Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rabbit n.1

1. in sexual senses.

(a) a prostitute.

[UK]S. Gosson School of Abuse (1868) 35: If this were well noted, as ill seene [...] I haue no doubt but the cause would be feared to dry vp the effect, and these pretty Rabbets very cunningly ferretted from their borrowes.
[UK]J. Bell Jr. (ed.) Rhymes of Northern Bards 254: Each cuddles his coney or rabbit, / And pleasantly purrs with puss-cats; / Hence with husky harlots cohabit, / And handle a herdling’s old hats.
[US]Owl (NY) 25 Sept. n.p.: Who has got them Rabbits, and what have they done with them, they skinned them.

(b) (Aus.) a girl.

[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 129: Young girls in ‘push’ circles are known as ‘rabbits.’.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 237/2: rabbit – a girl.

(c) (S.Afr.) a male homosexual.

[SA]H.C. Bosman Cold Stone Jug (1981) II 59: They also say you’re a sodomite. [...] They say you are some blue-coat’s rabbit.
[SA]H. Levin Bandiet 154: Central [prison] society was clearly divided into two categories: ‘hawks’ and hasies/rabbits. The hawks were the sexual predators: hasies were their partners.
[SA]B. Simon ‘Outers’ Born in the RSA (1997) 45: bles: Hey! My brother, you know what’s a rabbit? charmaine: What? Ou Hennie.
[SA]P. Hotz Muzukuru 11: What I’m worried about [...] is my arsehole. That bloke, he’s a rabbit I’m chuning you.

(d) a client who ejaculates quickly and thus leaves the prostitute free to carry on her trade.

[US]L. Sanders Pleasures of Helen 85: ‘A rabbit,’ she said softly. ‘A goddamned rabbit. Fast? An Olympic champ. And the grunts!’.
[US]Maledicta IX 150: The original argot of prostitution includes some words and phrases which have gained wider currency and some which have not […] rabbit (fast-action man).

(e) (US gay) a fellator.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]J. McCourt ‘Vilja de Tanquay Exults’ in Queer Street 394: A tart who’ll squat and take a bit o’ rabbit / From any ponce in the ’Dilly.

2. a term of abuse.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry IV Pt 2 II ii: Away you whoreson, upright rabbit, away!

3. a newborn baby; used only in combs., such as rabbit-catcher and rabbit-snatcher [an affectionate nickname, but ? ref. to one Mary Tofts (c.1701–63) who, in 1726, allegedly (but fraudulently) ‘gave birth’ to a litter of rabbits].

4. in context of the animal’s nervousness.

(a) a coward.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 94: I seen too many o’ these boys kind o’ jump in from the country and make a lot o’ city boys look like rabbits.
[US]Princeton Union (MN) 9 Aug. 1/4: If there is any rabbit blood in a man’s system, politics will cause it to circulate [...] The man who is a raging lion in the business world [...] becomes as meek and mild as a cotton-tail when he is a candidate for office.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 Nov. 28/2: Yet McCoy got the verdict. The scribe relieves his feelings by remarking ‘Rabbits!’.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 165: How are we to help a man when he’s such a rabbit as that?
[US]O. Strange Sudden 214: Them rabbits in Windy don’t have the guts to move.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]‘Josephine Tey’ Miss Pym Disposes (1957) 95: [I]n went Lucy, feeling horribly like a culprit and furious with herself for being such a rabbit.
[UK]H. Livings Nil Carborundum (1963) Act III: Any other day of the week and you’d be delighted to lose that rabbit.
[US]K. Brasselle Cannibals 239: Shut up, rabbit. I talk, you listen.
[US]S. King It (1987) 287: Never mind stuff like that! I’m not a rabbit!

(b) (US) the desire to run away.

[US]J. Mitchell Son-Boy in Hatch & Hamalian Lost Plays of Harlem Renaissance (1996) 85: Dat boy come in dis do’ lak a streak o’ lightnin’. Don’t tell me he ain’t got no rabbit in ’im.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 159: The joint was full of fellows with rabbit in their blood.
[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 167: It might even cause you to git a little rabbit in yore blood.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 267: I don’t want a whore with rabbit in her.

(c) (also rabbit blood) one who makes or wishes to make an escape.

[[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 109: ‘If you go the chance would you run?’ [...] He laughed. ‘Would a rabbit run?’].
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Rabbit, a convict who, on account of constant desire to escape, is never given a trusty job.
[US]N. Algren ‘El Presidente de Méjico’ in Texas Stories (1995) 92: Shouldn’t have turned rabbit, boy.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 173/1: Rabbit blood. (P) A constant and ‘instinctive’ readiness to escape from prison.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 271: Shouldn’t have turned rabbit on us, dad.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 286: Norman had lasted a month now since he turned rabbit on the old man.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 109: Rabbit Blood The desire to run or escape.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July 🌐 Rabbit: An inmate who is likely to try and escape, someone who ‘has rabbit in him.’ (TX / FL).
[US]Prison Slang Mommyblogger 26 Sept. 🌐 So your little jitterbug has the rabbit in her, and thinks its funny to split your wig.

(d) (US) a runaway.

[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 287: There were a million kids hanging around Boston. With just the other rabbits he’d met in a month there could be a dozen would look like the kid in the photo.
[US]E. Bunker Little Boy Blue (1995) 229: Whenever he was transported there would be restraints. He was a known rabbit.

5. a coat made of, or lined with, rabbit fur.

[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 253: Rabbit buyer. A ‘fence’ who deals chiefly in furs.

6. in senses of weakness, inadequacy.

(a) (Aus.) a simpleton, a victim.

Aus. Town & County Jrnl (NSW) 20 Jan. n.p.: ‘And what right had you to arst her to dance, you lop-eared rabbit?’ asked the larrikin.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 July 39/1: ‘Goin’ courtin’?’ suggested someone, and Shiner looked sheepish. / ‘N-not exactually. No, yer silly rabbits. No! I tell yer. What yer grinnin’ at?’.
[Aus]Mirror (Perth) 31 Jan. 5/2: A boy [...] walked up and said ‘What a big rabbit!’ and flicked the ‘rabbit’s’ tie out and punched him in the teeth.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 194: I saw some of ’em lose two or three quid in one night. What a pack of rabbits!
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 42: Rabbit: Used by either male or female about another male who is held to be weak, normally in the phrase, he’s a ‘bit of a rabbit’.
[US]P. Earley Hot House 141: You can tell the rabbits, you know, the lops in here. They bring this guy in and he is doing time for some punk-ass white-collar rip-off, and right away I figure this guy’s got no heart. He’s a mark.

(b) (US) a youngster, a naive individual.

[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of the Intermittent Fusser’ in Ade’s Fables 43: Once a grammar-school Rabbit, struggling from long Trousers toward his first brier-wood Pipe, had Growing Pains which he diagnosed as the pangs of True Love.

(c) a poor player, esp. in golf or tennis; thus rabbitry, a state of being such a player.

[UK]‘Sapper’ Third Round 588: He didn’t sound much class — a bit of a rabbit at the game probably.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 96: He played tennis with vigour and shameless inefficiency, erratically scrambling through weeks of rabbitry.
[UK]‘Josphine Tey’ Shilling for Candles 12: I’ve always been a rabbit at games.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 154: He was very rude and said she was a rabbit.
[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling 689: Rabbit – a sucker or inexperienced gambler.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 320: rabbit. A person of no account, especially a timid one, [...], a poor and easily victimized gameplayer.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 23: Rabbit: A poor player at games.

7. (Aus.) a native-born Australian.

[Aus]Gadfly (Adelaide) 5 June 13/1: “I was born in Australia, my father was born in Australia, so was my grandfather, and his father, and my great - great - great - great-great-great grandparents were Australians [...] We don’t mind taking fair chances so long as you play the game. If any of our crowd complain about that, he is no rabbit.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 237/2: rabbit – [...] sometimes a person who was born in Australia.

8. (US black) a white person.

[US] ‘Honky-Tonk Bud’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 57: Even Ann the Rabbit with the long dope habit / Had managed to get the fare.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 60: The single most descriptive attribute young blacks focus on in their labeling of whites is color – or the lack of it – such as [...] rabbit, and red neck.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 89: JoJo the rabbit—the hustlin’ girl’s habit.

In derivatives

rabbit-assed (adj.)

(US black) used as non-specific intensifier, cf cotton-picking adj. (2)

[US]J.O. Killens Sippi 175: They liked him very much, even if the girls on the campus paid him no rabbit-assed mind.
[US]B.H. Wolfe Hippies 164: I met, Joe, eighteen years old He was using and selling crystal. One day he said to me: ‘Man, I’m out of my rabbit ass mind’.
[US]C.W. Smith Thin Men of Haddam 91: ‘If you think I'm going to ask why or how you knew that all along you're out of your rabbit-assed mind’.
[US]M.S. Crean Dancer of the Sixth 128: ‘If anyone even suggested that someday I’d be sitting on your lap crying my heart out on your shoulder, I’d have told him that he was out of his rabbit-assed mind’.
[US]C. McCarthy Cities of Plain 119: Have you lost your rabbit-assed mind?
[US]J.Z. Knight State of Mind 180: ‘Yeah . . . she's in here . . . drunk out of her rabbit-assed mind’.
[US]P. Joseph Cousin Joe 38: ‘I didn’t pay him no mind. I didn't pay him no rabbit-assed mind’.
rabbity (adj.)

(Aus.) nervous, tense; cowardly.

[UK]‘Josephine Tey’ Miss Pym Disposes (1957) 177: However rabbity and inadequate she was by nature, there was always her other half [. . .] which stood watching her with critical eyes.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] God, I really had to stop being so nervous and rabbtty.

In compounds

rabbit blood (n.)

see sense 4c above.

rabbit-catcher (n.)

a midwife.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 317/2: rabbit catcher, sage-femme.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 64: Rabbit-catcher, a midwife.
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[UK]B. Baynton ‘Bush Church’ Bush Studies 119: She was the only ‘Rabbit Ketcher’ this side of the township. To bring a qualified mid-wife from civilization would have represented a crippling expenditure to these cockies.
rabbit fever (n.) (US Und.)

1. the compelling desire to run off whenever things get difficult.

T.R. Allison Moonshine Memories 64: A lookout man on top of a hill near the stills saw the investigators approaching, but he got rabbit fever and ran off without warning.

2. the compulsion to attempt escapes from any form of imprisonment.

[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 814: rabbit fever – The effect on some inmates when they are placed on the ‘Farm’ or any outside detail; a temptation to ‘lam’.
C. Gilley 38 Years in the Chain Gang 21: There was always someone who got what we called the ‘Rabbit Fever’: Then we all would get on the trail.
rabbit foot (n.)

(US) an escaped convict.

[US]H. Yenne ‘Prison Lingo’ in AS II:6 281: Rabbitfoot—A trusty that runs away.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
rabbit foot (adj.) (also rabbit feet)

(US black) cowardly, timid, running scared.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Spunk (1995) 950: Don’t tell me nothin’ ’bout that rabbit-foot colored man.
rabbit-snatcher (n.)

(US Und.) an abortionist.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 173/1: Rabbit-snatcher. An abortionist. ‘Tou might as well hit (shoot) your barnacle (girl) in the noggin (head) as let those two-bit (cheap) rabbit-snatchers work on her.’.
‘Andrew Shaw’ Campus Tramp 182: ‘This guy [...] is possibly the only really reliable rabbit-snatcher in the western world’ [...] ‘Rabbit-snatcher?’ ‘One of the more picturesque American colloquialisms [...] It means abortionist’.
rabbit-sucker (n.)

1. (UK Und.) a rich young man who is gulled into running up large bills by confidence tricksters who later dun him for his debts.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry IV Pt 1 II iv: Hang me up by the heels for a rabbit sucker.
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 4: The Cittizen that selles them is the Ferret. They that are take up are the Rabbit-suckers. He upon whose credit these Rabit-suckers runne, is called the Warren.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Rabbet-suckers, young Unthrifts taking up Goods upon Tick at excessive rates.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: rabbet-suckers young Unthrifts taking up Goods upon Tick of Pawn-brokers, or Tally-men, at excessive Rates.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Rabbit suckers, Young spendthrifts taking up goods on trust at great prices.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.

2. one who lends at exorbitant rates, thus rendering impoverished those to whom they extend credit.

[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: Rabbet-sucker, [...] rabbet-suckers [...] a Name given to Pawn-Brokers and Tally-men themselves, who by exorbitant Premiums, &c. impose upon, and take-in uncautious Prodigals, profuse Spendthrifts, or young giddy-headed Heirs; and in this Sense is an applicable Denomination to many other sorts of People, besides those above-mentioned, who by lending Money at exorbitant Rates, to profuse Raking Youths, under Age, whose careful Parents or Guardians will not furnish them with Means to support their Extravagancies; by little and little, creep into their Estates; so that by the Time the unwary Spend-thrift comes of Age, or to inherit his Patrimony, he finds himself and his Fortune swallowed up by these merciless Rabbet, or rather Blood-suckers, and so turn’d out of Possession, and reduced to Penury and Want, which oftentimes hurries him into Desperation and violent Practices, and perhaps brings him finally to an untimely Exit.

In phrases

get rabbit feet (v.)

(US) to run off.

[US]J.W. Arnold ‘The Lang. of Delinquent Boys’ in AS XXII:2 Apr. 122: Rabbit feet. Term used when any boy runs away from the school. For example, ‘Ted got rabbit feet and took off’.
pull a rabbit (v.)

(US prison) to make an escape.

[US]T. Runyon In For Life 82: Henry might have ‘pulled a rabbit,’ but he wasn’t particularly interested in escape.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

rabbit-ass (n.)

(US black) insignificant, inferior.

[US]W. Fisher Waiters 162: ‘Looka these poor white bastards oglin’ us.’ [...] ‘Pay ’em no mind, babes,’ he said. ‘Pay ’em no rabbit-ass mind.’.
[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 141: He ain’t paying none of you any rabbit-ass mind.
rabbitchoker (n.)

(US) a farmer, an unsophisticated peasant.

[US]H.B. Allen ‘Pejorative Terms for Midwest Farmers’ in AS XXXIII:4 265: [...] rabbitchoker.
L.M. Johnson Trespasses 42: Slurs used to denigrate poor whites include [...] podunker, puddle-jumper, pumpkin husker, rabbit choker [etc.].
rabbit ears (n.)

(orig. US) a V-shaped television antenna.

[US] ‘Television: Best New Shows’ Phila. Inquirer 14 Sept. 🌐 You don’t need to pay a premium or buy flat-screen or digital, yet. With rabbit ears and some aluminum foil, there’s something worth watching every minute in prime time.
rabbit food (n.) (also rabbit’s food, rabbit tucker)

vegetables or salad greens considered unfit for consumption, esp. by a carnivore; also attrib; cit. 2007 refers to vegetarian food in general.

[US]Wash. Post 26 June 25: He has found by past experience that dining car porters are not particularly sympathetic toward passengers who eschew all the costly viands and subsist on what Mr. Sharon terms ‘rabbit food.’.
L. Sarony ‘Miss Porkington would like cream puffs’ 🎵 Orange juice and rabbit’s food she now rebuffs.
[US]H.W. Bentley ‘Linguistic Concoctions of the Soda Jerker’ in AS XI:1 44: RABBIT’S FOOD. Lettuce.
[US] ‘C.C.C. Chatter’ in AS XV:2 Apr. 211/2: Common articles of food lose some of their sameness when given figurative names: [...] Green vegetables such as lettuce, carrots, and cabbage are rabbit food.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 183: ‘Rabbit’s food’ is any green salad.
[UK]A. Bleasdale It’s a Madhouse (1986) 122: (Eddie gives her the salad) [...] I no want it, I no like rabbit food.
[Aus]V. Darroch On Coast 76: Rabbit-tucker: Salads.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 648: He hit his motel. He took his pills. He ate his rabbit-food dinner.
[UK]G. Malkani Londonstani (2007) 33: His salad is tasty today. Nice and meaty. Not like that rabbit’s food last week.
[US]N. McCall Them (2008) 71: She mumbled something [...] about ‘rabbit food.’ She plucked a homemade oatmeal cookie from a batch.
rabbit killer (n.) (also rabbit-chop, rabbit-punch) [the blow used by farmers etc. to dispatch rabbits]

(Aus.) a chopping blow to the back of a neck; also as v.

[Aus]G. Casey It’s Harder for Girls 23: I took a rush and gave him a rabbit-killer that must have nearly broken his neck.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 53: Big Lew slewed him around, and smashed a rabbit-killer on his neck.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 229: He’s going to bust his nose and put in a rabbit punch.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 88: I was learning the art of street-fighting: how to king-hit and how to rabbit-chop. [Ibid.] 90: I rabbit-punched him on the back of the neck.

In phrases

brr rabbit (v.) [SE brr, an echoic acknowledgement of cold weather + pun on the character Br’er Rabbit, the creation of Joel Chandler Harris (1848–1908)]

(US campus) to complain about the cold.

[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 43: Brr rabbit is a complaint about the cold. It expands the common brr that imitates shivering from the cold by means of matching it to one of the few set constructions in English that contains the sound /br/ the name of that clever inhabitant of the brier patch, Br’er Rabbit.
buy the rabbit (v.) (also buy the rabbits) [a rabbit is presumably the lesser bargain in this hypothetical deal. Note 16C proverb ‘who will change a rabbit for a rat?’]

(orig. US) to conclude a deal unfavourably, to do badly.

[US]J. Neal Brother Jonathan II 51: Keep a civil tongue in your head; or you’ll buy the rabbits.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 197: [...] when a person gets the worst of a bargain, he is said ‘to have bought the rabbit.’.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 7: Rabbit - When a person gets the worst of a bargain he is said to have ‘bought the rabbit’ From an old story about a man selling a cat to a foreigner for a rabbit.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 13: Rabbit, when one gets the worst of the bargain, he is said to have ‘bought the rabbit’.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: He bought the rabbit, a criminal case in court poorly handled by attorney; got the worst of it in a business deal.
don’t pay no rabbit (foot) (also don’t pay no rabbit-ass mind) [Mezzrow & Wolfe, Really the Blues (1946): ‘When you don’t pay a man no rabbit, you’re not paying him any more attention than would a rabbit’s butt [or foot] as it disappears hurriedly over the fence’]

(US black) an exhortation to ignore a person or situation.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 24: Ah don’t pay all dese ole preachers no rabbit-foot,’ said Ellis Jones. ‘Some of ’em is all right but everybody dats up in de pulpit whoopin’ and hollerin’ ain’t called to preach.’.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 216: first cat: Father grab him, I ain’t payin’ him no rabbit.
[US]W. Fisher Waiters 162: ‘Looka these poor white bastards oglin’ us.’ [...] ‘Pay ’em no mind, babes,’ he said. ‘Pay ’em no rabbit-ass mind.’.
[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 141: He ain’t paying none of you any rabbit-ass mind.
draw some rabbit tracks (v.)

(US black) to compose a letter.

[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 7/2: Draw some rabbit tracks – Write a letter.
go like a rabbit (v.) (also go like a herd of turtles)

of a woman, to copulate enthusiastically.

[US](con. late 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 437: You oughta take her out to the toolies [...] She’ll go like a herd of turtles.
J. Godber Bouncers 42: eric I bet she goes like a rabbit. [...] les I hope she doesn’t try and kiss me. I’ll spew.
have the rabbits (v.) [the assumed stupidity of rabbits]

(Aus.) to be exceptionally stupid.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Mar. 15/2: The man with wheels in his head [...] has ‘quandongs’ or ‘rabbits’ (’Rabbits’ means very severe quandoness).
rabbit died, the [the test formerly used to determine pregnancy]

I am pregnant.

[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 195: ‘You’re sure.’ [...] ‘Pretty sure.’ She forced herself to look squarely at him. ‘The rabbit died.’.
(ref. to 1956) Morn. Call (Allentown, PA) 7 Jan. 16/1: ‘What do you mean: The rabbit died?’ I asked my obstetrician that morning in 1956.
‘Ho-boy’ Dara 🌐 Sure enough, the doctor reported the rabbit had died.
(ref. to c.1950) Austin American-Statesman (TX) 19 June 33/1: Fifty years ago my motrher suspected she was pregnant and went to the doctor. When the test came back, the doctor said the rabbit died.
[US]Sth Bend Trib. (IN) 3 <ay E1/1: There used to be a phrase — ‘the rabbit died’ — that meant a woman was pregnant.
stab the rabbit (v.)

(Aus.) to have sexual intercourse.

[Aus]Bug (Aus.) Oct. 🌐 It’s a dead cert the young Prince has been stabbing the rabbit non-stop since arriving on our shores.

In exclamations