Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fine adj.

1. smart, clever.

[UK]Jonson Bartholomew Fair II v: Not a whit, these fellows were too fine to carry money.

2. (orig. US) drunk.

[US]N.-Y. American 13 Jan. 2/2: By this time, to use the words of witness, he from the quantity of gin and whiskey punch they had drunk, was quite fine, and prisoner was very blue; as blue as a razor.
[UK]Punch 30 Mar. [cartoon of youth addressing a drayman] Now then, Swipey! Are you going to stop there till you get fine, afore you draw yourself off?
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 19 May 3/1: I noticed that they were getting pretty well tanked. ‘So I goes up [...] and said in a friendly way: ‘Boys,you must be feelin’ pretty fine.’ ‘Mighty fine,’ replied Jim.

3. (orig. US black) attractive, good-looking.

[[UK]N. Ward ‘The Insinuating Bawd’ in Writings (1704) 88: Yet to a beau, I could my Heart resign, / He looks so Prim, so Pretty, and so Fine].
[[US]C.A. Bristed Upper Ten Thousand 44: You could not call her a ‘fine’ or a ‘striking’ woman].
[US]L. Hughes Mulatto in Three Negro Plays (1969) Act I: This here sewin’s really fine.
P. Grey ‘’Twixt Night ’n’ Dawn’ in Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 5 Nov. 11/4: The fine chicks and their cats had a killing time.
[US]C. Himes ‘Let Me at the Enemy’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 37: She’s strictly a fine queen, fine as wine.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Cast the First Stone 20: ‘White folks [...] They’re always talking about how fine their white ladies is.’.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 71: I hope it’s Gypsy Pearl, man, she’s a fine babe!
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 80: A fine brown bitch, that’s what she said.
[US]G. Tate ‘The GOP Throws a Mammy-Jammy’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 104: Chuck Jackson is what you call fine.
[US]‘Master Pimp’ Pimp’s Rap 132: [of a man] You are one fine nigger. Are you sure I haven’t seen you in the movies?
[UK]Dizzee Rascal ‘I Luv U’ 🎵 She looks decent, she looks fine.
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 2: Fredis and a bunch of the guys [...] had all the fine chicks in the Projects.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 120: Twenty-one and fine enough to make that ill-fitting seaweed brown RTD uniform look like haute-couture fashion.
[US]C. Eble UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2016 4: FINE — attractive, beautiful: ‘That girl is fine as hell’.
[US]T. Swerdlow Straight Dope [ebook] [S]he was nice. Fine as a motherfucker.

4. (US black) first-rate, satisfactory.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Aug. 11/1: If that cat didn’t have some fine togs draped on that body of his then there is no such thing as ‘Esquire.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 79: Fine—All right, okay, excellent.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 143: We were out there lindying away and grinning at each other. It couldn’t have been finer.
[US]Smith & Gay Heroin in Perspective 201: Fine. An extravagant compliment; very good.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Johnnie II’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1980) in Huncke Reader (1998) 121: This is real fine, man. All New York right here before me.
[US]W.D. Myers Autobiog. of My Dead Brother 80: [H]er house was like something out of a magazine, it was so fine.

In derivatives

In compounds

fine-ass (adj.) [-ass sfx]

(US black) first-rate, excellent.

[US]C. Brown Mr Jive-Ass Nigger 45: Outside the window rough, red faces; young pallid faces; fineass legs, legs clothed in various garments.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 275: Let’s talk about all the fine-ass black ones.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 93: Her husband, he’s running around [...] with some little fine-ass young girl.
[US]UGK ‘I’m So Bad’ 🎵 Rollin down the street the other day / Saw this FINE ass bitch.
[US]Dr Dre ‘Some L.A. Shit’ 🎵 One-time’s, sunshines, and fine-ass bitches.
fine brown frame (n.) [frame n.1 (2)]

(US black) (the figure of) an attractive black woman.

[US]Nelly Lutcher [song title] Fine Brown Frame.
[US]L. Hughes Laughing to Keep from Crying 52: What’s your name, Miss Fine Brown Frame?
[US]Ruth Brown [song title] Fine Brown Frame.
fine dinner (n.) (also fine fryer) [she is ‘good enough to eat’]

(US black) a good-looking black woman.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 24 May 11/2: Fine Dinner — a good looking girl . . . Such fine dinners as Ophelia Brown, Frances Lewis, Kitty Coleman and Florence Proctor [...] are causing playboy Freddy Guinyard no end of trouble.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 138: Fine fryers — Pretty young girls.
fine-fine (adv.) [redup.]

(W.I., Guyn.) in infinite and thus irritating detail.

[WI]F. Collymore Notes for Gloss. of Barbadian Dial. 48: The district where he lived has been hit hard by the hurricane. I asked him how he had fared [...] ‘Fine, chief. Everything mash up fine, fine, fine.’.
fine-haired (adj.) (US)

1. arrogant, conceited.

J. Miller Life Amongst the Modocs 38: You high-toned, fine-haired gamblers don’t play me—not much you don’t! [DA].

2. over-fastidious, pernickety.

[US]‘Frederick Benton Williams’ (H.E. Hamblen) On Many Seas 305: They were a low down, ragged, drunken-looking lot of hoodlums, whom I declined to associate with. You may think that I was rather fine haired.
[US]H.E. Hamblen Yarn of Bucko Mate 132: You ’re altogether too fine-haired for this business, my boy.
[US]J.C. Ruppenthal ‘A Word-List From Kansas’ in DN IV:ii 106: fine-haired, adj. Fastidious. ‘We can’t please these fine-haired gentry.’.
fine thing (n.)

(Irish/US black) an attractive woman .

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Last of the High Kings 115: He and Nelson and Hopper were planning a massive bonfire with loads of booze and joints as long as your arm; every fine thing on the hill would be invited.
[Ire]Irish Times 30 May 🌐 He told her she was ‘a fine thing’ but later called her ‘a dry bitch’ because she would not accept a drink from him .
fine weather (n.)

(US black/Southern campus) an attractive woman.

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: Fine Weather ... Comely girl.

In phrases

fine as wine (adj.) (US black)

1. of an object or idea, satisfactory, pleasing; of a person, pleasant, amusing, decent.

[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 27 July 10/6: Babs (fine and mellow) Chand has set quite a few hearts beating [...] she’s as fine as wine any time.
[US]Babs Gonzales ‘Manhattan Fable’ 🎵 Everything was fine as wine until he cut into Hollywood eyes.
[US]R.S. Gold ‘Vernacular of the Jazz World’ in AS XXXII:4 276: Jazz Lingo abounds in [...] similes, e.g., [...] fine as wine.
[US]R.S. Gold Jazz Lex. xxii: We should perhaps take note of the brief (c. 1935-c. 1940) vogue of rhyming slang in jazz which, unlike the British practice, was based generally on logical similes: e.g., mellow like a cello; fine as wine; like the bear, I ain’t nowhere (i.e., an extension of the lumbering physical qualifies of the animal to the immobilized spiritual state of a man).
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 245: ‘How’s school, boy?’ Charlie asked [...] ‘Fine, Charlie, Fine as wine,’ College Joe said.
[US]J. Ellroy Suicide Hill 273: Lloyd checked the dashboard and grinned. The key was in the ignition. ‘Bonaroo, man! Fine as fucking wine!’.

2. referring to any particularly attractive man or woman.

Ted Yates ‘I’ve Been Around’ 10 Sept. [synd. col.] These boys, when they get ’em [i.e. girlfriends] fine as wine they take downtown below the borderline.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 3: And everytime your heart beat the lush little numbers are fine as wine in the summertime and everybody is threaded down just like P on Poly pop, both ends and in the middle.
[US](con. 1940s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 157: Jetan was a knockout [...] Jetan had got as fine as wine and ripe for plucking.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 85: This blond chick, fine as wine.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 138: He was as fine as wine.
[US]J. Ellroy Suicide Hill 108: Bobby was [. . .] holding the copy of Beaverooney open [...] ‘Dig it, bro! Is this bitch fine as wine, or am I woofin’!’.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 75: That girl is naturally fine as wine.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

fine as frog hair (adj.) [pun on SE fine, thin/fine, well]

1. (US) feeling very well or very cheerful.

[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 79: fine as frog hair, adj. Extremely fine.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 143: He’s as fine as frog’s hair and his schooling’s been good. He’s only got one dog to beat.
[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 179: I heard the following: [...] fine as frog hair.

2. (US) of a person, very attractive; of a place, first-class.

[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 145: The room we’re in is finer than frog hairs.
Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 finer than frog hair adj 1. extremely attractive. (‘That girl is finer than frog hair.’).
it’s all very fine, Mr Fergusson, but you don’t lodge here (also it is all very fine, Mr Thompson, but it won’t do here) [ref. to Capt. Fergusson, friend of the scapegrace 3rd Marquess of Waterford; ‘Mr. Thompson’ has no explanatory anecdote]

a nonsensical catchphrase of the 1830s.

G.A. Sala in Walsh Hbk Lit. Curiosities 365: The marquis [of Waterford] had gone to bed, when a thundering knock came to the door. The marquis [...] threw up the window and said, ‘It’s all very fine, Mr Ferguson, but you don’t lodge here.’ For many years the saying became popular.
(con. 1830s) H. Vizetelly Glances Back 103: No end of unmeaning slang phrases [...] were in circulation liming the multitude and the ‘faster’ section of society. One’s ears were incessantly assailed with such cries as ‘What a shocking bad hat!’ ‘There he goes with his eye out!’ ‘How are you off for soap?’ ‘Flare up! and join the union,’ ‘Does your mother know you’re out?’ or ‘It’s all very fine, Mr. Fergusson, but you don’t lodge here.’.
(con. 1862) Wm ‘Crimea’ Simpson in Eyre-Todd (ed.) Autobiog. of William Simpson R.I. (Crimean Simpson) (1903) 173: Thee was a slang phrase current [...] used to express doubt about any one’s words or actions. It was: ‘It is all very fine, Mr Thompson; but it won’t do here’.