Green’s Dictionary of Slang

whack n.2

also wack
[whack v.1 ]

1. a blow, usu. with some form of stick.

[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Sprigs of Laurel 14: He gave her a smack. / He gave me a whack.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie II iii: He’ll soon be here: — then let him have his whack: Tell him he’ll bring a house upon his back.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 192: Whack [...] also an Irish exclamation, meaning something like a smack ― of the hand.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 263: [note] Now this brought on a general fight, Lord, what a gallows row — / With whacks and thumps throughout the night.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 139: I pardons the whack on account of the wisdom that moved the whacker.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 115: Whack, or whacking a blow, or a thrashing.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward in London in Complete Works (1922) 439: ‘I’ll fondle him with a club,’ I anserd, hitting him another whack.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 401: I’d give yer a whack in the face if yer offered to take any advantage of me out here.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 147: Every whack brought blood and a heavy fall.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘Pickpocket Poems’, Dagonet Ditties 93: Whack came a couple of stingers — / Two beauties — and right on my lug.
[UK]Punch 28 Feb. 157/3: To deal another whack on the head to a floundering Opposition.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley Says 176: WE give him th’ same threaty rights he’d give us, a dhrink an’ a whack on th’ head.
[UK]N. Douglas London Street Games 42: Each one has to have a wack with the tolly wack (a handkerchief with a knot in it).
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 359: I got a whack on the back of the head from something.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 156: She gives him a resounding slap in the face, such a whack as would knock a proofreader spinning.
[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 12 Mar. [synd. col.] A. Woollcott spent lots of time getting under the skin of actors, but once in a while he took a whack at himself.
[UK]P. Pringle Boy’s Book of Cricket 67: ‘It was a lovely whack,’ he declared.
[US]J. Thompson Alcoholics (1993) 76: Doc’s hand came down on his back with a resounding whack.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 58: She’d get bird in [...] to take the whacks for a tenner.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 72: He considered giving the door a solid whack.
[UK]Beano 3 Apr. 20: Give him a hard whack with my feather duster.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 73: There was a whack like terrible down the bottom of my back from behind.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 96: Someone’s gunner pay [...] Some fucker’s gorrer take the whack.
[UK]K. Richards Life 62: He did something and I just gave ghim a whack.

2. a second-rate or inexperienced coachman [his reliance on the whip].

[US]Morn. Call (S.F.) 23 May 11/1: Slang rom London Streets [...] An inexperienced Jehu may be either a ‘gardener’ or a ‘whack’.

3. (US Und.) a prison sentence.

[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 297: You could get used to anything, even being without women and doing a long whack in solitary.

4. (Scot./Aus.) a punishment, one’s deserts.

[Aus]Smith & Noble Neddy (1998) 117: My half-brother Edwin, who had pleaded guilty to heroin charges, was sentenced to 10 years for his trouble. Right whack for him.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read How to Shoot Friends 95: Just ask Kevin Taylor. Oh, I forgot, you can’t. He got his right whack in Pentridge.

5. (drugs) the act of diluting bulk drugs, e.g. heroin, for retail sale.

[US]Pileggi & Scorsese Goodfellas [film script] 105: I had to get to Robin’s house to give the package a whack with some quinine.

6. skill, ability.

[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 24: Now everyone wanted a slice of his lyrical whack.

In phrases

cop one’s whack (v.)

(Scot./Aus.) to get one’s deserts.

[UK](con. mid-1960s) J. Patrick Glasgow Gang Observed 117: Youse are goaney cop yir whack.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 134: [photo caption] Shaking hands with Slim Minogue on the spot where Alex copped his whack.
go to whack (v.)

to collapse, to break down (lit. and fig.).

[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 577: go to whack, v. To fall into bad condition. ‘He has been in bad company so long that he has all gone to whack.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Nov. 16/1: There’s nothing to pay – well, not for many a day! / Things may go crack, go to whack – / What’s it matter, Happy Jack / Has got back.
out of whack

lit. or fig. off-centre, out of true, out of order, feeling unwell.

[US]J.W. Davis Gawktown Revival Club 18: ‘Call my voice bunged up?’ he croaked [...] ‘Yours is teetotally out of whack.’.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 146: At last he utterly gets his thinker out of whack and goes back to the villa.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 146: The pump was out of whack.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Dead Yellow Women’ Story Omnibus (1966) 184: The Whistler [...] had boats and booze and waiting customers, but his landing arrangements were out of whack.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Blood Pressure’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 88: My blood pressure is all out of whack.
[US] in W.C. Fields By Himself (1974) 385: They get it all out of whack and like Humpty Dumpty when he falls off the wall, it’s pretty tough to get him back together again.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 175: My radio’s out of whack.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Lead With Your Left (1958) 45: Your sleep is being knocked out of whack by mysterious phone calls.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 176: The superheterodyne had been out of whack since November 1938.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 108: The phone’s outta whack, so don’t call me later because it don’t ring this end.
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself (1985) 255: The best football player in America is sittin’ down there [...] with his head out of whack.
[Aus]L. Davies Candy 136: My body’s all fucked up and out of whack because of this fucking drug.
[US]T. Piccirilli Fever Kill 125: He [...] didn’t know if her brood helped put things into perspective or just knocked them farther out of whack.
put the whacks on (v.)

(US und.) to pressurize.

S.F. Examiner (CA) 27 June 13/1: Put the Whacks On — Put on pressure.