transacted.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 80: He that very blessed night split [...] upon Bill-Bill of Golden Lane.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 178: You munna split on me, or I shall get the zack for telling on ye.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Heart of London III i: If you split, I’ll blow your brains out.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 18 June 4/2: [I]f you don't get me up out of this ere place, blow me if I von't split.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 2 Jan. 2/2: [O]ffering large rewards [...] to the accomplices and pals of these that may split, as it is termed, and turn approvers, to bring their forner associates to condign punishment.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 68: She split on him [...] So-help my say so! send me to school, if she arnt a twister and no flies.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 245: I don’t want a canting son of a gun for my pal – ten to one if he does turn tail and perhaps split.
[US] in J. Blassingame Slave Testimony (1977) 340: One of the colored men split on me, and there was a search [...] but they did not find me.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 105: If I tell you all about it, will you promise that you won’t split.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 121: All goes smoothly until either the two ‘mates’ ‘split’ or the ‘blooming bloke’, the obliging officer, falls foul of the possessor of the secret.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 62: These commodities he now has for sale at advantageoiusly low prices, provided his patrons will not ‘split’ upon him.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) V 885: The poor girl had let this out to the cook [...] and the cook split upon her.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 Aug. 24/1: Knatchbull urged him to join in one of the many conspiracies which he initiated only to betray, and Tappin consented. Of course, he was ‘split upon.’ He was removed from his post [...] and [...] received a third sentence – that of ‘life.’.
[UK]Illus. Police News 24 Dec. 4/1: ‘Do you think of blowing the gaff — of splitting?’.
[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 141: You’ll never reform me tryin’ to persuade one o’ my pals to split on me.
[UK]Marvel 15 Oct. 16: When I said I’d split on him, he told me to split.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 May 2nd sect. 9/1: They Say [...] That the giddy, girleens threaten to puncture with hatpins the sneak who split.
[Aus]C.H. Thorp Handful of Ausseys 175: They’d be goin’ yet but for bein’ split on by a couple uv tabbies.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 180: Broncho Billy went to hospital. Nobody split. No official action was taken.
[UK]E. Raymond Child of Norman’s End (1967) 336: I wonder [...] if that old woman is on her balcony – old Miss Hackett, who split on us last time.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 103: Evans was scared the marshal would split to Morley ’bout his bein’ in Dirty Dick’s.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 50: I expect to make a big noise in the papers out of this. Get lots of business. Private eye goes to jail rather than split on a pal.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 160: Some lousy rat mother fucker always splits on me.
[UK]J. Rosenthal Bar Mitzvah Boy Scene 61: This is someone he split on at school yesterday who prefers to remain anoymous.
[Ire](con. 1920s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 80: ‘Bejasus,’ said Ernie between his teeth, ‘if you split to the feckin’ master, I’ll bloody well kill yeh.’.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] split n. to inform an authority (teacher, parent, police etc ) of a rule transgression, used as ‘to split on someone’, e.g. ‘don’t split on me – don’t tell teacher!!’.

(b) to believe.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 183: This is the common error most of the ‘darlings’ and swell kids of the Metropolis split upon.

(c) to disclose, to reveal secrets.

[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) I 218: What [...] the public accuser! Are you going to split (confess)?
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 146: Put a brace of pops to the nob of the ole Tyewig and his darter, and they’ll soon split.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 185: The partners split, and told ‘Handsome Jack’ that he was quite welcome to keep the buffer, as they had got the ten shillings each.
[Ire]S. Beckett More Pricks than Kicks 240: So the night-nurse had split. The treacherous darling!
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 161: When wishing a person to keep a thing quiet children ordinarily enjoin ‘Keep it dark’ [...] ‘Don’t split’.

4. to quarrel with someone, to break off relations, to reject; thus split out adj., no longer friends; rejected.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum 84: Split out, no longer friends; quarrelled; dissolved partnership.
[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 99: Hear that Cora Pearl’s going. Split with Lord de Regamoor, and signed an engagement to go to New York to play in the Black Crook.
[US]W. Norr Stories of Chinatown 37: He told me you and he had split. What was the trouble?
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 34: An’ they’ve split.
[US]C.B. Chrysler White Slavery 46: As soon as a girl loses her attractiveness she is ‘split out’ and has to go to a resort or class, or degree, lower.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 48: I’m sorry we got to split, sweetmeat. I really go for you.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 93: So we have split.
[UK]P. Bailey An Eng. Madam 57: ‘Why not?’ was all he said when I suggested we split.
[UK]D. Jarman diary 29 June Smiling in Slow Motion (2000) 159: We split over the gold lettering on the Caravaggio book.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 10: He had never thought the responsibility applied to him, a feckless workman of seventeen (by the time they had split).

5. (orig. US, also split the blanket, ...sheets) to divorce.

[US]D.S. Crumb ‘Dialect of Southeastern Missouri’ in DN II:v 331: split the blanket, v. phr. Parted (man and wife).
[US]P.G. Brewster ‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in AS XIV:4 263–4: Husband and wife who have separated are said to have ‘split the blanket’.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bull. 16 Sept. 6/3: She hinted that she’d leave me [...] But if she splits the blanket then the only thing to do / Is to ask if Flossie’ll share the other half.
[UK]J. Cary Moonlight (1995) 86: Kathy and I have split.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 220: Split the blanket To divorce.
E. Coxhead One Green Bottle 267: ‘Why did Chris go off early? Is anything wrong?’ ‘We’ve split.’ .
[US] (ref. to c.1890) C. Sandburg Always the Young Strangers 164: A newly married couple ‘got hitched’ and if they separated they ‘split the blanket’.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 8: split the sheets – get a divorce.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 14 Feb. 1: By this time, her parents had split.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Where I Get My Weird Shit’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 30: My folks split the sheets in ’55.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 252: My wife, she and I were already split before I got pinched.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 4: My parents split the sheets later that year.

6. to share out profits or proceeds.

[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 15 Oct. 6/4: The holder of the money gives each a ‘gen net’ and a ‘yenock,’ that is, 10s and 5s, by a process of ‘splitting it’ and ‘cutting it’.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Crime That Failed’ in Sandburrs 79: I lays dead in d’ town, ready to split out me piece of d’ plunder.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 104: You make dough to beat the band / But you have to split it, I understand.
[US]Van Loan ‘No Business’ in Taking the Count 155: I don’t split with anybody [...] [I] do my own management. No split!
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘A Picturesque Ceremony’ in Naval Occasions 249: We split a bottle afterwards.
[US]Tomahawk (White Earth, Becker Co., MN) 19 Oct. 3/5: I split my pile. If thet doesn’t make us pards, good turns an’ money ain’t no use.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 246: [They] were used to doing things on a small scale and hated to split with the authorities.
[US]B. Appel Brain Guy (1937) 122: We ain’t splittin’ with nobody.
[US]J. Evans Halo in Blood (1988) 128: No sense splitting the dough two ways.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 84: What do we do now? [...] Split the money?
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 64: Lilly and Cassiday would only have to split two ways.
[US](con. 1950s) Jacobs & Casey Grease II ii: You wanna split a super-burger?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 113: I’m not splitting the motel score with you.
[UK]J. Baker Shooting in the Dark (2002) 284: He split a bottle with them.

7. see split a gut

In derivatives

splitsville (n.) [-ville sfx1 ]

1. (orig. US) the end of a relationship, a divorce etc.

[US]Mad mag. Mar. 23: Man, like your mag and me are in Splitsville.
[US]R. Barrett Lovomaniacs (1973) 126: He was pretty short in the pants when his ma and me went splitsville.
[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 78: Her position was that Litman and you were splitsville, and now it was her turn.

2. the state of departure.

[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 148: Splitsville — poof and adieu.

In phrases

split a gut (v.) [var. on bust a gut under gut n.]

1. (also split) to laugh hysterically.

[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker II 147: Oh Lord! I thought I should have split; I darsn’t look up, for fear I should abust alarfin’ in his face.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 51: I thought I should split when Pa wanted a drink of water.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 374: split, v. [...] 2. To burst with laughter.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 245: Ellie this is Pearline . . . Isn’t it a fine name? I almost split when she told me what it was . . . .But you dont know the joke.
[US](con. 1945) G. Forbes Goodbye to Some (1963) 274: Laugh, I thought I’d split. What a time!
[Aus]L. Haylen Big Red 28: ‘I’d call her [i.e. a horse] Duchess of Parma.’ [...] The trader laughed. ‘Don’t make me split a gut.’.
Naples Dly News (FL) 20 Jan. 2/1: A Puerto Rican [...] used to split a gut when a couple of Jewish guys [...] made jokes in a dialect that sounded like Henry Kissinger.

2. (US) to exert maximum effort.

[Can]Gazette (Montreal) 26 Dec. 4/4: We’d go through hell for [General] Patton [...] every dough in the outfit would split a gut.
[US]B. Spicer Blues for the Prince (1989) 51: The Department won’t split a gut trying to find Joslin.

3. to become very angry.

[US](con. 1945) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 378: The general is about to split a gut.
split out (v.)

1. to separate.

[UK]Liverpool Mercury 14 Jan. 38/2: (4) ‘Split out’. Separate. From a MS vocabulary, compiled by a prisoner under sentence of transportation.
[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 505: There is a reeler over there who knows me, we had better split out (separate).
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 215: It gave Pinafore a thrill of pleasure to split her out from the ornament as she got off and to listen to her woeful plaints as she climbed back on the car and shouted for the police. [Ibid.] 263: Onct before I split you and him out an’ got smashed with a plate for takin’ your part.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 50: Splitting out a wire is one of the most important duties of a stall. If the victim suddenly discovers that his pocket has been picked and the dip is in danger of apprehension the stall splits out his pal and they both escape.

2. (US) to part company, to take one’s leave.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

3. (US prison) to escape.

[US]T. Thackrey Thief 276: Night is no good for splitting out of Chino.
split the blanket (v.)

see sense 5 above.

split the peach (v.) [peach n.1 (5d)]

to sodomize.

OlderThumbs.com 4 Nov. [Internet] Split the peach / Blowjob auditions / Succulent nipples.
split the sheets (v.)

see sense 5 above.

split up (v.)

(orig. US) to become divorced.

[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (1970) 18: My father and mother split up when I was about seven or eight years old.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[UK]‘E. Peters’ Death Mask 15: When we split up [...] I felt it was all my fault. I had to be free of him [OED].
[UK]H.R.F. Keating Soft Detective 115: Well, you know Vicky and I have split up?
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 87: On splitting up with Doreen he had lost sight of him for ten years.
turn split (v.) [sense 3a above]

to become an informer, to inform against someone.

Vaux Flash. Dict. in McLachlan (1964) 268: To split upon a person, or turn split, is synonymous with nosing, snitching, or turning nose.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

split arse/-arsed

see separate entries.

split-ass (adj.)

see separate entry.

split-cause (n.) [the profession’s reputation as splitters of legal hairs]

a lawyer.

Wycherley Plain Dealer (1731) 69: Come, Mr Splitcause, pray go see when my Cause in Chancery comes on.
W. Wagstaffe Misc. Works 66: For their better Security, they form'd a sort of Confederacy with one Dammyblood, Clumzy their Son-in-Law, Splitcause an Attorney, and Mouse a noted Ballad-maker, and some others.
[UK]Swift ‘Martinus Scriblerus’ in Works (1765) IV 126: You may call a young woman sometimes Pretty-face and Pigs-eyes, and sometimes snotty-nose and draggle-tail. Or of Accidents for Persons; as a Lawyer is called split-cause, a Taylor Prick-louse, &c.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 115: That spider-shanked, snivelling, split-cause.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
split fig (n.)

1. a grocer.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Split-fig a Grocer.
[UK]N. Ward Rambling Rakes 5: At the same Stall was Old Split-Fig, an Adjacent Grocer.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.

2. the vagina [note synon. Ital. fica].

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]H. Miller Roofs of Paris (1983) 14: Marcelle stretches her tiny split fig, holds it open and pushes it down against my dong.
split finger (n.)

(US prison/Und.) a (prison) clerk.

[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 179: Split Finger.–A clerk or white-collar worker, one whose hands are unaccustomed to hard manual labour, and who would suffer from blistered, split fingers if forced into hard work.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
split mutton (n.)

see separate entry.

split-whisker (n.) [whiskers n.1 (4)]

(Aus.) women, viewed sexually.

[Aus]R.S. Close Love me Sailor 20: Ah, but he’s too good a sailor man to get tangled in split-whisker at sea.
[Aus]J. Ramsay 84: splitwhisker, female [DAUS].

In phrases

make all split (v.)

to cause a disturbance, to make a commotion.

[UK]Shakespeare Midsummer Night’s Dream I ii: I could play Ercles rarely, or a part to tear a cat in, to make all split.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Scornful Lady II iii: Two roaring boys of Rome, that made all split.
[UK]Chapman Widow’s Tears VI iii: Her wit I must employ upon this business to prepare my next encounter, but in such a fashion as shall make all split.
split-arsed one (n.)

see separate entry.

split-arse mechanic (n.)

see separate entry.

In exclamations

split me! (also split my wig! ...my windpipe! splice my extremities!)

an oath used by contemporary upper-class dandies.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Split my windpipe, a foolish kind of a Curse among the Beaux.
[UK]Cibber Love Makes a Man I i: Stark mad! Split me.
[Ire]C. Macklin Love à la Mode II i: I took all the odds, split me!
[UK]Bridges Homer Travestie (1764) I 139: Split me, we should have brains enough, / To pillage Troy of all its stuff.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 178: Think not I threaten what I won’t / Perform; for split me if I don’t.
[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 20: Split me, but I’ll humour the deception.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (4th edn) I 163: Perhaps you think I’ll suffer you / To toy, but split me if I do.
[US]S. Woodworth Forest Rose I i: Her simplicity will ruin all, split me!
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 211: ‘Split my wig!’ (Gentleman George was a bit of a swearer) ‘if I be n’t tired.’ [Ibid.] II 95: If you ride your high horse upon me, splice my extremities if I won’t have satisfaction!
[UK]Hereford Times 21 July 4/5: Oh split me [...] if I’m afraid.
[UK]Thackeray Catherine (1905) 635: ‘It is dreadful hot too, I think.’ [...] ‘Stifling, split me!’ added his Excellency.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 57: Multa bona fakement, split me!
[US]Polynesian (Honolulu, HI) 19 July 1/6: ‘Ah, split me but this is rum’.
Wkly Kansas Chief (Troy, KS) 30 Jan. 1/5: Split me if you didn’t accidentally throw a handful of bullets.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie I tab.I vii: Three graziers, split me!
[US]T.J. Hains Mr Trunnell Mate of the Ship ‘Pirate’ Ch. iv: ’Tain’t that. No, split me, it ain’t that.