Green’s Dictionary of Slang

grub n.2

[SE grub, to dig]

1. food [one has ‘grubbed it up’].

[UK]Dialogue Betwixt an Exciseman and Death (transcribed from a copy in British Museum, printed in London by J. Clark) n.p.: I’ll pass my word this night Shall yield us grub before the morning light [F&H].
[UK]Defoe Street Robberies Considered 32: Grub, Provender.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 136: Then we’ll all roll in bub and grub / Till from this ken we go.
[UK] ‘Bowman Prigg’s Farewell’ in Wardroper (1995) 283: I prithee now send me some grub.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 35: If those who monopoliz’d grub, / Would monopolize appetites too.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 9: Themselves and their brothers / Get grub at cheap rate.
[UK] ‘Lag’s Lament’ (trans. of an untitled cant poem) in Vidocq (1829) IV 265: On the wery best of grub we lived, / And sixpence a quartern for gin I gived.
[US]News (London) 15 Nov. 383: I duster say as your case is werry right, but I must get a mouthful of ‘grub’ somehow.
[US]R.H. Dana Two Years before the Mast (1992) 253: He was hungry, and [...] put into the grub in sailor’s style.
[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds Mysteries of London II (2nd series) 22: Will you jine us here in a bit of grub?
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 1 Mar. 2/7: If things don’t alter in the grub line, why you’ll see me again.
[US]W.G. Simms Sword and the Distaff 302: That’s not the way to speak of a person that’s finding you the grub you eat!
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 372/1: They do not go to coffee-shops, not being allowed to go in, as they are apt to steal the men’s ‘grub’.
[US]N.E. Police Gaz. (Boston, MA) 12 Oct. 8/3: Lieut. Horrigan [...] is generally short for grub, but he doesn’t care as long as he can get his rum .
[US]B. Harte Luck of Roaring Camp (1873) 227: When are you goin’ to give us some grub? I’m hungry ’nough to skin and eat a hoss.
[Aus]Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: His food is his ‘grub;’ his drink, his ‘lush;’ his cigar, his ‘weed’.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 45: There was no doubt but my ‘grub’ would run very short it if depended on my oakum-picking.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 58: It saves me buying grub.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 10 May14/3: When tormented by the pangs of ’unger, the babe do not gnash ’is toothless gums and ’owl for grub.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 12 June 7/3: ‘Guess they went without grub, a good many of them, until they got them there orders cashed’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 9 Dec. 3/2: The men who speak at the Staue are better off for grub than the majority of people.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 24: There’s tuppence a week for his grub for ten weeks.
[US]E. Townshend ‘Chimmie Fadden in His New Joint’ 9 Apr. [synd. col.] All de profit is in de wine and none in de grub.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 24 Apr. 3/3: I never spits upon the steps / Witch helps me for to climb / Each day to get me daily grub.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 143: They punts in grub [..] an’ fruit, an’ all sorts o’ things.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 78: Folks as good as yuh has et my grub, an’ liked it.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 15 Dec. 7/6: Just give her [...] grub to eat.
[US]Firefly 9 Dec. 1: Once all the grub was gone, there seemed nothing more to wait for.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 87: You ’eard parson a-torkin’ about the Lord sendin’ the ravens wif grub for the prophet Elijah larst Sunday, Bill?
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 192: Some of that high-hat grub I et.
[US](con. 1900s–10s) Dos Passos 42nd Parallel in USA (1966) 68: I don’t reckon it’s much, but the grub’s pretty good.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Have His Carcase 50: I was thinking about my grub.
M. Marples Public School Slang 91: grub: generally used outside schools of any kind of food, but in schools often equivalent to tuck.
[US]J. Mitchell ‘Professor Sea Gull’ in Joe Gould’s Secret (1996) 4: It’s the only grub I know of that’s free of charge.
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 27: No one had money enough for grub.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 143: They were determind to get some thing done about the grub.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 97: Jolly place – good grub, and lots of it.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 4: Hustling scoff grub was my limit.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 42: You;’ll get tea and a bit of grub later.
[UK]A. Burgess 1985 (1980) 223: Eat = get grub in your guts.
[UK]A. Payne ‘You Need Hands’ in Minder [TV script] 20: My boy likes his grub, so keep him well fed.
[US]Source Nov. 138: After getting our grub on in a local diner.
[UK]Guardian Guide 31 July-6 Aug. 29: Scoff some BBQ-d grub.
[UK]Guardian G2 21 Jan. 6: The millenium Michelin Guide to top grub in Great Britain.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[UK]Financial Times Mag. 6 July 37/1: This re-appropriation of honest grub [i.e. beefburgers]. They call it ‘dude food’ or ‘dirty grub’.
S. Wiebe ‘Gallows Point’ in ThugLit Feb. [ebook] [H]e put away acidic coffee and stared at grub he didn’t want.

2. fig. use of sense 1, a punishment.

[Aus]Examiner 9 Feb. 5/2: ‘Bridewell should receive one more guest.’ Prisoner — ‘I’d rather be sent there and to the mill-doll by your Lordship, than take my grub along with any of the rummy beaks at Worship-street.’.

3. (US campus) a hard worker, one who works to the exclusion of other interests [he ‘grubs up’ facts].

Wells & Davis Sketches of Williams College 76: A man must not be ashamed to be called a ‘grub’ in college, if he would shine in the world.
Williams College Quarterly in Hall (1856) ii 246: A hard reader or student: e.g. not grubs or reading men, only wordy men.
[US]Lippincott’s Monthly Mag. (Phila.) Oct. 575: The reputation of a ‘grub’ is hardly a desirable one at the present day [DA].
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 40: grub, n. = grind [n.2 (3)].
[US]L. Birnbach Official Preppie Hbk 90: 13 Words For The Person Who Is Working — 1. Grind 2. Squid 3. Pencil Geek 4. Cereb 5. Grub 6. Weenie 7. Throat 8. Tool 9. Wonk 10. Gome 11. Nerd 12. Spider 13. Conch.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 412: Other synonyms include pencil geek, grind, grub, and throat.

4. a meal; thus grub palace, a restaurant [ext. of sense 1].

[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Oct. 65/1: Why is a gentleman just leaving a dinner party like a butterfly? Because he comes from a grub.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 109: Next time yu heave anybody out’n that grub palace let him square up first.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 208: Ate our grub at Tudor Tea Room.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 233: There he was nice and dozy after his grub and a few bottles of the old vino.

5. (UK black) drugs [play on food n. (3)].

410 ‘Four Door Salute’ [lyrics] Like kicking off a next man's door I already know where the grub is.
67 ‘Hookahs’ [lyrics] I can move grub on the endz, I can move grub in twiz / I can move amm in draws, I can move amm in bits.
Loski ‘Drill’ [lyrics] I distribute grubs at the same way, President Trump distributing his speech / I swear me and T would’ve been rich, if we ever had a run that's clean.

In compounds

grub and bub (n.) (also bub and grub) [bub n.1 ]

food and drink, thus grub and bub shop, a restaurant.

[UK]G. Parker View of Society I. xxii. 171: How did you procure your Grub and Bub?
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 158: Bub and Grub. A mighty low expression signifying victuals and drink.
[UK]J. Wight Mornings in Bow St. 265: An art that will be dignified to all posterity, as being that art by which the patriot Preston procured bub and grub for his family.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 221: The grub and bub were soon afterwards on the table.
[UK]Northern Liberator 21 Oct. 4/7: The higher class [...] always feel for the climbing boys (sweeps) and supplies us with bub and grub.
[UK]Flash Mirror 19: G. Guttle [...] has just opened a slap up grub and bub shop [...] (for ready rag only), where he sells panum, lap and peck of every sort.
[UK]Hants. Advertiser 28 Aug. 2/3: The Manchester people provide grub and bub for the preachers and their congregations.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Apr. 2: ‘Bub and Grub’ unexceptional, as usual.
[UK]Sussex Advertiser 26 Feb. 8/3: ‘A tightener; what do you mean?’ [...] ‘Why plenty of grub and bub, to be sure’.
[UK]Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: This harpy is said to have been a rooter to the poor shakes, who beat stones for their doss, bub, and grub.
[US]Arizona Sentinel (Yuma, AZ) 1 Oct. n.p.: He will give you for ‘bub and grub’ a dish of ‘scouse’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 19 July 3: £3 in ‘hard tin’ and ‘bub and grub’ to the tune of seventy bob.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 116/1: I teach you your business — I provide you grub and bub, while you’re learning it, all free and without charge.
[UK]Western Times 24 Feb. 2/3: Pious people willing to pray for the souls of Gilbert and John Long in return for ‘grub and bub’.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Times of James Catnach 205: ‘The vorn’t a going to hav’ no new French Police Spy system in their ancient and honourable City,’ said Aldermen Cute-Grub-Bub-Turtle-and-Soup.
[UK]A. Griffiths Chronicles of Newgate 519: A widow woman, who gave him ‘bub and grub’ or food and one-and-sixpence for every nine days’ work.
[UK]Worcs. Chron. 20 Oct. 4/6: The party took water in a barge well stowed with ‘bub and grub’.
grub and snooze (n.)

(UK und.) bed and board.

[UK]Morn. Post (London) 18 Dec. 3/3: ‘Grub and snooze’ bed and board.
grub hooks (n.) (also grub-grabbers) [hook n.1 (1a); ult. SE grub-hook, an implement used to ‘grub up’ roots etc.]

(US) fingers or hands.

[US]Boys’ Life Feb. 23/2: I wisht a can o’ that salmon you was talkin’ about would jist drop into my grub-hooks.
D. Runyon ‘A Tale of Two Fists’ XXVIII in Pittsburgh Press (PA) 16 June 23/2: My hero’s chin may inadvertently meet up with one of Jess’s big, bone grub-grabbers.
Poems, Ballads, and Parodies 54: I could hear the dull buzz of the bee / As he sunk his grub hooks into me.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 189: Make him keep his lousy grub-hooks on his own side o’ the table!
[UK]N. Nye Long Run (1983) 97: He fastened one of those grub-hooks into the front of Howlett’s jacket [...] and tugged.
[US]C. Thain Cold as a Bay Street Banker’s Heart 77: Keep your grub hooks off my things [HDAS].
grub-liner (n.) (also grub-line rider) [fig. use of cowboy jargon line, the boundary of a ranch]

(US) an itinerant, out-of-work cowboy who subsists on hand-outs; thus on the grub line .

[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 22: He was no booze-fighting grubliner.
C. Lockhart Me - Smith 65: I reckon you think I’m kind of a mounted bum, a grub-liner or something like that.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘A Word List From Montana’ in DN IV:iii 244: on the grub line, phr. Descriptive of one who always stays for meals. ‘Stone’s never worked and were always on the grub line’.
[US]Sat. Eve. Post 195 22/1: The news of the Wharton raid had been carried to the bunk house by a grub-liner the night before.
[US]W. James Drifting Cowboy (1931) 146: The regular grub line rider is nothing but a range bum.
[US]W.D. Overholser Fabulous Gunman 46: She had mistaken him for a grub-line rider.
grub-mill (n.)

(US) the mouth.

[US]Pilgrim Old Nick’s Camp Meetin’ 110: I [...] kin say off the very words what rolled out’n his grub-mill [HDAS].
Practical Dentist 2 480: Tooth tinkers of the right sort aint oncommon thick, and so that ere coon wot I pinted at has been kick’in up the all-firedist rack’t in my grub-mill.
grub-pile (n.)

(US, Western) a meal.

‘Bill Dadd, the Scribe’ Great Trans-continental Railroad Guide 63/2: Teamsters on the plains call a meal a ‘grub pile’.
[US]J.H. Beadle Life in Utah 223: At the shout of ‘grub-pile,’ every man ‘went for’ his share in haste.
[UK]W. Shepherd Prairie Experiences 221: The word is given, ‘Grub pile’; every man washes his face and hands, and seizing his couvert, he helps himself and eats.
[US] ‘Cowboy Reverie’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 414: No more will the cook’s call to ‘grub-pile’ / Cause me from my hard bed to creep.
[US]H. Garland Eagle’s Heart 212: ‘Grub-pile! All down for grub!’ yelled the cook.
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 Days 125: ‘Grub pile!’ shouted Stevenson, and the two made haste to obey.
[US]C.E. Mulford Rustler’s Valley 69: By th’ way, what time is grub-pile ’round here? [DA].
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 151: From the familiar calls of the camp cook we select a few: ‘Grub-pile, come a-runnin’, fellers’.
[US] ‘Yellowstone Flat’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 333: You will hear the cook holler ‘grub pile’.
grub-shop (n.)

1. an eating house; in UK public schools, a ‘tuck-shop’.

[UK]Bradford Obs. 12 Dec. 4/4: That’s the grub-shop [...] where we young gentlemen wot has money buys our wittels.
Uppingham School Mag. I 46: Another reason for having a ‘grub shop’ is, that under school management a great deal of the ‘trash’ [...] that is now sold would be done away with.
Lancing College Mag. 2 617: In old times the Grub-Shop was managed directly by a School Committee, employing however a shop-woman.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 28 Sept. 2/5: [I was] frequently supplied, while at Harrow, with hampers from home and a tick at the ‘grub shop’.
Public School Mag. 3 177: School fare is proverbially [...] wholesome and if you will stick to it without extraneous aid from the grub shop you will not go far wrong.
[UK]Dundee Courier 1 Jan. 8/6: The ‘grub-shop’ and the ‘tuck-box’ are two of the greatest enemies to all-round fitness.
[UK]Dundee Courier 17 Aug. 7/5: [of a canteen] Where’s that grub-shop?
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 29 Oct. 7/4: [of a cafe] It might even be a good idea to try and find and grub shop and stoke up.

2. the mouth.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 509/1: from ca. 1860.
grub-slinger (n.) (US)

1. a cook.

[US]R.C. Murphy Logbook for Grace (1948) 6 July 6: ‘Griddlecakes,’ inquired our Dutch West Indian, black grub-slinger, ‘what’s them?’. [Internet] About Comstock Saloon. Carlo Espinas, Grub Slinger.

2. a waiter or waitress.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
grub-spoiler (n.)

(US) a cook.

[UK]J.T. Keane On Blue-Water 35: These ‘water-whelps,’ as we called them, are properly called ‘dough-boys,’ but our ‘grub-spoiler’ – pet name for ship’s cook– called them ‘swimmers’ probably because they were such heavy sinkers.
[UK]Indep. 26 Nov. 2794/2: The victualing department was presided over by two heathen grub spoilers, who [...] could not boil water without burning it .
B.M. Bower Happy Family of the Flying U 269: I’d like to know when that darned grub-spoiler bought into the outfit, anyhow.
A.E. Dingle Pipe All Hands 328: But ’twas all thot crazy grub-spoiler c’d do to kill a silly sheep, lave alone stickin’ th’ steel into the gizzard av a human mon.
[UK]W. Granville Sea Sl. 114: Grub spoiler. A naval cook.
[US]Boys’ Life Aug. 39/1: ‘Cookie [...] we was only jokin’,’ moaned one saddle bum. ‘I’m jokin’ too,’ snapped the irate grub-spoiler.
(con. WW2) G. Foulser Seaman’s Voice 77: Hirohito would have given that grub-spoiler a medal if he’d known what the cook used to dish up for us blokes.
R.B. Platt Royalscope Fe-As-Ko 95: ‘Good grub-spoiler?’ To which I had to expound that a grub-spoiler was a cook, whether or not the grub was spoilt.

see separate entries.

grub station (n.)

(US) a restaurant.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ John Henry 37: I took her down the lane to one of those swell grub stations the other night.
grub thirst (n.)

(US) hunger; appetite.

[US] (ref. to 1880s) L.A. Times 9 Apr. 5: Ten years ago, a man entering such restaurants on the Bowery as Boss Tweed’s, Tom Fish’s or ‘Beefsteak John’s’ and having any respect for his future appetite or ‘grub thirst,’ as it was called then, generally wore his ear muffs.
grub warehouse (n.)

the stomach.

[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 25: The Pet [...] made very free with the Grub Warehouse of his opponent.

In phrases

get one’s grub on (v.)

(US black) to eat, esp. voraciously.

[US]Ice Cube ‘It Was a Good Day’ [lyrics] I got my grub on, but didn’t pig out .
[US]J. Ridley Everybody Smokes in Hell 131: Me and Kenny fiddn’ ta go to Roscoe’s, get our grub on.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.