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.

2. [early 17C+] a general term of approval, applicable to people, objects, actions and events.

3. of human characteristics.

(a) [late 17C–early 19C] gullible.

(b) [early 18C+] dextrous, expert.

(c) [mid-19C+] amenable; usu. in phr. keep/have someone sweet v., to keep someone well-disposed towards oneself, esp. by complaisance or bribery.

(d) [mid-19C+] (Aus.) affectionate, amorous towards.

(e) [1950s–70s] effeminate.

(f) [2000s] intimate with (in a non-sexual context).

4. [late 19C] (UK Und.) not suspicious.

5. [20C+] safe, secure, devoid of problems.

6. [1910s–50s] substantial; also as adv., considerably.

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

8. [1940s+] (Aus.) ready, prepared.

In compounds

sweet-arse (adj.)

[1990s+] excellent, wonderful.

sweet cop (n.) [cop n.2 (2)] [20C+]

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

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

sweet kid (n.) (also sweet girl, sweetmeat) [kid n.1 (11)/meat n. (1)]

[1960s+] (Can./US prison) a younger prisoner who joins up with an older man.

sweet lady (n.)

[1950s] (US gay) a woman who runs a string of homosexual male prostitutes.

sweet stick (n.)

[1930s] (US) a trumpet.

In phrases

she’s sweet (also she’ll be sweet)

[1940s+] (Aus.) everything is satisfactory.

sweet as (a) nut (adj.) (also sweet as, sweet as a button, ...clock, …honey, ...lolly, sweet as nuts)

[mid-17C+] (orig. UK Und.) easy, simple, no problems, delightful, esp. of a robbery or other ‘job’.

sweet on (adj.)

1. [late 17C+] (also sweet upon) in love with, infatuated by.

2. [early-mid–19C] (UK Und.) nagging, pestering; insistent.

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

4. [mid-19C+] in a non-sexual context, satisfied with, happy about.

SE in slang uses

Drug uses

In compounds

sweet air (n.)

[1980s+] nitrous oxide.

sweet dreams (n.) [the comatose state it induces]

[1980s+] (drugs) heroin.

sweet Lucy (n.)

1. [1950s+] hashish dissolved into wine.

2. [1960s] marijuana.

3. [1960s] barbiturates dissolved into muscatel wine.

4. [1960s+] a variety of cheap, sweet wine.

sweet Morpheus (n.) [Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams; the root of morphine]

[1970s+] (drugs) morphine.

sweet stuff (n.) [1930s–50s] (drugs)

9. heroin or morphine.

10. cocaine.

sweet tooth (n.)

[1960s] (US drugs) a craving for, or addiction to, narcotics.

General uses

In compounds

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

[1940s+] nothing at all.

sweetback (n.)

see separate entry.

sweetback (man) (n.)

see separate entry.

sweetbread (n.)

see separate entry.

sweet briar (n.)

[17C] the female pubic hair.

sweetcakes (n.)

1. [1960s+] (also sweet chips) a term of affection.

2. [1980s+] (US gay) the buttocks.

sweetcheeks (n.)

[1980s+] (US gay) the buttocks.

sweet damn-all (n.)

[1920s+] nothing whatsoever.

sweet-eye (n.)

[20C+] (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.

sweet Fanny Adams (n.)

see separate entry.

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

[1910s+] absolutely nothing.


see separate entries.

sweet jesus (n.) [the addict’s ‘saviour’]

[1960s+] (drugs) morphine; heroin.

sweet-lips (n.)

[late 19C–1900s] a glutton.

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

[1920s+] (US black) a black man’s female lover; also as v.

sweetman (n.)

see separate entry.

sweetmeat (n.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.

sweet papa (n.) (also sweet poppa)

[1920s+] (US black) a man who provides for the material wants of his lover.

sweet pea (n.)

see separate entries.

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

1. [1920s+] (US black) an attractive young man or woman.

2. [1920s+] male or female genitals.

3. [1980s] sexual intercourse.

4. [1980s] a general term of endearment.

sweet talk

see separate entries.

Sweet Willie (n.)

[1970s] (US black) a kindly, attentive man; esp. as a pose practised by a pimp when ‘catching’ a new whore.

In exclamations

sweet bleeding Jesus! (also sweet jeez!)

[20C+] a general excl.

sweet fucking Jesus!

[20C+] (US) a general expletive, expressing annoyance and surprise.

sweet Jesus! (also sweet Christ! sweet King Jesus! for sweet Jesus’s sake!)

[late 18C+] a mild, if blasphemous, oath.

sweet mama! (also sweet mamma!)

[1920s] an excl. of praise.

sweet papa!

[1920s] (US) a general excl.

sweet shit! (excl.)

an excl. of anger, dismay, etc.