Green’s Dictionary of Slang

go down v.

1. (UK/US Und.) to rob, to steal from [go down into the pockets].

[US]Calif. Police Gazette 23 Jan. 2/4: Mary Barrett [a whore] . . . is not content with driving her illegitimate trade, but must needs ‘go down’ occasionally on her ‘lovers.’ Last week while a drunken fool was engaged in surveying three dollars worth of beauty, she ‘went down’ and got his pocket-book containing about forty dollars.
[UK] Sessions Papers 13 Jan. n.p.: He [...] tried to take my purse away – he found he could not get it, and he went down my young man.
R.A. Fuller Recollections n.p.: They think nothing of clapping a victim’s hat over his eyes, while they ‘go down’ him for all he has [DSUE].

2. to lose one’s money, e.g. in a wager; to become bankrupt.

[UK]Sporting Times 22 Mar. 1/4: The going down was all right. Went down on a dogcart, then on Kyber, then on Hugger Mugger, then on George, then on Magic, and then on Eyrie—I got back to town in penny numbers!
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 13 Jan. 5/6: The new man from the country put up his ‘stuff’ [...] Of course he ‘went down’.
[Aus]E. Dyson Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 25: I met ’er at the races [...] I’d had a bad day; went down five times.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 504: Jolly old cabinet merry and bright? or did you all go down on Purple Polly at Goodwood yesterday?
[UK]K. Waterhouse Soho 133: Next time round they’d push the betting up to twenty and go down.

3. (S.Afr./US) to die.

[SA]C.E. Finlason A Nobody in Mashonaland 184: In some parts the lions are simply awful, and scoff fifty per cent of the men who have gone down.
[US]M. Puzo Godfather 94: I don’t care if we have to fight all the five Families in New York. The Tattaglia Family is going to be wiped out. I don’t care if we all go down together.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 158: Go down to suck a penis or to die.
[US]Jackson & Christian Death Row xvii: To go down means to be executed.
[US]J. Ridley Everybody Smokes in Hell 132: She don’t do right, she go down.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 6: People dyin’? Brian G. goin’ down, Rocco, all kinds of guys.
[US]C.W. Ford Deuce’s Wild 48: The Deuce is pronounced dead . . . Sad thing, you know? Seein’ your homey go down like that.

4. (Aus.) to lose a horse-race deliberately.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 10 Jan. 3/7: Now look here, Ben [...] here’s a thousand pounds a man, certain, if you go down, and let Blue Gum cop the double.

5. (also go down below) to be sent to prison; to be punished while in prison.

[Aus]‘Dryblower’ ‘Thy Will Be Done’ in Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Jan. 12/1: She’d go down for five years if M’Shuffle had the power.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Dec. 20/3: Look here, patsy, the police have got it in for me over two or three things, and I’ll go down over this, as sure as death.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 62: He went down for burglary.
[UK]N. Lucas London and its Criminals 22: I saw a paragraph in the evening paper stating that ‘Izzy’ had ‘gone down’ for a ‘stretch’.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 158: ‘The Box’ plays a big part in their lives. It is a fund subscribed to by crooks while they are doing well [...] and when a man goes down, the women and children live on the box.
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 32: What did you go down for in ’43?
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 74: If it was the last thing he did he would see them go down for plenty.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 12: The fuzz would like me to go down though.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 19: Then when your time comes you either try to get a result or try to take it philosophically. You go down, do your bit of bird.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘May the Force be with You’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You and young Rodney are going down for at least a year apiece!
[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 29: I’m not going down for two days or two weeks or two months.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] I had been lagged for another jumpover I did. The trial would be a formality. I was going down.
Denver Rocky Mountain News 14 Nov. 12A: ‘We have to do this guy, because I am not going down for this,’ the affidavit quoted Prelow as having said in the apartment.
[Aus]P. Temple Black Tide (2012) [ebook] Brendan’s going down big time.
[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 181: If I so much as nick a packet of biscuits I’ll be going down below.
[US]Source Aug. 117: As he gets bigger, he starts balling. But he ends up going down.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] I’ve told the Homicide Squad what I know. Your husband’s going down.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 232: Frank, who I’d expected to go down with Sparky [...] was given 120 hours community service.
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 99: You’re the second doctor connected to me that’s going down.
[Aus]G. Disher Heat [ebook] ‘Worst-case scenario, we all go down’.

6. (W.I.) to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.

7. (orig. US, also go down on, go down under) to perform fellatio or cunnilingus; cit. 1905–07 is double entendre, a girl confuses a penis with ‘an elevator’.

[US]Bawdy N.Y. State MS. 3: Dont you see that it is coming up now, and when it is up, I am going down on it.
[US] in Journal Hist. Sexuality V. 595: [The defendant is] said to have to practiced the infamy for more than nine years, being one who will ‘go down’ on another or will himself willingly and gladly submit to the outrage. ... I have seen men ... at a function of that kind ... go around on their knees to various other persons present and attempt to ‘go down’ on them right before the crowd and seemingly they have no shame about it.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 24 Jan. 11/6: [She] had been at No 190 [...] surrounded by her brood of duckies, including Daisy and Down-Went-McGinty. She had kept a bagnio and a sly-grog establishment.
[US] Transcript Dunn Inq. in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 26: Green paid ‘well for their pleasure,’ having given enlisted men up to five dollars ‘to let him go down and suck them off’.
[US] in P. Smith Letter from My Father (1978) 135: Betty played with my balls while Kay went down on me.
[US] ‘You Nazi Man’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 130: [illus. of man-to-man fellatio] Just as ‘Der Fuehrer’ went down to breakfast.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ et al. Gay Girl’s Guide 10: go down on: A quasi-straight term for do, ‘blow’, etc.
[US]‘Swasarnt Nerf’ Gaedicker’s Sodom-on-the-Hudson 19: [Those] (who upon finding nothing on their hallway on which to go down, come down).
[US]H. Huncke ‘A Story – New York’ in Huncke’s Journal (1998) 17: She had just gotten rid of her most recent boy because [...] he didn’t wish to go down on her.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 59: I stood against a tree and in frantic succession let seven night figures go down on me.
‘Philip Barrows’ Whores, Queers & Others I [ebook] I went down on her. [...] It did smell a tiny bit like Gorgonzola, but I'd always liked Gorgonzola anyway.
[US]San Diego Sailor 79: He went down on me [i.e. another man] again.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 197: ‘I’ll take a chance. Want you to plate me first anyway.’ That was something he doubted the woman was expecting. Few wanted to go down on their clients, but she didn’t resist.
[US]D. Goines Daddy Cool (1997) 71: She had never had a man go down on her.
[UK]A. Burgess Earthly Powers 30: ‘Those who went down,’ he sniggered. ‘Dear old Walt [i.e. Whitman] knew all about going down’.
[UK]P. Bailey An Eng. Madam 82: I never enjoyed going down [...] Anyway, I told the bloke that I would be happy to suck him off so long as he wore a French letter.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 145: So I goes down on her, she opens her thighs pulls her knees back and when I touch her she’s nearly there already. I lick up through her.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 69: What it would be like to be down on her, running my nose along her wet lips, in among her slippery, slidy pussy.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 30: Gina, my sweet-hearted girlfriend who’s finally letting me go both down on and into her.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Rosa Marie’s Baby (2013) [ebook] ‘Coming right up,’ said Les. ‘Sorry. Make that going right down’.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 12: A guy should bring his wife some night, the ones still go down on the old bracciole.
[UK]N. Bradley ‘Blind Old Kate’ [Internet] The bloke went down like a whore on a honeymoon.
[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 91: When Nora went down on her it was enjoyable for a bit.
[Aus]N. Cummins Tales of the Honey Badger [ebook] I went down like Pamela Anderson at the Playboy Mansion.
Young M.A. ‘Eat’ [lyrics] [of lesbian sex] [T]his is what I do when I'm stressed / I make her go down like the sun doing the set.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 76: So, I hop into bed with a girlfriend. ‘You’ve never done this before, have you?’ she asks, after I go ‘down under’.

8. (orig. US black) to happen, to take place, often of a fight or other dramatic encounter.

[US]Time 10 Feb. 12: Until the groovy cats dig each other or a Webster happens by to help us pick up on what’s going down, Time will igg the issue.
[US]D. Burley Diggeth Thou? 43: Let me wig you to the deal that went down.
[US]‘Lord Buckley’ Hiparama of the Classics 7: Here’s the way the scene went down.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 199: Big things going down tonight.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 111: Everybody knew what went down. But wouldn’t a soul talk about it.
[UK]V. Headley Yardie 79: A village where everyone knew everyone and everything going down.
[US]F.X. Toole Pound for Pound 157: That’s in case something like this goes down.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] When all that hideous shit with mum went down.
[UK]A. Wheatle Crongton Knights 17: I overheard some cussing going down in his castle.
[US]C.D. Rosales Word Is Bone [ebook] So. That’s what went down. That’s how I knew it was true—June was back.

9. (US street gang, also go down on) to attack a rival gang.

[US]H. Salisbury Shook-Up Generation (1961) 24: It is only when they ‘go down’ or embark on a rumble that the gang structure can be easily identified.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 96: Big Tony is plannin’ to go down on one of us. He’s gonna order a rumble from the cage at State-O. [Ibid.] 108: If the Scratchers rumble on us, they go down on ’em. If the Scratchers rumble on them, we go down.
[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 120: When the Baron and the other men in the Black Death Watchers go down on another gang [...] they take me [...] along.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: went down on fought with, beat.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 79: Parks come over dere, I go down wi’ d’ Pueblos.

10. (US) to copulate readily.

[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 349: She goes down for all the brothers, / Like a Theta should.
[UK]J. Poller Reach 19: I would’ve gladly gone down on her for days if only she’d let me.

11. (US black, also go down with) to help a friend.

[US]E. Folb Urban Black Argot 139: Go Down to help a friend when he is in trouble, esp. when a fight is imminent.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 240: go down (with) 1. Help out a friend in trouble, especially when a fight is imminent.

In phrases

what’s going down?

(US black/campus) a greeting.

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: what’s going down? a form of greeting.
[UK]H. Kureishi Buddha of Suburbia 9: ‘Whats going down?’ we said to each other.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 100: Question forms such as these versions of how are you? signal that a response is in order: how’s it going? what does it look like? what it is? what’s going down? what’s happening?

SE in slang uses

In phrases

go down like a dinner (v.) [colloq. go down, to be acceptable]
E. Waugh Mr Loveday’s Little Outing 229: ‘Would he be all right with the Anchorages?’ ‘I should think he'd go down like a dinner’.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 290: This went down like a dinner with all and sundry.
go down the bay (v.)

(US) to spend heavily.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 133: I’d got hold of four dollars, and I ‘went down the bay’ with it. Got a papier-mache suit, shoes, hat, and a pink flannel shirt for $2.80.
go down the chute(s) (v.) (also go down the garbage can, ...mine, chute the chutes)

(US) to be ruined, to meet with disaster.

[US]Advocate (Meriden, KS) 2 Apr. 11/4: The miner is obliged to let from 3 to 20 per cent of his earnings go down the chute when the docking boss says so.
[US]St Louis Republican (MO) part 1 26 Jan. 11/3: [headline] Wheat, Corn and Oats All Go Down the Chute.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 24 Jan. 7/1: A beautiful young girl whose family fortune had gone down the chute.
[UK]A.G. Empey Over the Top 61: These steps were cut into the earth, but at that time were muddy and slippery. A man had to be very careful or else he would chute the chutes.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 718: By the books, I should have let this outfit go on down the chutes.
[US]W. Murray Sweet Ride 205: The least we can do for the poor little bastard is let him choose his own way to go down the chute.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 39: And the Gyppos went straight down the mine, chariots and all!
[US]Hall & Adelman Gentleman of Leisure 50: It isn’t in the game for you to go down the garbage can at twenty-three.
‘Taki’ Nothing to Declare xii: I managed to beat only four racers [...] that ambition also went down the chute.
go down the weather (v.) [one suffers an ‘ill wind’]

to become bankrupt.

[UK]R. Cotgrave Dict. of Fr. and Eng. Tongues n.p.: Aller, Aller au saffran, to fall to decay, to grow bankrupt in estate, to goe downe the weather.
J. Shute Sarah and Hagar (1649) 63: Job was despised when he was down the weather, yea even by those, whom, when he prospered, he would scarce have set with the dogs of his flock .
go down to it (v.)

(Aus.) to fall asleep.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Feb. 14/2: But Dave had ‘gone down to it’; the whisky had beaten him, and he was dead to the world.