Green’s Dictionary of Slang

blow v.1

[lit. and fig. uses of SE blow]

1. in terms pertaining to speech.

(a) (also blow on, blow upon) to discredit, to defame; to destroy someone’s reputation.

Occleve Letter of Cupid in Arber & Seccombe 15th cent. Prose & Verse (1903) 21: Thus they despised be, on every side, Dislandered and blown upon full wide .
[UK]J. Howell letter in Epistolæ Ho-Elianæ (7 edn, 1705) 262: I thank you for the good opinion you please to have of my fancy of trees: it is a maiden one, and not blown upon by any yet .
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 53: Your Wife has been blown upon.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 325: She cried, ‘She was undone, and that the reputation of her house, which was never been blown upon before, was utterly destroyed’.
[UK]Foote Bankrupt II ii: As your name is not blown upon yet, suppose you coin a couple of quires!
[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 63: I’m blown on the matrimonial turf, whip me! — at the very moment I thought of gaining the plate!
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 87: To blow. To blow upon, to speak disparagingly of, to criticise.
[UK]W. Scott St Ronan’s Well (1833) 248: ‘But I will blow her,’ he said, ‘I will blow her ladyship’s conduct in this business!’.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 312: He then said, that Sir John Tyrrell had publicly disgraced me– that I should be blown upon the course– that no gentleman would bet with me again.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Facey Romford’s Hounds 347: ‘They would smoke him and blow him’ and that would be prejudicial.
[UK]J. Payn Glow-Worm Tales III 234: If Mr. Prince had caught me before his establishment had got blown upon in the public prints, he might have persuaded me to become an inmate of the Agapemone.
[US]E. Folb Urban Black Argot 133: Blow On Someone ii. to verbally ‘put down’ another person.

(b) (also blow it) to speak angrily; thus blow at/on v., to chastise, to reprimand.

[UK]Apol. Loll. 97: Blouing veynly with fleshli wit [F&H].
[UK]J. Rastell Four Elements in Dodsley I (1874) 41: Why, man, what aileth thee so to blow?
[UK]Thackeray Pendennis I 181: The Governor will blow like an old grampus, I know he will.
[US]W.K. Northall Life and Recollections of Yankee Hill 170: Off they go, and out in the hall little Gid commences tew blow on Abby.
[US] ‘Julius’ Visit to Governor King’ Fred Shaw’s Champion Comic Melodist 27: All de speakers were a blowin’ / Away wid all dar might. / ‘It is but a slight argument / Upon some foolish thing’ [...] Said our Governor King.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 225: I says to myself, shall I go to that doctor, private, and blow on these frauds?
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Stiffner and Jim’ in Roderick (1972) 127: I [...] blowed, and told him never to pretend to me again that he was a battler.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 191: It’s all very well for these here Japs to blow about dispensin’ justice.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 29: ‘We ain’t mad wid one ’nother,’ Gene defended. ‘We jus’ jokin’.’ ‘Well, stop blowin’ it and let de lyin’ go on,’ said Charlie Jones.
[US]J. Blake letter 4 Aug. Joint (1972) 118: He blew it, and lectured me sternly on the insolent presumptions of upstarts.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 97: You better be careful before you blow, man, and you know you don’t really miss your water till your well runs dry.
[US]E. Folb Urban Black Argot 133: Blow On Someone i. to be particularly aggressive verbally with another, esp. a female.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines xx: Dey [...] blow on you hard and heavy, fuck wi’chu mind.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 39: The camp counsellors had had enough — they had listened to the camp stamp blow at them all week long.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 96: He didn’t just lose his temper. He used to flip. Blow.

(c) (also blow on, blow upon) to inform on, to betray, to expose, to reveal (evidence of wrong-doing, espionage etc); ext. as blow the works.

[UK]Appius and Virginia in Farmer (1908) 28: Was all well agreed? Did nobody blow ye?
[UK]W. Cartwright Royal Slave I i: Peace, the King approaches: stand in your ranks orderly, and shew your breeding: and be sure you blow nothing on the Lords.
[UK]J. Wild ‘Advice to his Successor’ in Fielding Hist. of Life of J. Wild (1840) lxvii: Let the party who goes out upon such a lay be men of seared consciences, lest they should blow the widd, and bring your character into disrepute.
[UK]Dyche & Pardon New General Eng. Dict. (5th edn) n.p.: Blow (v.) ... also to discover the secrets of another; also when a person undervalues or slights a person or thing, he is said to blow upon it [F&H].
[US]‘Andrew Barton’ Disappointment II i: If I ever blow you, blast me! You know me better – if one word goes through my head-rails, the devil blow me to jillkicker.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Wild Oats (1792) 45: If Sir George doesn’t [...] blow me [i.e. discover] I may, I think, marry her.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[US]R.M. Bird City Looking Glass V ii: I’ll turn state’s-evidence, I’ll blow Ben.
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 20 June 2/2: The black fellow ‘blow’d,’ by telling him that the person with whom he had been conversing was one of the ‘Pigs’.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker II 228: Don’t blow me – that’s a good soul.
[UK]Flash Mirror 16: A cove turn’d nose and blow’d you, so the beaks are areter you.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. IV 94: Lize, [...] you’re not going to ‘blow’ on us to the old man?
[US]G.H. Miles Mary’s Birthday II i: ’Arley swore ’e’d blow my brains out hif I blowed ’im before ’e was ready to see you.
[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act III: There’s Aby Moss [...] He shall blow the lad to Gibson.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 252: If [...] he had gone about whisperin’ and blowin’ on me, I b’lieve I should ha’ killed him.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 98: The ‘fly-cop’ [...] manoeuvering to draw him out, and gather from him various important hints that he succeeded in obtaining, ere Bill was aware that he had ‘blowed’ upon himself.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Tom Sawyer 228: Please don’t tell anybody it was me that blowed on them!
[US]‘Bill Nye’ Bill Nye and Boomerang 14: Some one ‘blowed on him,’ and the next morning his head was thumping about in the waste paper basket.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘How the Favourite Beat Us’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 169: No doubt someone ‘blew it’, for everyone knew it.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Aug. 13/3: Farrell was caught at Buninyong 19 days later, while an old ex-convict in whom he confided ‘blew’ on Clarke shortly afterwards. He subsequently made another attempt at escape, but was bowled out before he got clear of his cell.
[US]Cameron Co. Press (Emporium, PA) 24 Dec. 6/3: I’d rather spare you than shoot you especially as I want to know who’s blown on us.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 28 Mar. 12/6: It were blown on by a slavey / Who did levvy of blackmail.
[US]F. Packard Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I xi: We’re after something here, and you’ve blown the whole game—savvy?
[Ire]S. O’Casey Shadow of a Gunman Act I: You’ll not write about this house at all events. You can blow about the state of the yard, but you took care to say nothin’ about payin’ rent.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 99: I reckon she’ll blow the works on anything if she thinks that talkin’ is goin’ to help her any.
[Ire](con. 1890s) S. O’Casey Pictures in the Hallway 122: It’s soon the tongues of th’ neighbours ’ud get goin’, blow on us, an’ I’d begin and you’d end your further days in jail.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 81: We hadn’t pulled anything [...] for fear the squeek would blow to the bulls.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 194: Sid’s concern [...] was based on the very real fear that Lips would blow the ‘Les in Paris’ cover story.
[US] in Woodward & Bernstein The Final Days 307: Buzhardt [...] heard Nixon talking in vague terms about Hunt’s being ‘likely to blow the whole Bay of Pigs thing’.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 230: It was only natural that HMG would [...] be anxious to avoid blowing my cover.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 5 Dec. 7: He has blown his cover, and there is no going back.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad 14: Blow the works Spill the beans, tell all.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 186: I know you’re with Internal Affairs and I don’t want to blow your cover.

(d) to sing.

[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans IV 125: To the market-house they repaired; and, after Humphry had blown, A lovely lass to a friar came, – and two or three more tunes, they had a concourse of about three hundred of the market people about them.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: blow – to sing well.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 1: blow – to sing extremely well (used mostly by Blacks).
[US]P. Munro Sl. U.

(e) (also blow off) to boast, to brag; thus blowing adj., boastful, bragging.

[UK]Burns Epistle to J. Lapraik st.16: I winna blaw about mysel; As ill I like my fauts to tell [F&H].
[UK]Merry Tricks of Leper the Taylor 17: John Muckle-cheeks and James Puff-and-Blaw, two Civileers, having more zeal than knowledge.
[US]Congressional Globe 9 Jan. 50: Treat with contempt all the blasting, blowing, blustering, and bullying displays.
[US]Southern Literary Messenger Apr. 214: [He] was profuse of personal assurances and solemn asseverations of personal belief [...] and for reason that will suggest itself at once, was called by the bar the blowing cave.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 145: ‘People!’ sed the stranger, ‘I’m the Juke d’Moses!’ ‘Old hoss!’ sed a passenger, ‘methinks thou art blowin!’.
[Aus]Golden Age (Queanbeyan, NSW) 4 Sept. 3/2: [T]he way he talks nearly drives CENTAUR mad. ‘Now TOM, don’t be blowing [...] for you are lying, and you know it’.
[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 584: Blow, to, in the sense of boasting, is probably an Americanism [...] Hence also the noun blower, a braggart, with special reference to his success in imitating Baron Munchausen.
[UK]Fife Free Press 10 Jan. 3/4: ‘You blow about edication!Why, I don’t believe as how you ever had two penn’orth of schoolin’ in your life’’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Feb. 3/3: Among his friends his time he spends / In true Australian ‘blow;’ / What lies he tells! How all the belles / ‘Are gone on me you know!’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Jubilee’ in Punch 25 Jun. 305/1: I won’t blow / like that buffaler bill.
[UK]Sporting Times 8 Mar. 2/1: They certainly would have been better employed blowing and gassing at home.
[UK]Albert Chevalier ‘The Waxwork Show’ [lyrics] It’s gospel true [...] I ain’t a man to ‘blow,’ One D’s the price.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 7 Jan. 6/7: We don’t blow or advertise, but Trescott’s Opp Bier is the best iof all drinks.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Jan. 15/3: Your great and vasty Empire that you blow so much about / Is mostly dirty heathen with its shirt-tail hanging out.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Oct. 25/3: Some of the hard-blowing fellows boasted of their conquests, but I’m certain that the gayest thing they did was to make passing love to a Kaffir woman.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Mulga Bill’s Bicycle’ in Rio Grande’s Last Race (1904) 20: I’m good all round at everything, as everybody knows, / Although I’m not the one to talk — I hate a man that blows.
[UK]Honk! 18 Jan. 10/2: We don’t as a rule ‘blow’ (most of us); but one thing I am sure of, that we shall deserve the compliment [...] ‘Well done, Australia!’.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 21 May 3/7: The Raspberry King has found some water, / And now to hear him blow. / You would think he had a garden.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 133: He went around blowing that he could Eat Anything.
[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in AS VII:5 329: blow—to brag; to go away; to inform (tattle).
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 331: You know how I used to blow and brag that I’d kill myself.
[US]J. Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath (1951) 90: Seem like fellas that knowed? Not jus’ blowin’ off?
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]I, Mobster 90: He’s just blowing off to sound good.
[US]G. Cuomo Among Thieves 217: I hear Verdun was blowing off over there last night.
[US]S. Greenlee Spook who Sat by the Door (1972) 14: Blow your bourgeois blues, your nigger soul sold for a mess of materialistic pottage.
[US]E. Folb Urban Black Argot 133: Blow On Someone i. to monopolize a conversation with the intensity and longevity of your comments.

(f) to tease aggressively.

[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[US] letter in Silber & Sievens Yankee Correspondence (1996) 153: You must not care what they say just keep cool and they will get sick of blowing after a while.

(g) to inform, to confess.

[UK]L. Hunt Country Lodgings in Casquet of Lit. I 42 col. 1: D--n me, if I don’t blow... I’ll tell Tom Neville [F&H].
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 194: He blew the local C.I.D. and they, having been alerted about hot pussies of all descriptions, blew the Yard.

(h) (US) to become, e.g. blow chilly, to be stand-offish.

[US]J. Lait in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 214: He had married me – yes. But it had blown blue.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 255: Blow wise to this, friend [...] it’s always easier to convict a man of something he didn’t do.
[US] ‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 219: He blew whoreless.

(i) (US black) to talk (nonsense); to talk insincerely.

[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 163: The Governor was now certain that I was blowing. [...] I told him I was sincere.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 17: I’m a hyper who blows like a piper myself.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 65: He got up on the stand, start blowin’.

(j) (US Und.) to realize.

[US]D. Maurer Big Con 290: The mark never blowed it was a gaff.
[US]D. Dressler Parole Chief 246: If the sucker ‘blows’ (discovers his loss) he’s gonna figure right away it’s the wire.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 92: Most likely they blow that before breakfast.

2. in terms pertaining to the body.

(a) (also blow off) to break wind.

[UK] ‘Fryar and Boye’ in Furnivall & Hales Bishop Percy’s Folio Manuscript of Loose and Humorous Songs (1868) 26: At that her taile did blow / Soe lowd, the assembly laught thereatt, / & said ‘her pistolls cracke was flatt, / the charge was all amisse’.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 100/1: C.20.
[US]S. King It (1987) 801: As Patrick blew off and Henry flicked the lighter [...] A bright blue jet of flame appeared to roar directly out of Patrick’s bum.
[Ire]B. Quinn Smokey Hollow 45: Joe is after blowing and he’s blaming it on me.
[Ire]D. Healy Bend for Home 294: I farted. Who’s blowing? Maisie asks with happy eyes.

(b) to vomit; often as blow lunch (cf. lose (one’s) lunch under lose v.).

implied in blow lunch
[US]S. Stallone Paradise Alley (1978) 40: That young man can haul over 400 pounds of ice up five flights of stairs without blowin’ his breafast.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 35: I’ll shit and I’ll piss and I’ll blow the house down [...] can you sick, shit and piss all at once?
[US]P. Munro Sl. U.

(c) to defecate.

[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 139: He’s probably blowing in his strides with relief.

3. in terms pertaining to drugs.

(a) to smoke, orig. in a pipe.

[UK]H. Mayhew Great World of London I 5: Splodger, will you have a Jack-surpass of finger-and-thumb, and blow your yard of tripe of nosey-me-knacker.
[UK] ‘Heigho ’Baccy!’ in Punch 1 Dec. 253/2: I understand / [...] / How the storm-tossed sailor, far from land, / Yearns in the night’s long watch to ‘blow’ or ‘chor’ thee.
[US] ‘Sl. among Nebraska Negroes’ in AS XIII:4 Dec. 317/1: Let me blow you one means ‘Give me a cigarette’ in Omaha.
[US]J.W. Arnold ‘The Language of Delinquent Boys’ in AS XXII:2 Apr. 121: Blow. To smoke.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]J.A. Williams Night Song (1962) 118: I’m sittin’ over in a corner, blowin’ a Chesterfield.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 326: I know he blows opium.
[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 111: Yo, man, y’all wanna blow one or not?

(b) (also blow up) to smoke marijuana.

[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 64: I was in the mood to jump since I’d been blowin’ the joy roots all the solid dim.
[US]C. Himes ‘One More Way to Die’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 375: Some pachuco kids were ganged about the juke box, talking in Mex and blowing weed.
[US]D. Wallop Night Light 136: We’re all out of charge, so I’ll dash in and get some and we’ll blow one more.
[US]W. Brown Monkey On My Back (1954) 111: He ‘blew tea’ but never touched heroin.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Rock 107: Maybe he’s hiding, or blowing some weed.
[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1959) 119: If he wanted a jolt he’d sure step into a side street [...] and blow a good stick.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 22: He was blowing tea night and day [...] he was higher than a giraffe’s toupee.
[US]L. Block Diet of Treacle (2008) 16: Sweet marijuana. / I blow up in my garage / Any time I wanna.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 30: Three teenage boys have a fifteen-year-old girl inside, all blowing gage.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 55: You people want to fuck and blow a little pot.
[US]Cleaver in Zinberg & Robertson Drugs and the Public 206: I could not see how they were more justified in drinking than I was in blowing the gage. I was a grasshopper.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 63: They snort cocaine and blow weed out on the course.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 37: He blew a reefer on the way over.
[US]N. Green Shooting Dr. Jack (2002) 152: I might blow a little reefer now and then.

(c) (US drugs, also blow up) to inhale a narcotic, usu. heroin or cocaine.

[US]New Republic 6 22 Apr. 314–6: The first dose of heroin is [...] a minute quantity of fine powder ‘blown’ up the nose at the suggestion of an agreeable companion who has tried it and found it ‘fine’.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 403: Blowing coke. Sniffing cocaine into nostrils.
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 82: Hot dam! [...] Git dis law out de way. Den us kin snatch ouah women an’ blow ouah snow.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 119/1: blowing. Inhaling narcotics, especially bernice.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US] ‘The Fall’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 84: But the trouble began when I ranked my hand / And stopped blowing and started to hit.
[US]Hall & Adelman Gentleman of Leisure 66: If I’ve been blowing coke and can’t get to sleep, then I get lonely.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 73: The stuff they blow on the street is shit compared with what we’re doing.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Blow — to inhale cocaine.
[US]R. Price Lush Life 327: It’s bad enough i catch one of my staff blowing up, but then she doesn’t even offer me a bump .

(d) (also blow off) to inject a narcotic.

[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 205: ‘Don’t give up hope when you blow off your dope,’ / this was the thing I said. ‘I’ll give you some of mine any time.’.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 77: She’s not about watering them down, or switching bottle caps, or blowing B-and-Q in their veins.

(e) to smoke crack cocaine.

[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 185: I’d love to blow some of this candy and go Rick James on her ass.

4. in terms pertaining to movement.

(a) (US) to go round with, to associate with.

[UK]J. Davis Post Captain (1813) 76: ‘How is your first leiutenant? Does he drift as much as ever among the girls?’ [...] ‘I am done with blowings, sir [...] I am spliced’.
[US]J.L. Williams Princeton Stories 122: You know the crowd you’ll blow with and the clubs you’ll be in.

(b) to take a rest.

[US]in Overland Monthly (CA) July 60: He halted to let his ‘critters blow’.

(c) (US) to leave someone behind, to depart from.

[US]W.J. Kountz Billy Baxter’s Letters [Internet] You know I’m not much for the bat cave, and to avoid such after-complications as patrol wagons and things, I blew the bunch and started up street.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Fisher Mutt Complete Compilation (1977) 21: Ol’ Mutt is ‘in bad’ again at home. The Mrs. blew him this morning and it looks like curtains for the home cooking.

(d) (US, also blow away, blow it, blow through) to depart at speed, to walk away quickly.

[UK]E.J. Milliken ’Arry Ballads 33: I jest blew away like old boots.
[UK]Marvel XIII:325 Feb. 16: So he’s blowed, has he?
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 67: Aw! I’m gonna blow. Judge Fooling will have to finish out my card.
[US]J. Lait ‘Canada Kid’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 154: They ain’ nothin’ to keep me aroun’ home. I blows for Canada—that’s where my monicker come from.
[US]J. Melone ‘The Ice Fields of Gray Goose Lake’ Nature: Human and Real in Stiff Milk and Honey Route (1930) 182: After thirty days of this strenuous game, / Wilson was ready to ‘blow’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Bloodhounds of Broadway’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 93: The guy runs out of scratch and blows away.
[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in AS VII:5 329: blow—to brag; to go away; to inform (tattle).
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 66: He turned and snottily told them to blow, before they were hauled in.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 317: Why don’t we blow for the Islands, you and me.
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 137: Fancy waited for Brother B. to tell Shorty to blow.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 4: Each and everything must be mellow and no bats allowed. The party is for the able and the lame should know the score if you’re not in step it’s time to blow.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 214: One minute swinging your weight around [...] the next blowing through like a squib.
[US]H. Ellison ‘With a Knife in her Hand’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 132: Blow this turf.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 21: Mercy — blow through mate!!
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 33: How else they gonna blow with their sting?
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 67: I think I’ll blow through now, Cookie.
[UK]A. Burgess Enderby Outside in Complete Enderby (2002) 302: Had to blow, see the great wide open.
[US](con. 1958) R. Farina Been Down So Long (1972) 49: I blew it after that. I mean I really packed it up.
[UK]J. Barlow Burden of Proof 94: We load the stuff into it—get a car with a big boot—and blow towards the City .
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 9: It’d be a bitch [...] to have some dumb nigger run a shiv in me the morning I’m blowing this jail.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 280: Have a drink yourself and blow through.
[UK]A. Payne ‘All Mod Cons’ Minder [TV script] 17: I must blow. See you first thing.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 51: These are a few of the many ways that a college student can say ‘leave’: blow, blow this popsicle stand, bolt, book, dust, get the heck out of Dodge, jet, motivate, poof and split.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 397: He was wanting to blow the gig and go home.
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry [Internet] blow v. leave, get out of this place. ‘Let’s blow this joint.’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.

(e) (US prison) to escape from prison.

[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 581: In virtually all American prisons [...] To escape is to crash, to blow, to cop a mope, or to go over the wall.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 143: Wilson once more tried to blow stir.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 109: Takin’ a Flier A seldom used expression meaning to escape from prison. (Archaic: blow, beat).

(f) (US) to drive through a red traffic light or similar traffic sign.

[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 92: Pete zigzagged. Pete blew a stop sign. The Chevy stuck tail-close.

5. in terms based on the idea of blowing/playing wind instruments.

(a) (orig. US black) to play music.

[US]H.C. Witwer Classics in Sl. 68: The best jazz band in the country blowed wicked saxophones for the boys and girls, wine flowed like Niagara and what with one thing and another, the affair was a wow from many standpoints.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 3: I always crawled out of the fog and latched on to my horns and began to blow again.
[US]J. Blake letter 31 Mar. in Joint (1972) 116: We’ve had some good blowing sessions.
[US]K. Brasselle Cannibals 224: ‘Hey, man, what do you blow?’ [...] ‘Trumpet, baby, and some half-assed sax.’.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 72: Winding through the crowds on the dance floor just blowin’ away.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 63: I first met Richard when he was blowing saxophone in the Hudson High School band in 1947.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 39: Sugar Lips [...] started to blowin some horn like no one else belonged in the blowin business.
[UK]K. Richards Life 293: Bobby [...] blew his heart out at the paty that night to attract her attention.

(b) (US) to create, to ‘whip up’.

[US]Kerouac letter 12 Mar. in Charters I (1995) 335: I have completely reached my peak maturity now and am blowing such mad poetry and literature.
[US]E. Horne For Cool Cats and Far-Out Chicks n.p.: ‘He blows great conversation,’ ‘She blows scrambled eggs from endville’ [W&F].

(c) (US black) to talk enthusiastically and fluently.

[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 10: Man! Look at that Cat Blow!
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 229: blow 1. Talk forcefully and energetically.

(d) (US black) to perform on any ‘instrument’, e.g. a writer’s word processor etc.

[US]C. Major Juba to Jive.

(e) (US campus) to toady to, to act the sycophant.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 82: Blow Curry favor with a professor.

In compounds

blow-bags (n.)

(UK Und.) a braggart, a boaster.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 65: ‘Vell, I shall keep my browns; and as for your pad, vhy you may put it up. So good night to you, old blow-bags.’ — And a mouth f—t, concludes.
T. Denier Shadow Pantomimes 39: ‘De yez think I’d engage the likes of ye for a master?’ ‘No, no, old Blow-bags, I wouldn’t’.

In phrases

blow... (v.)

1. see also under relevant n.

2. see also separate entries.

Pertaining to departure

In phrases

blow the joint (v.) (also blow the burg, blow the scene, …works, blow (the) town) [joint n. (3b)/scene n. (2)/works, the n. (4)]

to leave, to run off.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 210: We’d better blow this burg for a while, Duke.
[US]Cosmopolitan 55 76/1: I’m about ready to blow this burg.
[US]Life 22 Dec. 8/2: I’m gonna blow this joint now that the Christmas sugar is over.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 15: When I calculated I had twice as much money left as would take me to uncle, I blew the town.
[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 220: blow the works—To leave hastily; to escape.
[US] ‘Hotel Sl.’ in AS XIV:3 Oct. 239/2: to blow the joint To leave; to leave without paying.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 319: We can’t blow town on nothin’.
[US]Johnny ‘Peanuts’ Wilson ‘Cast Iron Arm’ [lyrics] Let’s blow this joint, the music’s dead.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 247: ‘Taken a powder’, ‘Fughed off’, ‘Blown town’.
[US]A. Zugsmith Beat Generation 24: What’s biting me is, I can’t blow the joint tonight, Meg.
[US]Sat. Rev. 52 72/3: ‘Let’s blow this scene,’ he said .
[WI]S. Selvon Moses Ascending 37: Look, man, leave all that rarse and pay the people the money and let's blow this scene.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 258: Forget about the Stranahan hit, just blow town.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 214: Let’s blow this scene, mijo.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 85: Broke gambler blows town. Broke gambler pulls gun.
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry [Internet] blow v. leave, get out of this place. ‘Let’s blow this joint.’.
blow this popsicle stand (v.) (also blow this garage,…hotdog stand, ...pop stand, ...taco stand) [generic use of SE popsicle stand/garage/taco stand]

(US campus) to leave, esp. somewhere one dislikes or pretends to dislike.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 83: Blow this garage Leave a place.
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself (1985) 131: Pay up and let’s blow this pop stand.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 1: blow this taco stand – leave.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 389: Let’s blow this popstand.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 51: These are a few of the many ways that a college student can say ‘leave’: blow, blow this popsicle stand, bolt, book, dust, get the heck out of Dodge, jet, motivate, poof and split.
phrases.shu.ac.uk 28 Mar. [Internet] Can anyone fill me in on the derivation of the phrase ‘Let’s blow this pop stand?’ The phrase means ‘let’s leave this no-longer-interesting place, and move on to bigger and better things.’ Equivalent to ‘let’s shake the dust of this town off us...etc.’ [...] ‘Let’s blow this taco stand’ or ‘...hotdog stand’.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 31: What do you say we blow this Popsicle stand?
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] Gotta blow this popsicle stand.
[US]R. Wann Project Download 4: Good he thought, now let’s blow this pop stand.
[US]M. Hart Bachelor Number Four 47: Let’s blow this Popsicle stand and screw like bunnies.

Pertaining to vomit

In phrases

blow doughnuts (v.) (also blow donuts, blow one’s oats, throw donuts)

(US campus) to vomit or regurgitate.

L. Birnbach Official Preppie Handbk 113: 20 Verbal Expressions for Vomiting [...] 2. Blow doughnuts 3. Blow groceries 4. Blow lunch.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 1: blow donuts – vomit.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 10: throw donuts – regurgitate.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 1: blow one’s oats – vomit.
[US]Arizona Daily Wildcat 31 Oct. n.p.: Did you know that among the top ‘Ten More Expressions For Getting Sick’ (the follow-up to ‘Ten Expressions for, uh, Getting Sick’) lie the descriptive ‘blow doughnuts’ and ‘shout at your shoes.’.
nicOlesullivan.org [Internet] If this isn’t enough to make you want to blow doughnuts, then the way he distends his stomach in this sketch will. (And if he’s going to walk around in his underwear, can’t he at least keep his legs together?).
blow lunch (v.) (also blow dinner)

(Aus./US) to vomit (cf. lose (one’s) lunch under lose v.).

[US]J. Phillips Second Happiest Day 238: ‘To coin a phrase, it makes me want to blow my lunch. Have you been blowing many lunches lately?’ Jokes about drunkenness and regurgitation were very much in vogue.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 56: ‘Where is Cass?’ ‘Blowing lunch.’ ‘What? Cass? spewing?’.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 83: Blow dinner [...] Blow lunch Vomit.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 99: Heaving, tossing, blowing your lunch (cookies).
[US]J. Lahr Hot to Trot 91: Mum gave you a Scotch. You choked and blew lunch.
[US]B. Gutcheon New Girls (1982) 234: She’s gonna blow lunch ...
[US]S. King Christine 172: Making you feel like you’re going to simultaneously blow lunch and shit your pants!
[UK]M. Belmonte Compter Science and Why (1993) [Internet] I was struck with [...] the plethora of words and phrases meaning ‘vomit’ and/or ‘to vomit’ [...] At most American colleges and universities, a weekend cannot pass without seeing multitudes [...] blow lunch.
blow (one’s) chunks (v.) (also blow grits, spew chunks) [SE chunks (of food)/grits n.1 ]

1. to vomit.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 1: blow grits – to vomit.
[US]W. Safire What’s The Good Word? 303: Yes [...] ‘Praying to the Great White Porcelain God’ is quite descriptive, but may I offer my own personal favorite? ‘Blowing your chunks.’.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 2: blow chunks/grits – vomit.
[US]D. Waters Heathers [film script] I told Dennis if he gives me another political topic, I’d spew burrito chunks.
[UK]M. Belmonte Compter Science and Why (1993) [Internet] I was struck with [...] the plethora of words and phrases meaning ‘vomit’ and/or ‘to vomit’ [...] At most American colleges and universities, a weekend cannot pass without seeing multitudes [...] spew chunks.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 1: blow grits – vomit.
[US]M. Myers et al. Wayne’s World [film script] I think he’s gonna blow chunks.
Online Sl. Dict. [Internet] blow chunks v 1. to vomit. [...] 2. to be of poor quality, displeasing. (‘That movie really blew chunks.’).
[US]J. Stahl Perv (2001) 297: Fucking asshole! Eating a chick while she’s blowing chunks! Are you some kind of animal?
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 83: He remembered one of the girls from Cockerama [...] blowing chunks all down the bass player from goth horror band Dead Funny’s leather strides.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 76: Enough! You’re gonna make me blow chunks.
[UK]Guardian G2 10 May 16/1: He kept saying : ‘That ain’t nothing — blow chunks!’.

2. thus, of a thing, to be terrible or unpleasant.

see sense 1.
[US]Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ [Internet] blows chunks vb. Implying that something or some occurrence is not pleasant, congenial or agreeable with someone or someone’s taste (preference).
blow (one’s) groceries (v.) (also blow g’s, lose one’s groceries)

(US campus) to vomit.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 1: blow groceries – vomit.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 6: toss cookies [...] blow g’s.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 4: lose one’s groceries [...] – vomit.
[US]S. King Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption 93: Dolorously, Termont’s voice floated back: ‘Smells like shit. Oh God, that’s what it is, it’s shit, oh my God lemme outta here I’m gonna blow my groceries oh shit it’s shit oh my Gawwwwwd -’ And then came the unmistakable sound of Rory Termont losing his last couple of meals.
[UK]M. Belmonte Compter Science and Why (1993) [Internet] I was struck with [...] the plethora of words and phrases meaning ‘vomit’ and/or ‘to vomit’ [...] At most American colleges and universities, a weekend cannot pass without seeing multitudes [...] blow groceries.
[UK]D. Else British Lang. & Culture 144: Here are some choice expressions for vomit or vomiting: barf, blow, blow chunks, blow your groceries.

Pertaining to drugs

In compounds

blowcaine (n.) [SE cocaine + play on SE procaine, novocaine etc]

crack cocaine diluted with powdered cocaine.

[UK]J. Baker Chinese Girl (2001) 12: The names themselves began to make you free. Paradise white, Quicksilver, Rainbows, Satan’s secret, Blowcaine.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Blowcaine — Crack diluted with procaine.

In phrases

blow jaw (v.) [stressed pron. of SE (mari)jua(na)]

(US) to smoke marijuana.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
blow one up (v.)

(US prison) to light or smoke a cigarette.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 24/2: BLOW ONE UP. Light, or smoke, a cigaret. [A safe-blowers’ metaphor, comparing this act with the ignition of a fuse].

Pertaining to speech and related uses

In compounds

blowbag (n.) [windbag n. (1)]

(Aus.) a loud-mouthed braggart.

[US]Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Enginemen's Mag. 98-99 n.p.: What do you think of that big blow bag? Always shouting how hard he is going to smack people.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 234: Gertch — you old blowbag! You’re only humming for a drink. Nick off home.
[Aus]S. Campion Pommy Cow 139: Ed, you sentimental old socialist blowbag, you volunteered because Mo did [...] you’re both of you only jabbering about patriotism now in order to save your own self respect .
[US]J.R. Delisle Parenting Gifted Kids 126: He’ll dismiss your [...] inarticulate assistance quietly, rather then tell you that you're a know- nothing blowbag.

In phrases

blow black (v.) (also blow change) [SE black/(political or social) change]

(US black) to talk about and/or initiate black activism, social change, revolution and any similar form of racial advancement.

[US]N. von Hoffman We are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against 150: Dickie is a street-wise Negro from the slums who knows the lingo of ‘blowing black’ but can’t seem to summon the animosity for anti-white invective.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 148: A young man who was blowing black, blowing change.
blow fire (v.) [ext. of sense 5a]

(US black) to do anything well and keenly, esp. dancing, musicianship.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 229: blow fire Perform something with particular skill and relish, such as dancing, playing an instrument, etc.
blow one’s bags (out) (v.) (also blow one’s bag (out), blow the bags)

1. to feed someone to excess.

[UK]‘Up the Flew’ in Flash Minstrel! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) I 108: They us’d to blow his bags out so, / With lots of grub where’er he’d go.

2. (Aus.) to talk to excess; to boast; to ‘let off steam’.

[Aus]C.E.W. Bean Anzac Book 135/2: So King Hun blew his bags out, smote him on the chest, and called aloud, saying, ‘I am IT.’.
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 12: blow one’s bags out — To boast.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: blow one’s bag out. To boast.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 38: They blew their bags about the marvels and merits of Haxby’s.
[Aus]F. Rieck Life as I See It 67: [He] said, ‘Well, young fellow, now blow your bags out.’ I simply answered that I had nothing to blow my bags out about excepting that the officer refused me my rations.
[Aus]J. Morrison Port of Call 20: Every port ya blow ya bag ’bout a shore-job, an’ what d’ya do? [...] ya get drunk—ya get in a fight—ya come back aboard.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 68: Some people are too modest. If you have something, it doesn’t hurt to blow your bags.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxii 6/1: blow the bags: Boast, skite.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 21: Blowing The Bags Talking too long and loud.
blow one’s horn (v.)

1. see under horn n.1

2. see also separate entry.

blow one’s nose (v.) (also blow someone’s nose) [pun on SE blow/sense 1c, and note nose n. (1)]

(US) to inform, to talk to.

[US]M. Levin Reporter 375: Susie the Sassy was blowing the nose of the newest ward alderman.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 14: The scuttlebutt has the Doyle punk blowing his nose for the Crime Commission.
blow the gap (v.) [var. on blow the gaff under gaff n.1 ]

to inform on, to betray.

[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 557: The bilk is in such a hurry, cannot spare time to go to a shop to have the articles valued, but assures his intended victim, that, as they found together, he should like to smack the bit, without blowing the gap, and so help him God, the thing wants no buttering up, because he is willing to give his share for such a trifle. Blowing the gap Making any thing known.
how are you blowing?

(Irish) a general term of informal greeting.

[UK]Cheshire Obs. 17 Jan. 6/6: Well Maggie bach, how are you blowing?
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 14 Jan. 2/6: I take up my pen to write a few ‘Mems.,’ hoping they will find you all well. [...] How are you blowing?
[UK]Marvel 30 June 646: ’Ow’s he blowing, and ’ow’s the missus and the kids?
[UK]Marvel 1 Mar. 6: Hallo [...] How are you blowing?
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 280: Lo, Joe, says I. How are you blowing?

SE in slang uses

In phrases

blow... (v.)

1. see also under relevant n.

2. see also separate entries.

blow foam (v.)

(US) to drink beer.

[US]J. Lomax Cowboy Songs 250: The proceedings we find were a ten dollar blind, / Ten dollars less to blow foam.
blow hot and cold (v.) [subseq. use is SE]

to vacillate.

[UK]W. Bullinger Five Decades of Sermons II vi 176: He be not founde to be an hypochite, a lyar, a deceiuer, a turnecoate, nor one which out of one mouth, doeth blowe both hoat and colde.
[UK]J. Hacket Memorial of John Williams Pt 1 180: Though she acknowledged she had power from the Emperor to cause cessation of arms in the Palatinate, and undertook to put that power forth, yet with the same breath she blew hot and cold.
[UK]World 15 July no. 185 (1819) 153: This old fellow is of a most capricious, unequal temper, and, like the satyr in the fable, blows hot and cold in the same breath .
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘New-Old Ballads’ Works (1801) V 411: Yet some, for pleasures of rewarde, Wi flatter – and blow colde and hot.
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers (1880) 48: Warn’t we gettin’ on prime with our hot an’ cold blowin’, / Acondemnin’ the war wilst we kep’ it agoin’?
[UK]J.L. Motley Rise of the Dutch Republic III 329: Wearied with being constantly ordered ‘to blow hot and cold with the same breath’ .
[UK]M.E. Braddon Mohawks II 266: You blow hot and cold.
blow one’s pipes (v.)

(US teen) to make a loud noise through a car’s exhaust pipe by suddenly pressing down on the accelerator.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 230: blow (one’s) pipes Race a motor car to produce loud sound through the exhaust pipes.
blow smoke up someone’s ass (v.)

see under smoke n.

blow the coal(s) (v.) [fig. use of SE]

to stir up trouble between two parties.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: To blow the Coals, to raise differences between Parties.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 15: They were both pretty lushy and quarrelling. I blew the coal; but Barney dissuaded them from fighting.
blow the/someone’s doors off (v.) (also tear the doors off)

(orig. US) to drive at high speed past another car.

[US]Wurlitzer & Curry Two-Lane Blacktop [film script] Probably blow her doors right off.
[US]Good Morning America 13 May [ABC-TV] This car can tear the doors off the competition [HDAS].
[US]Friday the 13th [film script] You blew his doors off. Isn’t that enough [HDAS].
whatever blows your dress up (also whatever blows your hair back, …skirt up)

(N.Z./S.Afr./US) whatever you like, whatever makes you happy.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 7: whatever blows your skirt up – to each his own.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle 58/2: blow your hair back v. do whatever you want (Whatever blows your hair back).
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 229: whatever blows your dress up Reassurance that you are entitled to your own choice, even if I maybe might question your taste.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] I’ll kill you quick ok, bullet between the eyes [...] Sure Fats, whatever blows your hair back.