Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cook v.1

1. [mid-17C+] to tamper with, to falsify; thus cook the books, cook the accounts; thus cooking n., tampering, falsifying.

2. [mid-19C–1940s] to ruin, to spoil.

3. [mid-late 19C] to give someone their due deserts.

4. [mid-19C+] to suffer from the heat.

5. [late 19C] (Aus.) to die by hanging.

6. in the preparation or consumption of drugs; occas. alcohol.

(a) [late 19C] to manufacture smokeable opium from the crude product.

(b) [late 19C–1950s] to heat opium before smoking it.

(c) [1920s+] to prepare a narcotic (esp. heroin) for injection by heating a solution of powder and water for use in a syringe.

(d) [1930s+] to distill (bootleg) alcohol.

(e) [1980s] to prepare a non-narcotic drug, e.g. an amphetamine pill, for injection.

(f) [1980s] to manufacture illicit drugs, e.g. heroin or crack cocaine.

(g) [1980s+] (also cook up) to heat cocaine until it hardens.

7. [late 19C–1950s] to overcome.

8. [late 19C+] to bribe, to arrange illicitly.

9. [late 19C+] (US) to kill, to murder; lit. and fig.

10. [mid-19C+] (also cook up) used fig. to cover any activity.

11. [1910s] (Aus.) to render drunk.

12. [1910s] (US) to concoct a mendacious story.

13. [1930s+] (US) to die or execute in the electric chair.

14. [1930s+] (US) to be electrocuted.

15. [1940s+] (US black) to do something exceptionally well.

16. [1940s+] (orig. US black) of a musician or group of musicians, to be playing in harmony, particularly creatively; to be in mutual understanding.

17. [1960s+] (Aus.) to scold; to criticize harshly.

18. [1970s+] to start or rev up a car.

19. [1980s+] to be burnt to death.

In phrases

cook beef [beef n.1 (3)]

[2010s] (UK black) to be sexually excited .

cook-down (n.) [var. on cook up v. (5c)]

[1970s+] (drugs) the process whereby users liquefy heroin in order to inhale it.

cook off (v.)

see separate entry.

cook on all four (v.) (also cook on all burners)

[1940s+] (Can./US) to be very busy, to be working very well.

cook on the front burner (v.) [1940s+] (US)

1. to do something very well, to act or think correctly.

2. (also to be on the burner) to be currently pertinent.

cook someone’s goose (v.)

see separate entry.

cook up (v.)

see separate entry.

cook with gas (v.) (also cook with electricity)

[1940s+] (orig. US black) to succeed, to do very well, to tackle a project in the right way, esp. after misdirected efforts have failed; thus usu. in phr. now we’re cooking with gas.

what’s cooking? (also what cooks?) [orig. swing band use] [1930s+]

1. lit. ‘what’s going on?’, i.e. what is happening?; thus negative response nothing cooking.

2. (orig. US) a phr. of greeting, ‘what’s going on?’.

wouldn’t that cook you?

[late 19C] (US campus) wouldn’t that annoy/shock you?

SE in slang uses

In phrases

cook cucumbers (v.) [the presumed use of a cucumber as a dildo]

[1960s+] of a woman, to masturbate.