Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bang n.1

1. as an act of violence.

(a) [16C+] a blow, a hit, as aimed at and received by a person; also fig. use [ON banga, to hammer].

(b) [1980s+] (US) a murder.

2. in the context of sex.

(a) [late 17C–18C] a pelvic thrust during intercourse.

(b) [18C+] (also bang-bang) an act of sexual intercourse, used in both hetero- and homosexual contexts.

(c) [1930s+] (Aus.) a brothel.

(d) [1940s+] (also bangee) a man or woman as a sexual performer, e.g. he’s/she’s a great bang.

(e) [2000s] (US teen) a party, esp. when seen as a venue for sexual conquests.

3. as a fig. ‘blow’.

(a) [1910s+] (US) a try, an attempt; usu. in phr. take a bang at, to have a try, to make an attempt.

(b) [1940s+] (US Und., also banger) in fig. use, a criminal charge, i.e. something one is ‘hit’ with.

4. [late 19C] (Aus.) alcohol [by meton., the seller bangs the glass down on the bar counter].

5. [1920s+] (drugs, also bang in the arm) a single injection of a narcotic drug, e.g. a bang of cocaine [the force used to push the needle into one’s flesh + the instantly pleasurable sensation that the drug creates + play on shot n.1 (6b). Note the erroneous sp. bhang, which is cited in the OED in 1922 and leads that dict. to assume it is a ‘revived’ version of the proper use, as a synon. for Indian cannabis (see bang n.4 )].

6. [1920s+] excitement, stimulation [SE bang, a hit. a knock; thus a stimulus].

(a) (orig. US) a thrill, often in the context of drug use; thus get a bang (out of)

(b) energy.

7. [1930s] (US) a handsome man.

In compounds

bang artist (n.) [-artist sfx]

[1960s] (US gay) an active male homosexual.

In phrases

bang in the arm (n.)

see sense 4 above.

for bangs (adv.)

[1950s] for fun, for a thrill.

get a bang (out of) (v.)

[1920s+] (orig. US) to enjoy, to derive pleasure from, to get a thrill from.

give (someone) a bang (v.)

[1940s] (US) to thrill, to amuse, to entertain.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

bang-stick (n.)

[1970s+] any form of firearm.

bang wagon (n.) [it carries those who have ‘had a bang’]

[1960s] (US) an ambulance.

bang water (n.) [the sound of a car’s engine]

[1920s+] (Can.) petrol.

bang word (n.)

[late 19C–1900s] a highly expressive word, a ‘swear-word’.

In phrases

bang of the latch (n.) [i.e. before the pub door is latched for the night]

[20C+] (Irish) one final drink after ‘time’ has been called.

with a bang (adv.)

[late 19C+] used of something that goes well, successfully.