1. pertaining to verbosity.
(a) (also gas work) idle or boastful talk, bombast, humbug.
|in Sparks Life of G. Morris II 355: The immense amount raised by political gas could not bring down with it the supporting balloons [DAE].|
|Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 43: [...] to enjoy the sweet and bracing air of the country, instead of inhaling quantities of Gas every step of midnight.|
|Quarter Race in Kentucky and Other Sketches 120: The boys said that was all gas, to scare them off; but ’twouldn’t work!|
|in Tarheel Talk (1956) 273: Dr Ashe is speaking strongly of going to Alabama [...] but I am in hopes it is all gas work.|
|Argus (Melbourne) 8 June 5/7: The term ‘gas’ is frequently used to denote that peculiar kind of enthusiasm which wastes itself in mere words, without reference to the effect they may produce.|
|Eng. Traits 129: Lord Shaftesbury calls the poor thieves together, and reads sermons to them, and they call it ‘gas’.|
|N. Australian (Brisbane) 16 June 7/3: And there was a lot of gas. / And halso a lot of bloe. / And halso a lot of langwidge / witch It seem’d oncommon low.|
|Chambers’s Journal 15 Feb. 110: I don’t, an’ never could splice ends with them as blow off gas about gold-digging – saying it’s plunder easy come an’ easy gone, seeking the root of evil, an’ other granny talk which hasn’t no meaning [F&H].|
|Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) 16 Apr. 434/2: One pungent criticism we remember — on a pious and somewhat sentimental Sunday-school brother, who [...] had been pouring forth vague and declamatory religious exhortation — in the words ‘Gas! gas!’ whispered with infinite contempt from one hard faced young disciple to another.|
|Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: [A]ll opinions not agreeing with their own are likely to be ‘cram,’ ‘gas,’ ‘rot’ or ‘rubbish’.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Mar. 4/1: Australians may be given to ‘blowing,’ but ‘gas’ does not always carry the day, as was exemplified in a recent case of ‘trying it on,’ by our Sydney Gaslight Company.|
|Tuapeka Times (Otago) 16 Sept. 4: He doesn’t care about other people’s business, and afterwards being obliged to swallow a lot of ‘gas’.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 23 Aug. 17/2: The hard-headed ‘Pendragon’ [...] says [...] it is pleasant to set Stanbury’s act in contrast to ‘the blowing and the gas which in Australia go, as a rule, hand-in-hand with – not incompetency and dufferism, as with us, but with real right-down, first-chop talent, courage and ability.’.|
|‘Twiggy Voo?’ in http://monologues.co.uk/musichall [Internet] Now a lover and his lass / Were exchanging spoony gas.|
|Marvel XV:385 Mar. 11: Now stop your gas and let us have some food!|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 26 May 4/8: When you’ve yarded and yapped to the nippers, / When you’ve bawled jingoistical gas.|
|Magnet 10 Sept. 3: I thought that was only gas, of course.|
|DN IV:iii 199: gas, empty talk.‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in|
|Truth (Brisbane) 22 Nov. 1/1: ‘Gas Balloons.’ Just slang for ‘Parliamentarians’.|
|Reporter 134: For cry sake, quit that gas. You newspaper guys.|
|Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 566: There are, indeed, slang terms that have survived for centuries, never dropping quite out of use and yet never attaining to good usage. [...] Among nouns, gas for empty talk has been traced to 1847.|
|Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 104: Home, this is a little light gas I’m blowing.|
|Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 6: ‘Gators,’ it’s a natural gas you can’t zig a zag, everywhere you go cats will whisper, ‘drag,’ wake up Jackson don’t fall in my hole.|
|Two Timing Tart n.p.: Afraid of you? That’s a gas. He could stamp you out like an ant.|
|Mad mag. Apr. 45: To think that I should, like, live to hear that kind of gas in my own pad!|
|Reach 140: Outside [...] I spot Kirsty’s boyfriend doing gas with a wasted-looking tramp.|
|Good Girl Stripped Bare 244: Most commercial radio hosts have egos the size of Jupiter, emitting an equivalent amount of hot air. This is why it’s called the ‘gas giant’.|
(b) one who is verbose, affectedly talkative.
|San Diego Sailor 70: The giddy old gas was simpering like a female impersonator.|
2. (US) energy; thus out of gas, tired out.
|Chicago Sun. Trib. 24 Mar. n.p.: Maddigan [...] was runnin’ her out o’ gas tryin’ to get her to pay some attention to him [HDAS].|
|Showgirl 118: They’re running my poor Jimmy out of gas.|
|I Can Get It For You Wholesale 65: They must’ve run out of gas by then, anyway, so they began to quiet down a little.|
|Native Tongue 71: He’s still got some gas.|
3. (orig. Irish) as a positive descriptor.
(a) a very enjoyable, pleasant situation or experience.
|Dubliners (1956) 20: He told me he had brought it to have some gas with the birds.|
|Ulysses 494: The gas we had on the Toft’s hobbyhorses. I’m giddy still.|
|At Swim-Two-Birds 261: I never had such gas since I was a chiseller.|
|Tarry Flynn (1965) 105: I’m as well have a bit of gas while I can.|
|Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 6: Kitties pick up on this riff by C. It’s a gas, righteous beats and upstate muggin makes this cool Jim all the way uptown, let’s dig.|
|All Night Stand 121: Mix these [drugs] together and it’s a gas.|
|Inner City Hoodlum 149: It’s gonna be a gas to knock over these old hags.|
|Brown’s Requiem 141: You’re the first American I’ve seen since I’ve been down here. That’s a gas. My Spanish is lousy.|
|Snapper 94: It was a fuckin’ gas.|
|Some Hope 342: She had started ‘using’, [...] taking drugs, in the sixties, because it was ‘a gas’.|
|Hip-Hop Connection Jan. 84: It’s a gas.|
(b) someone who is very pleasing, exciting, impressive.
|letter 7 June in Charters II (1999) 41: Florence is a gas.|
|Hell’s Angels (1967) 190: Yeah, good old Tiny [...] He’s a real gas, ain’t he?|
|Life (1981) Act II: Well at least Lar is a bit of a gas.|
|Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 29: In Jamaica I found them just ace / a gas / great sense of humour.|
|Donkey’s Years 32: ‘Gas’ (’a gas article’) meant a merry grig, an amusing person.|
|Vengeance Is Mine! 22: She’s a gas, that Karen.|
4. (US tramp) any form of very strong, if poss. poisonous, drink.
|AS IV:5 340: Gas—Wood alcohol; doped cider; ether, etc.‘Vocab. of Bums’ in|
|AS VII:2 86: Terms used for intoxicating liquor: Gas.‘Volstead English’ in|
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 84: Gas.- [...] Impure liquor, such as doped cider or wine, ‘needle beer,’ ‘smoke’ and the like.|
|Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 52: I dined on reefers and grubbed on dope / I inhaled gas like it was smoke.|
see separate entries.
1. (US tramp) a drinker of wood alcohol, ether, and similar intoxicating, if poss. poisonous, stimulants.
|Amer. Parade II 172/1: He wouldn’t sneak around and take the shoes from the feet of a gas-hound who had passed out. Some of those lousy bums even stripped the pants off their victims!|
|Dark Ship 153: A drunk is always a ‘gas hound’.|
2. an automobile.
|Wayside Tales 21 134/1: Nothing worth while had happened except that Bobby had bought himself an eight cylinder gas hound.|
3. an enthusiastic driver.
|Long Is. RR Info. Bulletin 4:4 58: George Menching, another ‘gas hound,’ [...] had his sweet mama out for a spin; on being held up by traffic control, he had time to observe the pedestrians.|
|Jrnl Social Hygiene 9 68: A ride with a ‘gas-hound’ or ‘chicken-hawk’ [...] without very definite sex temptation which often ends in the choice between an assault or being put out of the car, miles from town.|
see gasbag n.
see separate entry.
see sense 1a above.
1. satisfactory, as desired.
|Nicholas Nickleby (1982) 648: She is come at last—at last—and all is gas and gaiters!|
|Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 11 Mar. 2/2: The Tub was heard privately to express his opinion that all was gas and gaiters.|
|Luton Times 25 Sept. 4/4: Music, light, and colour, lend their enchantment [...] all is ‘gas and gaiters’.|
|New Chum in the Queensland Bush 72: However I was come, and ‘all was gas and gaiters’ for the rest of the day.|
|How I was Buried Alive 162: And then came a rush of dancing dervishes, and all was gas and gaiters.|
|Responsibilities of the Novelist 93: Once land him in New York and all would be gas and gaiters.|
|Trent’s Last Case (1929) 241: Mabel and I are betrothed, and all is gas and gaiters.|
|Secret of Chimneys xiii: I’ve only got to get hold of dear old Stylptitch’s Reminiscences and all will be gas and gaiters.|
|Room at the Top (1959) 88: Do what Uncle Charles advises, and all will be gas and gaiters.|
|Ice in the Bedroom 21: She cries ‘Oh, Freddie darling!’ and flings herself into his arms, and all is gas and gaiters again.|
|Snare of the Hunter 219: All was gas and gaiters in the front half of the room.|
2. nonsense, rubbish, pomposity, bombast.
|Trefoil 26: My father was profoundly irritated by him, and said something [...] about ‘gas and gaiters’ which seemed to us a harsh description of so pretty a man [OED].|
|Adventures Black Girl 67: Its [i.e. the Bible’s] one great love poem is the only one that can satisfy a man who is really in love. Shelley’s Epipsychidion is, in comparison, literary gas and gaiters.|
|BBC TV [sitcom title] All Gas and Gaiters.|
|(con. WW2) Heart of Oak [ebook] Those bloody little blokes are always the worst when they got a bit of power over you; all bleeding gate and gaiters, they are, see?|
|Br. Journal Radiology 70 865: [heading] Not All Gas and Gaiters?|
(US/UK teen) a phr. indicating that everything is fine, ‘it’s all wonderful’.
|‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ [lyrics] I was born in a cross-fire hurricane / And I howled at my ma in the driving rain, / But it’s all right now, in fact, it’s a gas! / But it’s all right. I’m Jumpin’ Jack Flash, / It’s a Gas! Gas! Gas!|
|Guardian 17 May [Internet] You can’t see who you’re talking to, have little idea what you’re eating and not a lot of it ends up in your mouth. Pleasingly, however, everyone bypasses vous and slips into the familiar tu form of address. After a while, it’s a gas.|
1. (US) unsuccessful, past one’s prime.
|Harder They Fall (1971) 19: When you’re out of gas, that’s all, brother.|
2. see sense 2 above.
SE in slang uses
Pertaining to SAmE gas, gasoline, i.e. petrol
see buggy n.2 (1)
the trad. enormous US automobile, profligate of petrol and dwarfing its European rivals; symbolic of the 1950s, out of favour in the energy-conscious 1970s, it staged a renaissance in the 1990s; 2000s saw the term applied to the controversial SUVs.
|Life 22 Oct. 30: Why buy a ‘Gas Guzzler’? Rambler travels miles on mere sips of gas ... with scarcely a flicker of the fuel gauge.|
|Life 15 Nov. 122: All fed up with emptying your pockets to fill up a gas guzzler? The sparkling all-new Rambler American delivers its spirited performance together with gas mileage that has topped every economy run officially entered.|
|Newsweek 6 Oct. 74: RATING THE ’76 CARS: TURNING GUZZLERS INTO SIPPERS.|
|Seven Sisters 320: The reign of the Big Car seemed to have abruptly ended; in Detroit in the height of the crisis, there was a pervasive gloom about the prospects for the ‘gas-guzzlers’.|
|Minder [TV script] 68: Oh that. Bleeding gas guzzler.‘Senior Citizen Caine’|
|Guardian 14 July 11: The grand prix, he said, was the biggest meeting of gas guzzlers in the country.|
|N.Y. Rev. July 16: The taxpayer can use his rebate to fill his gas-guzzler if he likes.|
(US) a gas/petrol station attendant.
|Jet 3 Feb. 18: Donning a gas jockey’s uniform to aid the 1955 March of Dimes drive, Congressman Charles C. Diggs of Detroit fills up the tank.|
|Pop. Science Sept. 49: As the gas jockey refueled us, he asked, ‘You mix your oil and gas in this thing, like in an outboard?’.|
|Love Ain’t Nothing but Sex Misspelled 67: ‘You save Blue Chip stamps?’ the gas jockey asked.‘Neither Your Jenny nor Mine’ in|
|Queens’ Vernacular 212: Wanda Windshield (kwn SF, ’70, gas jockey).|
|Western Folklore XXXVI 176: Ranch hand, flunky, ice house worker, and gas jockey.|
|National Lampoon Aug. 16: A fellow...tricked a...gas jockey into admitting he had destroyed motorists’ battery terminals [HDAS].|
|Big M 96: The gas-jockey was a good sport.|
|Winnipeg Sun 18 July [Internet] [headline] Gas jockey foils thief. Won’t give cash, sends him packin’ pantsless.|
(US gay) a man who picks up male prostitutes from his car.
|Maledicta IX 145: In Los Angeles […] the boulevard boys on Selma, Hollywood, and Sunset boulevards try to […] connect with paying customers who cruise by in cars (gas queens).|
1. (US) a car.
|Automobile Topics 4 375: The new l6-hp. gas wagon being built by the International Motor Car Company.|
|Wyoming (1908) 43: I ain’t used to them gas wagons.|
|Alaska Citizen 28 July 8/4: She never gets closer to [a lady] than [...] when some swell dame buzzes past in her gas-wagon.|
|Ogden Standard-Examiner (UT) 5 Feb. 12/2: ‘The buzz buggy,’ ‘the gas wagon,’ ‘the bus,’ ‘the litle ol’ boat,’ ‘the road louse,’ ‘the buckboard’ — a wealth of pet names.|
2. in fig. use, a band-wagon, i.e. the prevailing trend.
|Living Rough 227: Who can blame them if they fall over themselves to get in the social credit gas-wagon?|
(US) to move fast, to accelerate.
|B&O Mag. 8 51/1: The boys on the engine sure did give her the gas and we just had a dandy ride.|
|Don. K. Haughty [comic strip] Give ’er the gas, ‘Pennyante’!!|
|Pacific Reporter XXXIV 578: Get into a lower gear and give it the gas.|
|DA].We Took to Woods (1948) 66: I remember shoving for dear life while Ralph gave her the gas [|
|Where the Sidewalk Ends [film script] A detective jumps in my cab and says ‘Follow that black sedan, it’s full of thieves.’ So I give her the gas.|
|‘End of the Road’ [lyrics] You can jump in my Ford and give her the gas, / Pull out the throttle, don’t take no sass.|
|Exit 3 and Other Stories 94: ‘Give her the gas, boys!’ he shouted, tossing back his head and breaking into a run.|
|Airpower 259: Give us the nod. and we’ll give it the gas.|
|High Cotton (1993) 115: He fished out five dollars and gave the MG the gas.|
|Couldn’t Keep It to Myself 296: ‘Okay, now, give it the gas and ease off the clutch gently.’ ‘How am I ever going to shift, let up on the clutch, and give it gas all at the same time.’.|
(US) to accelerate an automobile; to drive fast.
|No Beast So Fierce 269: Just before we came to a halt it [i.e. a traffic light] turned green and he punched the gas.|
|Brown’s Requiem 11: Somehow I knew it was coming, so I ducked and punched the gas.|
|(con. 1970s) King Suckerman (1998) 66: Dewey punched the gas, going south on 14th.|
|(con. 1964–8) Cold Six Thousand 155: The cops punched the gas. They laid tread and pursued.|
(US) to commit suicide by inhaling gas.
|None But the Lonely Heart 176: Poor bitch’s been and give herself a gas supper.|
|One Lonely Night 153: Part of the gang who are going to be dying in the very near future unless they get smart and take the gas pipe.|
|In Fact 42: Look through your town for the man most likely to put his head into the oven: she married him, prodded him into having six kids before he did take the gas-pipe.|
|Underground Dict. (1972) 181: take the pipe v. 1. Commit suicide. 2. Kill oneself via an overdose of a drug.|
(US teen) a contorted face, either with pleasure or disgust.
|‘The Gas Face’ [lyrics] Cactus Album [album] A Gas Face, can either be a smile or a smirk / When appears, a monkey wrench to work one’s clockwork.|
|‘No master plan, no master race’ [lyrics] Derelicts of Dialect [album] The same people that got the gasface last year.|
|Midnight Lightning 31: Hendrix figures too prominently [...] for us to allow this sorryass state of affairs to go by without getting the gas face.|
see separate entry.
(UK Und.) a stunning blow.
|‘Battle’ in Fancy I XVII 407: The combatants now got into a desperate rally, and Josh, receiving the most pepper, till he put in a Gaslighter in the middle of his opponents mug, that not only sent him staggering some yards, but produced the pink gushing out of both of his peepers.|
a petty thief.
|Only When I Laugh 216: ‘Cheap little gas-meter bandit.’ ‘How can you be sure?’ I asked Silas. ‘I can smell them’.|
|What Are the Bugles Blowing For? 120: Supposed to be no guns in England — you know; every bloody airgun licensed by magistrates — whereas every little gas meter bandit has got one.|
|Cage of Shadows 255: I went inside as a gas-meter-bandit; I came out fully educated in matters criminal.|
|Christie File III186: The cells were all two and three to a cell, something not conducive to concentration or contemplation, especially if you were banged up with a fool, low-life gas-meter bandit.|
|Close n.p.: He’s a standing joke, a by-word for liars and thieves. He's one leg up from a fucking gas-meter bandit.|
to ‘pysch oneself up’ by means of verbal aggression.
|Hood Rat 111: Ribz leans on his fists, bragging about what he’s going to do to those motherfuckers, gassing himself up.|
see separate entry.
1. to beat.
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
2. (US, also stow gas) to scold, to verbally abuse or ridicule.
|N.Y. Morning Express 1 Jan. 2/4: Driscoll met him [Cornelius Cuddy] and said, ‘You son of a b--h, who are you giving gas to?’ and struck him.|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
|Powers That Prey 119: You can stow that gas for all me: Net an’ me is goin’ to flit right now.|
|Man with the Golden Arm 81: You never used to give me gas before.|
|CUSS 125: Give gas Tease or annoy someone.et al.|
1. to trick verbally, to 'spin someone a yarn’.
|‘Flare Up!’ in Rake’s Budget in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 65: She thought she’d put the gas on him /[...] / She thought as how the cove to chouse.|
2. to exert pressure on a person for a loan, a favour, sexual compliance etc.
|Bulletin n.p.: Note ‘to put the gas on’ – a variant of ‘to put the acid on’, – the latter familiar slang from the mine-assayer’s lexicon.|
|‘Interview with Jayne Simon’ in Lip Service [Internet] One of the keys to a company’s success is knowing when to put the gas on and when to put the brakes on, metaphorically speaking.|
1. (US) to be scolded and abused.
|Current Sl. I:3 7/2: Take gas, v. To take abuse.|
2. (orig. US campus) to do badly.
|Current Sl. III:1 13: Take gas, v. To do badly on anything.|
|Current Sl. IV:1.|
|(con. 1964) Duke of Deception (1990) 235: Only a couple of friends took gas, were deep-sixed from Princeton prematurely and against their wishes.|
|Way Home (2009) 193: I know we’ve had a little downturn in business [...] Hell, everybody’s taking gas in this economy.|
3. to kill oneself, by any method.
|Choirboys (1976) 44: If that whacko bitch wanted to take gas, fuck it, it ain’t our fault.|
1. to endure punishment, esp. in a boxing ring.
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 5: For 4 bits I’d take the gas route. I’m done. Never again!|
|Campus Sl. Oct. 6: take the gas – to fail in an important situation.|
2. to commit suicide by inhaling gas.
|Green Book Mag. 14 766/1: If it wasn’t that I was working to make Hazel see the light [...] I’d prob’ly take the gas route.|
|Munsey’s Mag. 77 553/2: At times it had seemed as if it would be best to give in — to take the gas route out of it all.|