Green’s Dictionary of Slang

timber n.

1. [early 19C] (US) a thrashing.

2. [early 19C] (Anglo-Irish) a wooden leg.

3. [mid-19C] a birch broom.

4. [early 19C–1960s] a match; also attrib.; also as small timber.

5. [mid-19C] the stocks.

6. [late 19C] a clubbing at the hands of the toughs of a town unfriendly to tramps; also attrib.

7. [1930s–40s] (US black) a toothpick.

8. [1930s–40s] (US Und.) a police nightstick.

9. [1970s] (drugs) stems and stalks found in a batch of marijuana.

10. see tall timber n. (1)

In compounds

timber-doodle (n.)

[mid–late 19C] (US) any form of spirituous liquor.

timber-merchant (n.) [merchant n.]

[early 19C–1930s] a match-seller.

In phrases

half-timbered (adj.)

[late 19C] one-legged.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

timber-head (n.) [+ -head sfx (1)]

[mid–late 17C; mid-19C] a fool.

timber stairs (n.) [its wooden construction; logic would suggest the treadmill or ‘everlasting staircase’, but this was not invented until the early 19C]

[mid-18C] the pillory.


see separate entries.

In exclamations

saw your timber!

[mid-19C] go away! be off!