Green’s Dictionary of Slang

grub n.2

[SE grub, to dig]

1. [mid-17C+] food [one has ‘grubbed it up’].

2. [mid-19C] fig. use of sense 1, a punishment.

3. [mid-19C+] (US campus) a hard worker, one who works to the exclusion of other interests [he ‘grubs up’ facts].

4. [1940s+] a meal; thus grub palace, a restaurant [ext. of sense 1].

5. [2010s] (UK Black) drugs.

In compounds

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

[late 18C–19C] food and drink.

grub-hole (n.) (also hole n.1 (2b))

[late 19C] (US) an eating house.

grub hooks (n.) (also grub-grabbers) [hook n.1 (1a); ult. SE grub-hook, an implement used to ‘grub up’ roots etc.]

[1910s+] (US) fingers or hands.

grub-liner (n.) (also grub-line rider) [fig. use of cowboy jargon line, the boundary of a ranch]

[1900s–60s] (US) an itinerant, out-of-work cowboy who subsists on hand-outs; thus on the grub line .

grub-mill (n.)

[late 19C] (US) the mouth.

grub-pile (n.)

[mid-19C–1940s] (US, Western) a meal.

grub-shop (n.) [mid-19C]

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

2. the mouth.

grub-slinger (n.) [1910s] (US)

1. a cook.

2. a waiter or waitress.

grub-spoiler (n.)

[late 19C–1950s] (US) a cook.


see separate entries.

grub station (n.)

[1900s] (US) a restaurant.

grub-street (n.)

[mid-19C] the mouth.

grub thirst (n.)

[late 19C] (US) hunger; appetite.

grub-trap (n.) [SE trap/trap n.1 (5)]

[mid–late 19C] the mouth.

grub warehouse (n.)

[mid-19C] the stomach.

In phrases

get one’s grub on (v.)

[1990s+] (US black) to eat, esp. voraciously.

in grub

[early 19C] employed.

like grub (adv.) [SE grub, to dig, to root up]

[late 19C] keenly, enthusiastically.