Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gospel n.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

gospel bird (n.) (also gospel fowl) [the practice of rewarding itinerant preachers with a chicken dinner]

(US black/tramp) a chicken.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 21: Come on, heart-string, and have some gospel-bird on me. My money spends too.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 105: gospel fowl Chicken.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 801: gospel fowl – Chicken.
J.E. Fortson Worship (2004) 278: ‘I just know you better save some o’ dat gospel bird for me!’ ‘There’s enough.’.
J. Thomas Split Ends [e-book] Miss Lucy calls chicken the gospel bird. Her pastor showed up every time her mama cooked chicken.
gospel-cove (n.) [cove n. (1)]

(Aus.) a clergyman.

[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: ‘The coves next jigger (door) are hangers on (dependents) of the Autembawlers (ministers)’ [...] ‘Gospel coves on the private vay, but I vill vork my vizzen (neck) so as it villiant reach their vattles (ears)’.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Play’ Bulletin (Sydney) 16 July 47/1: Nex’ day ’e words a gorspil cove about / A secrit weddin’; an’ they plan it out.
Brisbane Courier (Sydney) 30 Apr. 9/4: On tho Nullarbor Plains [...] stands a huge limestone boulder Some gospel cove has painted upon it the words After Death What.
gospel gab (n.) [gab n.2 (1)]

supposedly pious, but actually empty, hypocritical talk about religion.

[Aus]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 146: Yes; when I saw I was in for it, I told them my name and all about my father without any reserve; that, with a little gospel-gab and howling penitence, got the church people interested in me, and so I was let off easily.
[Aus]Eve. News (Sydney) 7 Aug. 7/4: An atrophied nation, debauched by the Gospel of Gab.
Blue Mt. Echo (NSW) 9 Apr. 4/4: Practical support is what the soldiers want, not the gospel of gab.
gospel grabber (n.)

(Aus.) a preacher.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 1 Feb. 3/2: On Sunday the resident Gospel Grabber exchanged pulpits with a neighbouring sky pilot.
gospel-grinder (n.) (also gospel-shark)

1. (US, also gospel-dealer, -hawk, -huckster, -gent, -sharp, -shooter) a preacher.

[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Peter’s Pension’ Works (1794) II 182: The Curate of the Huntingdon Band, Rare breed of gospel hawks that scour the land.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
Sunday at Home 25 July 475/1: I heard the whisper as we passed, ‘It’s only the gospel grinder’.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home (1906) 268: ‘What we want is a gospel-sharp. See?’ ‘A what?’ ‘Gospel-sharp. Parson.’.
[UK]Besant & Rice Golden Butterfly I 150: Else we should be as stagnant as a Connecticut gospel-grinder in his village location.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer (Auckland) 22 Jan. 182/2: A colonial gospel-grinder who shall be nameless.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 11 Mar. 10/2: ‘[I]if you move a peg this congregation will bo without a gospel sharp’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Jan. 9/3: A newly appointed country J.P., who is an occasional gospel-grinder, rode up to chapel a Sunday or two ago, held a service, and preached a powerful sermon on Christian charity and universal kindness.
[US]E. Nye Baled Hay 79: So old gospel shark, they tell me I must die.
[UK]Leics. Chron. 30 May 9/1: Why, the Gospel sharp up at the church was telling us about it just now.
[US]Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 5 Sept. 7/3: Kin any o’ you salaried liars put me on the trail of a Gospel sharp that’s out of a job?
W.S. Ross Woman 102: He would whine piously in the prayer, he would let his dollars ring ostentatiously into the plate to support the local gospel-grinder.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 50: I’ve took the trouble to bring a gospel-sharp over from Tucson to do the marryin’. [Ibid.] 230: It all brings up ag’in what that Gospel-gent says about doin’ benev’lences.
[UK]R. Whiteing No. 5 John Street 68: I ain’t a goin’ to sit along with no sinners, not me – to be talked down to by a Gospel shark.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘The Big Touch’ Sandburrs 233: I’m a gospel sharp from Hamilton.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 38: gospel-shooter, n. A preacher; used in contempt.
[US]W. Irwin Love Sonnets of a Hoodlum XXI n.p.: At noon today Murphy and Mame were tied. A gospel huckster did the referee.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Sept. 13/1: Strange how impressed every gospel-grinder is with Tanna! When Tommy T. isn’t a bloodthirsty cannibal and potential homicide he’s mostly a simple, happy fellow.
[US]Sun (NY) 13 Sept. 5/1: Any gospel sharp layin’ out f’r to interfere with my business...
B. Atkey Easy Money 67: You could do the gospel grinder lovely — lovely, old man. And it’d be dangerous for me, as my missis goes to chapel reglar.
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 Days 61: Mebby it’s th’ branding chute of some gospel sharp. [Ibid.] 76: I [...] dropped into that gospel dealer’s layout to see if he could make me feel any better.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 207: gospel-shooter, -shark, a preacher. ‘We have a new gospel-shooter in our burg.’.
[US] in J.M. Hunter Trail Drivers of Texas (1963) I 286: Fightin’ Parson Potter, a reformed gambler, but now a regular gospel shark.
[UK]Yorks. Eve. Post 17 Oct. 5/2: I’m not a Gospel-shark. I don’t sneer at the Good Book either.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Winner Take All’ Fight Stories July 🌐 We better stop by the Waterfront Mission [...] The gospel-shark will bandage your arm.
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Life and Death at the Old Bailey 63: The following crook’s words and phrases date from the days of the old Old Bailey: [...] City missionary – gospel-grinder.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 105: gospel grinder A preacher.
E. Buckler Mountain & Valley 50: You don’t think I’m a gospel-grinder, do you?

2. (also gospel-peddler, -plugger) an evangelistic missionary or tract-distributor, a Sunday School teacher; thus any unctuous, smug, self-satisfied individual.

Tract Mag. 212: You know I have mocked you, and called you the ‘old Gospel grinder,’ and done all I could to hinder your work.
[UK]J.N. Smith Way of the World 20: ‘Yet the beggar, in his dying hour, may enjoy that blessing for which you would freely sacrifice your all!’ ‘Man!’ exclaimed Dutton, ‘you are a regular gospel-grinder’.
[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 88: A city missionary or scripture reader – gospel grinder.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 180: Gospel grinder a city missionary, or tract distributor.
J.B. Gough Sunlight and Shadow 71: For although they call him [i.e. a temperance campaigner] the ‘Gospel-grinder,’ they are often quite free in their communications to him.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 33: Gospel Grinders, tract distributors, city missionaries.
M. Garvey Papers VI 403: There is only one thing for four hundred million Negroes to do and that is to unite and give the alien robber exploiter and gospel-grinder hell .
[US](con. 1900s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 26: Let’s get out of this, Hell-cat. Good Lord! You ain’t going to help a gospel-peddler!
[US](con. 1910s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 344: You damn’ lying gospel-shark, I’ll show you —.
[Can]R. Service ‘The Ballad of Salvation Bill’ Bar Room Ballads (1978) 603: The gospel-plugger watched me in dismay.

3. (US) a well-behaved, law abiding person.

[US]O. Johnson Varmint 394: Not the high markers and the gospel sharks?
gospel-gun (n.)

(Aus.) a preacher.

[Star (Ballarat, Vic.) 11 July 2/6: Rev. Brown, Primitive Methodist, expressed his pleasure [...] The great gospel gun had been fired in Smythesdale, and he (the speaker) thanked God that many had been shot down under the faithful preaching of Mr Burnett].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Jul. 6/1: [W]hen a certain well-known musician was lately introduced to Dr. Kennion, the Anglican Bishop of S. Australia, he took off his hat, bent his bald head in a lowly manner, and informed the great Gospel-gun that he (the musician) looked much more like a bishop than Dr. Kennion.
[Aus]Traralgon Record (Vic.) 21 Aug. 2/1: The Salvation Army [...] A large crowd assembled at the corner of Franklin and Seymour-streets to witness the bombardment, and the devil got a pretty severe handling from the ‘gospel guns’.
[Aus]Register (Adelaide) 16 Aug. 15/1: Laymen should, by example as well as by precept, bring men who did not attend church within range of the Gospel guns.
gospel lumber (n.)

(UK Und.) a Dissenters’ chapel or meeting house.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 108/2: Anthem cackle ken, a house hired by Methodist preachers or ranting Dissenters, also Gospel lumber, gaming crib.
gospel mill (n.) (also gospel crib, gospel shop) [SE mill, a place where a given industry is performed] (US)

1. a chapel, a church, thus gospel miller, a clergyman.

‘R. Hill’ Gospel Shop [play script] Beware! thse dire illusions! strange to tell, / A gospel shop’s the very spawn of hell!
[UK]G. Parker Humorous Sketches 88: From Whitfield and Romaine to Pope John range; Each gospel-shop ringing a daily change.
[UK]J. Lackington letter XVII Memoirs 125: As soon as I had procured a lodging and work, my next enquiry was for Mr. Wesley’s Gospel shops.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Gospel Shop. A church.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1811].
Republican 5 Sept. 1: Your title of Freethinking Christian [...] is a distinction in words alone: a mere name to distinguish one gospel-shop from another; just as Spiller’s gin-shop is distinguished from Thompson's gin-shop.
R. Taylor Astronomico-Theological Discourses 126: And what would it profit a man, say they, should he gain the whole world, and lose such a bag-full of moon-shine, as they’ll sell him at a gospel-shop.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 58: I stalled into a gospel crib last night, and pinched the rum cull of a cotton vipe and medra croon.
[US]Appeal Apr. 37: Some time since, two ungodly and thoughtless young men were wasting the hours of the Lord's-day in a walk of pleasure. On their way they passed the house of God [...] ‘What place is this?’ said one. ‘Oh,’ replied his companion with a sneer, ‘that is the gospel shop’.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 35: I knows of a Gospel-shop w’ere they takes in their Sunday dimes on silver plates.
J.H. Green 12 Days in the Tombs 119: Wonder if we can’t get some old hoss to give us a preach ? That coon over there with a white neckerchief, looks like one o’ them gospel-shop men.
J. Watts Ancient & Modern Freethinkers 324: Unbelievers, who never troubled their minds about religion, and never darkened the doors of a gospel shop.
[UK]Story of a Lancashire Thief 10: There’s a gospel-shop in Oxford-road.
T. Parker Coll. Works 347: The Gospel-mill of the minister is managed with as much injustice as the law-mill of the other profession.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home 331: Are you the duck that runs the gospel-mill next door?
C. Braden Problem of Problems 376: A preacher is a ‘gospel slinger,’ and a church a ‘gospel shop,’ in the low slang of one of these corrupters of public morals and taste.
[US]‘Paris Inside Out’ in Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 30 6/1: ‘I’ll fix you in two minutes, my old gospel miller’.
[US]C.F. Lummis letter 10 Jan. in Byrkit Letters from the Southwest (1989) 242: Some of the other gospel-mills.
Agnostic Jrnl 18 74/1: May we respectfully bring it under the notice of the professional soul-savers that keeping a tripe-and-onion shop is a moral business, but keeping a gospel-shop is not.
[US]J.A. Riis How the Other Half Lives 204: The Street Arab puts his whole little soul into what interests him [...] whether it be pulverizing a rival [...] or attending at the ‘gospel shop’ on Sundays.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 33: Gospel Shop, a church.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Nov. 14/3: The kanaka is odiously, loathsomely servile. He finds out the gawspil-mill his employer favors, and immediately becomes a regular attendant thereat.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Aug. 4/8: A lady who, when on the Mile /[...] / was managing a gospel mill / [...] /The baldheads flocked to hear her preach.
[US]Carr & Chase in ‘Word-List From Aroostook’ in DN III:v 411: gospel shop, n. A church.
Epworth Era 24 3/2: What do you see beginning at Chartres Street? Saloon, warehouse, saloon, saloon, gospel shop, a lot of chumps running what they call a ‘Rescue Mission,’ and another saloon to redeem the situation.

2. attrib. use of sense 1, thus pious, moralistic, censorious.

[UK] ‘’Arry on the Rail’ Punch 13 Sept. 109/1: It’s all Gospel-shop gruel, dear boy. We’ll [...] / rap out a hoath now and then without asking a prig on the preach.
gospel-pipe (n.) [it ‘preaches’ to the vagina]

(US) the penis.

[US]Mencken letter 16 Dec. in Riggio Dreiser-Mencken Letters I (1986) 282: The man who fights for them is as absurd as the man who fights for the right to walk down Broadway naked, and with his gospel pipe in his hand.
[US]Mencken letter 17 Sept. in Riggio Dreiser-Mencken Letters II (1986) 389: I have severe [...] urticaria (huge hives) all over my arms and legs. One even showed today on my gospel-pipe.
gospel slinger (n.)

a preacher.

C. Braden Problem of Problems 376: A preacher is a ‘gospel slinger,’ and a church a ‘gospel shop,’ in the low slang of one of these corrupters of public morals and taste.
[US]E.F. Frazier Negro Youth 129: Then came a vivid dramatization of the poses struck by these ‘gospel slingers,’ with their fervent gestures and efforts to ‘shout’ the people.
gospel slogger (n.)

(Aus.) a preacher.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 1 Feb. 3/2: He was accordingly treated with becoming deference by all from the local Gospel slogger downwards.
gospel-wrestler (n.)

(US) a preacher.

[US]Wkly Varieties (Boston, MA) 3 Sept. 5/2: ‘Friend,’ quoth the gospel-wrestler [...] ‘it will harm thee to give thee money’.