1. (orig. US milit., also greaseball grunt) a short-order cook; a kitchen worker.
|(con. 1917–18) Through the Wheat 164: ‘Ho there, you yellow greaseball, what do you want?’ He hailed one of the mess helpers who was approaching.|
|‘Hinky-Dinky’ in Amer. Ballads and Folk Songs 559: Our grease-ball is a goddam dirty bum, / He bails out swill and makes the slum.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 107: grease ball [...] a kitchen worker [...] greaseball grunt A cook’s helper.|
|From Here to Eternity (1998) 512: He’s a greaseball [...] He gets paid to fix sandwiches.|
2. (US) any filthy or offensive person; thus the lowest category of tramp.
|From Coast to Coast with Jack London 123: At Reno every hobo, ranging from the aristocratic ‘comet’ down to the lowliest of low ‘grease balls,’ registered his moniker.|
|Grimhaven 146: The greaseball wins his name for an obvious reason, for the woolly texture of his clothing absorbs an unlimited amount of grease and dust.|
|Spanish Blood (1946) 88: She was a wide-eyed kid that fell for a flashy greaseball.‘The King in Yellow’ in|
|Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] Stand still, grease-ball — before I drill for oil in your ellybay!‘Color of Murder’|
|Deadly Streets (1983) 184: When that greaseball closes up, we knock him a good one.‘Made in Heaven’ in|
|(con. 1949) True Confessions (1979) 358: What are you doing giving absolution to that greaseball?|
|Outlaws (ms.) 172: It’ll be to do with what the greaseball was just telling me.|
|Davey Darling 67: They were all greaseballs, the Applebys. So I wanted to thump him.|
3. attrib. use of sense 2.
|Tourist Season (1987) 258: I never asked you what it’s like to be the Stone Crab queen, with a dozen greaseball contest judges staring up your crotch.|
|Wayne’s World II [film script] Greaseball metallers in cooler muscle cars swarm around the Mirthmobile.et al.|
4. (orig. US) a derog. term for a person of any Latin race, e.g. Italian, Greek, Puerto Rican, various South Americans etc.
|Ogden Standard Examiner 12 Apr. 6/5: Mother— ‘Well, dear, did you have a good time last night?’ Daughter— ‘Oh, Mom, it was perfectly blaah — nobody there but a lot of cake-eaters and grease balls’.|
|Brain Guy (1937) 53: He whispered groggily something about the glory that was Greece, not these greaseballs, the ancient Greece with all her glories.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 632: I have a lot of very good friends among the Italians, and I never speak of them as wops, or guineas, or dagoes, or greaseballs.‘Too Much Pep’ in|
|Tucker’s People (1944) 364: Love thy neighbour if he’s not a Catholic or a Jew or a Seventh Day Adventist or a nigger or a greaser or a ginzo or a hunkie or a bohunk or a frog or a spick or a limey or a heine or a mick or a chink or a jap or a dutchman or a squarehead or a mockie or a slicked-up greaseball from the Argentine.|
|Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 154: I used to think your gangsters were just a bunch of Italian greaseballs.|
|Essential Lenny Bruce 16: Three kikes, one guinea, one greaseball.|
|(con. 1960s) Wanderers 152: ‘Greaseball,’ said one of the Dukes. Angry glances.|
|Bonfire of the Vanities 62: If he had to be the one to call this greaseball to accounts, then – but he regretted the greaseball, even in his thoughts.|
|Indep. Rev. 12 Aug. 8: A banteringly remorseless singling out of the various ‘yids’, ‘niggers’ and ‘greaseballs’ present.|
|Robbers (2001) 238: Last thing they was doing was boosting luxury vehicles on special order [...] Greaseballs in LA and out east want them.|
|I, Fatty 136: Never did like greaseballs.|
|(con. 1973) Johnny Porno 337: And that makes you proud, killing your own kind for greaseballs like Vento?|
5. (US) an automobile factory worker; a garage mechanic; also attrib.
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 81: Grease Ball. – a garage or machine-shop assistant.|
|Rivethead (1992) 201: For a guy who was born and raised in this Greaseball Mecca, there could be no more fitting place to go.|
6. a derog. term of address to a Latin person.
|Long Good-Bye 183: I don’t get called a son of a whore by the help, greaseball.|
|Minder [TV script] 13: Comprennez? No speaky Inglese, you little greaseball?‘All Mod Cons’|
7. a sycophant.
|Sucked In 140: The little grease-ball had his head so far up Merv’s bum you couldn’t see his neck.|