Green’s Dictionary of Slang

deuce n.1

also deucie, duce
[SE deuce, the two in dice or cards]

1. two, a pair, of objects and occas. individuals.

[UK]Skelton Bowge of Courte line 346: And on the borde he whyrld a payre of bones, ‘Quater treye dews’ he clatered as he wente.
[UK]Skelton Why Come Ye Nat to Courte? Line 878: With, ‘trey duse ase’ And, ‘ase in the face’.
[UK]Dekker Belman of London E3: The Names of false Dyce [...] A Bale of bard sincke Dewces, A Bale of Flat sincke Dewces.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 375: He gave me two Trays and an Ace, and reserved for himself two Trays and a Duce.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 348: If size cinque will not, and deuce ace cannot, then quatre trey must.
[UK] ‘Tom the Drover’ No. 30 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: At the broads I can palm with the queerest, slip [...] a duce or a tray.
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor 31: Duce, Two.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend 1 251: He showed him a deuce of clubs.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 3/2: In a twinkling Joe’s ‘deuce’ of ‘half-bulls’ were in his ‘duke’.
[US]J.F. Lillard Poker Stories 191: My first three cards were deuce, tray and four of hearts.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 204: The needy one implored his obdurate chum to shake out at least a deuce of whites.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Carmen’ in Gullible’s Travels 7: If you hadn’t of had a regular epidemic o’ discardin’ deuces and treys Hatch would of treated us to groceries for a week.
[US]‘Max Brand’ Pleasant Jim 271: Pass me the box. Here’s the deuces and aces.
[UK]K. Mackenzie Living Rough 283: A trimmer and a fireman had taken bad, that meant doing deuces. That is, doing double watches.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 216: I’m short a deuce of blips but I’ll straighten you later.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 249: Two little deucies and three little treys.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 4: From off the end comes ‘Fats’ and his buddy, ‘Mule,’ the duece [sic] that is able and from the righteous school.
[UK]I. Hebditch ‘Weekend’ unpub. thesis in Hewitt (2000) 134: Out we go, motion to a deuce (a pair of girls) and we’re off. Jack’s a really good dancer, slick and snappy, and I’m alright so the girls are well pleased for a dance.
[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 23: We passed the silhouettes of tracks and deuce-and-a-halfs.
[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool 14: You tell me how they ever score the buck for one Uzi, never mind deuce.
[UK]M. Collins Keepers of Truth 78: I started up that big-ass car of mine, convertible Buick Electra deuce and a quarter.

2. twopence.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Duce, Two pence.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 12: Duce, Two-pence.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 204: Deuce, two pence. Tip me a deuce, i.e., Lend me two pence, or pay so much for me.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 113: Two Pence Duce Wins.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: duce, two pence.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry II vi: If any body offers you less nor a mag, or a duce, vy, you may say, with the poet, Who vou’d his farthings bear?
[UK] ‘A Pullet in Leg Alley Stood’ in Ri-tum Ti-tum Songster 18: A cove [...] offered her a lousy deuce.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 65: Here are pads from two win, that is a duce, to a tanner per night, and tip before you stall to doss.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 3 Apr. 6/2: Mind you keep your ogles on the coves, and let none of them pass without tipping the deuce (giving the twopence).
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 256/2: ‘Give him a deuce’ (2d.).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]W. Newton Secrets of Tramp Life Revealed 9: Duce ... Twopence.
[UK]Marvel 21 Dec. 15: She wanted me for me wolf aloan, an woodent meat me widout I rattled a dooce.
R. Free Seven Years Hard 122: [I]n order to pay for [a drink], one must have at least a ‘doose ‘(twopence), possibly an ‘og’ (a shilling), and sundry ‘fadges’ ‘(farthings).
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 175: Twopence is ‘deuce’.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 11: This was usually worth a deuce or even threepence.

3. two cents.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Deuce sheet, a two-cent newspaper (prison).

4. a useless gambler, a worthless individual [the deuce is the lowest card in the deck].

[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 26: Do you know I enjoy putting deuces in jail?

5. (Aus., also deucer) a champion shearer capable of shearing 200 sheep in a day.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Nov. 24/4: The fastest jumbuck-barber on aboard…is often known as a ’gun’, or a ‘deuce artist’.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Speaks.
[Aus]Bulletin 3 Feb. 44/2: The young picker-upper [...] boasted, ‘I picked for seven “deuce merchants” on my own last year.’.

6. (US, also deucer, deuce-spot) two dollars; a two-dollar bill.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 35: He’s crabbing a string of good lays by hyping with a deuce where a saw buck could be changed just as readily.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 302: Deuce-Spot—two dollars.
[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 7/2: Deuce – Two dollar bill.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 61: Deuce. – A two-dollar bill, considered as bad luck by the superstitious (two or the deuce being the lowest throw at dicing), whence the name.
[US]D. Runyon More Guys and Dolls (1951) 102: I am feeling so good about my success at the track that I slip him a deucer.
[US]D. Runyon ‘All Horse Players Die Broke’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 710: I slip him a deucer.
[US]J.E. Dadswell Hey, Sucker 96: deuce-note ... two dollars.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 22: You save a deuce gettin’ ’em both done at once.
[US]‘Toney Betts’ Across the Board 80: They were betting deuces, fins, sawbucks and double sawbucks.
[US]C. Clausen I Love You Honey, But the Season’s Over 142: If you can’t get a sawbuck, take a deuce, baby.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 96: He had hit on his father for the deuce because the sixty dollars in his pocket was a secret.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 41: I can’t slip the kid in the parking lot a deuce, it’s got to be a sawbuck.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 92: It’s only a deuce a jump.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 13: The ten-spot is rhythm. the fiver is hope, the deuce is freedom.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 13: We charge the guys a five for an autograph [...] and let the broads keep a deuce of that.

7. (prison, also deuce-burger) a two-year sentence; occas. two months (see cite 1950).

[US]V.F. Nelson Prison Days and Nights 23: The same judge that gave them the deuce handed young Sobrowski thirty-five.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[Aus]S.J. Baker in Sun. Herald (Sydney) 8 June 9/3: Slang words for sentences of various lengths include: ‘deuce,’ two months; ‘drag,’ three months; ‘sprat,’ six months; ‘the clock,’ twelve months; ‘spin’ or ‘full hand,’ five years; ‘brick,’ ten years; ‘the lot,’ life imprisonment.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 151: Well, this faggot draws a deuce.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 278: Nothing, man, nothing except a deuce, two years. I’ll do that on my head.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 202: deuce-burger, n. – a two- year sentence.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 47: My man Colorado was doing a deuce.
[US]Ice-T ‘Six in the Morning’ [lyrics] Back on the streets after five and a deuce / Seven years later but still had the juice.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 171: Lamar Hinton, age twenty-six, arrested for strongarm assault, a conviction on an ADW, a deuce at Chino.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 77: Big Bear was my cellie for a minute in Folsom — me and him did a deuce together behind them bad walls.

8. in drug uses.

(a) (drugs) two marijuana cigarettes, sold together.

Meyer Berger Tea for a Viper (cited in Spears 1986).

(b) (US drugs) a $2 package of heroin.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 10: I couldn’t get hooked with deuce, could I?
[US]Illinois Legislative Investigating Committee Drug Crisis in Spears (1986).
[US]Hardy & Cull Drug Lang. and Lore.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 13: Whip me a deuce, homeboy.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 7: Deuce — Heroin; $2 worth of drugs.

(c) (US drugs) two pills.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 169: A single pill was referred to as an ace; two pills, a deuce.

(d) a $2 vial of crack cocaine.

[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 27/2: deuce n. 1. two-dollar bottle of crack.

9. (Aus.) two shillings (10p).

[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 5: You wouldn’t get me deuce on [...] so I’m not going to do anything for you.
[Aus]S.J. Baker in Sun. Herald (Sydney) 8 June 9/3: The underworld has an extensive vocabulary of financial terms. Among those recorded by Detective Doyle are: ‘Deuce,’ ‘swy,’ and ‘peg,’ two shillings.

10. £2.

[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 153: I [...] stood behind the brasses who were waiting to go in and get find there duce.

11. (Scot. prison) a two-month prison sentence.

[UK]B. McGhee Cut and Run (1963) 101: Flash and the other bloke, being first offenders, got sixty days. But, in addition to the ‘deuce’ sentence, Flash had come out of it with a bit of a sore face.

12. (also deucer) a two-hour shift.

[UK]G. Stewart Leveller 56: If any of the firemen were sick or injured you were called upon to work a ‘Deucer’ (two hours of his watch each).

13. (US black) an unattractive young woman, i.e. one considered second-rate.

[US]Big L ‘Ebonics’ [lyrics] A deuce is a honey that’s ugly.

14. in pl. deuces, goodbye [from two fingers raised in V for Victory sign].

[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 4: DEUCES — goodbye. From the Peace sign of two fingers in V form.

In compounds

deuce-burger (n.)

see sense 7 above.

deuce-deuce (n.)

1. a .22 revolver or pistol.

L/A. Times 10 Aug. Magazine 12/1: The neighbor handed Michael a .22 caliber pistol — known in Watts as a ‘deuce-deuce’.
[US]K. Scott Monster (1994) 191: I’m too strong for a deuce-deuce to stop.
[US]50 Cent ‘High All the Time’ [lyrics] Big blunt in his mouth, deuce deuce in his boot.
A$AP Rocky ‘Suddenly’ [lyrics] Ricky had a deuce-deuce, two shotty pumps with a baby 9.

2. a 22fl.oz beer.

Goodie Mob ‘Fighting’ [lyrics] I took two swigs outs my deuce-deuce Old E.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Duece-duece (noun) A 22-oz beer.
Atmosphere ‘Millennium Dodo 2’ [lyrics] Showed up with a deuce-deuce of swill.
deuce-five (n.)

a .25 pistol.

[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 18: deuce-five [...] Dude shot Big Ernie with a deuce five.
[US]L. Bing Do or Die (1992) 47: Sidewinder’s weapons in the crime were ‘a ’gauge and a deuce-five automatic.’.
deuce wins (n.) (also deux wins, dews wins) [win n.]

(UK Und.) twopence.

[UK]Dekker Canters Dict. Eng. Villainies (9th edn) n.p.: Dows [sic] wins, two pence.
[UK]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) 172: Deuswins Two pence.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Dews-wins, c. two Pence.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: dews-wins or Deux-wins, Two-Pence.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Dews wins, or deux wins, two pence, (cant).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 105: Deux wins, two pence.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 255: I thought he was a ‘queer gill’ (suspicious) at first, and smoked us, from what he palavered to Phil when he gave him his ‘deux-wins’ (twopence).

In phrases

deuce and a quarter (n.)

1. (US black/teen) a Buick Electra 225.

Tampa Bay Times (FL) 7 Dec. 8/3: The Hog is what many Negroes call the Cadillac, the summit of automotive desire for them [...] The Deuce and a Quarter is the top-of-the-line Buick Electra 225, currently an ‘in’ car too.
[US]J. Maryland ‘Shoe-shine on 63rd’, in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 211: Pretty Black was dressed in the same fashion as was Red, drove a ‘Deuce and a quarter’ (Electra 225 Buick).
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 18: deuce-and-a-quarter A 225 Buick Electra.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 60: You be lucky to get you a Buick [...] you ain’t nothin but a deuce-and-a-quarter-ridin’ motherfucker.
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 44: Jefferson pulled up in his ’68 Electra [...] one of the nicest deuce-and-a-quarters on the street.

2. (US black, also deuce-25) any car with a 225 h.p. engine.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 234: deuce 25, deuce and a quarter […] 2. Any car with a 225-horsepower engine.

3. (US prison) a sentence of 2 to 25 years.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 19: Deuce and a Quarter A 2- to 25-year prison sentence.
deuce of benders (n.) [bender n.2 (1)]

(US black/Harlem) the knees.

Jackson Sun (TN) 25 Aug. 4/6: When you dig this jive, and is really brought to your deuce of benders, and has mitted many Harlem brights, you’ll be some scribe and hep to any kick of spiel.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 12: A cutting blue with rolls as big as a needle’s eye and spreading like the mumps at his deuce of benders.
[US]Beat Jokes Bop Humor and Cool Cartoons 55: No. I won’t do the cat in; not on his deuce of benders.
deuce of long black-and-whites (n.)

a period of time: a week or month.

[US]Babs Gonzales ‘Manhattan Fable’ [recitation] About a deuce of long black-&-whites ago, a stud from the Natural Lowlands made it to The Apple.
deuce of clubs (n.) [pun on cards/weapons]

(US) the fists, used for violent assaults; thus play the deuce of clubs, to beat someone up.

Jane W. Arnold ‘The Language of Delinquent Boys’ in AS XXII:2 Apr. 121: Deuce of clubs. Both fists.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
deuce of ticks (n.) [tick n.4 (2)]

(US black/Harlem) two minutes.

[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]Babs Gonzales ‘Manhattan Fable’ [lyrics] One bright, about a deuce of ticks, he laid his story on a Harlem acquaintance named ‘Congolene Freddie’.
deuce (out) (v.) [the weakness of the deuce in a pack of cards]

(US) to back down, to act the coward.

[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 40: You ain’t deucing out, are you?
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 12: You deuced. Admit it. You deuced.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 24: Dum Dum had the idea that they’d all like to deuce out, beat feet right out of there. [Ibid.] 33: It was a sort of test, to see if I’d deuce out, turn tail and run.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 232: In heaven, when the deal go down it’s the blackest and the baddest ass that makes the others deuce out.