Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bang-up adj.

[onomat.,/bang adv. but note Fr. bien, well or good as excl.]

1. drunk.

[UK] ‘Song’ Sailor’s Vocal Repository 28: I seized upon madam, by gom she were fuddled [...] I never before had seen ou’t o’ this kind, For they tell’d ma as hoo, shoo was bang up and primed.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London 412: They were by this time all well primedripe for a rumpus—bang-up for a lark or spree.
[US]J.K. Paulding John Bull in America 167: My reflections were interrupted by the arrival of the stage, the driver being at length ‘prime bang up,’ that is to say, as drunk as a lord.

2. (also bang out, jam-bang-up) first-rate, excellent, fashionable, stylish; often as bang up to the mark or bang up to dick.

[UK] ‘Jonny Raw & Polly Clark’ Batchelar’s Jovial Fellows Collection of Songs 4: One night quite bang up to the Mark!Ri tol de rol. / A drunken swell met Polly Clark.
[UK]T.H. ‘Punch’s Apotheosis’ in Smith Rejected Addresses 123: We, to please great Johnny Bull should plan a jeer, / Dance a bang up theatrical cotillion.
[UK]J. Burrowes Life in St George’s Fields 3: Let other Bucks say what they will, / We’re Bang-up in the Fields.
[US]National Advocate (N.Y.) 28 May 2/3: No $20,000 bets – ruinous stakes – sectional excitements, or falling in love with horses – no great display of white hats from the south, or dandies from the east – all was easy, pleasant, and something in the bang-up style.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 120: The play is a bang-up sort of a place; look at your coat and your waistcoat, that’s all!
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 50: Sir Harry Vane Tempest was likewise ‘bang up’ to the mark.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Mar. 22 1/3: ‘Sir Thomas Moore’ — a ‘Bang-up’ sort of fellow.
[Ire] ‘The Young Irish Gentleman’ Dublin Comic Songster 176: Thro’ Dublin then, in bang up style [...] He’d dash along twelve miles an hour.
[US]Wkly Rake (NY) 6 Aug. n.p.: The Whip may be made a tip-top, bang-up, slap-dash, first chop, out-and-out sporting sheet.
[Ind]J.W. Kaye Peregrine Pultuney I 228: ‘It was a bang-up party indeed — upon my soul a bang-up party’.
[UK]Fast Man 16:1 n.p.: [He] kept a bang up gelding, with gig, in first-rate style.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 104: But they were not such knowing kiddies after all, though they considered themselves bang up to the mark.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 312/2: All the ‘regular bang-up fakes’ are manufactured in the ‘Start’ (metropolis).
[UK]Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1994) 314: A slap-up gal in a bang-up chariot.
H.E. Malet Annals of the Road 151: [A]n amateur coachman was entering the town of Dover at night with his team — all bang-up, and the lamps lit.
[US]A. Pinkerton Reminiscences 29: I’ve got a ‘bang-up’ article.
[US]A.C. Gunter Mr Potter of Texas 113: You’re a regular bang-up Lady Macbeth, You—you frighten a fellow so.
[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 128: The original out-and-out benjamins, or the celebrated bang-up kicksies, cut saucy, with artful buttons and a double fakement down the sides.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 64: The Girardin House, one of the bang-up hotels of Galveston.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 203: ‘You had a bang-up graft.’ ‘Bang up!’.
[NZ]Truth (London) 18 June 1678/3: Slang terms: The A1, all-there, awful, bang-up, bully [etc].
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 106: When a man has a bang-up honest conviction, it’s up to him to get it proved.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 239: Saw a bang-up cabaret in New York.
[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 111: A bang-out hog wallow of a night like that was for only a few guests who were special.
C. Drew ‘Shakespeare Harry’s Runner’ in Bulletin 27 June 50/1: There was no doubt about him being a bang-up runner.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 1 June [synd. col.] I have as long as I remember longed to cook a bang-up meal.
[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Jan. 7/1: The boys threw a jam-bang-up testimonial for friend Willie Bryant in Philly.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 288: The opening was a bang-up success.
[US]Green & Laurie Show Biz from Vaude to Video 173: Billy Sunday sold God to audiences with a bang-up performance that was strictly b.o.
[US]L. Hansberry Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window in Three Negro Plays (1969) II i: I’ll make us a bang-up fire and some of the hottest coffee ever brewed.
[US]B. Gutcheon New Girls (1982) 208: They did a bang-up job raising money for the symphony.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 5 Nov. 4: Lee stages some bang-up action set-pieces.
[UK]Guardian G2 28 Jan. 15: Hailed as the first bang-up classic of the new decade.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 76: Union Station had a bang-up ending. I won’t ruin it for you.

3. (US) impoverished, penniless.

‘Oliver Optic’ In Doors and Out (1876) 105: I am ‘bang up’. I have got a note of four hundred to pay [DA].

4. (US) finished.

M. Denison Days and Ways of Cocked Hats 281: ‘Witness will stop.’ [...] ‘I’m bang-up your Honor,’ replied the sailor.