Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cork v.1

[fig. uses of SE cork, a ‘stopper’]

1. (US campus) to baffle, to stun into silence .

[US]‘Mark Twain’ Connecticut Yankee 147: But you can’t cork that kind [...] Her clack was going all day.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 75: cork one’s self, v. To make one’s self ridiculous. ‘He corks himself.’.

2. lit. and fig., to hit hard.

[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 157: She kneeled down, but she corked herself.
[US]World (N.Y.) 5 Sept. 8/1: In the fifth O’Day corked the ball to right, for a base.
[US]Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) 9 July 3/6: Prize Ring Slang [...] ‘cork,’ to give a bloody nose.
[UK]A. Binstead More Gal’s Gossip 154: The Viscount corked himself, socially, by madly marrying one of ‘the Charming Sisters Meadowsweet’ from the halls.
[UK](con. WWII) G. Sire Deathmakers 111: Colonel Mullahy corked him hard, suddenly, on the arm and grinned.

3. to get the better of; thus wouldn’t that cork you?, doesn’t that infuriate or amaze you?

[US]Nye & Riley Railway Guide 4: A feller only ‘corks’ hisse’f that jaws a man that’s hot.
[Aus]‘Miles Franklin’ My Brilliant Career 159: The flower-garden on that woman’s hat corked your chances altogether. Never mind, don’t you funk.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:ii 132: cork, v. To get the better of. ‘It certainly did cork me.’.
Hampton & Moore Peter In Wonderland 🌐 He’s gonna go all decky with the whippersnapper. Cork his deadlights. Cut his painter. Board him in the smoke. Coil up his cables, give him the deep six, walk him up ladder lane and down hamp street. He’s gonna kill him, you stupid lummox!

4. (also cork it, cork it in) to be quiet, to stop talking.

[US]A.H. Lewis ‘The Garrote’ in Sandburrs 132: A cop shows up an’ lays it out cold if d’ Face don’t cork, he’ll pinch him.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Cork it, shut up, keep quiet.
[UK]H.E. Bates My Uncle Silas 58: He looked hard at me, without a twinkle. ‘You goin’ to cork this in? Keep it secret all right?’.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Feature Snatch!’ Dan Turner - Hollywood Detective Feb. 🌐 Cork it, sister. Before I give you another taste of my knuckles.
[US]R.L. Bellem Blind Man's Fluff' in Thrilling Detective: Feb. 🌐 Quiet.Cork that caterwauling.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

cork it (v.)

1. to die.

[UK]A. Payne ‘Get Daley!’ Minder [TV script] 30: They both know an old chancer called Daley who happens to be present when the aforementioned Apsey’s partner corks it.

2. see sense 4 above.

cork off (v.) [SE cork off, to stop up with a cork] (US)

1. to fall asleep; thus corking off, sleeping.

C. Fowler letter 10 June in Tomlinson Rocky Mountain Sailor (1998) 128: I have refrained from indulging in daily siestas this time at Cavite—to tell the truth, I would hardly have had time to ‘cork off’ much during the past month .
in D. York Mud and Stars (1931) 41: Everyday we have two smoking lamps and we cork off in the sun.
[US]D. Parker ‘Big Blonde’ Penguin Dorothy Parker (1982) 202: I just take five grains [...] Five grains, and you cork off pretty.
[US]E. O’Brien One Way Ticket 25: A house of your own with a good old-fashioned corkin’-off mat where you can flop every damn’ night.
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: corking off . . . relaxing or sleeping.
[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 150: He was lying on the big double bed [...] ‘Ah, Garry, I was just corking off here.’.

2. to go mad.

[US]P. Wylie Generation of Vipers 92: It will very likely cause you to cork off screaming to the nut factory.
[US](con. 1944) A. Myrer Big War 272: Maybe it’s worse than letting him cork off on the beach – maybe he’ll foul us up worse.

3. to produce quickly, easily, to ‘knock off’.

[US]H. Ellison ‘May We Also Speak’ in Gentleman Junkie (1961) 27: He had started writing at five-thirty that morning, hoping to cork off a solid five thousand words that day.
cork out (v.) (US)

1. to collapse exhausted.

[UK](con. 1939–45) J. Klaas Maybe I’m Dead 209: First thing he did when the rest of us were corking out nine-tenths dead was to get ahold of a wheelbarrow someplace and go out and gather up most of these guys.

2. to fall asleep.

[UK](con. 1940s) D. MacCuish Do Not Go Gentle (1962) 77: Naw! I put them over my face to keep out the light when I cork out.
[US]J.P. Spradley You Owe Yourself a Drunk 99: Flopping is the most common word, but such synonyms as sleeping, corking out, and crapping out are also used.
cork (someone’s) ass (v.)

(US black) to astound, to stop and make someone think.

[US]R. Gover One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding 22: Ooh-ooh-ooh Skinny Minnie! That bundle cork my ass! Yeah! [Ibid.] 36: An then I cork ass an start in considerin all over agen.
cork the air (v.)

(drugs) to inhale cocaine.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 50/1: Cork the air. To sniff or blow cocaine up the nostrils.
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 307: cork the air. To sniff cocaine up the nostrils.
cork up

see separate entries.

In exclamations