Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bad adj.

[note Ger. schlecht, bad, orig. meant good; also 19C Aus. convict jargon bad fellow, a convict who cooperates with the authorities; good fellow, one who maintains intra-convict solidarity; Smitherman, Black Talk (1994), suggests Mandingo a ka nyi ko-jugu, it is good, badly, i.e. so good that it is bad]

1. (UK Und.) gullible, susceptible to deception.

[UK]G. Barrington New London Spy 10: Beware of betting [...] for, if you do, ten to one but you are bad, a cant word they make use of, instead of saying, as the truth is, we have cheated him.

2. (US Und.) dangerous, un-suborned, thus in criminal terms, honest.

[[Aus] (ref. to c.1800) ‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Early Days 125: [note] At Norfolk Island it was the awful custom among the more hardened convicts to invert the meaning of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ A ‘good’ man was a notorious criminal; a ‘bad’ one was a man who sought to act honestly and purely].
[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 168: Of course, if a bad copper or a former victim came into the place, the thief would be uneasy.

3. good, exciting; the implication being that the individual/object so defined is bad in establishment eyes and thus good in those of any outlaw/criminal, drug or other minority culture, esp. in black use; thus comparative badder; superlative baddest

[[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 138: He went off at the fall of the leaf, at tuck ’em fair — he died d—d hard, and was as bad as brass].
[US]Caldwell Post 9 Sept. in Miller & Snell Why the West was Wild 243: His arrest being determined upon, the police scattered out to effect the same. They were told Smith was a ‘bad’ one and quite on the shoot.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 149: ‘I put dem bad clo’se I got from de tailor shop de odder day in me grip’.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 152: Ha! Ha! Copped $5 more. Guess I’m bad, eh?
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 13: ‘This boogy,’ explained Bubber, ‘thinks he’s bad. Come slippin’ me ’bout my family. He knows I don’t play nuthin’ like that.’.
[US]Big Joe ‘Rootin’ Ground Hog’ 🎵 I’m a rootin’ ground hog babe, I roots everywhere I go / Lay it on me boy, it’s bad!
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 7 Feb. 16: This is a pad where everything is bad and the chippies are ready and fine.
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 16 Jan. 11: She caters to my every whim, Stud-hoss, I’m really too bad, Jim.
[US]C. Chessman Cell 2455 73: ‘You think you want to be bad and you don’t know how.’ ‘Bad’ had a non-dictionary meaning they both understood. The word connotated something affirmative, forceful.
[US] ‘Broadway Sam’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 97: A thirty-dollar lid and gloves of kid – / Man, his threads were bad.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 305: When someone would say something about a bad cat, they meant he was good. Somebody would say, ‘That was some bad pot,’ meaning it was good.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 50: You talk about some baaaaad reefer!
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 129: Who do you think is badder, Shaft or Bruce Lee?
[US]G. Tate Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 36: Once in a while he’d get off and they’d say, wow, he is a baaad motherfucker.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 Aug. 7: ‘It’s bad!’ exclaims Louis Robinson, 12, from Putney.
[US]G. Tate Midnight Lightning 111: They were ‘fine,’ ‘bad,’ hard-working brothers.

4. dangerous, aggressive; thus compar. badder.

[US]Dly Yellowstone Jrnl 19 Dec. 3/2: Charlie Willard was a practical joker; he was what the many victimized darkies called ‘a ba-ad man’.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 1 Mar. 1/3: Charlie’s head came to be filled by one idea [...] to ‘hold up’ stage coaches; to capture pretty girls; in short to become famous as the boldest, baddest man in the wide wild world .
[US]Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ) 28 Aug. 4/3: Bill Doolin is robbing stages [...] getting killed in several paces [...] caprtured here [...] and generally keeping up his record as the ‘baddest’ man in the world.
[US]C.B. Chrysler White Slavery 67: If she gets ‘bad’ (objects or resists) she gets ‘a slam in the puss’.
[US]El Paso Herald (TX) 10 JUly 9/3: Into the ‘Bear Cat’ Cafe [...] wandered ‘Rattlesnake Roscoe’ the baddest man you ever saw — Gosh.
[US]Washington Times (DC) 6 Aug. 3/8: ‘Bitter Root Bill,’ Helena’s baddest ‘bad man.
[US]N. Anderson Hobo 160: A few years ago, Galesburg, Illinois, was known throughout the country for the ‘bad’ colored policeman who guarded the yards.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 29: They were a contrast, Weary [...] looking like a much badder guy.
[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 63: This little jig was screwy — not violent, not bad, but just simple.
[US]C. Himes ‘One More Way to Die’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 375: A big yellow stud called ‘Sweet Wine’ who went for bad.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 102: Come on, if you think you’re bad.
[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 23: He heard a loud-mouthed cracker say — ‘Here’s that baaad nigger’.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 37: She said I just thought I was too bad and was always messing with somebody.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 108: I’m not the baddest motherfucker here, not by far, but my friends are really bad.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 233: A lotta times I do something just because I’m bad enough to do it [...] they know they gon’ git a stone stompin’ if they ain’ badduh than me.
[US](con. 1968) W.E. Merritt Where the Rivers Ran Backward 64: People talk a lot of trash about Charlie [Viet Cong]. Well, let me tell you [...] He’s bad. But we’re badder.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 95: Now Dolomite hailed from San Antone / Baddest nigger the world has known.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 137: ‘Her bruvvers are bad buggers, built like two Russian concrete shithouses’.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 24: They all say he looks bad.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 350: All the stuff that you’re doin’ that’s bad? Rap about it. Make something positive of it.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 387: Cyrus be bad, man. He’s like the devil when he’s mad.
[UK]Observer 19 June 11/2: I was a bad motherfucker.
S. Barber ‘Killer, Duck and The Boys’ in ThugLit Apr. [ebook] ‘He’s a bad dude man’ .
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 45: Some chicks fall in love with the badness [...] attaching themselves to the baddest brer they can find.

5. (US black) intoxicated with marijuana.

[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 107: Let’s get our heads bad and get down with these mucky-mucks.

6. (US) sexy, provocative.

[US]J. Herndon Way It Spozed to Be (1970) 146: He handsome and bad!
[US]J. Ridley Love Is a Racket 384: Sarah did her bad dance over to me. She took my cock in her hands and started to work it around.
[US]UGK ‘Let Me See It’ 🎵 Keep a bad yellow bitch / On my team.

In derivatives

baddest (adj.) [the superlative of sense 3]

(mainly US black) the very best, supreme, esp. from the persepctive of an outlaw.

[US]F. Remington letter in Splete (1988) 14: I am almost as bad as Wilder, who is acknowledged to be the ‘baddest’ man in school in that line.
[US]O. Strange Sudden 55: Bill, I’m shorely the baddest an’ cleverest man in the south-west.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 204: Can you imagine a stud like me, who used to be one of the baddest mammy-tapping gangleaders in this jive town, now trying to uphold the law?
[US]R. Abrahams Deep Down In The Jungle 155: He’s better known as Big Jim, / He’s the baddest motherfucker that ever swung from a limb.
[US]T.C. Bambara ‘Raymond’s Run’ in Gorilla, My Love (1972) 32: I have a big rep as the baddest thing around.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 133: They be arguin’ bout who the baddest dope man.
[US]M. Baker Nam (1982) 17: But by the time you get to the end of that whole process, you feel like you’re the baddest thing that ever walked the earth.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 200: A dispute over tattoos – specifically, whose was the baddest.
[US]G. Tate ‘Miles Davis in Memorium’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 86: If you were playing the baadest music on the face of the earth with the baadest musicians living, then of course you were driving the baadest cars, wearing the baadest vines.
[US]Source Nov. 112: Some of these niggas was some of the baddest motherfuckers in gangster rap history.
[US]Hip-Hop Connection Jan./Feb. 46: I’m the baddest motherfucker that’s ever lived – pride!
[US]C.W. Ford Deuce’s Wild 27: He’s stylin’ himself as the meanest, baddest rapper.
badness (n.) (US/W.I./UK black teen)

1. delinquent or unruly behaviour, often just for the sake of it.

[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 23: I’m trying, to get the tough to drown the scared-shitless but [...] my attempt at badness is an extremely limp biscuit.
[UK]T. Thorne (ed.) ‘Drill Slang Glossary’ at Forensic Linguistic Databank 🌐 Badness – antisocial behaviour, violence.

2. on bad = good model, a state of excellence, admirability.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 1: badness – something good, favorable, desirable: The party was great – we’re talking badness.
[US]N. George ‘Kool Moe Dee & L.L. Cool J’ in Buppies, B-Boys, Baps and Bohos (1994) 86: Several Mambazo songs celebrate the group’s badness.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 40: Scores of purple-clad kids had descended on Georgetown in hopes of spotting His Royal Badness.

In compounds


see separate entries.

bad boy (n.)

see separate entry.

bad-boy (adj.)

see separate entry.

bad-doing (adj.)

(US black) first-rate, excellent, superior.

[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 16: Bad-doing [...] (1960s) excellent; the best.
bad hair (n.)

(US black/W.I.) a black person’s naturally kinky hair, thus bad-haired adj. (cf. good hair under good adj.1 ).

Heredity of Skin Color in Negro-White Crosses 88: A ‘brown’ man with ‘bad hair,’ whose photograph plainly indicates colored blood.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 116: I want you and that bad-haired husband of yours to come to a little stomp-down Saturday night.
[US] G.S. Schuyler Black No More (1971) 61: I guess I can hold out with this here bad hair.
[US]A. Lomax Mister Jelly Roll (1952) 81: He’s black and he’s got bad hair.
[UK]A. Salkey Late Emancipation of Jerry Stover (1982) 135: Rain’s no respecter of bad hair.
Edut & Walker Body Outlaws 126: Good hair being the silky tresses usually found on my fair-skinned compadres; bad hair meaning [...] kinky.
NYRB 25 Feb. 🌐 [T]he noxious equation of kinky hair with ‘bad hair’.
bad nigger (n.) [nigger n.1 (1)]

1. (US black) a black who rejects the second-class role offered by the dominant white society.

[US]Lit. Digest 23 719: Josh Green, a ‘bad nigger,’ who kills Captain McBane because the latter assisted in the lynching of the negro’s father when ]osh was a boy.
[US]T. Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel (1930) 501: The crooks, the vagabonds of a nation — Chicago gunmen, bad niggers from Texas, Bowery bums [...] in shoals and droves, from everywhere.
[US]Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) City Edn 4 Jan. 2/5: [headline] reid suggests study of ‘bad niggers’ / Lives of Race Men Who Resisted Oppression Would be Interesting.
[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 23 Nov. 13: [O]rders to this or that ‘bad nigger’ to either behave himself or come to the sheriff’s office .
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 50: A bad nigger was a nigger who ‘didn’t take no shit from nobody’ and even ‘crackers’ didn’t mess with him.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 171: Thus a ‘bad nigger’ is one who is so ‘bad’ he is ‘good’; he is admirable in his defiance.
[US]G. Tate ‘Stagolee Versus the Proper Negro’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 49: Their Stagolee (read: ‘Bad Nigguh’) dimension.
[US]Dr Dre ‘Keep Their Headz Ringin’ 🎵 I wipe niggaz off the face of the Earth since birth I been a bad nigga.

2. (US black) a violent, amoral black person (as seen by his black peers).

[US]I.L. Nascher Wretches of Povertyville 134: The so-called ‘bad nigger,’ the one who carries a razor, is simply a bully among his own people, just like the bad white man who carries a pistol is a bully among his class.
[US](con. 1940s) C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 305: They didn’t mean he was running out in the street cutting somebody’s throat, carrying a gun and cursing. But this was all that a bad nigger meant to Mama and Dad.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 171: A really ‘bad nigger’ is so aggressive that he inspires fear in Blacks as well as Whites.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 67: Feeling like I was the baadest nigger on the East Coast.
[US]‘Master Pimp’ Pimp’s Rap 88: He said Bumpy Johnson was one bad nigger.
[US]F.X. Toole Pound for Pound 111: They say he’s one bad nigga.

3. (Aus.) an Aborigine who refuses to cooperate with the authorities; also attrib.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Oct. 14/1: Although he had travelled through country infested with ‘bad’ niggers, he was never troubled by them, for the reason that they thought him koonemi (mad).
[Aus]I.L. Idriess Flynn of the Inland 256: Men generally go armed in the north if travelling through ‘bad-nigger’ country.
bad rags (n.) [rags n. (1)]

(US black) one’s best, most fashionable clothes.

[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 57: bad rags n. nice clothes; handsome or attractive attire: The cat’s got some bad rags.
M. Holmes Why the Jailbird Prays 110: Eloise had some bad rags. She had a hat for every outfit, shoes to match and gloves too.
bad scene (n.) [SE bad/sense 3 + scene n. (1)]

1. an unpleasant situation; on the bad = good model, ‘it’s a really bad scene’ could be a term of approval.

[US]G. Lea Somewhere There’s Music 179: It was a bad scene.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 319: One of the bad scenes of parole violation is associating with ex-cons or known criminals.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 221: The broad was making a bad scene. She doesn’t dig you.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 174: It was a real bad scene. I started talking a whole lotta trash and then I started crying.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 17: Bad scene – a situation where trouble is likely to break out [...] used in the drug trade.

2. an unpleasant or unpopular person [f. sense 1].

[US]K. Brasselle Cannibals 216: He’s a real bad scene, and there’s a big problem getting chicks to go with him [...] this guy is bad news.
bad shit (n.)

see separate entry.

bad talk (n.) [SE bad/sense 3 + SE talk] (US black)

1. conversation or writing that considers and/or urges revolutionary attitudes and actions; such talk is bad both in white eyes and as the prerogative of blacks.

[US] C. Major Juba to Jive.

2. a form of ritual name-calling, based on insulting one’s target’s family.

[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 179: If there’s any schoolgirls in the house will they kindly take a walk, / ’cause I’m a drunk sonofabitch and I’m full a bad talk.

3. any form of abusive, negative speech.

[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 3: bad talk – Evil, unhappy words from the mouth of an evil, unhappy person.
bad talk (v.) (US black)

1. to perform ritual name-calling, based on insulting one’s target’s family.

[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 168: If you got any young whores in the house you better start ’em walking, / ’cause you all done made me mad and I’m fixin’ to do some bad goddam talkin’!

2. to speak any abusive, negative speech.

[WI]S. Selvon Ways of Sunlight 86: They only sit down on the grass bad-talking their employers.
[US]S. Stallone Paradise Alley (1978) 30: Y’know, it ain’t right bad-talking dead people.
[UK]J. Bradner Danny Boy 96: People listenin’ to he would tink black people always does bad-talk one another.

In phrases

bad-ass nigger (n.)

see separate entry.

bad in the head (adj.) (US black)

1. eccentric, out of control.

L. Hall Whispered Horse 52: One day when Da was bad in the head, he told me he belonged to a secret society.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 228: bad in the head 1. Out of control.
M.F. Harris Breakfast in Hell 185: The man says this child has always been bad in the head.
S. Cooper Grey King 86: ‘He was a lovely dog, a beauty’ — his voice shook, and he cleared his throat — ‘but he must have gone bad in the head.’.

2. unhappy.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 228: bad in the head [...] 2. Emotionally hurt, troubled, or disorientated.
J. Connelly Every Dead Thing 223: ‘He’s bad in the head, bad inside.’ [...] ‘Why are you here?’ he said. ‘It’s over now. My son is dead.’.
bad-to-the-bone (adj.)

aggressive, thuggish; characteristic of a ‘macho’ man.

[US]G. Throughgood ‘Bad to the Bone’ 🎵 I wanna be yours pretty baby, yours and yours alone / I’m here to tell ya honey, that I’m bad to the bone.
[US]K. Munger [bk title] Bad to the Bone.
[UK]G. Malkani Londonstani (2007) 132: No mater how much you want to act like bad-to-the-bone tough guys I refuse to believe that’s what you really are.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 76: Claire’s bad to the bone and calamitously connected.
come on bad (v.)

(US black) to act aggressively, to threaten; to defeat someone in a contest of words.

R.D. Abrahams Talking Black in Major (1994).
get in bad (with) (v.)

to earn disfavour, to get into trouble (with).

[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 155: You dunno how you got in bad with McGump, do you?
[US]Van Loan ‘The Bone Doctor’ in Score by Innings (2004) 361: Jones: he got in bad with me from the jump.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 241: There was a rumor that he had got in bad with a South Side gang.
[US]E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief in Hamilton (1952) 121: He himself gets no money but he gets in bad.
[US]Botkin Lay My Burden Down 48: All before that I is heard it gits you in bad.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 106: Don’t think you can ask for a lawyer or the British Consul if you get in bad with the Mob.
[US]‘Gunboat’ Smith in Heller In This Corner (1974) 39: Jack Johnson got in bad when he beat Jim Jeffries in Reno, Nevada.
G.C. Chesbro City of Whispering Stone (1999) 68: I certainly wouldn’t want to get in bad with the New York City Police Department.’ ‘Damn straight, brother.’.
S. Gordon Nursing Against The Odds 30: Better not get in bad with the nurses, they can be a real pain if you do.
get one’s head bad (v.)

(US black) to get drunk, to become intoxicated by drugs.

[US] ‘Duriella du Fontaine’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 47: [of drugs] We got our heads bad and left the pad.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 242: Is your head bad? Are you drunk?
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 241: head got bad 1. Got out of line. 2. Lost control.
[US]W.D. Myers Scorpions 165: ‘He getting his head bad [...] You see how his nose was running and what he want to borrow’.
S.P. Smith Amer. Boys 313: I want to get my head bad tonight.
[US]T. Price-Thompson Gather Together in My Name 132: I get my head bad, yeah, but I stay up on what’s going with my people too.
go for bad (v.)

(US black) to act aggressively, to become violent.

[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 218: ‘These niggers go for bad and take off a whitey now and then’.
in bad [note Ger. schlecht, bad, orig. meant good; also 19C Aus. convict jargon bad fellow, a convict who cooperates with the authorities; good fellow, one who maintains intra-convict solidarity; Smitherman, Black Talk (1994), suggests Mandingo a ka nyi ko-jugu, it is good, badly, i.e. so good that it is bad] (US)

1. out of favour.

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 21: Ol’ Mutt is ‘in bad’ again at home. The Mrs. blew him this morning and it looks like curtains for the home cooking.
[US]C.E. Piesbergen Overseas with an Aero Squadron 61: Our top-cutter was in bad.
[US]R.J. Fry Salvation of Jemmy Sl. I ii: You keep hangin’ ’round my Sal and first thing ya know you’ll have us in bad, too.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 162: Has this affair, on top of the diamonds, put you in bad with the Commissioner?
[UK]P. Cheyney I’ll Say She Does! (1955) 12: You’re a guy who has gotta reputation for keepin’ his nose clean, but [...] you’re in bad with the big boy.
[UK]K. Howard Small Time Crooks 68: He felt a kind of pang about this dame being in bad with a devil like Marc Nolli.

2. in trouble.

[US]W. Irwin Confessions of a Con Man 104: We no sooner struck Sydney than we knew we were in bad.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 183: Say! [...] Any time you’re in bad. Glad to be of service.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 126: I’ll just be astonished, and get Mr. Frank Shellard in bad.
[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 13: He was seen, got a pinch, the shawl was found, and then he was in bad.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 73: These girls are good kids [...] you won’t get them in bad, will you?
[US]H. Ellison ‘We Take Care of Our Dead’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 61: You’re in bad enough without mouthin’ off to me.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

badster (n.) [-ster sfx]

(Aus.) a villain, a morally bad person.

[NZ]J. Devanny By Tropic Sea and Jungle in DSUE (1984) 40/1: [He] was a badster, a soul killer.
D. Stidworthy High on the Hogs 198: The most recognizable Rebels were Alvy Moore, actor-director Jerry Paris [...] and tombstone clammy badster Timothy Carey.

In compounds

bad actor (n.)

1. an unpleasant individual, an aggressive trouble-maker; thus bad-acting adj., troublemaking.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 Feb. 2/6: To any bad actor / He’d give a karacter/ That would teach him the power of Mister O’Rourke.
[US] ‘Life in a New York Opium Den’ in T. Byrnes Professional Criminals of America 🌐 The people who frequent these places are, with very few exceptions, thieves, sharpers and sporting men, and a few bad actors; the women, without exception, are immoral.
[US]W. Irwin Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum XXI n.p.: The queen of Minnie Street became a bride, And that bad actor, Murphy, by her side.
[US]Van Loan ‘Sweeney to Sanguinetti to Schultz’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 59: You’re actors, all right, at that — bad actors.
[US]D.G. Rowse Doughboy Dope 109: He was a good deal of a pest, and nearly beat out Nero as history’s prize bad actor.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 298: I don’t want no trouble and he’s a bad actor, that nigger.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 45: He’s a real bad actor.
[US]‘Paul Cain’ ‘One, Two, Three’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2006) 5: I’ve got to duck, quick [...] She’s a bad actor.
[US]F. Salas Tattoo the Wicked Cross (1981) 65: We’re bad-acting brothers, and we’re going to let every guy [...] in the whole institute know it. [Ibid.] 82: All the other bad actors I was with were too scared to fight him.
[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 257: He’d been down in the hole forever [...] he was the warden’s pet bad actor.
[US](con. 1950s) Pepper & Pepper Straight Life 170: All tough guys, bad-acting cats.
[US]B. Hamper Rivethead (1992) 12: The way I see it, you ain’t nothin’ but a bad actor.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 98: He was one mean motor scooter and bad actor.

2. a vicious or unbroken horse.

[US]Outing (N.Y.) XLVI 443: In the phraseology of the turf he is a ‘quick breaker;’ the sulky one, a ‘bad actor;’ the flat-footed one a ‘slow beginner.’.
[US]Van Loan ‘The Redemption Handicap’ in Old Man Curry 177: There’s some bad actors in that bunch and they’ll delay the start.
[US]P.A. Rollins Cowboy 286: Every rider of a ‘bad actor,’ a horse that acted viciously, was on the watch for kicks and bites.
bad ass

see separate entries.

bad bongos (n.) [? assonance]

(US campus) a situation in which things do not go as desired/required.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 1: Bad Bongos – The test was really Bad Bongos.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 42: Alliteration marks bad bongos ‘situation in which things do not go well’.
bad boy (n.)

see separate entry.

bad break (n.) [break n.1 (1)]

1. an act of misbehaviour or ill manners.

[US]Great Falls Leader (MT) 28 Nov. 1/5: Toole’s assumption of legislative and judicial power was a bad break and his course is condemned by sensible democrats.
[US]Labor World (Duluth, MN) 31 Oct. 10/3: La Follette came forwrd and attempted to smooth over the bad break his companion made.
[US]O. Kildare Good of the Wicked 25: He took care that his guests were properly attended by the specially engaged French waiters, and just as careful that the guests should commit no ‘bad breaks’ in the presence of the servitors.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 3 Jan. 18/1: YOu see, I mad a bad break in supporting our mutual friend, Dodd, for mayor.

2. (orig. US) a stroke of bad luck.

[US]Waco Eve. News (TX) 28 Apr. 2/2: Hogg’s Bad Break [...] This was a bad break, just such a one as all hypocrites make when they attempt to deceive the people.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 137: I tripped in going on [stage], which was a kind of a bad break.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 70: The fellow made two bad breaks, though [...] They may land him in the pen yet.
[US]D. Hammett ‘The Second-Story Angel’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 217: I got some bad breaks on the last couple of jobs I pulled.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 24: Criminals would have little to fear from police and detectives, in the absence of bad breaks, if there were no informers.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Tobias the Terrible’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 106: I am never in love, and [...] barring a bad break, I never expect to be.
[UK]J. MacLaren-Ross ‘A Bit of a Smash in Madras’ in Memoirs of the Forties (1984) 277: Sorry to hear about your smash last night [...] It was a bad break.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 37: ‘Party’s’ bad break sobered me.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 6: You had some bad breaks, you stood up.
bad-breath (v.)

(US) to inform on, to speak ill of.

[US]E. Torres Q&A 41: You know Roman was his man. He bound to bad-breath Guido.
bad egg (n.) [egg n.2 (1)] (orig. US)

1. a rogue, a villain; also attrib.

[[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 21 Aug. 6/2: he is dummy. He is slow. [...] He is a bad egg].
[US]‘Philip Paxton’ Adventures of Captain Priest 319: In the language of his class, the Perfect Bird generally turns out to be a bad egg.
My Diary in America II 369: In a new country, with plenty of back settlements, the [...] worst of ‘bad eggs’ may begin the world afresh.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 123: There is no doubt but there are many of the officials of the convict prisons who are what the Yankees call ‘bad eggs.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 June 9/2: Mr Cain had the resputation of being a ‘bad egg’. It is stated that he killed his brother Abel.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Sunshine 99: The average Chicago young man [...] is full of practical jokes, and is a bad egg on general principles.
[UK]Kipling ‘The Big Drunk Draf’’ in Soldiers Three (1907) 34: When a bag egg is shut av th Army, he sings the Divil’s Mass for a good riddance.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Macquarie’s Mate’ in Roderick (1972) 122: Macquarie was a bad egg.
[Aus]‘Dads Wayback’ in Sun. Times (Sydney) 21 June 5/4: ‘[T]here used ter be bands o’ honest Injuns, now they is mostly gone, an’ you have gangs o’ bad-egg white coves’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 24 Jan. 1/1: The bad eggs in the district make a point of getting into debt.
[UK]Sporting Times 4 Feb. 1/3: The Grand Duke Sergius of Moscow, who is the evil genius of the Czar, has been a bad egg for years.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘His Unconquerable Soul’ in Roderick (1972) 810: Alfred was a bad case, if he wasn’t a bad egg.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 23 Mar. [synd. cartoon] If that’s Schmalz’s son he’s a bad egg — I knew his old man too well.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Night Shots’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 92: I’m supposed to be a bad egg.
[US]W. Noble Burns One-Way Ride 148: Tropea was a bad egg.
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 198: We were saying that maybe he wasn’t such a bad egg after all.
[US]J. Thompson Criminal (1993) 67: He was a thoroughly bad egg.
[NZ]B. Crump Odd Spot of Bother 71: I’ve had one lot of bad eggs in the flatlette after another. First those disgraceful girls, and now this.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 156: The occasional bad egg turns up.
[SA]A. Fugard Tsotsi 35: The shebeen boys. The bad eggs.
[UK]Guardian Editor 16 July 16: Your parents were bad eggs.
Blue Pages (Dublin) ‘Dublin Dictionary’ 🌐 A bad egg A dodgy bloke or a troublemaker.

2. a worthless speculation; a disreputable place.

[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 33: The establishment was a bad egg.

3. as sense 1, of inanimate objects or ideas.

[UK] ‘’Arry on ’Ome Rule’ in Punch 17 July in P. Marks (2006) 122: Old WEG / Thinks the working-man’s ‘instinck’ is with him; he’ll find that a precious bad egg.

4. a tough man.

[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 72: This coon was a ‘bad egg.’ Townfolk said he would fight his weight in wildcats.

see separate entries.

bad fall (n.) [fall n. (2)]

(US Und.) an arrest and charge from which one cannot escape, despite attempting to intimidate or bribe the plaintiff or a prosecution witness.

[US]J. Sullivan ‘Criminal Sl.’ in Amer. Law Rev. LII (1918) 888: If a thief has experienced a ‘bad fall’ (an arrest) he is put to his wits end.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
bad guy (n.)

1. (orig. US) in film or TV melodramas, the stereotyped villain.

[US]J. Tully Beggars of Life 179: ‘Who’s the guy?’ I asked a tramp near me. ‘Oklahoma Red,’ he answered [...] ‘He’s a b-a-d g-u-y.’.
Partisan Rev. XI 491: Then, as always, it will be the good guys vs. the bad guys.
[US]R. Serling ‘Showdown with Rance McGrew’ in New Stories from the Twilight Zone 52: The two ‘bad guys’ stood at the bar.
[US]T.C. Bambara Gorilla, My Love (1972) 16: He’s oily and pasty [...] like the bad guy in the serial.
[US]P. Hamill Deadly Piece 11: The Turtle? Just your average card-carrying run-of-the-mill bad guy.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 3: Let’s start with the bad guy. Yeah. Keith. Let’s start with the murderer.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 25: He was going on like a bad guy.
T.L. Dorpat Crimes of Punishment 163: When the hero (ie, the good guy) finally triumphs over the bad guy, the child is able to repress his hostile and other forbidden tendencies.
[US]W.D. Myers Sunrise Over Fallujah 102: [used of military enemies]We got back into our Humvees and rolled up cautiously, checking all around us for bad guys.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]B. Davidson Collura (1978) 74: His make-believe bad-guy activity did not interfere with his real-life involvement.
C. Hart Manga Mania n.p.: While good- guy clothes are functional, bad-guy clothes are not.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 307: Every pair of bad-guy eyes on the block followed him.

In compounds

bad halfpenny (n.)

1. any errand or task that proves pointless.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 226: bad halfpenny: When a man has been upon any errand, or attempting any object which has proved unsuccessful or impracticable, he will say on his return, It’s a bad halfpenny; meaning he has returned as he went.
[UK]Metropolitan Mag. XIV Sept. 334: I held off, thinking the leaders would, when they got their heads, go off at score and make a bad half-penny of the affair.

2. an unpleasant, untrustworthy person [note Stephens & O’Brien, Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Slang (ms.; 1900–10), include the n. as a headword in one of their three mss. and offer definitions as published by Vaux and B&L, but give none of their own].

[UK]Sham Beggar I i: ’Egad, they’re both bad Ha’-pence.
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 26: To come up/turn up like a bad half-penny.
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials Dict. Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[UK]Bucks Herald 5 Aug. 8/2: I was missing for a day, but like the bad halfpenny, turned up.
[Ire]K.F. Purdon Dinny on the Doorstep 161: Well, here you are again [...] turning up like a bad halfpenny!
bad hat (n.)

see separate entry.

bad-house (n.)

a house that rents out rooms to prostitutes and their clients or to adulterous couples.

[UK]W. Perry London Guide 115: If the lady has not got clothes of her own, she can find them (on hire) at the upper class of bad houses, [...] deriving, from this source, no small part of their profits.
Oct. ‘Whitechapel women’s petition to the Queen’ in Cullen Autumn of Terror 137: [B]ad houses within whose walls such wickedness is done and men and women ruined in body and soul .
bad iron (n.) [ety. unknown]

bad luck, a failure, a disaster.

[Aus]‘Dads Wayback’ in Sun. Times (Sydney) 4 Jan. 9/4: Somehows Asiatics is bad iron fer missionaries. There’s millions o' edica’ted Turks, Arabs, Persians, Hindoos, Chows, an’ Japs, but they never turns Christian [...] it's only odds an' ends o’ ther very ignorant that gives ther missionary a chance.
bad john (n.) [John n. (1) ]

1. (W.I./UK black) a tearaway, a young criminal; thus badjohnism, criminality; play bad-john, to act like a hooligan (although not actually to be one).

[WI]S. Naipaul Adventures of Gurudeva 35: He wanted people to point at him and whisper, ‘See that fellow going there/ He is Gurudeva, the bad-John!’.
[WI]E. Lovelace Dragon Can’t Dance (1998) 103: They put Fisheye out the band, you know. Sponsors coming in; they don’t want no more bad Johns.
[UK]W. Chen King of the Carnival 19: He bad like crab and not only that, he know more badjohns than you.
[UK]R. Antoni Grandmother’s Erotic Folktales 35: You daddy, and he wicked brothers, and all they badjohn-boyfriends just the same.
[UK]Sun. Express (Grenada) 23 Nov. 12/4: [heading] ‘Badjohns’ who spawned today’s criminals. [...] Our crime wave is not isolated, or, in fact, alien, to this country. I ended last week mentioning that ‘badjohnism’ in places like Laventille is nothing new.

2. (UK black) a gangster, an important criminal.

[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 30 Sept. 38: He was trying to show me that he was a bad john. I just put him right. I just show him he ain’t no boss over me, boy.
bad land (n.) [ironic use of SE badlands, arid, barren areas of the western US] (US)

1. the slum area of a city (orig. coined for that in Chicago).

[US]Scribner’s Mag. July 8/1: ‘The Bad Lands’ is a quarter more repellent because more pretentious than ‘The Dive,’ but being the abode of vice and crime rather than of poverty, it can properly be omitted here [DA].
[US]Irving Jones ‘Possumala Dance’ 🎵 There came a big coon tall and fat, He had on a high silk hat, Wid diamonds loaded from head to feet, I think they called him Sloo-Foot Pete, He was the coon who ran the ball, The dance was held at Bad Land Hall.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ You Can Search Me 68: I’m only a silent partner in this concern, so you for the Bad Lands to do the barking for the show.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I ix: Up and down through the Bad Lands, in gambling hells, in vicious resorts [...] through the heart and the outskirts of the underworld travelled the fiat.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 214: He also came from the Chicago bad lands, a pal of Eddie Guerin.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Bad lands, district of city where hobos or gangsters congregate.
[US]Chicago Trib. 7 Dec. IV 47/2: I remember a Christmas eve [...] when I toured the west side bad lands, tough saloons and brothels [DA].

2. any dangerous area.

[US]W. Coburn Law Rides the Range 13: Sometimes he would stay at a log cabin hidden in the bad-lands.
[US]G.R. Clark Words of Vietnam War 45/1: Badlands [...] used in a general sense to describe a particularly hostile enemy area.
bad lot (n.) [auction house jargon bad lot, one that will not sell]

an unpleasant, untrustworthy person.

[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair I 92: You’ll get no good out of ’er [...] a bad lot, I tell you, a bad lot.
[UK]Thackeray Pendennis II 222: He’s a bad’un, Mr. Lightfoot – a bad lot, sir, and that you know.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Trail of the Serpent 11: I am a bad lot. I wonder they don’t hang such men as me.
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 26 Mar. 3/1: He was mild as honey. Not that she’s a bad lot at bottom, mind you.
[UK]F.C. Burnand My Time 376: They said he was a regular bad lot, and obliged to cut up and run.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 7/1: He was a scamp, a bad lot, and had been transported years before for dishonesty in the bank in which he was employed.
J.S. Lloyd Ragamuffins 3: They were known by all to be ‘a bad lot’.
[UK]J. Payn Notes from ‘News’ 118: If a boy is really a ‘bad lot’ his blackguardism will crop up soon enough.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 40: I’m a bad lot if you like, but I wouldn’t turn mouthpiece for the whole five thousand.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 19 Dec. 2/3: Bill the Badlot, Mr Arthur Haytor; Sid the Sadlot, Mr Frank Haytor.
[UK]Magnet 13 June 15: The girl – she was a bad lot she was sure.
[Ire]Joyce ‘Grace’ Dubliners (1956) 166: O, of course there were some bad lots ... But the astonishing thing is this. Not one of them [...] ever preached ex cathedra a word of false doctrine.
[UK]G.D.H. & M. Cole Brooklyn Murders (1933) 73: Walter Brooklyn [...] is a thoroughly bad lot.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 42: A bad lot, was Deacon.
[UK]J. Curtis Look Long Upon a Monkey 71: Colonel Blencowe tells me you’re a thoroughly bad lot and you need careful watching.
[UK]P. Terson Night to Make the Angels Weep (1967) I iv: Your old man was always a bad lot.
N. Marsh When in Rome 179: Let’s all be frank about it, for heaven’s sake. Mailer was a bad lot and somebody has killed him.
Bad Man (n.)

see separate entry.

bad medicine (n.) [the SE use of medicine to translate terms used in a variety of native American languages meaning a fetish, spell or charm; note use of ‘bad juju’ and ‘juju-man’ in the spy novels of John le Carré (b.1931)]

(orig. US) something or someone sinister or ill-fated.

[US]J.H. Carleton Prairie Logbooks (1983) 24 Aug. 50: I can’t tell nothing, no how. Bad medicine – heap – booh! ugh! bad medicine.
[US]R.F. Burton City of the Saints 239: He had redeemed his vow by reappearing in cuerpo, with gestures so maniacal that the sulky Indians had all fled, declaring him to be ‘bad medicine’.
[US]Eve. Bulletin (Maysville, KY) 31 Dec. 3/2: The toughs along the road know him as ‘Big Bad Medicine’.
[US]A. Bierce ‘The Birth of the Rail’ Black Beetles in Amber 260: It is bad medicine for both.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 168: My off-wheel mule – a reg’lar shave-tail – is bad medicine.
[US]R.A. Wason Happy Hawkins 35: Brophy’s bad medicine.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl. 33: medicine, good or bad. Straight dope or the reverse.
[US](con. 1914–18) L. Nason Three Lights from a Match 35: These Huns is bad medicine.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 7: He worked for Mr. Bright and followed him around like a poodle. Jim thought he was bad medicine.
[UK]P. Cheyney I’ll Say She Does! (1955) 38: I’d like to talk to him. He’s bad medicine.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 158: This Dix guy — bad medicine.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 180: Bunny and I decided we were bad medicine for each other.
[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 44: I don’t want ya runnin’ with that gang no more, Dolo! They’re bad medicine.
[US]R. Dougherty Commissioner 45: ‘Benez is bad medicine?’ Kane nodded: ‘Very bad. He’s a killer.’.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 105: He was what we call bad medicine.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 104: Don’t lose your senses, boy. White pussy is bad medicine.

see separate entries.


see separate entries.

bad news

see separate entries.

bad paper (n.) [paper n./dough n. (1)]

1. an IOU that will not be paid by the debtor; thus bad-papered adj.

[[UK]W. Perry London Guide 12: If a hackney coachman be a smasher, or dealer in bad silver, he endeavors to set down his fares (by night) in a dark place] ].
[US]Roswell Daily Record (NM) 20 July 1/5: City National at Kansas City Closed by order of the Comptroller. Had too much Bad paper. Two Hundred Thousand Dollars in Worthless Credits.
[US]Rock Is. Argus (IL) 30 Sept. 5/3: Bad paper is defined by the department [...] in a national bank to be paper or securities that are past due for more than six months.
Ward Co. Indep. (Minot, ND) 4 Mar. 9/2: Complying with Mr Knudson's order [...] put the bank in worse shape [...] by increasing the aggregate amount of bad paper.
[US]Dly Ardmoreite (OK) 31 Aug. 6: [advert] The First National Bank [...] The bank is at this time absolutely clear of all bad paper and is in sound financial condition.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 158: If it were a gambling debt, some bet you lost, I might lighten up. I write off a lot of bad paper.
[US](con. 1970) S. Wright Meditations in Green (1985) 73: An unemployed vet, broke, and bad-papered.

2. (also bad dough) any form of fraudulent documents, counterfeit money or similar written or printed frauds or forgeries.

[US]J. Sullivan ‘Criminal Sl.’ in Amer. Law Rev. LII (1918) 891: Counterfeit money is ‘bad dough.’.
[US]Washington Times (DC) 31 Oct. 4/2: Claim Check-Protector Agents Passed Bad Paper [...] All the time it is now charged, they were issuing worthless checks.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 268: Ronnie had lots of money from hanging bad paper.
[US]N. Green Shooting Dr. Jack (2002) 25: They write more bad paper than the News and the Post combined.

3. (US prison) a negative report on a prisoner.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 102: Bad Paper Reports or legal documents which reflect something negative about an inmate.
bad penny (n.) (also bad shilling)

an unpleasant, untrustworthy person; thus phr. known like a bad shilling, well-known (not invariably neg.).

[[UK]Langland Piers Plowman (C) XVIII line 74: Men may now lykene lettered men [...] to a badde peny with a gode printe].
[US]Melville Moby Dick (1907) 145: Ha! boy, come back? bad pennies come not sooner.
[UK]The **** Club Poor of N.Y. Act III: Here I am again – like a bad shilling, come back again.
[Aus]J. Armour Diggings, the Bush, and Melbourne 11: There was one from whom I feared the remark, that ‘a bad shilling was ill to get quit of,’ were I to appear among my late companions again.
Shefdfield Dly Teleg. 19 Feb. 9/2: You may say what you like, mother, but John is the bad penny of the family.
[US]Advocate (Topeka, KS) 2 Jan. 3/1: ‘Humph, ’ she snarled, ‘be you back?’ And then the conventional saw of the bad penny tangled itself hopelessly [...] and she lapsed into the usual [...] imbecility.
[Aus]Port Augusta Dispatch (SA) 7 May 3/3: I was acknowledged all over as her beau, and being a stranger, with a brogue to boot, was known like a bad shilling.
[Aus]Aus. Star (Sydney) 24 July 7/2: ‘Why,’ said Butler as he left the court, ‘You needn’t want sureties. I’m as well known as a bad shilling’.
[US]S.F. Call 6 Sept. 9/1: Who originated the saying about the bad penny always turning up.
[UK]B.L. Farjeon Amblers 295: I’ve turned up again like a bad penny.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 211: Bad egg, -hat, lot, penny, a rascal.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 149: Turn up like a bad penny.
[UK]A. Christie Dumb Witness (1949) 69: He’s no good [...] always in debt – always returning like a bad penny from all over the world.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 837: ‘Well, I’ll be damned!’ he said. ‘Look who’s turned up.’ ‘Bad pennies,’ Prew said.
[US]G. Swarthout Skeletons 167: ‘You’re back again, Mr Butters.’ ‘The bad penny.’.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 343: These were the bad pennies. The ones that Dugan had warned him about.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 409: Bad pennies always turn up.
bad poker (n.)

(US) a mistake, a foolish move.

[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 82: It’s very bad poker to ride [a train] into a town where you’re going to rob a bank.
J.E. DuBois Generals in Grey Suits 14: It’s bad poker to assume that all these Communists in Europe and Asia are being made by Joe Stalin or Karl Marx.

In compounds

bad scran (n.) (also bad scram, …scrant) [scran n.]

(orig. Anglo-Irish) bad luck, usu. as phr. bad scran to.

[Ire]Roscommon Jrnl 18 Apr. 2/1: Why den bad scran to you.
[Ire]S. Lover Legends and Stories 105: Bad scram to you, you thick-headed vagabone.
[Ire]W. Carleton Traits and Stories of Irish Peasantry I 294: Bad scran to you!
[Ire] ‘A Letter [...] From Peter Strongbow etc.’ Dublin Comic Songster 310: I’d bet the peelers’ shootin’ all to pieces, (do you take?) bad scrant to the bit, dear brother.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 64: Bad scran to you, you unlooky hangin’ bone thief!
[UK]Huddersfield Chron. 29 May 3/1: ‘[...] if I amn’t, bad scran to me!’.
[UK]Sth London Press 31 Aug. 4/5: Oh! you sanguinary aged cyprian. Bad scran to you.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Ind]H. Hartigan Stray Leaves (2nd ser.) 26: ‘Bad scran t’ye, who said he hadn’t?’.
[US]R. Mulholland A Fair Emigrant 199: Oh! bad scran to the bit I understood you.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 86: Thin bad scran to her.
[UK]Marvel 15 Nov. 7: Bad scran to you, you murdering villain.
[UK]G.B. Shaw John Bull’s Other Island Act III: Take care we don’t cut the cable ourselves some day, bad scran to you!
[Ire]L. Doyle Ballygullion 184: ‘Come on, Pat,’ sez James, ‘an’ lave him there, bad scran to him!’.
[Ire]K.F. Purdon Dinny on the Doorstep 158: Stir yourself, will ye! and bad scran to ye!
[Ire]L. Doyle Dear Ducks 29: I was the makin’s of a good shot – she gave in to that, – but I’m unfortunate at it, bad scran to it I’m unfortunate.
[UK]P. O’Donnell Islanders (1933) 140: Musha, bad scrant to the same Mason; he’s a plague.
[UK]B. MacMahon Children of the Rainbow 122: Dicky kept screaming at us: ‘Bad scran to ye for laggards!’.
[Ire]H. Leonard Da (1981) Act I: Sure what’s Churchill anyway, bad scran to him, only a yahoo, with a cigar stuck in his fat gob.
[Ire]H. Leonard Out After Dark 134: I suppose me curse-o’-God horse is down the field again, bad scran to it?
bad shag (n.) [shag n.1 (1); note shag n.1 (4), used later 20C+ in phrs. like ‘a good shag’, ‘a bad shag’]

an unsatisfactory lover; usu. in phr. he is but bad shag.

Citizens Groans 6: 3d. Woman. He stole away. 4th. Woman. He did so— ho—. 5th Woman. He was bad shag.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Shag, to Shag, to copulate. He is but bad shag, he is no able woman’s man.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1788].
[E. Young A Promising Nan 200: They think, oh, well, she’s not a bad shag, I really can’t be arsed with all the aggro].
bad shit (n.)

see separate entry.

bad siddown (n.) [SE bad sit-down; the image is of a prostitute lazing around on a street corner; also note Krio (Sierra Leone Creole) bad sidom, a woman sitting so as to expose her genitals]

(W.I., Jam.) poor behaviour in public, disregard of other people’s feelings.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
bad smash (n.) [smash n.2 (1)]

counterfeit coins.

[UK] ‘My Name Is Sam Dodger’ in Gentleman Steeple-Chaser 38: [I] sported my flash girl [...] We both went a smashing, and did it up brown too, / And lots of bad silver we us’d for to pass.
[UK]Partridge DSUE.
bad stuff


[US]R. Whitfield ‘About Kid Deth’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2007) 273: ‘Gil’s hopped up – he’s talkin’ wild.’ [...] ‘He doesn’t use the bad stuff, and you know it.’.
[US]W.D. Myers Motown and Didi 157: You ever see an old junkie? You ever see one of them slick boys popping that bad stuff live more than a few years?
[US]W.D. Myers Autobiog. of My Dead Brother 70: ‘[S]ome people are going to pick up the bad stuff and somebody is going to supply it’.
bad time (n.) [time n. (1)]

(US Und.) a prison sentence that causes the subject, who cannot acclimatize, a great deal of suffering.

[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 159: Rocco [...] didn’t want to clean up, didn’t want to do anything. He was doing bad time.
bad trip (n.) [trip n.4 (1a)]

1. (drugs) a bad or frightening experience while taking psychedelic drugs; also as v.; thus bad-tripper, one who is suffering the neg. experience .

[US]P. Wylie Esquire July 44–45: bad trip—an unpleasant LSD experience.
[US]N. von Hoffman We are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against 78: This is one of a number of preparations that will bring you down if you’re bad-tripping.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (2001) 21: He looked like a man on a bad trip.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 101: I started [...] counseling, handling the telephones, trying to get to kids in trouble, especially the bad trippers.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 177: This grass is Number Ten [...] Every time I smoke this grass over here it gives me a bad trip.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Happy Returns’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] No. It’s not real! No, it’s not happening to me! I’ll tell you what, I’m in the middle of a bad trip!
[UK]Observer Mag. 20 June 33: Kids [...] completely wired, having bad trips.
A. Rooney Drugs on the Street 10: Some people have flashbacks of a bad trip even many years later.
[UK]K. Richards Life 205: I never saw Gibbs unbalanced by acid, never saw any signs of a bad trip.

2. ext. as any sort of unpleasant or unnerving experience.

[US]L. Wolf Voices from the Love Generation 48: Killing him was a bad trip!
[UK]Oz 8 2: Really nice scene (except for the Spaniards, man, they’re a bad trip).
[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 442: A bad trip? This whole country, this whole world is on a bad trip, friend, but they’ll arrest you for swallowing a tablet.
[US]S.F. Examiner and Chronicle 1 Apr. A:12: It’s just toooo much (late ’40s). A real drag (’50s), a bad trip (’60s), and, naturally, a gross-out (’70s).

3. (Irish drugs) an overdose or similar bad response to an injection of a narcotic.

[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] ‘If the screws come in and find you like this, they’ll know you’ve had a bad trip’.
bad trot (n.) [trot n.2 (5)] (Aus.)

1. an unfair situation or result.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 39/1: C.20.

2. a run of bad luck.

J. Cleary You Can’t See Round Corners 178: I don’t usually lend money. But you had a bad trot. And I know if you can pay it back, you will.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 45: I been havin a bad trot. In hospital up north.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 71: As I said, bad trot—never won a race for years.
R. Sissions Players 314: It’s not the end of the world if he has a bad trot.
P. Roebuck In It to Win It 150: He had spent part of his winter under the surgeon’s knife, so his bad trot was excused.
bad ’un (n.) [lit. ‘a bad one’]

1. (UK Und.) a counterfeit coin.

[UK]Westmoreland Gaz. 20 Oct. 1/4: The gentleman gave me the very shilling [...] How could I change it for a bad ’un when I hadn’t no bad’uns about me.
[UK]T. Hood Pen and Pencil Pictures 124: ‘It looks very like a bad ’un,’ remarked the shop-keeper as she swept the money back into the till.
[UK]J. Greenwood Behind A Bus 137: He could reappear with as many ‘bad ’uns’ as a customer might choose to order. The price paid first hand for the metallic impostures could not have been much.

2. a rogue, an untrustworthy person; also used of a horse.

E. Moor Suffolk Wds & Phrases 458: Un. One—referring to an individual. The following phrase recently occurred — ‘He's a bad un yeow mah apend ont’ .
[US]W.H. Williams Wreck II ii: Depend upon it, miss, the men are all bad ’uns.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 88: ‘A regular right-down bad ’un, Work’us,’ replied Noah.
[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair I 152: He be a bad’n, sure enough.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 249: The party submitting is called a ‘good landlord’ (which in too many instances only means a great fool) until some other favour is refused [...] and he sinks into a ‘rank bad ’un’.
[UK]E. Yates Broken to Harness III 141: ‘What’s this new Irish horse like, Tanner?’ [...] ‘A bad ’un, miss; a rank bad ’un as ever stepped!’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple II 254: I’d dock off twenty per cent. of what I’d let you in for if you were out-and-out bad ’uns.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Feb. 9/2: Seeing how matters stand between him and Kate, she sends a letter to the latter, exposing her faithless husband, but as no name was mentioned, Kate thinks the artist was the bad ’un, and you’d better believe she loses no time in slating him.
[Aus]D.V. Lucas Aus. and Homeward 335: I’ve got in co wi’ sum bad uns.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 10 Nov. 85: Even if the chap was a bad ’un, it’s no good kicking a man when he’s down.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 277: A reg’lar bad ’un!
[US]F.P. Spencer Dregs in Mayorga (1919) 445: I’ve always been a bad un.
[UK]W. Holtby Anderby Wold (1981) 42: ’Tis a woman again. Get a bad ’un and a good farmer’s nowt. Get a good ’un and t’farmer don’t count.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 99: He was a bad ’un was Jeff, though even now, poor Mary won’t hear a word against him.
[UK]Indep. 16 July 11: Everyone knew he was a ‘bad un’.

In phrases

bad case of the tins (n.)

see under case n.1

bad place in the road (n.) (also bad spot in the road, narrow place…, spot…)

(US) an out-of-the-way, unimportant place or settlement.

[US] ‘Sl. among Nebraska Negroes’ in AS XII:4 Dec. 320/2: Besides more individual sobriquets there are: ‘Crack in the Track,’ ‘Stop (or ‘Spot’) in the Road,’ ‘Wide Place in the Road,’ ‘Broad Place in the Road,’ ‘Narrow Place in the Road,’ and ‘Whistle Stop.’.
[US] in DARE.
bad up (v.)

see separate entry.

have (got) it bad (v.)

1. to be experiencing something intensely, e.g. illness, sexual obsession, love, delirium tremens.

Leisure Hour 26 Feb. 115/2: Kate’s took it [i.e. an illness] too [...] and she’s got it bad now.
A.J. Cotton Cotton’s Keepsake 11: You will be very apt to think that I have got ‘the big-head,’ and got it bad at that, because I say so much about myself .
[US]Harper’s New Mthly Mag. Sept. 403/1: We have nothing against Boston. We do not hate Boston. There are really good people in Boston; who believe in Boston; who have got it bad.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 22 Aug. 64/2: Extraordinary Disease. The colonial wine shop fever has ‘bust out all over us — we've got it bad.’ Every other shop sells wine. Those that don't are jewellers or pawnbroker.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 64: Well, I should say you had got it bad [...] Your getting in love will be a great thing for your Pa.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Mar. 28/1: A young man who has ‘got it very bad’: ‘I am inspired to gush about a divine dancer [...], a fluffy vision with a haunting smile that is persistent but never wearisome.’.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 89: You got ’em bad, woman. [Ibid.] 360: He’s got it bad. The Willies, I guess.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 58: You don’t suppose Marjorie’s got it that bad, do you?
[UK]Marvel 24 Apr. 14: Gee, you’ve got it bad, Chick!
[UK]F. Anthony ‘Gus Tomlins’ in Me And Gus (1977) 139: ‘You’ve got it pretty bad,’ said I.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 35: George grinned. ‘You’ve got it bad,’ he said.
[UK]A. Wright Under the Whip 7: He had certainly ‘got’ it badly for this Nada Bigham.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 693: Milt Warden had it bad.
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 193: ‘But you were in love with him,’ I said. ‘Yes, I had it bad.’.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 32: Sounds like he’s got it bad. [Ibid.] 34: Len told me he’s got it bad over Gloria Randy.
[US]The Bangles ‘September Girls’ 🎵 December boy’s got it bad.
[Ire]R. Doyle Snapper 128: You’ve got it bad, haven’t you, Mister Burgess?
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 9: The girl’s got it bad, roysh.

2. to be sexually frustrated.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 134: Have it bad Obsessed with sex because of deprivation.

3. to be heavily addicted to narcotics.

[US] ‘Willie the Weeper’ in Lomax & Lomax Amer. Ballads and Folk Songs 185: There was a young man named Willie the Weeper [...] Had the hop habit and had it bad.
[US]W. Brown Monkey On My Back (1954) 3: The kid’s got it bad. She needs a jolt.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 208: He had a hop habit and he had it bad.
[US]A. Hoffman Property Of (1978) 145: Don’t you see he got it bad? [...] Don’t you think I know when I see a dope fiend?

4. to be sexually obsessed.

[US]Bangles ‘September Gurls’ 🎵 December boys got it bad.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 33: He’s got it bad for the broad did the movie.
have them bad (v.) (also have them again)

to be suffering from delirium tremens.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 6/2: [A] boozer, who’d ‘got em bad,’ essayed to seek repose in the sweet-smelling waters of the Yarra, whereupon without waiting for any ceremony, Johnston plunged in after him, and hauled him out by the scruff of the neck.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 July 7/3: If we wrote like that the public would say ‘Got ’em again!’.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 260: ‘Oh, there’s the Dixie Girl!’ says she. ‘You must have ’em bad,’ says I. ‘I don’t see any girl.’.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 3: ‘I thought she’d got ’em again – didn’t you?’ the girl said.

In exclamations

bad cess to you! (also good cess to you!) [? abbr. SE success (OED); Ware suggests dial. cess, a piece of turf; thus ‘may you live in a good/bad place’; Partridge prefers cess, assessment; thus ‘may you suffer a good/bad (tax) assessment’]

(orig. Irish) bad (or good) luck to you!

[UK]G. Griffin Suil Dhuv in Works III (1842) 346: ‘Why then, bad ’cess to you, Maney,’ exclaimed the coiner.
[Ire]S. Lover Legends and Stories xi: I trust that such [...] maledictions, as ‘bad cess to you,’ will not be considered very offensive.
[UK] ‘Handy Andy’ in Bentley’s Misc. Jan. 26: No, bad cess to you!
[UK]J.B. Buckstone Green Bushes I i: Bravo, Paddy—good cess to ye, Paddy—hurrah! [Ibid.] I i: Let me have two dips and if one of ’em is not an iligant prize, bad cess to ye.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 2 June 3/3: Arthur the son. there he stands, bad cess to him!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 22 Feb. 3/3: Bad cess to yez.
[UK]H. Kingsley Ravenshoe II 54: Bad cess to ye, ye impident divvle.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 29/1: And it’s take the poor woman’s bits o’ sticks you would—bad cess to yer.
[UK]R.D. Blackmore Lorna Doone (1923) 31: And good cess to his soul, for craikin’ zo.
[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter I 79: ‘[H]e’s been all over the fresh-planted praties, and cut them to smithereens, bad cess to him’.
[US]J.P. Skelly Charge of the Hash Brigade 14: Bad ’cess to you, let me in.
[UK]H. Caine Deemster I 234: Well, look here, bad cess to it, of coorse.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 19: Bad cess to the dhirty blackguards.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 June 2/1: Bad cess to these fashion papers, say I, Mrs Mulligan.
[US]C. M’Govern Sarjint Larry an’ Frinds 21: Oi thought she was going to kiss me nixt – bad ’cess to her.
[Ire]J.M. Synge Playboy of the Western World Act I: The thousand militia – bad cess to them! – walking idle through the lands.
[US]A. Irvine My Lady of the Chimney Corner 142: An’ she’s got m’ load o’ turf wid ’er, bad cess t’ ’er dhirty sowl!
[UK]P. O’Donnell Islanders (1933) 27: ‘Bad cess to it for snuff,’ she said. ‘Sheila spilled half of the last one on me.’.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 202: The time the last hog that held it died — bad cess to him!
[Ire]G.A. Little Malachi Horan Remembers 104: But, sure, old Shep, bad cess to her, has gone and had a litter of pups in the bellows.
[UK]H. Hanff letter 10 Apr. in 84 Charing Cross Road (2002) 13: And a very bad cess to Old Mr Martin.
[NZ](con. 1925) L. Masters Back-Country Tales 256: Bad cess to you [...] May ould Scratch himself take you.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 142: ‘Have you no others?’ enquired the priest [...] ‘All married, Father, bad cess to them,’ sighed the widow.
[Ire]T. Murphy Thief of a Christmas in Plays: 2 (1993) Act I: An’ bad cess to ye – an’ to the two of ye!
D. Lambdin Gun Ketch 391: Bad cess t’ ye, yer handsome bitch, yer brat, an’ all yer kin! Bad cess fer the rest o’ yer lives!
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Cess, bad (n): Bad luck.
bad show!

a general excl. of disappointment or disapproval.

[UK]J.B. Adams ‘Nothing of Importance’ 82: Brigadiers not knowing their officers; poor lunches — all these things were a ‘bad show, a d — d bad show!’.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Jim Maitland (1953) 139: And then to find he’d blown his brains out. Bad show.
[UK]Bulletins from Britain 11 Dec. 3: bad show. Adverse criticism.
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 48: ‘Bad Show,’ I said. ‘Damn bad show.’.
[UK]H.E. Bates A Breath of French Air (1985) 158: The women said [...] ‘Bad show’ and sometimes even ‘Damme’.
[NZ]G. Slatter Pagan Game (1969) 202: What George Webster would call a bad show, chaps.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 174: Can’t think what came over me. Bad show.
posting at 29 Nov. 🌐 Those ignorant brutes used napalm behind our backsides? Damn bad show old boy! [...] Bloody barbarians.