Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pencil n.


1. (US prison) a revolver.

[US]G. Milburn ‘Convicts’ Jargon’ in AS VI:6 440: pencil, n. A revolver; seldom used nowadays.

2. the penis, usu. that of a small boy; thus pencil and tassel, a small boy’s penis and testes.

‘Letter from a Missionary Bawd’ in Carpenter Verse in English from Tudor & Stuart Eng. (2003) 426: For Smith’s [a teenager] fine pencill every day employ’d / To draw her likeness in true flesh and blood.
Satirist & Blade (Boston, MA) 19 Feb. n.p.: Dan is out again, with a new point on his pencil, apple girl beware of swell fronts — ’nough said.
H. Carey Sl. Venery.
[US]Bo Carter (?) ‘My Pencil Won’t Write No More’ 🎵 Now listen here folks, there’s one thing sure, / my old pencil won’t write no more / Because the lead’s all gone, oh the lead’s all gone, / oh the lead’s all gone, the pencil won’t write no more.
[US] in G. Legman Rationale of the Dirty Joke (1972) I 71: ‘Whew,’ whistles a boy in the rear of the room, ‘he must have a long pencil.’.
[Aus]J. Hibberd White with Wire Wheels (1973) 185: I copped a dose of the clap off her last time [...] Try it. Fish-hooks and hot leads in your pencil. You’ll pay the penalty.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 313: After I cracked her cherry, I decided to write my name in her big vagina. I wrote ‘Jim Don’ with my big pencil.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 188: The little boy’s external genitals are referred to as his pencil and tassel.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: all pencils, no erasers – event or situation in which all of the attendees are male, with no females present.
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 pencil n. penis. esp. long skinny one.

3. (N.Z. prison) a prison-made tattoo machine.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 138/1: pencil n. a tattoo machine.

In compounds

pencil dick (n.)

see separate entry.

pencil fever (n.)

(Aus.) a situation where bookmakers are bettiing heavily against a horse.

[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 57: Pencil Fever, when bookmakers lay heavily against a horse.
pencil prick (n.) [prick n. (1)]

1. a term of abuse.

[Ire]T. Murphy Morning After Optimism in Plays: 3 (1994) Scene vi: Pencil prick!
J. Christy Shanghai Alley 68: Get lost, pencil prick!
T. Muhlrad Surrealistic Midnight Ride 11: Hell with it, my wife and pencil prick deserve each other.

2. a small penis, thus its possessor.

M.A. Thomas Crosswinds 59: You should talk, Pencil Prick [...] Pencil Prick the Bug Fucker, that’s what they ought to call you.
W. Marten Killer of Serial Women 160: And, dork, the next time your scrunty pencil-prick wants to feel sorry for itself [etc.].
M. Miller Rebooting in Beverly Hills [ebook] (I had heard about men compensating for their lack of endowment with the artistry of their tongue.) Not this guy. Harry was a pencil prick with no technique.
pencil-slinger (n.)

a writer.

[US]Wkly Caucasian (Lexington, MO) 24 June 1/5: He was [...] a No.1 pencil slinger. He wrote verses that were never thrown into the waste basket.
pencil-squeezer (n.)

a masturbator.

[US]Ian Dury ‘There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards’ 🎵 Van Gogh did some eyeball-pleasers / he must have been a pencil-squeezer.
pencil-whipping (n.)

(US) a general term of abuse, the implication is of masturbation.

[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 13: A bitch-ass company of pencil-whippin’ motherfuckers.
[US]Mother Jones July/Aug. 🌐 Nothing should be 9:00, 9:15, 9:30, because the auditors say you’re pencil-whipping it. And truth be known, we do pencil-whip it.

In phrases

black pencil (n.)

a black man’s penis.

[US]Maledicta IX 52: black pencil n [L] Black man’s penis.
have lead in one’s pencil (v.) (orig. US)

1. to be potent.

Meyer & Ebert Beyond Valley of the Dolls [film script] Have you got lead in your...?
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 37: He’s always got lead in his pencil [...] One of them anyway.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US]P.Nunti ‘Pencil Full of Lead’ 🎵 I’ve got a sheet for my bed / And a pillow for my head / I’ve got a pencil full of lead.

2. to have an erection.

see sense 1.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

3. in fig. use, to feel emotionally/physically strong.

[US]J. Thompson Alcoholics (1993) 61: He could feel the old lead flowing back into his pencil.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 5: Holiday [...] had lead in his pencil and was jacked up big on the 23rd Psalm.
have no lead in one’s pencil (v.)

to be impotent.

[US]Bo Carter (?) ‘My Pencil Won’t Write No More’ 🎵 You sure can tell when a man’s pencil is wrong, / his mama’s always, shiftin’ from home / Because the lead’s all gone, oh the lead’s all gone, / oh the lead’s all gone, the pencil won’t write no more.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 188: The old man, when, alas, free of Fumbler’s Hall, is said to have no more ink in the pen or no more lead in the pencil.
W. Boyd Good Man in Africa 131: [S]he thought he’d chickened out, couldn’t take the heat, hadn’t the lead in his pencil.
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 70: Bloody bell ain’t got any donger in it just the moment [...] No lead in the old pencil.
put lead in one’s pencil (v.) (also put lead in one’s pistol)

(orig. Aus.) to cheer one up, to strengthen, esp. in a sexual context; thus this will put lead in your pencil/here’s lead in your pencil, a toast used to accompany the offer of a drink, food or even drug – any of which is cited as a presumed adjunct to potency.

[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 76: ‘Here’s luck, anyway.’ ‘Here’s lead in your pencil, George.’ They drank down the Martinis.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana I 117: ‘May I ask you why you take eggs with your drink.’ [...] ‘Because I want to put some lead in my pencil.’.
[US]W.L. Gresham Nightmare Alley (1947) 168: Okay, sport. Here’s lead in your pencil.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 168: Come and have a cuppa, Bob [,...] it’ll put some lead in your pencil.
[UK](con. WW2) R. Poole London E1 (2012) 217: ‘A little drop o’ stout’ll put lead in ’is pencil’.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 59: Drink up, man ... this’ll put enough lead in th’ pencil t’ last a lifetime.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 110: Tinned ham. That’ll put lead in your pencil, if you’ve got anybody to write to.
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 100: Hot tea [...] All natural herbs. Here, it’ll put lead in your pencil.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 126: The slang terms available to describe sexual intercourse are almost as numerous as those related to alcohol and include: [...] put lead in your pencil; get it up; have it away (also a Britishism), and so on and on.
B. Hamilton Lobster Pot Wars 21: Brian winked at Will, ‘Will, it’s because Lea told me oysters put lead in your pencil.’.
sharpen one’s pencil (v.)

(UK juv.) to have sexual intercourse.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 pencil (sharpen your...) v. sexual intercourse f. put your pencil in the pencil sharpener (contributor says this term in common use by children of ages 8 – 10).

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

penciller (n.)

(Aus./UK) a bookmaker or their clerk.

[UK]Daily News 24 Oct. 2/1: Ten races were set for decision [...] business was brisk among the pencillers.
[UK]St James’s Gazette 2 June n.p.: When the favourite won, the accused and his clerk, or ‘penciller’, promptly changed their clothes and decamped.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 57: Penciller, a bookmaker.
[UK]Mirror of Life 27 July 6/1: To show how the Jewish element preponderates in the betting world [...] Harry Marks, of Bow, a Jewish penciller, celebrated last week his silver wedding at the Cannon Street Hotel. The following are a few of the Hebraic pencillers present [etc] .
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Apr. 24/1: Outside pencillers paid according to tote, and he netted £630.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 9 Aug. 4/8: Groper pencillers grow grumpy as they saw them flocking in.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Derby Bet’ Sporting Times 28 May 1/2: ‘What a down-hearted dial for Epsom!’ Lamb Skinner, the penciller, said.
Drew & Evans Grifter 49: ‘What price are you betting Wyoming?’ asked the bearded one, addressing the penciller.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 93: For this the bookmaker thanked him; then turned to his penciller.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 240: A good penciller is the bookmaker’s first essential to success. At any time the penciller can tell them their potential liability on any horse and often warns them it would be dangerous to lay any more. The penciller works swiftly and quietly, rarely asking for a bet to be repeated and even more rarely making a mistake.

In compounds

pencil geek (n.) [geek n.1 (4)]

1. (US campus) anyone who works more devotedly than their peers see fit.

[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.

2. a clerk or similar.

F. Petrella What’s Cool & Cruel about School 26: Towel man, pencil geek, scoreboard jockey. That's not all. I also agreed to be the statistician for the baseball and soccer teams as well.
C.H. Clark Lowcountry Bribe 120: He doesn’t have a clue how to handle detective work, since he came from an audit background. A pencil geek.
pencil head

see separate entries.


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

pencil-whip (v.)

1. (US) to falsify a report.

[UK]Oakland Trib. 3 Nov. 22/3: ‘Shade tree’ compaction test sampling and ‘pencil whipping,’ the lawmakers learned, permitted highway workers to sit ‘comfortably’ under a shade tree and ‘falsify’ reports in ‘eight minutes.’.
Chicago Daily Herald 7 Aug. section 4 1/4: Anybody who has ever played for money knows golfers who kick-box balls out of the woods, pencil-whip their rivals and wrestle with their handicaps.
North Hills (PA) News Record 26 Mar. 1/6: ‘The falsified records, known in the airline industry as “pencil-whipping,” could result in fines if it is shown USAir knowingly allowed them to occur,’ Pardue said.
Roughton & Crutchfield Job Hazard Analysis 47: The phrase ‘to pencil whip’ means to fill out the report without actually doing the inspection.

2. (US) to criticize severely.

in P. McFedries WordSpy 🌐 I know you [media] guys are going to get me. Maybe you guys won’t pencil-whip me this week, but I know it’s coming.

3. (US prison) of a guard, to give a written reprimand.

[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July 🌐 Pencil Whipped: To be written up by an officer. (TX).

4. (US prison, also paper whip) of a prisoner, to file a lawsuit or a grievance.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 103: Pencil Whip also Paper Whip Inmates who file many lawsuits or grievances are referred to as pencil whipping the system.