Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hard-on n.

1. (also hardie) an erection.

[UK] ‘A Roue’s Apology’ Rakish Rhymer (1917) 145: If I have said or done too much, / I humbly beg your pardon; / The magic of your thrilling touch / Has given me a hard-on. [Ibid.] Parody 146: Bless me, you’ve a hard-on—sparking Sunday night [...] Old Reuben’s head is bobbing high up to your vest.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Bawdy N.Y. State MS. 2: I was to define [an icicle], I should say it was a running stream of water, with a hard-on.
[US] Transcript Dunn Inquiry in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 23: He was very much put out [...] because I could not get a hard on.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 505: (He bares his arm and plunges it elbowdeep in Bloom’s vulva.) There’s fine depth for you! What, boys? That give you a hardon?
[US](con. 1900s–10s) Dos Passos 42nd Parallel in USA (1966) 315: He got a hardon and couldn’t sleep and was worried for fear the girls would notice.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 124: One morning Mahatma Gandhi / Had a hard-on, and it was a dandy.
[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 141: Neal [...] was screwing the maid in the bedroom. Neal ran downstairs to answer the door with a hardon.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 95: The Blast [...] wakes the Spanish pimp with a hard-on.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 121: ‘He couldn’t get a hard-on,’ she said shortly.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 173: She said she had a top scorer in the NBA there with her right then and we ought to see the hard-on she was looking at.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 8: Say your hard on’s taking a small holiday this year.
[Aus]J. Morrison Share House Blues 120: ‘Marcus said I’m an arrogant, lecherous young bastard, with a permanent hard-on’.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 74: Half these guys had hardons in various stages of tumescence.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] The comment about the hard-on is playing on me mind.
[UK] Guardian G2 19 Nov. 6: He wanted to fuck her but he didn’t have a hard-on.
[US]P. Cornwell Blow Fly (2004) 46: You got a damn hard-on [...] a stiff dick!
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] I loved the way he held my face when he kissed me [...] and how it gave him an instant hard-on.
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 165: You now stick out like a hardie in the convent showers.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 107: You’ll give me a hard-on and then I’ll be late.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I got him to rub Hawaiian Tripoic on my back [...] I think he got a hard-on.
[US]J. Stahl Bad Sex on Speed 75: He opens the door and she sees his raging hard-on.

2. passionate, lustful feelings.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US] ‘The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 147: The whorehouse bells were ringing, / And the pimp stood in the door; / He’d a hard on all day long / To screw some dirty whore.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 95: We can’t stay in hidin’ just because the fuckin’ man’s got a hard on.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 33: He was probably just a nice old fart with a hard-on for a beautiful young cellist.

3. an obsession, usu. hostile, aggressive feelings towards.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 412: That cracker sure is got a hard-on for you.
[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 129: Boss Godfrey didn’t have such a hard-on for Luke anymore.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 26: He’s got to figure I got a hard-on for the Panthers.
[US]W. Diehl Hooligans (2003) 17: You got a hard-on for the Feds?
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 291: Some Deep South ofay with a hard-on for blacks.
[US]F. Kellerman Stalker (2001) 376: Bederman has a hard-on for you, you know. And I don’t mean the sexual kind.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 94: Why such a hard-on for Frankie Machine ? [...] Why did we even want him gone?
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 14: You want Bobby fucking Kennedy in the White House? Guy’s got a hard-on for us you could cut glass with.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘You want to get IAB up our ass?! [...] Give Sykes more of a hard-on for you than he already has?’.

4. (US) a bad temper, irrespective of gender.

[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 256: I’m sorry I thought his name was Chuckie Quinn, if that’s what’s giving you the hard-on.

5. (US) used as a term of address, usu. sarcastic and referring to someone’s high self-esteem.

[US]Kerouac letter 19 June in Charters II (1999) 135: I’m still with you, hardon!
[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 95: I’ll tell you why, you little hardon.
[US]D. DeLillo Running Dog (1992) 205: Dipshit. You hard-on.

6. (US) a despicable individual, a tough, aggressive person.

[US]P. Roth Portnoy’s Complaint 119: You mean, miserable hard-on you.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 130: Oh come on, Day Tripper, don’t be a hard-on.
[US](con. 1950s) in J. Breslin Damon Runyon (1992) 403: Don’t be a hard-on [...] I don’t want no hard-ons in my outfit.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 25 Sept. 24: We [...] shrivelled a hard-on with simply a menacing look.
[UK]G. Malkani Londonstani (2007) 223: You’re not just another one of those rudeboy hard-ons that you hang around with.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 66: That cop is a last of the Mohican hard-ons.

7. in fig. use, positive feelings.

[US]K. Kolb Getting Straight 11: You think it’s God, but it’s just a hard-on.
[US]J. Sayles Union Dues (1978) 282: You can’t hide that hard-on you’ve got for the cameras.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 176: Walking point is the hardon. It means you’re the first out there, that there is nobody else to rely on.
[US]J. Ridley Love Is a Racket 56: I didn’t have dollar one down, and I could feel myself getting a hard-on for this race.

8. (US) a difficult task.

[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 109: The screws had a hard-on to find the phantom bomber.

In phrases

die with a hard-on (v.)

see under die v.

get a hard-on (v.)

1. to have an erection.

[US] in P. Smith Letter from My Father (1978) 189: When we got a girl in a corner [we] would get a ‘hard’ on the minute we kissed them.
[US](con. 1960s) G. Washington Blood Brothers 180: I’ll show you something funny, if you promise not to get a hard on, you dirty old man.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 92: I saw this smashing young woman in my mirror, and got a hard on.

2. (US Und.) to draw a pistol.

[US]D. Maurer Big Con 201: I always get a hard-on [reach for a pistol] when I see a rat.

3. to desire someone.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 118: They go getting a hard on for you and trying to queer you.
have a hard-on for (v.)

to dislike (intensely).

[US]C. Hiaasen Double Whammy (1990) 63: Everybody knows Dennis has a hard-on for Dickie Lockhart [...] and he’s damn careful with Dennis around.
[UK]T. Black Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] If I know Cameron Sinclair, he’ll have a bloody great hard-on for all of us now.