Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sweet adj.1

1. in ironic use of SE, often in phrs. e.g. a sweet mess, (one’s) own sweet time.

[UK]T. May Heir V i: I am in a sweet case, what should I do now? Her father thinks I have lain with her; if I deny it, he’ll have a bout with me: if I say I have, this young rogue will cut my throat.
[UK]Farquhar Twin-Rivals IV ii: Deel tauke me but dish ish a most shweet business indeed!
[UK]Kipling ‘The Story of the Gadbsys’ in Soldiers Three (1907) 163: Sweet state I’m in!
[US]D. Hammett ‘Zigzags of Treachery’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 119: You’ll have one sweet time getting anything out of her.
[US]‘Ellery Queen’ Roman Hat Mystery 22: I’m in one sweet mess, Harry.
[US]J. Dixon Free To Love 201: You sure have got us into a sweet jam!
[US]Bayler & Carnes Last Man Off Wake Island 274: A sweet mess they made of our belongings.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 272: You sure take your own sweet time getting out here.
[NZ]A. Duff One Night Out Stealing 149: He took his sweet time drinking the bottle, keeping just behind Billy.
[UK]Guardian G2 10 Sept. 19: Stallone takes his own sweet time deciding.
[Aus] A. Prentice ‘The Break’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] [He] had to wait while they [i.e. the police] -took their own sweet time about things.

2. a general term of approval, applicable to people, objects, actions and events.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 190: The wealthy cit, whose plum has rendered him sweet among his grand next-door neighbours.
[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 432: He’ll ’ave a sweet pair of black hyes to-morrer.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 7/2: A round or two of ‘max’ made everything ‘all sweet’ again.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Sept. n.p.: I have been ‘roughing it’ all my life, and I get ‘sweet’ with a nominating convention.
[UK] ‘’Arry in Parry’ in Punch 15 Nov. 217/1: I laid in a sweet suit o’ stripes.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Oct. 7/4: Three sweet burglars in Melbourne are in a tight place. The old story. Too fond of the Jimmies.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Dec. Red Page: Sweet, roujig and not too stinkin’’ are good.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Jan. 32/1: And them yelling fiends behind me; / Bound to catch me; sure to find me; / Couldn’t miss me; Well, you mind me / It was sweet!
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 20: If I had de sweet long green what Mr. Burton win from Mr. Paul at whist I ’d race yachts.
[Aus]Teleg. (Brisbane) 30 Sept. 3/8: Acting-sergeant Farrell then came up, and to him the accused admitted having got the money, and added, ‘It was dead sweet. Let me go, and you can have your palms greased’ .
[Aus]L. Esson Woman Tamer in Ballades of Old Bohemia (1980) 67: Yes, it’s a sweet thing. You know the big house – the one with the green shutters.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 41: Kelly and Kiernan were telling how sweet it was in the old days and how lean the years had grown.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 17: She’s a particularly sweet piece a business.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 50: This counterfeit case is beginnin’ to look sweet an’ interestin’ to me.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Cooked!’ Dan Turner - Hollywood Detective Jan. [Internet] Listen, boy-friend. If you only knew it, this is the sweetest break you ever got.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 75: You should see the sweet watch she gave him.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 72: And like ever since then, like everything was like real sweet.
[UK]V. Bloom ‘Lang. Barrier’ in Touch Mi, Tell Mi 41: Jamaica language sweet yuh know bwoy.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 9: sweet [...] ‘That sure is a sweet car.’.
[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 66: It was sweet [...] You was never forced to do anything.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Wind & Monkey (2013) [ebook] ‘Don’t worry, mate. It’s all sweet’.
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry [Internet] sweet adj./adv. (sometimes pronounced ‘saw-wheat’) A late 80’s term for very good, excellent. ‘His corvette was sweet!’.
[US]Simon & Pelecanos ‘Late Editions’ Wire ser. 5 ep. 9 [TV script] That was one sweet bust you put on Marloe Stansfield.
[UK]T. Black ‘Killing Time in Las Vegas’ in Killing Time in Las Vegas [ebook] Gap khakis and sweet loafers: Timberland or Sebago.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2016.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] ‘The boys are pulling through. Most of ’em never done a hard day’s work but the money’s sweet’.

3. of human characteristics.

(a) gullible.

[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 205: The fourteenth a Gamester, if he sees the Hick sweet, / He present’y drops down a Cog in the street.
[UK]‘Black Procession’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 39: The fourteenth a gamester, if he sees the cull sweet, / He presently drops down a cog in the street.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: sweet easy to be taken in.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: sweet. Easy to be imposed on, or taken in.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

(b) dextrous, expert.

[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: sweet [...] expert, dexterous, clever: As, Sweet’s your Hand; said of one who has the Knack of stealing by Sleight of Hand.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]B. Harte Luck of Roaring Camp (1873) 226: ‘Is it George Tryan?’ I ask quickly. ‘Don’t know; but he’s a sweet one, whoever he is,’ adds the engineer, with a smile at some luscious remembrance.
[US]P.G. McLean ‘A Long Shot’ Variety Stage Eng. Plays [Internet] Aren’t I a sweet pill to be writing love stories?
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 61: Stanley Ketchel was a sweet bird, too, wasn’t he! Remember that fight with Phil. Jack O’Brien? Wasn’t that one for the book!
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 215: He was one damn sweet football player.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 163: You’re a sweet bitch of a liar is ever there was one.

(c) amenable; usu. in phr. keep/have someone sweet v., to keep someone well-disposed towards oneself, esp. by complaisance or bribery.

[UK]Pierce Egan’s Wkly Courier 22 Mar. 4/1: ‘A tiny subscription will make the landlord all right, and sweet into the bargain’.
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 20 June 2/2: The officer supposing that by keeping himself ‘Sweet,’ he would be able to learn from the convict, in the evening, the whole of his plans.
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 202: If the bloke is in town he could easily be squared, I think; you could get him sweet [...] that would be all that was wanted.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 434: He keeps him sweet for an hour or two.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 Jun. 20/2: But it so happens that the politicians named are anxious to keep sweet with the electors in view of the coming Federal elections, so they are walking circumspectly.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 15 Sept. 1/1: The favoritism shown to certain Perth publicans by Sunday trade police needs explaining [...] one bang openly boasts of having the Johns ‘dead sweet’ in that respect.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 184: After what he’s done he’s worth keepin’ sweet for another night.
Sun (Kalgoorlie) 6 July 16/4: ‘As a result a prisoner, as long as he is sweet with his mates, could get out of his cell and out of prison, go down to the port and have a pint or two of beer, and get back again without anyone knowing’.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 11 Aug. 15/4: After a few more boozes he was sweet.
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Life and Death at the Old Bailey 59: If a person’s suspicions are aroused, then they try ‘to sweeten him,’ and ‘to keep him sweet’ until their object is accomplished.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 232: I’m dooking all the higher-ups just to keep in sweet so that I don’t get some honest copper winning promotion on me.
[UK]J. Gosling Ghost Squad 63: Cop this two quid and keep them [i.e. policemen] sweet. Buy them a drink while i think up a good story!
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers III iii: She’ll ’ave Brook whistlin’ any tune she likes to keep ’er sweet.
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 38: If we do only what I’m telling you [...] it’ll keep Rory sweet.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper From The Inside 80: I was also collecting a $200 to $300 sling from several Melbourne nightclubs, because the owners wanted to keep me sweet.
[Aus]Smith & Noble Neddy (1998) 255: The reason for charging Peter was in case this guy had some cop sweet who could check whether anyone was really arrested that day, or whether it was a bodgie pinch.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 17: [They were] given human consideration and even then it was a trade-off. It was all a bid to keep them sweet.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 67: The message came back that we were to continue to keep these jokers sweet.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 18: I always kept him swet as syrup on a spoon because Sonny’s your worst nightmare.

(d) (Aus.) affectionate, amorous towards.

[[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 168: Sweet (to be) to talk kind, conciliating, to the other sex].
[Aus]Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 2/1: Instead of falling in love [a young man] gets ‘soft’ or ‘sweet’ or ’spooney’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 4 Mar. 4/8: A man wot kids ’imself ’e’s got a ‘tom’ dead sweet oughter git booked for ’is own pertection.
[US](con. early 1930s) C. McKay Harlem Glory (1990) 52: Millinda had a husband, when you were sweet, didn’t she?
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 158: She might have come in handy to keep sweet with myself.
[Aus](con. 1930s) F. Huelin ‘Keep Moving’ 39: The basis for this co-operation was that we would not attempt to ‘get sweet’ with the boss’s daughter.

(e) effeminate.

[US]Hall & Adelman Gentleman of Leisure 15: I never bother to think whether someone will consider me sweet. I’m confident in my masculinity.
[US] P. Munro Sl. U.

(f) intimate with (in a non-sexual context).

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 134: We’ve got this reporter on the local paper who’s really sweet with all the CID, their big drinking buddy.

4. (UK Und.) not suspicious.

[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 434: He [...] had entered into conversation with Doolan, finding him as ‘sweet’ as possible.

5. safe, secure, devoid of problems.

[US]N.Y. Eve. Journal 25 Aug. in Fleming Unforgettable Season (1981) 183: With the first game tucked away and Mathewson in the box, it looked very sweet for both games.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 26 July 11/5: Detectives Ken Campbell and ‘Nobby’ Clark had arrested the men over the border and brought them back. Both, when questioned, had said they were ‘sweet,’ as they had been talking to a man named Burgess in Queen-street, Brisbane, when the robbery was being committed.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 312: ‘I brassed a mug yesterday,’ he told her, ‘and everything’s sweet again.’ He flashed a roll of notes.
[NZ]J. Henderson Gunner Inglorious (1974) 19: We’re in a sweet position, a little hollow, and opposition shells just whistle harmlessly over us.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 203: I’m sweet for work there with a building contractor.
[Aus]A. Buzo Norm and Ahmed (1973) 18: What more could you want? Green lawns all around, vista of the harbour, Holden in the garage, I’m sweet.
[US]San Diego Sailor 76: I’d certainly jockeyed myself into a sweet position behind the eightball.
[Aus]A. Weller Day of the Dog 110: I’ll be sweet. No worries on me, honey.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 10: Everything is okeydokey. Hunky-dory. In-the-pink and couldn’t-be-sweeter.
[UK] in D. Campbell That Was Business, This Is Personal 15: I was lost. If I had been on Holloway Road I would have been sweet but I was out of my area.
[Aus]Smith & Noble Neddy (1998) 147: Before you blow up, I had a talk to the cop that is handling the murder investigation and you have nothing to concern yourself about. It’s just a formality. You did receive a mention, but it is sweet. Calm down.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] ‘I reckon you should be sweet on Monday’.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 62: They [i.e. policemen] both seemed relaxed and were not looking at him. ‘It’s sweet,’ he told himself. ‘Just act normal.’.
[Aus] L. Redhead ‘Grassed’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Anything could go wrong. Cops. A rip-off. Who knew? But it’d been sweet as usual and Robbie had even chucked in a couple of grams of coke.

6. substantial; also as adv., considerably.

[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I x: Mabbe we’ll have a sweet wait, but I got the straight dope on this.
[US]‘Maxwell Grant’ ‘Murder Marsh’ in Shadow Oct. [Internet] The Shadow’s been smearing some mighty sweet rackets while you was in stir.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 97: A three-quarter length Persian lamb coat that cost somebody some sweet dough.
[US]W. Brown Monkey On My Back (1954) 242: They’re set to give him the works. I don’t know how much, but it will be a sweet stretch.
[UK]D. Lytton Goddam White Man 21: Mr Williams could get sweet drunk and then you would hear what he thought of the goddam white man.

7. of a business deal or a crime, simple and lucrative.

[US]Van Loan ‘Mister Conley’ in Score by Innings (2004) 424: My wife’s old man has made a sweet business proposition.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 69: We can’t miss, we got everything. Boy, what a sweet set-up.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 216/1: Sweet. Simple and profitable, as a specific crime or type of crime.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 262: It’s the sweetest touch in the harbour.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 68: Jaw is got a sweet racket.
[US]D. Goines Daddy Cool (1997) 45: The idea of passing up such a sweet thing bothered him.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 204: You’d have a mighty sweet deal, actually.
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 54: E’s got this sweet little business, pays off better’n any bird and it don’t talk back.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 32: You could hook him up with a sweet deal on a few keys of ’caine.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 13: He had a sweet deal with Rita. She blew it - not him.

8. (Aus.) ready, prepared.

[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 240/1: sweet – ready, as ‘I’m all sweet’ I’m all ready.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 21: We’d be sweet to pick up a couple of dolls sicne we’ve got wheels.

In compounds

sweet-arse (adj.)

excellent, wonderful.

[US]Ian Dury ‘Itinerant Child’ [lyrics] It’s home sweet home to some sweet-arse freaks.
sweet cop (n.) [cop n.2 (2)]

1. (Aus.) a pleasant, enviable situation.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Dec. 37/1: It’s a dead sweet cop for a bloke game enough ter take it on.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 162: I’d be a sweet cop for the first prohibitionist who puts his nose round the door.

2. (Aus Und.) a successful scheme or criminal enterprise.

[Aus]D. O’Grady A Bottle of Sandwiches 6: ‘You’re not right in the sconce,’ the boss said. ‘Leavin’ a sweet cop like you got here.’.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 50: cop, denoting a profitable operation of some kind, a term also used in the wider Lingo with a similar meaning in the combination a sweet cop or to cop it sweet though one may also cop it, of course, which means getting into trouble.
sweet kid (n.) (also sweet girl, sweetmeat) [kid n.1 (11)/meat n. (1)]

(Can./US prison) a younger prisoner who joins up with an older man.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Farm (1968) 177: I heard all this head action going down in the next stall. I didn’t dream it was Miss Ann and her sweet girl taking off.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 54: Just because you’re young, tender sweetmeat.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 22: A lot of these wiseacres liked to play the role of studs and give the ‘sweet kids’ sly looks and remarks.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 60: Sweet Kid also Sweet Meat A young and pretty, passive homosexual partner.
[US]N. Kelley ‘The Code’ in Brooklyn Noir 172: He had shanked two motherfuckers Day One who looked at him as if he were sweet meat. He wasn’t gonna play that faggot shit.
sweet lady (n.)

(US gay) a woman who runs a string of homosexual male prostitutes.

[US] (ref. to late 1950s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 112: During the late ’50s [...] Those who managed hustlers [i.e. male homosexual prostitutes] were referred to as landladies and sweet ladies if female while male counterparts were pushers or steerers.
sweet stick (n.)

(US) a trumpet.

[US]Reading Times (PA) 29 May 4/8: They are master of the ‘God box’ (a pipe organ), the ‘Sweet Stick’ (a trumpet) , the ‘Agony Box’ (a clarinet) , the ‘Dog House’ (the bass fiddle) and the ‘Coke Stick’ (the saxophone).

In phrases

she’s sweet (also she’ll be sweet)

(Aus.) everything is satisfactory.

[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 140: ‘We’ll hold his legs, won’t we, Eddie?’ ‘Yeah, sure,’ said Eddie. ‘She’s sweet.’.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 18: I don’t want a bet. She’s sweet. I done all right on the day.
[Aus] ‘Nino Culotta’ They’re A Weird Mob 155: ‘Yell if yer want help.’ ‘She’ll be sweet, matey. Nothin’ I can’t handle.’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 173: Norton smiled and winked. ‘She’ll be sweet’.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 171: I mean, these are fair dinkum, ‘She’ll be sweet, mate’ bloody Aussies.
sweet as (a) nut (adj.) (also sweet as, sweet as a button, ...clock, …honey, ...lolly, sweet as nuts)

(orig. UK Und.) easy, simple, no problems, delightful, esp. of a robbery or other ‘job’.

[UK]R. Speed Counter Scuffle D: He puts / His hands, to feele for Lockwoods guts, / Which came not foorth so sweet as Nuts.
[UK]E. Gayton Pleasant Notes III i 34: So you have him uncorrupt, and by the help of Rablais sweet as a nut.
[UK] ‘The Breech wash’d by a Friend to the Rump’ in Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 14: Wash the Members as sweet as Nuts, / And then throw them all to the Devil.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs 208: As sweet as honey; or as a nut.
[UK]N. Thompson Loyal Songs 198: By turns the saints turn’d up their Scuts / Each jealous of the others bliss, / The pleasure was as sweet as Nuts.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Dec. 2/4: ‘[H]e’s as sweet as a nut, and will keep a month or so’.
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 29 May 6/3: [The phrase] ‘Sweet as a nut’ is fighting in its last ditch.
[UK]A.N. Depew Gunner Depew 8: Their vessels were ship-shape all the time, and were run as sweet as a clock.
[Aus]‘William Hatfield’ Sheepmates 271: He’s as sweet as a lolly! [...] leg fixed like he’d never know it was broke in a month.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 10: Friendly gossip between employer and employed, and everything as sweet as a nut.
[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 61: It’s a cinch, we’ll have it off sweet as a nut.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 96: You might have one of them squatting up there, reading the paper, sweet as a nut.
[UK]J. Curtis Look Long Upon a Monkey 63: It was a giggle to see the young man fall for it, sweet as a nut.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 34: I was sweet as a nut as far as Parkes.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 2: Tony blows the peter sweet as a nut.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 190: Mate, I’m sweet as a nut with the little blonde.
[UK]R. Hewitt White Talk Black Talk 185: That was well sweet [...] Well sweet, Sweet as a nut, twice as ’ard.
[UK]M. Newall ‘Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knight’ in Indep. Weekend Rev. 26 Dec. 1: ‘Sweet as,’ sayes Wayne. ‘Sweet as.’.
[UK]Guardian 11 Nov. 34: I chested it down and hit it, half-volley sweet as a nut.
[UK]Dizzee Rascal ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ [lyrics] Sweet as a nut, mate, sweet as a nut.
[SA]Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 9 Dec. [Internet] Popular south oke words are [...] ‘schweet like a lemon’ [...] delightful.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Rosa Marie’s Baby (2013) [ebook] ‘Sweet as a nut,’ said Les. ‘It’d be a pleasure’.
[US]C. Carr Our Town 280: ‘Sweet as a button,’ Kathleen added.
sweet on (adj.)

1. (also sweet upon) in love with, infatuated by.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: To be Sweet upon, to coakse, wheedle, entice or allure.
[UK]London-Bawd (1705) 120: A handsome brisk young Man [...] I had observ’d was very sweet upon my Maid.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
Rambler’s Mag. Jan. 39/1: A gentleman, who was very sweet upon the lady’s maid of the house where he was on a visit [etc.].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]B.H. Malkin (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas (1822) I 173: Signor don Roderic was sweet upon the mistress of the tennis-court.
[US]J.K. Paulding Bucktails (1847) IV iii: I reckon he wants to be sweet upon her.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 226: I knew he was sweet, not to say nutty, upon the covess.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Dickens ‘A Passage in the Life of Mr. Watkins Tottle’ in Slater Dickens’ Journalism I (1994) 434: Vell, she vos as sweet upon him as he vos upon her, and so I s’pose they made it all right; for they got married ’bout six months arterward.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 29 Nov. 2/6: One of the attachés to the English embassy at Paris is very ‘sweet’ upon one of the ballet girls of the opera .
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 71: Her nibs was rank sweet on the shallow cove.
[US]Southern Literary Messenger Apr. 220: He was very sweet on old Miss Julia Pritcher, a girl of about thirty-five.
[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 22: Do you think he was sweet on you, Matty?
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 23 Apr. 3/2: No, sir, I’m not sweet on Fanny. I should have enough to do if I was to get spooney on all the pretty girls I chat with on my rounds.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 139: She’s mighty sweet on him.
[UK]A. Griffiths Fast and Loose I 119: The jade! [...] Sweet on her! I hate her!
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Remailed’ in Roderick (1972) 197: Long years agone Bill and jim were ‘sweet’ on a rose of the bush.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 20: De dude has money t’ burn a wet dog wid, and was sweet on dat lady besides.
[Ire]Joyce ‘Counterparts’ Dubliners (1956) 87: Mr Alleyne was said to be sweet on her or on her money.
[UK]A. Christie Secret Adversary (1955) 70: Fancied he might be sweet on the missus, that’s all.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 216: Maude was sweet on a bull in Scotland Yard.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 32: There were two girls there, Sergeant Trent was a bit sweet on.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 426: Stan said he was sweet on Studs’ sister.
[UK]W. Holtby South Riding (1988) 387: They say she’s sweet on Holly of the Shacks.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 267: Mackey and her were goin’ together, and this bouncer man was kind of sweet on her too.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 157: Ain’t all the gals sweet on him?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 192: He [...] busted his head for talking to a woman he’s sweet on.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 177: I’ve got a girlfriend I’m rather sweet on at the moment.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 137: Pa’s sweet on scum, that Binnie on Red Light Hill.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 63: I was sweet on her way back.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 37: Of course I was sweet on her [...] I wanted her to be my Mom.
[Aus] J.J. DeCeglie ‘Death Cannot Be Delegated’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] I was maybe half sweet on her.

2. (UK Und.) nagging, pestering; insistent.

[UK]W. Perry London Guide 55: If I had chosen to be sweet upon him, I might have drawn him something handsome, for he was ready tip.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 58: I tells Bet to be on the wido, for a swell was sweet on me for a tail.

3. fond of, keen on, in non-amatory senses.

[UK]M. Lemon Turf I iii: He’s very sweet on the field.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 23 June 3/1: There may be found a colt that is good enough, but I’m not sweet on the younsters [sic].
[UK] ‘’Arry on Law and Order’ in Punch 26 Nov. 249/1: Betting Laws, Prize Fight pervention, and such, / That some mealy-mouthed mugs are so sweet on.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 325: A very good local horse that all the diggers were sweet on.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 66: Mind you, John, the stable is as sweet as sugar on the horse.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Sept. 4/7: I cracks I’m dead sweet on it [i.e. a play].

4. in a non-sexual context, satisfied with, happy about.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 28/1: While we slowly steamed along the pier the ‘fly cop’ could easily manage to have us ‘pinched,’ [...] and for that reason we were not over ‘sweet’ on our position. [Ibid.] 84/1: [She] didn’t feel ‘sweet’ on the position assigned her by Squib’s granny — that of ‘slavey’ for the firm.
[Aus]letter in Bendigo Advertiser (Vic.) 12 Oct. 2/6: Grown-up people, who are sweet on themselves, put challenges in Bell’s Life.
[Aus]Wagga Wagga Advertiser (NSW) 23 Oct. 4/2: I think it's a clipping idea, and I'm deuced sweet, on it myself.
[US]Van Loan ‘Mister Conley’ in Score by Innings (2004) 426: It didn’t take half an eye to see that the boss was sweet on the redhead.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 88: He’d bonded with the car, he was really sweet on it.

SE in slang uses

Drug uses

In compounds

sweet air (n.)

nitrous oxide.

Mao ‘Just Me, 2C and I’ on ‘Experience Vaults’ on 27 Jun. [Internet] I take out my cracker and fill up a balloon with nitrous... I slowly take in the sweet air, and suddenly become very content.
Dr. Jerry Gordon ‘Patient Benefits from Laughing Gas’ at [Internet] Nitrous Oxide Gas, often referred to as laughing gas or sweet air, is an effective anesthetic drug that has many benefits for patients seeking dental treatment.
sweet Lucy (n.)

1. hashish dissolved into wine.

[US]‘Paul Merchant’ ‘Sex Gang’ in Pulling a Train’ (2012) [ebook] He knew how to filter after-shave lotion and anti-freeze [...] making Sweet Kucy or Sneaky Pete to sell to the wet-brains on the Bowery.
[US]S.N. Pradhan Drug Abuse.
[US]Abel Marihuana Dict.

2. marijuana.

[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[US]Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH) 16 Mar. 2/7: The chart calls [marijuana] ‘Texas tea,’ and ‘sweet Lucy.’.
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol & Drug Information Technical Assistance Bulletin Sept. n.p.: Third and fourth graders in the same school mentioned crack, ice, PCP, speed, ‘sweet lucy’ (marijuana according to Drug Enforcement Administration intelligence reports).
Daily Tel. (UK) 30 Jan. n.p.: Now that the hairies of the adult hemp movement are bringing 420 into the mainstream, parents will work out what 420 means, and the term will fizzle from use. Sweet Lucy, anyone?

3. barbiturates dissolved into muscatel wine.

[US]H. Ellison ‘Have Coolth’ in Gentleman Junkie 128: You got to stay away from the Sweet Lucy and the pot.

4. a variety of cheap, sweet wine.

[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 8: In the alley, slumped down with a ketchup bottle of Sweet Lucy, lay his father.
[US]T. Southern ‘Razor Fight’ in Southern (1973) 23: Crow walked into the Paradise Bar with a bottle of Sweet Lucy in one hand and $6 in the other.
[US]Maurer & Vogel Narcotics and Narcotic Addiction (3rd edn).
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 151: He was hooked on sweet Lucy.
(con. 1960s) ‘Richard’ My Life [Internet] If we couldn’t get enough money for beer, we would buy the cheapest wine we could find. Which was called Sweet Lucy and cost one dollar and ten cents for a gallon jug! [Internet] ‘They’ve been to see Sweet Lucy!’ – assessment someone has been drinking alcohol.
sweet stuff (n.) (drugs)

9. heroin or morphine.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 126/2: sweet stuff. Morphine, [...] or heroin.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 231: sweet stuff [...] heroin; morphine.
[US]H. Braddy ‘Narcotic Argot Along the Mexican Border’ in AS XXX:2 85: SUGAR, n. Like sweet stuff, a euphemism for drugs.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 20: Sweet stuff — [...] heroin.

10. cocaine.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 126/2: sweet stuff. [...] cocaine.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 315: sweet stuff. Cocaine.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 20: Sweet stuff — Cocaine.

General uses

In compounds

sweet b.a. (n.) [abbr. sweet bugger all]

nothing at all.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1185/1: [...] since ca. 1940.
sweetback (n.)

see separate entry.

sweetback (man) (n.)

see separate entry.

sweetbread (n.)

see separate entry.

sweet damn-all (n.)

nothing whatsoever.

[UK] ‘Officers of ‘A’ Flight’ in C.H. Ward-Jackson Airman’s Song Book (1945) 81: Watching the Flight Commander / Doing sweet damn-all.
[UK](con. WW1) P. MacDonald Patrol 19: Mespot [...] A wide expanst of sweet damn all wiv’ a river runnin’ froo it!
[UK] ‘The Heavy Bombers’ in C.H. Ward-Jackson Airman’s Song Book (1945) 143: They sent us out to Egypt [...] Where miles and miles of sweet damn-all are covered up with sand.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 142: We wouldn’t have stayed there in that god-forsaken hole gouging our guts out for sweet damn-all.
[Ire]H. Leonard Time Was (1981) Act I: He saw sweet damn all.
[UK](con. 1940s) O. Manning Battle Lost and Won 251: You handed in five days, sir? Back to the grind for sweet damn all?
sweet-eye (n.)

(W.I.) a lustful glance or wink; thus make sweet-eye v., to glance in this way; get sweet-eye v., to receive such a glance.

W. Redhead Three Comic Stories 12: I giving dem a little side-look so [...] and I making me little sweet-eye and I waving me little finger give dem so.
Pelican (Bridgetown, Bdos) 11 Nov. 8: Dey was faithful to duh husbans, / Faithful to de en’ / Even when duh get sweet-eye / From de husban’ bes’-frien’.
[UK]S. Selvon Eldorado West One 53: I have been giving her a little sweet-eye now and then.
sweet Fanny Adams (n.)

see separate entry.

sweet fuck all (n.) (also sweet but-all, sweet eff-ay) [fuck all n. (1)]

absolutely nothing.

[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 130: We all go over the top knowing sweet fuck-all of what we are supposed to be doing.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 202: Bedad, man dear, they’d be gettin’ sweet but-all if I didn’t!
[UK]K. Amis letter 13 May in Leader (2000) 64: He is getting £50 a month for doing sweet fuck-all.
[UK]K. Amis letter 29 Apr. in Leader (2000) 256: I got a shirt and a cake and some fags from my mum and a Ronson lighter from my wife and sweet effay from my tart.
[UK]S. Selvon Ways of Sunlight 91: By the time the siren blow [...] the gauge ain’t fall, and my bottom hot from sitting down and doing sweet f--- all.
[UK]C. MacInnes Mr Love and Justice (1964) 46: I hope you don’t mean the customers ... because darling, they just mean sweet f--k-all to me.
[Aus]D. Niland Pairs and Loners 22: ‘What goes on in this dump, anyway?’ ‘Sweet eff-ay,’ the barman said.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 73: Bloody old Tom: says little, never thinks and does sweet fuckall.
[Aus]Smith & Noble Neddy (1998) 96: Bill did sweet fuck-all when it came to the business side. But I preferred it that way.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 222: No plans, no ambitions, no responsibilities, no nothing, sweet fuck all, in fact.
[UK]I. Welsh Decent Ride 138: Take shaggin n peeve oot ay the equation n yir left wi the square root ay sweet fuck all.

see separate entries.

sweet mama (n.) (also sweet mamma, sweet momma)

(US black) a black man’s female lover; also as v.

[US]Ruth Etting ‘Could I? I Certainly Could!’ [lyrics] Could I sit on that papa’s knee? / Could I let him ‘sweet mama’ me? / Could I? I certainly could!
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 262: Can’t buy the sweet mamma shoes on four-bit bets.
[US]A. Lomax Mister Jelly Roll (1952) 19: Now these boys used to all have a sweet mama. [Ibid.] 20: When sweet mama cooks and carves that fowl, sweet papa is sure to eat the choicest portions, no argument about that!
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 380: Hold dat engine, let sweet momma git on boa’d.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US](con. 1960s) G. Washington Blood Brothers 177: ‘And what about me?’ asked Main Cook, who everybody called Sweet Mama. (From this moment on I called him Sweet Mama as he was such a Tutti Frutti.).
sweetman (n.)

see separate entry.

sweetmeat (n.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.

sweet papa (n.) (also sweet poppa)

(US black) a man who provides for the material wants of his lover.

[US]Lucille Hegamin ‘Rampart Street Blues’ [lyrics] There down yonder on old Rampart Street lives my sweet papa Lou, / He’s the one sweet papa I can always tell my troubles to.
[US](con. late 1920s) L. Hughes Little Ham III i : I’m sweet papa Gilbert from Texas.
[US]A. Lomax Mister Jelly Roll (1952) 20: When sweet mama cooks and carves that fowl, sweet papa is sure to eat the choicest portions, no argument about that!
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 375: You may tip out sweet poppa, while tippin’ is grand, / But yo’ tippin’ will be over when Momma gits her Mojo hand.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 106: When I first met you, sweet papa, you tried to shoot me a line a bull.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 256: sweet poppa [...] 1. Male lover. 2. Attractive male. 3. Term of endearment.
sweet pea (n.)

see separate entries.

sweet potato pie (n.) (also sweet potato) [the common equation of sex and food]

1. (US black) an attractive young man or woman.

[US]C. McKay Banjo 127: The Prince of Wales – why he’s A number one – a sweet potato in the skin.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 150: Women, too, relate sex to the sweet-tasting [...] when they identify an attractive male as sweet potato pie.

2. male or female genitals.

[US]Lil Johnson ‘You’ll Never Miss Your Jelly Till You’re Jelly Roller’s Gone’ [lyrics] If you don’t like my sweet potato, what made you dig so deep? / In my potato field three, four times a week.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 198: There were also terms related to men and sex: [...] sweet potato pie (attractive male, male genitalia).

3. sexual intercourse.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 150: Expressions like ‘I’m gonna get me some [...] sweet potato’ reflect a sense of sweet-tasting sex, of nourishment, of being fed.
[US]N.Y. Rev. of Books 16/1: Whern Obama launched into his story with ‘Because I love pie,’ a woman [...] shouted back ‘I’ll make you pie, baby!’ [...] and to the general hooting laughter the candidate returned [...] ‘You gonna make me sweet potato pie?’.

4. a general term of endearment.

D. Grote Medicine Man 11: Desist, my sweet potato pie, desist!
C. Osgood See You on the Radio 92: You are my little cupcake, my sweet potato pie, [...] You’re my favorite confection, so sugary and sweet.
B. Lowry Perfect Sonya 127: My sweet potato pie. My juicy apple dumpling. Your daddy knows all the songs.
G. Fried Nellcott is My Darling 82: There was this one scene where John Cassavetes’ character calls his wife from a pay phone and says to her, ‘You’re my sweet- potato pie’.
sweet talk

see separate entries.

Sweet Willie (n.)

(US black) a kindly, attentive man; esp. as a pose practised by a pimp when ‘catching’ a new whore.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 39: I decided to play Sweet Willie all the way.

In exclamations

sweet bleeding Jesus! (also sweet jeez!)

a general excl.

[US]E. Ferber ‘Hey! Taxi!’ in One Basket (1947) 322: Sweet jeez, lookit.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 173: ‘Sweet bleeding Jasus,’ Father said, exasperated.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 328: Sweet bleeding Jesus, you better believe you was lucky [...] What a fuck up this turned out to be. Bleeding Christ.
S. Mintus ‘Deadlines a cause for spiritual uplift’ 4 Mar. in Tartan [Internet] ‘Sweet bleeding Jesus, what are you doing?’ I asked. He continued to stare at me with the most evil combination of hatred and bewilderment I have ever seen. ‘Back off, you horrible ravenous monkey! I’m killing myself!’ ‘In a bucket?’.
sweet fucking Jesus!

(US) a general expletive, expressing annoyance and surprise.

[US]Alt. Eng. Dict. [Internet] sweet fucking Jesus (phrase) expletive with no particular meaning, conveying annoyance, surprise and generally feeling upset about something or somebody. Street jargon without expressedly blasphemical intention.
sweet Jesus! (also sweet Christ! sweet King Jesus! for sweet Jesus’s sake!)

a mild, if blasphemous, oath.

[US]Adventures of Jonathan Corncob 192: For sweet J-sus’ sake, what is the matter upon deck?
[US]E. Wilson ‘Death of a Soldier’ in A Prelude (1967) 196: Sweet Jesus! Do yuh think I’m gonta stand up all night?
[US](con. 1860s) R. Bradford Kingdom Coming 129: Well, Sweet King Jesus! [...] ain’t you sad?
[UK](con. 1930s) D. Behan Teems of Times and Happy Returns 47: Ah, sweet Jesus! Goin’ to the pawn to see pictures of people.
[US]K. Kolb Getting Straight 103: Sweet Christ, where are my brains?
[US]T. Whitmore Memphis-Nam-Sweden 25: Sweet pleadin’ Jesus, what did we run into this time!
[Ire]H. Leonard Time Was (1981) Act I: Sweet Jesus, where am I?
[UK]K. Bonfiglioli After You with the Pistol (1991) 299: ‘Oh, sweet Christ and chips and tomato sauce,’ I sighed.
[SA]J. Matthews The Park and Other Stories (2nd edn) 216: Sweet Jesus! What can I say? I love you!
[Ire](con. 1945) S. McAughtry Touch and Go 40: Sweet Jesus! [...] Boys, boys, what’s this?
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 132: jesus fucking christ and holy shit is about as bad as it gets here, with jesus wept, christ almighty, sweet jesus and for christ’s/god’s sake being uncreative also rans.
sweet mama! (also sweet mamma!)

an excl. of praise.

[US]H.C. Witwer Leather Pushers 289: Sweet Mamma – you should of seen Enright’s face!
sweet papa!

(US) a general excl.

[US]H.C. Witwer Kid Scanlon 199: ‘Sweet Papa!’ says the Kid, wipin’ his eyes.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 67: Sweet Papa, if you only knew somethin’!
sweet shit! (excl.)

an excl. of anger, dismay, etc.

[US]P. Hamill Flesh and Blood (1978) 64: ‘Oh shit,’ Kirk says. ‘Oh sweet shit.’.