Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fairy n.1


1. (later use US) a young woman, with a poss. implication of promiscuity.

[UK] ‘Merry Mans Resolution’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) II 486: At Cow-crosse and Smithfield, I have much pleasure found, / Where wenches like to Fayeries did often trace the round.
[UK]F. Fane Love in the Dark Ii i: I’m jealous of your Fairy.
[UK] ‘The Vindication of Top-Knots and Commodes’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) I 123: Then silly old Fops, that kiss but like popes, / And call us Night Walkers and Fairies, / Go fumble old Joan, and let us alone, / And never come near our canary’s.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Sprigs of Laurel 7: She’s my darling, only dear / bewitching little fairy.
[UK] ‘No More Shall the Schicksters of Eady Sing’ in Comic Songster and Gentleman’s Private Cabinet 24: He poulticed and doctor’d each poor fairy thing / With remedies slap up and prime!
A. Smith Natural History of Ballet Girl 6: We know, too, that he imagines, when in the front of the pit, he has but to wink at a fairy to be immediately received as her accepted admirer .
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 10 May 3/2: During the commission of the nefarious deed, another fairy, named Catherine Fay, came tripping down the stairs.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 20 Oct. 3: Poor Charles Ernest is so stuck on a fairy named Emma Brown, that she can make him do anything she wishes.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 28 Sept. 3/2: A little brown haired fairy inside a black gauze gown is the cause of the estrangement.
[UK]Sporting Times 7 Feb. 3/2: (All sorts of other people [...] fiddlers, flunkeys, fairies, and so forth).
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 22 July 3/2: And Delohery consigned the young fairy, / To ’Matin Industrial School.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 122: She seed some pictures of fairies on wheels.
[UK]E.E. Rogers [perf. Vesta Tilley] Don’t it do your eyesight good! [lyrics] When you court a little fairy and you see her at a dance, / Don’t it do your eyesight good!
[UK]Binstead & Wells A Pink ’Un and a Pelican 138: The patient didn’t seem to be suffering from much [...] when I saw him with a beautiful fairy in a box at the Empire a few nights ago.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 24: It was Isidore’s fairy of the moment and her name was Lenore Mitchell.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 17 July 1/1: The ‘fairy’ who vanished from a Murray-street hotel is boarding at a West Perth pubbery.
[US]J. Washburn Und. Sewer 204: Men often call us their fairies.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 24 Jan. 11/6: One jewel-bedecked 14st fairy, who sat on a seat giggling.
[US]‘Sing Sing No. 57,700’ My View on Books in N.Y. Times Mag. 30 Apr. 5/2: When Knighthood Was in Flower [...] | flossie piece of work about a bunch of queens. The main fairy is a nifty bunch of skirts.
[UK]Kemmel Times 3 July (2006) 107/2: Is he [...] writing to fairies he never showed me.
[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 53: At the ‘Cosmopoliotan Club’ I ‘picked up a fairy,’ who seemed anxious to teach me to fox-trot.
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 28: Oh, you fairy, will that complexion rub off?
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 137: Fairies, be it noted, are ladies of questionable morality.
[UK]G. Fairlie Capt. Bulldog Drummond 82: I must be off, boys: I’ve promised to feed a fairy and take her off to some charity do.
[US]A. King Mine Enemy Grows Older (1959) 14: It comes to lisping Southern fairies who act like probationers from a booby hatch.
[UK]J. Bradner Danny Boy 80: Bet she ain’t half the fairy he’s making her out to be.

2. a drunken old hag.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

3. (orig. US) a homosexual man.

[UK] ‘The Bastard King of England’ in Bold (1979) 23: He swore he was a fairy / So the King let drop his pants.
Amer. Journal Psychology VII 216: The peculiar societies of inverts. Coffee-clatches, where the members dress themselves with aprons etc, and knit, gossip and crotchet; balls, where men adopt the ladies’ evening dress, are well known in Europe. ‘The Fairies’ of New York are said to be a similar secret organization.
[US]I.L. Nascher Wretches of Povertyville 109: This class is composed of those whose propensities, viler than animal since they have no counterpart in the animal kingdom, place them outside of any human category. They call themselves ‘fairies.’ Such a wretch [...] gives himself a female appelative, imitates woman’s voice and ways, and as far as he dares wears woman’s attire. He [...] uses rouges, powders and cosmetics and all the artifices a woman might use to enhance her charms. Corsets, high-heeled shoes and bracelets are generally worn and in his room he dons complete female attire. This effeminate creature is in love with an equally despicable wretch of his own sex.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 46: Not to be confounded with the jovial exclamation, ‘Whoops! my dear,’ of fairies and theatrical characters.
[US] transcript Dunn Inquiry in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 213: If a man was walking along the street in an effeminate manner, with his lips rouged [...] a man would be right in forming the opinion that that man was a ‘fairy’.
[US](con. 1880–1924) F.J. Wilstach Anecdota erótica 22: A fairy is seen with a dwarf. What’s that asked one of his friends? he replies: ‘Mind your own business, I’m dieting.’.
[US]W. Edge Main Stem 125: I guess you doan know ’at Frenchy’s a fairy (homosexualist).
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 147: Fairies with their sailors or marines or rough trade.
[US]T. Wolfe Web and the Rock 551: Was it all done gracefully to the tune of jolly jokes about the fairies and the lesbians?
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 271: Coupla fairies [...] talkin’ like a bunch of women.
[US]C. Brossard Bold Saboteurs (1971) 156: The place was jam-packed with Lesbians and hysterically delighted fairies.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 13: Look at all the great artists who were fairies!
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 175: You’re bloody tripping like a constipated bloody fairy!
[UK]T. Wilkinson Down and Out 145: Two shaven-headed youths began to taunt him. ‘You’re a fairy,’ said one.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 20 Aug. 5: A drunken bishop called me over at a party. ‘Here’s a poem for you, Andrew’, he said: ‘I thank you, Lord, that I am not a fairy. My willy is not brown. My arsehole is still hairy.’.
[Aus]T. Winton Turning (2005) 138: People thought it was funny to hear him call his brother a fairy, a retard, a waste of skin.
[UK]K. Richards Life 463: Jerry Lee Lewis [...] ‘Bloody fairy pounding away’ comes to mind as a typical Stu response.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 157: My husband [...] used to call men who didn’t pump their own gas fairies.

4. (N.Z.) a blonde-haired woman.

[UK]F. Anthony ‘Helping Out Gus’ in Me And Gus (1977) 12: I could see Gus’s eye following a tall, willowy fairy as she waltzed round.

5. a young boy tramp who accompanies an older homosexual tramp.

[UK]Nichols & Tully Twenty Below Act I: You little Broadway fairy! You unwashed son-of-bitch! You cock-eyed preliminary bum.
[US]T. Minehan Boy and Girl Tramps of America (1976) 143: I have seen wolves and their little ‘lambs’ or ‘fairies,’ and their relationship seems to be one of mutual satisfaction.

In compounds

fairy house (n.) (also fairy joint) [house n.1 (1)/joint n. (3b)]

(US gay) a male brothel for homosexuals.

[US] (ref. to late 19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 236: Miss Carol was the partner in a fairy house; the madam there being a man who was known only as Big Nellie – Miss Big Nellie.
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 66: Fred announced what was to be the crowning event of the evening, a visit to a ‘fairy joint’ in Christie Street.
[US]Harvard Advocate 137 12/1: What kind of joint did I walk into, a fairy joint or something?
E. Fried Big Ben Hood 86: A fairy joint and a lesbian joint and a nutsy Gay Nineties madhouse and all the bars.
fairy loop (n.) (also fairy’s loop) [despite the link to homosexuality implicit in fairy, the term is sometimes capable of more fanciful interpretation, i.e. the practice cited in DARE as regards a Utah high school where ‘a group of girls...will run a contest. They were to pick a boy, usually in their class. The girl who gets the most of his ‘fairy loops’...would be the one to marry him’; however, note synon. fruit loop n.1 (1)]

(US) the small loop on the upper back of many shirts; such a loop, supposedly, can be used to hold a victim ready for buggery.

B. Morrow Conjunctions 119: Grasping hold of the fairy's loop between my shoulderblades at the back of my shirt .
OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. [Internet] fairy loop n. the ‘loop’ on the back of a boys/mans ‘Oxford’ type shirt.
Lodestar Quarterly Spring [Internet] Then John D. lifted me into the air by the fairy loop Mama had sewn inside my purple hand-knitted sweater with pink hearts.
fairy-shaking (n.) [shake down v. (1)]

(US) blackmailing married men who frequent gay bars and similar places.

the data lounge 27 Jan. [Internet] Threats against closeted gay men, a practice known as ‘fairy shaking,’ entailed officers casing gay bars and running the license plates of ‘family-type’ vehicles – such as those with child seats – through patrol car computers. The men driving these vehicles were then contacted and threatened with exposure to families and coworkers unless paid large sums of money.
C. Buckley Little Green Men (Internet edn) n.p.: Banion was the latest victim of ‘fairy shaking,’ the blackmail practiced by some D.C. cops of photographing married men coming out of gay bars and threatening to expose them.
fairy’s wand (n.)

(US gay) any phallic object carried by a cruising gay man, e.g. a cigarette holder, a rolled umbrella (on a dry day), a long-stemmed rose.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 78: fairy’s wand any phallic staff carried by a homosexual. Fairy wands include cigarettes stuck into rhinestone-studded cigarette holders, umbrellas carried when there is no possible chance of rain, pencils, long-stemmed American Beauty roses or even joss sticks. The hand holding a fairy wand usually performs wildly exaggerated gestures.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

fairy dust (n.) [synon. angel dust n.]

(drugs) phencyclidine.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
Ali ‘Addict’ on Kingdom of Tula [Interent] Maria had only done Fairy Dust in low, low, low amounts. It was too costly and she wanted the money for heroin.
fairy-story (n.) (also fairy, fairy pipe, ...tale, ...yarn)

1. (orig. US) a fanciful, mendacious tale, often in aid of obtaining money or favours (cf. fairy n.3 ).

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Feb. 6/2: Now, why, dear Ted, when you can’t fail, / Indulge in such a ‘fairy tale’?
[US]A.C. Gunter Miss Dividends 143: You told fairy tales.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 10 Mar. 3/4: The referee then called upon a bald-headed, snappy man named Storey, and some nice fairy tales he tried to ring in.
[US]J. London ‘And ’Frisco Kid Came Back’ in High School Aegis X (4 Nov.) 2–4: Mebbe yer tinkin’ I’m tellin’ yer a fairy story.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 36: In a minute the three of them were fanning each other with fairy tales about the goods they sold.
[US]D.G. Phillips Susan Lenox II 272: I feel like a fool believing such a fairy story as you’ve been telling me.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 240: It ain’t no fairy pipe, old pal.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 52: I don’t know what kind of fairy yarns Mr. Robert’s been tearin’ off at home about me.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 12 Jan. 11/4: Possibly you might be thinkin’ / What I’m tellin’ to you now / Are a Fairy, if you think so, / Don’t believe it, anyhow.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 170: That’s a fairy story the grafters shove at you every time they want to rob you some more.
[UK]‘Ian Hay’ Lighter Side of School Life 77: It sounds like a fairy tale, sir.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 190: Probably I’ve told one or two fairy stories in my time.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 161: In a paper I bought I read all about myself: ‘A desperate character’; ‘Dangerous’ [...] Fairy-tales! They made me laugh.
[US]W. Edge Main Stem 83: Aw, can your fairy story, Jack.
[UK]Hotspur 11 Jan. 42: I did not ask you to spin me a fairy-tale. I want to hear the truth, not lies.
[Aus]Franklin & Cusack Pioneers on Parade 215: I knew it was a fairy story.
[UK]G. Fairlie Capt. Bulldog Drummond 104: We’ve probably got to go and wave a beautiful fairy story to the blondes.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Movie Stuff’ in Detective Story Apr. [Internet] You wouldn’t want me to make up a fairy tale, now, would you?
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Milly and the Porker’ in Amer. Dream Girl (1950) 197: Well, who ever told you that fairytale?
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ ‘Cool Cat’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 97: He ain’t your friend like you think. That’s a fairy story all around.
[US]C. Himes Big Gold Dream 43: The sergeant looked again at the colored detectives. ‘Do you believe that fairy tale?’.
[UK]I. Fleming For Your Eyes Only (1962) 161: No doubt she had to pay heavily for her ‘fairy story’.
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 118: Where’re you getting this fairy story? You flying or something?
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 125: Either of you two berks come near this house again with your fairytales I’ll shove your faces down your bloody throats.
[US]W.J. Caunitz One Police Plaza 243: Don’t tell me fairy tales.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 220: What do you think you’re going to do with this fairy tale?

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]Marvel 20 Oct. 359: And now what’s the meaning of this fairy-tale business?
[US] ‘Good-Doing Wheeler’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 77: Now there you sit talking that fairy-tale shit, / You must be the world’s biggest lame.
[US]F. Salas Tattoo the Wicked Cross (1981) 195: You better give up that Sunday school stuff [...] all that fairy-tale shuck.

In phrases

fairy on the iron (n.)

(US short order) boiled chicken.

[US]St Louis (MO) Globe-Democrat 31 Aug. 10/1: At the ‘Beanery,’ the famous Bohemian resort in St. Louis [...] oysters fried are ‘the salt seas over,’ or stewed, ‘a briny float,’ and a boiled chicken is ‘a fairy on the iron’.