Green’s Dictionary of Slang

grease n.1

1. in fig. uses.

(a) money, esp. when given as a bribe or paid as protection money [grease v.1 (1)].

[UK]Woman Turn’d Bully I ii: tru.: I will take in my Mortgage within two days. [...] dock.: Oh, farewell Huff, if y’are so impatient. Go, spend your grease, vain Fop.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 91: Grease — a bonus given to promote the cause of any one, as Grease to a cart-wheel.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Mirror 20: If any of my knabbs will lay out ready grease, he pawns himself to serve them rummy.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 131/1: They knew from the time Joe and I kept the Two Guns, and well they might, considering the ‘grease’ we ‘slung’ them.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890) 16: Grease. A bribe.
[US]Bluefield Daily Tel. (WV) 8 Jan. 2/1: Money has more synonyms than any word in the English language [...] There is in use coin, plunks, plasters, soap, rocks, dust, dough, [...] grease, bones, balsam, chicken feet [sic], rhino, brass, gold and on and on.
[US]Lima (OH) News 5 June 6/3: Coins are called [...] ‘palm grease’.
[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 226: grease — Bribe money.
[US]C. Martinez ‘Gats in the Hat’ in Gun Molls Sept. [Internet] ‘What’s the matter; ain’t you getting enough grease?’ ‘Grease is all right on a little thing like smuggling and robbery [...] But murder is something else again!’.
[US]T.J. Farr ‘The Language of the Tennessee Mountain Regions’ in AS XIV:2 92: soap-grease. Any form of money.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]H. McCoy Corruption City 75: He dished out the grease for the boss in thousand-dollar bills.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 99: He [...] threatened to let the syndicate in if the Big Boy didn’t come through with the grease.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 25: Restaurants that once had plenty of trouble from the inspectors from the Health Department until Quon had learned how to spread the grease.
[US]G. Jen Typical American (1998) 130: It’s called grease. This is how it is in America. Certain American palms require a certain American —.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 11: Grease — Currency.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 19 Dec. 62/1: The Liffey still smelt of Eurogrease and backhanders.

(b) flattery, persuasion.

[US]H. Brackbill ‘Midshipman Jargon’ in AS III:6 453: Grease — Bluff.
[US]J. Tully Bruiser 121: I put you on the grease a little in my story [...] I made you a great guy, Shane.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 22: Naida and Lilly had applied the grease to me in more ways than one.
[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 237: It runs to almost everything the music business runs on: the hype, the grease, the glad-handing.

(c) (US) political influence.

[US] ‘Some Annapolis Sl.’ in AS XIV:1 Feb. 77/1: He may try to use grease (pull) to achieve a high place.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 165: Hey, Murphy, your brothers have a little grease downtown, don’t they? [...] Do you think they could pull me a transfer.

2. in lit. uses.

(a) (orig. US campus, also grease pot) butter or margarine.

[US] ‘Camp Phrases’ in Chicago Trib. 11 Nov. 2: Mess beef is ‘salt horse,’ coffee is ‘boiled rye,’ vegetables are ‘cow feed,’ and butter ‘strong grease’.
[UK]’Sailors’ Lingo’ in Hants. Teleg. 21 Feb. 11/3: In speaking of butter ‘grease’ is the word used.
[Aus]West. Argus (Kalgoorlie, WA) 9 Dwec. n.p.: The ex-soldier requesting ‘Buck-shee-pozzi grease’ at tea-time merely desires another piece of bread and jam.
[UK]Athenaeum 8 Aug. 727/2: When ‘gyppo’ or ‘grease’ was asked for at mealtimes, gravy or butter (?) was meant .
[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in AS VII:5 332: grease — butter.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 283: Lump of bread and grease, pot of chah.
[US]F.H. Hubbard Railroad Avenue 345: Railroad eating house [...] butter is grease pot.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/1: grease: Margarine or butter.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.

(b) (US drugs) opium [the viscosity of the drug].

[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Miscellany 3/5: Toledo was known as a ‘right town’ and a good place to hide out in with its numerous ‘scatters’ or dives where ‘hop’ or ‘grease’ was smoked.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 103/2: grease. Smoking opium before it is rolled into pills.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.

(c) (US Und.) nitroglycerine.

Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/2: Crook Chatter [...] ‘A good yegg or safe blower regards a “moll buzzer” as a vulgarian [...] A competenent “grease handler” thinks that working with anything but [...] nitroglycerin is beneath his digniy’.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 67: While in prison he learned how to use the nitroglycerin or ‘grease’ in moderation.
[US]J. Tully Shadows of Men 76: Nitro was a past master at boiling dynamite. He would pour off the water and retain the oily substance [...] This was called ‘grease,’ or ‘soup’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 135: They dump three ounces of ‘grease’ into the aperture.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 7: I had [...] grease to blow a hole if the chippers and saws encountered too much resistance.

(d) (US black) vaginal secretions.

[US]Odum & Johnson Negro and His Songs (1964) 234: I et so much dat hog-eye grease, / Till de grease run out my nabel. / Run long home, Miss Hog-eye.
[US]Margaret Carter [song title] I Want Plenty Grease In My Frying Pan.
[US]Tampa Red ‘You Can’t Get That Stuff No More’ [lyrics] Li’l Suzanne she used to sell her grease / She got in trouble with the chief o’ police.

(e) (US black/campus) a meal, food.

[US]J.A. Williams Night Song (1962) 75: Look, man, can we take off our things and get some grease?
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 60: grease n Meal, dinner.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 169: Let’s go get some grease.
[US]J. Stahl Permanent Midnight 55: We stumbled out at lunchtime to reup and grab a slab of grease.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 149: Woody’s Club. Famous for all-nite grease. Renowned for fried everything food.

(f) (gay) any form of lubricant – KY Jelly etc – that facilitates anal intercourse.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 19: grease (or k-y) (n.): The lubricant used in sexual intercourse of homosexuals.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

In derivatives

greaser (n.)

(Aus.) a payment (not necessarily a bribe).

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 1 June 5/5: And them there private consultations / Means a greaser every pop.

In compounds

ass grease (n.)

1. (US gay) a lubricant to facilitate anal intercourse.

F.W. Love Chicano Chicken 25: ‘Ass grease on room service?!’ [...] ‘Shit, yeah! You call get the bellhop [...] to smear it on if you want’.

2. (US) semen, esp. in context of homosexual anal intercourse.

[US]personal ad in restroom in Murray & Murrell Lang. Sadomasochism (1989) 34: For an endless supply of ass grease (no S and M, yes B and D) call [phone number].
grease job (n.) [job n.2 (2)]

1. (US) a bribe.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

2. (US) insincere flattery.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]N. Mailer ‘Lang. of Men’ in Advertisements for Myself (1961) 123: You should have seen the grease job I gave to Carter.
G. Parks Choice of Weapons 145: ‘That was a real grease job, Brother Bill,’ I said happily, ‘but you laid it on kinda thick about the welcoming speech’.

3. anal intercourse using Vaseline, KY Jelly or a similar lubricant.

[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 174: I’ll bet she needs a grease job worst way.
[US]M. Rumaker Exit 3 and Other Stories 120: If you want a woman take ole Theodora into town for a grease job.
grease-man (n.)

(US Und.) a safe-blower, who uses nitroglycerine.

[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 7: I was considered one of the top grease men in the country.
greasepot (n.)

1. see sense 2a above.

2. see also SE compounds below.

In phrases

in the grease (also in the dripping)

(US) in serious trouble.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 67: Yessing a retired captain who saw service as he puts the hick officers in the grease at a party.
[US]J.P. McEvoy Hollywood Girl 21: We call it the Pan American because we’re always putting somebody in the grease.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 102: If the police copped Him down there, He was proper in the dripping.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Dead Man’s Guilt’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective May [Internet] His testimony will put me in the grease when the law starts asking questions.
swim in golden grease (v.)

see under swim v.

SE in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.

greaseburger (n.) (also greasebomb)

(US) a very greasy or unappetizing hamburger; also attrib.

[US]H. Ellison ‘High Dice’ in Gentleman Junkie 88: It was just as easy to take strychnine as eat his greaseburgers.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 26: I ask for the most expensive steak, still remembering the greaseburgers.
[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool 29: Spendin the rest of they goddam lifes workin in one of them grease-bomb factories.
P. Hahn How to Ride a Motorcycle 24/2: Mental mistakes like [...] assuming another motorist is paying attention to you and not his double-bacon greaseburger.
grease-burner (n.) (also burner)

(US) a cook.

[US]C. Samolar ‘Argot of the Vagabond’ in AS II:9 392: A cook is a grease-burner, stew-builder or mulligan-mixer.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 793: burner – A cook.
grease-gun (n.) [it goes as fast as ‘greased lightning’]

an automatic weapon.

[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 214: One of our machine guns answers. A grease gun whirrs.
[US]H. Salisbury Shook-Up Generation (1961) 35: It had Mausers, a grease gun, ‘some kind of a machine gun’ and a sawn-off shotgun.
[US]S. Greenlee Spook who Sat by the Door (1972) 112: In addition to M-1’s there were grease guns, pistols, M-14 and M-16 rifles.
[[US]M. Herr Dispatches 11: He was laughing and taping a bunch of sixteen clips together bottom to bottom for faster reloading, ‘grease.’].
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 106: Cowboy hands me a grease gun.
[US](con. 1967) E. Spencer Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 55: I carry real heat in the field. M-16, shotgun, or grease gun.
grease-gut (n.)

(US) a derog. term for a Mexican or Mexican-American.

[US] in Current Sl. IV:3–4 (1970).
[US]Maledicta VII 29: Mexicans were also called grease gut, grease boy, and oiler.
greasehound (n.)

(US) a mechanic.

[US](con. 1918) T.F. Norton 639th Aero Squadron 52: Grease hounds [HDAS].
grease joint (n.) [joint n. (3b)] (US)

1. (also grease-garage) a cheap or inferior restaurant.

[US]M.G. Hayden ‘A Word List From Montana’ in DN IV:iii 244: grease joint, n. Eating house. ‘Let’s go to the grease joint and get something to eat.’.
[US]D. Hammett ‘The Big Knockover’ Story Omnibus (1966) 286: They took us to all the hangouts in San Francisco, to cabarets, grease-joints, pool-rooms, saloons, flophouses, hockshops [...] and what have you.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Good Luck is No Good’ in Federal Agent Nov. [Internet] if she ain’t slinging hash in some grease-jernt she’s out of place.
[US]T. Thursday ‘There’s Hicks In All Trades’ in All Sports Feb. [Internet] He is canvassing the town’s best grease-garage — Oxford for beanery — in search of some steaming coffee and perhaps a snack.
[US]C. Rawson Headless Lady (1987) 29: A grab joint is a hot-dog stand; a grease joint is a lunch wagon or stand; a juice joint the lemonade -.
[US]J. Steinbeck Sweet Thursday (1955) 90: Mrs. Malloy’s slinging hash in a grease joint.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 49: grease joint – A restaurant.
B. Golden Mortals All 61: Sees me’a grease joint just down street an’ heads dat way. Got me a plate’a chops wit onions an’ cheese an’ some tater fries. I.
G. Kuc Red Sex, White Drugs, Blue Rock N Roll 9: I made it a habit of walking [...] to the local grease joint where they have air conditioning.

2. a hamburger or hot dog stand.

[US]K. Nicholson Barker 149: Grease joint – Hot sandwich stand.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 91: Grease Joint. – [...] In show circles, a ‘hamburger’ or ‘hot dog’ stand.
[US]J.E. Dadswell Hey, Sucker 87: Other interesting words in daily use are: [...] grease-joint for hamburger or hot dog stand.
[US]W. Hopson ‘The Ice Man Came’ in Thrilling Detective Winter [Internet] The cook in the grease joint said he’d gone over to town. [Ibid.] I went over to the grease joint [...] I finished the burger and coffee.
grease monkey (n.) (also grease-monk) [monkey n. (2c)]

a mechanic.

[US]L.E. Theiss Piloting the U.S. Mail 155: Bob glanced at his dirty coveralls and grinned. ‘Never mind,’ he said. ‘You’ll be a “grease monkey” yourself soon’.
[US](con. 1917) ‘W.W. Windstaff’ ‘A Flier’s War’ in Longstreet Canvas Falcons (1970) 278: I was [...] waiting for the grease monkey to change a tire on the officers’-mess car.
[US]C. Himes ‘Make with the Shape’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 111: Can’t be nothing the matter with it [i.e. a car] a good greasemonkey like me can’t fix.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 192: Against the collar clan the lunch bucket brigadiers — [...] grease-monkeys, slaughter house bullies, plasterers and brick-layers didn’t stand a chance.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 16: Wants a guy who’s not a grease-monk. She’s running with one who’s bent over his car all the time.
[US]G.L. Coon Meanwhile, Back at the Front (1962) 22: I am an artist, not a goddamn grease monkey.
[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 172: He’d be back with grease monkey in another hour.
[US]H. Roth From Bondage 268: Grease monkey working over a pit under a subway train.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] That grease monkey rang. Says he took your motor to pieces and he can’t out it together again .
[US]Mad mag. May 31: You’d make a good grease monkey.
greasepaint (n.)

a generic term for actors.

[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 35: I hobnobbed with ex- ‘pugs’ and ‘grease paint’ (actors), crooks and down-and-outs.
grease parlor (n.)

1. (US) a cheap restaurant, a greasy spoon n.1 (1)

[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 24 Jan. [synd. col.] Most of them were employed in so-called grease parlors or dirty spoon restaurants of the Bowery and East Side.

2. (US black) a hairdresser’s, a beauty parlour.

[US]F. Swados House of Fury (1959) 118: Owned one of them grease parlors, had two or three girls workin’ there off an’ on, manicurin’, cuttin’ hair, bustin’ naps.
grease patty (n.)

(US prison) prison-cooked, chicken-fried steak.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 67: Grease Patties Chicken fried steak.
grease pit (n.)

1. an unpleasant place.

[US]H.S. Thompson letter 16 Feb. in Proud Highway (1997) 322: The cities are greasepits and not worth blowing off the map.

2. a cheap restaurant.

[US]H.S. Thompson Hell’s Angels (1967) 194: Something like stoop labour, or a steady job in a grease pit.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 111: At night she did seedy gigs downtown or in pukesville grease-pits in the Valley.
M.E. Dassad ‘Chickenhawk’ at [Internet] Doris, the waitress at this overpriced greasepit gave me the evil eye.

3. see also sl. compounds above.

grease pusher (n.)

(US) a mechanic.

[US]W. Sheldon Troubling of a Star 47: The grease-pushers in the 66th didn’t have half the work with jets that Braith had with the piston engines.
grease spot (n.) (US)

1. an infinitesimally tiny quantity.

[US]D. Crockett Exploits and Adventures 22: There was scarce enough left of him, after the canvass was over, to make a small grease spot.
[US]Congressional Globe 14 June Appendix 705: They were told, ‘there will not be a grease spot left of you,’ in Western phrase, if you support General Harrison.
[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning (1965) 86: The town’s not much more than a grease spot in the middle of the road.

2. the fig. state to which one is reduced after either losing a violent fight or suffering extremely hot weather.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 150: grease-spot a minute remnant, humorously the only distinguishable remains of an antagonist after a terrific contest.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Tarantino & Avery Pulp Fiction [film script] 57: If she fuckin’ croaks on me, I’m a grease spot.

3. (US teen) an unappealing individual who is hard to make go away.

[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 20 Feb. 11/4: A ‘grease spot’ is a drip that is hard to get rid of.

In phrases

melt one’s grease (v.)

to work very hard.

[UK]Southey Doctor 368/2: The day was exceedingly hot, and [...] Rubios’s horse was overheated, and, as the phrase was, melted his grease.