Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tube n.1

[SE tube]

1. [mid-18C+] the penis.

2. [late 19C–1950s] a telephone [the telephone’s short-range predecessor, the SE speaking tube].

3. [1910s] (Aus.) in pl., a pair of trousers.

4. [1910s+] the London Underground, orig. the twopenny tube under twopenny adj.; also attrib.

5. [1920s–50s] (US) the New York Subway.

6. [1940s–70s] a cigarette.

7. [1940s+] (UK prison) a prison officer who makes a habit of listening for information from prison informers.

8. [1950s+] (orig. US) a television set.

9. [1950s+] (orig. US) television, as a medium, the industry [abbr. cathode ray tube, a basic component of the TV].

10. [1960s] (US prison) a Benzedrine inhaler, esp. used recreationally.

11. [1960s] (US campus) a very promiscuous young woman.

12. [1960s] (US campus) an easy course [? surfing imagery].

13. [1960s+] (orig. Aus.) a bottle or can of beer; also attrib.

In phrases

crack a tube (v.)

[1950s+] (Aus.) to open a can of beer.

go down the tubes (v.) (also …the tube)

[1960s+] (orig. US) to fail badly, to collapse completely.

line one’s tubes (v.)

[1950s] (Aus.) to eat.

tube (it) (v.)

1. [1910s+] to travel on the London Underground.

2. [1950s+] to watch television.