Green’s Dictionary of Slang

something n.

1. the penis.

[UK]D. Gunston (ed.) Jemmy Twitcher’s Jests 84: The cook did slyly by me stand, / And clap’d his Something in my hand.

2. a euph. for the obscenity or oath of the speaker’s choice, e.g. ‘I don’t give a something’, i.e. a fuck n. (2a) or a damn n.

[UK]P.C. Wren Odd – But Even So 227: And if ’e ’as the nerve to say this bloomin’ chicken’s overdone, I’ll tell ’im somethink.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 102: She’s got more manners than dat red-skinned sumt’in’ he’s bin seein’.

3. (orig. US) a remarkable thing or person, e.g. She’s really something!

[UK]A.S.G. Lee letter in No Parachute (1968) 8 Dec. 196: The dinner and binge were really something.
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 239: ‘He’s something all right,’ Hugh agreed.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 205: Well, ain’t this sump’m?
[US]R. Chandler ‘Nevada Gas’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 136: That’s something nowadays.
[US](con. late 1920s) L. Hughes Little Ham III i : Boy, ain’t you something!
[US]‘F. Bonnamy’ A Rope of Sand (1947) 172: ‘I’ve just been shot at!’ [...] ‘Ain’t that something?’.
[Aus]‘Neville Shute’ On the Beach 272: Then I got into this night fishing, and that’s really something.
[UK]M. Allingham Hide My Eyes (1960) 100: She will certainly expect six minutes chit-chat from me, and because she is really quite something I may feel like continuing after that.
[US]C. Cooper Jr ‘Yet Princes Follow’ in Black! (1996) 223: That would really be something!
[UK]C. Wood ‘Prisoner and Escort’ in Cockade (1965) I iii: Don’t he think he’s something. Big headed.
[US]D. Ponicsan Cinderella Liberty 114: ‘It’s a boy! [...] My God, ain’t that something!’ cries Maggie.
[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 83: You think you’re something.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 36: He was really something.
[US]J. Ridley Conversation with the Mann 91: The kitten’s a canary. She something, isn’t she?

In exclamations

something else!

an excl. or description of approval or wonder; also as n.

[US]R.E. Knowles Attic Guest 87: But when a lover comes across a couple of states, leaving behind him a big city — and all the girls that are sorry to see him go [...] — that is something else, as we used to say in the South .
[US]J. Peterkin Scarlet Sister Mary 122: Jedus [sic] have mercy. You womens is someting else.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 317: Like my picture too [...] Is something else if you know.
C.R. Bond 20 Jan. in Flying Tiger’s Diary (1984) 77: We got in a good bull session about the graft in China. And, man, is it something else!
[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘Die Hard’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 17: She’s something else.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 17: Man, that New York liberty was sump’n else.
[UK]M. Novotny Kings Road 217: This is something else, you’ve knocked me out!
[WI]S. Baku ‘Ruby My Dear’ in Three Plays I i: Man you is something else.
[Ire]R. Doyle Woman Who Walked Into Doors 62: Nicola was something else.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 15: You white boys be something else!

SE in slang uses

In compounds

something good (n.)

a useful opportunity for gain, e.g. a good racing tip.

[UK]Paul Pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: The lady fancied she’d got a ‘mug’ [...] Fred thought her equally innocent, and so they were agreed each, without the knowledge of the other, that something good had been dropped into.
C.C. Clarke Charlie Thornhill 208: I always put him on something good — say fifty or a hundred to nothing.
[US]H. Blossom Checkers 37: Why is it you have n’t been out to the track? I’ve had ‘something good’ nearly every day.
H. Chamberlin Fighting Chicago’s Crime Trusts 16: The man modestly admits that he is the individual who made the big killing at St Louis [...] The stranger then says, ‘Can’t you let me and my friend in on something good?’.
M. Jenkins Gambler’s Wife 268: ‘Do you aim to bet that on a horse?’ [...] he couldn’t imagine [...] that I would bet a pile of money without it was going to be on something good .

In phrases

get something from someone (v.)

(US black) to attack someone physically, esp. with a knife.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 218: Your boy’s too much, Mezz, but he better join the bird family else I’ll get somethin’ from him.
get something on someone (v.)

(orig. US) to find out incriminating or otherwise negative information about someone, to gain an advantage over someone.

[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 59: Pete was declaring to Tim and the rest that Satan ‘couldn’t never get nothing on him’.
[US]Black Mask Aug. III 92: I figured if I planted her in that boarding-house she’d soon get something on either Mark Peters or the kid.
[US]T. Jones Skinny Angel 85: Those fellows are trying to get something on someone [DA].
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 166: I don’t care how you do it, but get something on Pat Regan.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 140: Only that Estelle cow and her mate Sylvia are my means of getting anything on Gorman.
give someone something (v.) [ironic]

to thrash, to beat.

[UK]E. Pugh Tony Drum 46: ‘I won’t half give you something for that when I get you out.’ ‘Oh, don’t hit me,’ pleaded Tony.
have something on someone (v.) (orig. US Und.)

1. to have someone at a disadvantage, usu. through incriminating or negative information.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 371: Nobody ain’t got nothin’ on us fur celebratin’.
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 99: Gus Thomas and Simeon Ford had nothing on him.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 218: They had, Babbitt perceived, ‘something on him’.
[US]N. West ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’ in Coll. Works (1975) 243: [He] wouldn’t even give me money for an abortion. He said if he gave me the money that would mean it was his fault and I would have something on him?
[US]F. Swados House of Fury (1959) 25: She ran down the stairs. ‘Ain’t got nothin’ on me.’.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 47: Jack and I now had something on Ted Jones, just as we had a bit on a few other hoops and one or two owners and trainers.
[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 108: I know you had something on him and that’s enough.
[US]A. Hoffman Property Of (1978) 4: What I got on you [...] would make your mama cry.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘May the Force be with You’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] And you’ve got nothing on me either?
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 80: [The] cops, who had nothing on Joe now, if court was adjourned.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 73: There’s no way I can keep the thing or even leave it here too long. Like he’ll have something on me, isn’t that the line.

2. to be popular with.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Brakeman’s Daughter’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 501: The Humming Bird is such a guy as thinks he has something on the dolls [...] for he has plenty of youth, and good looks, and good clothes, and a nice line of gab.

3. to be better than, although usu. in negative.

[US]C. Mathewson Pitching 7: ‘Hans’ Wagner, of Pittsburg, has always been a hard man for me, but in that I have had nothing on a lot of other pitchers [DA].
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 197: He’s got to show me where other colleges have anything on Sanford.
[US]Publishers’ Weekly 5 July 27: The antique hussies of history in spite of their hot reputations have nothing on her [DA].
[UK]Eve. Standard 17 Aug. 13: The baggy trousers he wore had nothing on the drainies of the local Teds.
something on the ball (n.) [baseball imagery]

(US) skill, talent, great ability; thus negative phr. nothing on the ball.

[US]Collier’s 13 Apr. 19/1: He’s got nothing on the ball—nothing at all [DA].
[US]Coshocton (OH) Trib. 13 Feb. 9/1: Every good athlete ‘has something on the ball’, but the layman is never certain just what he has on which ball.
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 62: Now the figurator thinks he really must have something on the ball.
something’s rotten in Denmark [Hamlet I:iv: ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’ + ref. to the pioneering operation undergone in Denmark by Christine (formerly George) Jorgensen]

(gay) referring to someone who is presumed to have had a sex-change.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 201: something’s rotten in Denmark (camp) said of a sex-change.
[US]Maledicta IX 53: Denmark, something’s rotten in cl [R] Said of a sex change; homosexual slang.
something the cat (has) brought in (n.) (also something Puss dragged in, something the cat dragged in, something a dog would bring in)

a distasteful, prob. dirty or unkempt, object or person.

Kansan (Jamestown, KS) 25 Sept. 2/1: Displeasure [...] to have your bundle come back from the laundry looking like something the cat had brought in after a wet night.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Nov. 39/2: ‘You are suffering much less pain to-night,’ he said, sticking his chin out. / I felt like what a man has described as ‘something the cat has brought in.’ But Carisford would have made me flippant if I were being postmortemed.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 24: Gee is that the queen? Looks like something the cat dragged in.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Carmen’ in Gullible’s Travels 15: In the back o’ the stage they’s a bridge, but it ain’t over no water or no railroad tracks or nothin’. It’s prob’ly somethin’ the cat dragged in.
[US]H.C. Witwer Yes Man’s Land 263: The Colossal production mogul looks Gordon over like he’s something Puss dragged in on a stormy night.
[Ire]S. Beckett Dream of Fair to Middling Women (1993) 233: ‘Like something,’ she said to the P.B. ‘that a dog would bring in.’.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 308: I got a set out of Isey that’d make those look like something the cat brought in.
[US]T. Wolfe Web and the Rock 468: Bring me along? Just like something the cat dragged in, I guess.
[US]S.J. Perelman ‘Farewell, My Lovely Appetiser’ in Keep It Crisp 9: You certainly look like something the cat dragged in.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 158: You look like something the cat brought in.
[US]J. Thompson Criminal (1993) 30: Like I was something the cat dragged in.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘It’s Only Rock and Roll’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You look like something the cat dragged in – then dragged out again!
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Phantom Blooper 228: Go on and eat. You look like something the cat dragged in.
M. Walters Devil’s Feather 220: I’ve done everything you asked . . . and I get treated like something the cat’s brought in.
Odessa American (TX) 28 Mar. C3/1: Once a proud Fort Worth landmark [...] today looks like something the cat dragged in.
that’s another something

(US black) that’s a different matter.

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: that’s another something an expression denoting a complete change of subject or orientation.