Green’s Dictionary of Slang

say v.

(US Und.) to rob; to break into.

[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 262: We said that plant and trimmed it nice.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

ain’t saying nothing

(US black) a dismissive phr. suggesting that nothing you say is of the slightest importance.

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: ain’t sayin(g) nothin(g) phrase referring to a matter or person of little merit, respect, or value.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 87: you ain’t sayin’ nothin’ Your opinion is worthless; your words are of no substance or importance.
he-say-she-say (n.) (also he-said-she-said, he-say-she-say talk)

(US black) gossip, chatter, loose talk.

[US]Hall & Adelman Gentleman of Leisure 114: If somebody did something with him sexually and told another girl, he’d make that girl come down and do the same thing. That’s punishment for ‘he-say, she-say’.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 64: I know how to tell things, without any who-shot-John or he-said-she-said.
[US]M. McAlary Crack War (1991) 89: ‘What you saying about me, saying I was a traitor, going for the money with Todd?’ [...] ‘That’s he-say, she-say talk,’ Sphinx replied.
[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 47/1: he-said-she-said – n. gossip, rumors.
I bet you say that to all the boys/girls

a teasing phr. orig. used by women to men but latterly by either sex; it follows a compliment or ‘line’; thus fig. ext. to any person.

[US]Collier’s 94 12: ‘I’ll bet you say that to all the girls,’ I suggested, but Mr. Sutter ignored my pleasantry.
[US]Amer. Mag. 134 91/2: To deflate a fast worker who thinks he’s the Army’s (or Navy’s) gift to women [...] ‘I’ll bet you say that to all the girls’.
[US]Yank 4 41/2: I’ll bet you say that to all the boys. Don’t try any of that stuff on me.
[US]O. Peck Sex life of a Cop 15: ‘I bet you say that to all the girls,’ she kidded.
[US]Meat Loaf ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’ [lyrics] on Bat Out of Hell [album] Boy: Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses? Girl: Yes. Boy: I bet you say that to all the boys!
[US]Kander & Ebb ‘You Could Never Shame Me’ [lyrics] on Kiss of the Spiderwoman [soundtrack album] mother: A good son sees his poor old mother through her old age; he doesn’t leave her for a tummy ache! molina: You’re not old...You’re still beautiful. mother: I bet you say that to all the girls!
[US] ’I Bet You Say That to All the Hacks’ Baltimore City Paper Online Nov. 19–25 [Internet] I bet you say that to all the boys.
I’ll say (so)

(orig. US) absolutely, definitely, I couldn’t agree more.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 48: (IS: Listening and wondering as the fat dame introduces her new young husband to her relatives for the first time) She’s a dude at findin’ em — ain’t she? I’ll say she is.
[US]Le Meschacébé (Lucy, LA) 10 Apr. 7/1: ‘Did you have any luck at the game last night? ‘I’ll say so’.
[US]E. Ferber ‘The Afternoon of a Faun’ in One Basket (1947) 142: ‘I’ll say!’ agreed Nick.
[US]C. Coe Hooch! 148: ‘How about a little drink, Dutch?’ [...] ‘I’ll say so!’ Slenk agreed.
[UK]Skegness Standard 8 Feb. 5/1: ‘And didn’t they tell themselves off when the time came?’ ‘I’ll say so!’ .
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘That Summer’ in Coll. Stories (1965) 155: I’ll say, he said. I bet you have, I said.
[US]Southern & Hoffenberg Candy (1970) 41: ‘Liv’s in one of her moods’ [...] ‘I’ll say!’.
[UK](con. 1940s) O. Manning Danger Tree 92: ‘Any questions?’ ‘I’ll say there are,’ Ridley whispered to Simon.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 52: ‘There’s nothing usual about what I’m proposing ...’ ‘I’ll say.’.
I’m saying (doe)

(US black) a phr. of agreement, affirmation.

[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] ‘I’m saying doe’ Definition: to concur or agree ie: I second that, short for word up. Example: Yo mike need to stop tripping, I’m saying doe.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 4: FOR REAL – expression of agreement: [...] Also I’M SAYIN’, TRUE DAT.
say a mouthful (v.) (also say an armful, ...a page full, speak an armful, …a mouthful)(orig. US)

1. to say something important and true.

[UK]Scots Mag. 7 Dec. 60/2: It was the first time he had ever been heard to speak a mouthful of sense.
[Ire]Irish Times 22 May 4/3: It was not his intention to speak a mouthful of moonshine.
[UK]Royal Cornwall Gaz. 14 Nov. 5/2: A witness [...] assured the Bench that no one could speak a ‘mouthful’ of harm against her.
[US]Van Loan ‘Easy Picking’ in Taking the Count 314: A feller told me once [...] that all the wise guys in the cities came in from the small towns. He sure said an armful then.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 10 Sept. [synd. cartoon] You said a page full. Turn over.
[US]Van Loan ‘Levelling with Elisha’ in Old Man Curry 31: ‘You spoke an armful then!’ said the Kid. [Ibid.] ‘The Redemption Handicap’ 180: Ain’t it the truth! [...] You surely spoke a mouthful then!
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 233: Some egg in the gallery hollered ‘You said a mouthful, kid!’.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 19: ‘Coke’s got a chance.’ ‘You said a mouthful,’ said Regan.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 394: You said a mouthful, Marie.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 197: To use one of your phrases, you’ve said a mouthful.
[US]J. Thompson Pop. 1280 in Four Novels (1983) 395: You shorely spoke a mouthful there, Nick.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 16: Now you have just said a mouthful, mah man.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 98: ‘You’re a very old soul . . .’ concludes Rainbow. You said a mouthful there, sister.

2. to talk at length, esp. critically.

[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 26: You said a mouthful.

3. (gay) to reprove a fellow homosexual in detail and at great length.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 40: say a mouthful (v.): The reprimand of one homosexual for another, usually at great length, as in ‘To lay (one) to filth.’ The term, with a somewhat different meaning, is said to have come into the popular language from the homosexual.
[US] (ref. to 1940s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 177: say a mouthful (rare, ’40s) to severely rebuke.
say something (v.)

(US) to make an important statement, to say something profound; lit. or fig.

[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 68: You said somethin’!
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 24: ‘That your dog, Kid?’ he greeted. The kid halted [...] ‘You’ve said something, bo,’ he answered.
[UK]R. Irvin ‘The Smythes’ [comic strip] You said somethin’, Pop.
[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 70: She’d better say something, that’s all. I’ll tell her a few things. She can talk.
[US]Jazz for Moderns 21: saying something: producing something of value (‘That cat is saying something!’ This could pertain to a good musician, actor, driver, shoemaker, etc.).
[US]Jazz Rev. Jan. 6: Basie is also an admirer of Martin Luther King: ‘Like the cats would put it, he’s saying something.’.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 34: sayin’ something – Very good; you dig it; pleasing.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
say what? (also says which?)

(US) an expression of mock disbelief, e.g. what did you say? are you telling the truth?

[US]Van Loan ‘Egyptian Corn’ in Old Man Curry 238: ‘Are you going to bet on him?’ ‘Says which?’ Shanghai showed a double row of glistening ivories.
[UK]L. Barry blackface dialogue in Tosches (2001) n.p.: ‘I suppose you read in today’s papers about the big robbery on Main Street, Emmett?’ ‘Says which?’.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 13: ‘How long’s this coop been a dinge joint?’ ‘Says which?’.
[US]J. Webb Fields of Fire (1980) 263: ‘How many people do you know who rotated without getting hit?’ Cannonball scowled [...] ‘Say what?’.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 1: Banned in Dallas? Say what, boy?
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 163: Suddenly the man in the black robes is running wild, talking fifteen and no parole. Say what? Who changed the rules?
[Aus]Sydney Morning Herald (Aus.) 6 Jan. n.p.: So here’s a tentative guide to Sydney teenspeak: [...] Say what? (repeat that, I don’t understand).
say when

a formula used when pouring someone else a drink, i.e. say when you want me to stop pouring.

[UK]Modern Society 6 June n.p.: ‘Say when,’ said Bonko, taking up a flagon of whiskey and commencing to pour out the spirit into my glass. ‘Bob!’ replied I [F&H].
[UK]G.B. Shaw John Bull’s Other Island Act I: broadbent: [pouring whisky] Say when.
[Ire]Joyce ‘A Little Cloud’ Dubliners (1956) 73: ‘Water? Say when.’ Little Chandler allowed his whisky to be very much diluted.
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 115: Rocky took up the decanter. ‘Say when, Bertie.’ ‘Stop!’ barked the aunt.
[UK]W. Watson Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day (2000) 149: Miss Pettigrew brought glasses. ‘Say when,’ said Michael.
[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 498: He showed her the vinegar bottle. – Say when, he said.
what do you say?

(US) how are you?

[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 275: How the old married man [...] what do ya say?
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 23: ‘What do you say, man!’ I say. ‘What’s doing?’.
[US]M. Shulman Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1959) 142: Grady, whaddya say?
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 573/2: What do you say? A conventional greeting that needs no reply [...] Common since c.1920.
[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 154: What d’you say, Mitch?
[US]H. Selby Jr Demon (1979) 69: Hi, whatta ya say?
[US]H. Selby Jr Song of the Silent Snow (1988) 69: Whatta ya say Ron [...] what’s happening?
what-I-might-say (n.)

(US black) a euph. for an obscenity.

[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 220: Nowadays blackfolks just ain’ happy ’less they got some bukra peepin’ in they what-I-might-say! [Ibid.] 168: She would rather sit on her do-nothing-stool and take all that what-I-might-say.
what say?

1. (orig. US) what did you say? what was that? what do you think?; occas. as excl.

[US]J. Neal Brother Jonathan I 357: ‘Was he hurt, uncle Harwood?’ ‘What-say?’.
[US]M.E. Wilkins New England Nun 31: Well, what say! [DA].
[UK]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 312: What say, Jack? Shall we go home right away?
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 155: A thousand bucks wot we’ll split fiftyfifty. Wot say, Kid?
[US](con. 1918) J. Stevens Mattock 297: Le’s go ’er together. What say?
[US]T. Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel (1930) 485: ‘What say?’ she asked sharply.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 78: I don’t give a damn what he said. Takim back. Here’s some baccy — now then — what say?
[UK]C. MacInnes City of Spades (1964) 43: What say, man? You like a glass of rum?
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 95: It’s a big, tough one. What say?

2. used as a greeting.

[US]Randolph & Pingry ‘Kansas University Sl.’ in AS III:3 221: What say? v.phr.—A form of greeting.
you can say that again

(orig. US) a phr. underlining the speaker’s agreement with the previous statement.

[US] ‘Whitman College Sl.’ in AS XVIII:2 Apr. 155/1: you ain’t woofing; you can say that again; you’re on the beam. Terms denoting satisfaction and agreement.
[US](con. 1944) J.H. Burns Gallery (1948) 112: You can say that again, Father!
[US]W. Fisher Waiters 258: ‘You can say that again,’ Rowden finally said.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 93: ‘They ain’t never seen nothing like Perk.’ ‘You can say that again.’.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 36: You can say that again!
[UK]R. Rendell Best Man To Die (1981) 94: ‘Folks buy new stuff, they don’t want this reconditioned rubbish.’ ‘You can say that again,’ said Wexford.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 120: ‘That was a close call,’ he said. [...] I laughed hysterically. ‘You can say that again.’.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 137: ‘Ya can say that again’ he invited glumly.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘The Yellow Peril’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You can say that again.
you don’t say (also you don’t say so, you don’t say that, you don’t tell)

a heavily sarcastic response to a statement of the obvious.

[UK]T. Morton Speed the Plough II ii: handy, jun.: I rather fancy I can plough better than any man in England. sir abel: You don’t say so!
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Poor Gentleman I i: No! You don’t say so?
[UK]J. Thomson An Uncle Too Many I i: No! you don’t say so!
[US]R.M. Bird City Looking Glass V i: You don’t say so! the doctor!
[UK] ‘The Romance of a Day’ in Bentley’s Misc. June 573: Mercy on us! you don’t say so?
[UK]D. Boucicault London Assurance in London Assurance and other Victorian Comedies (2001) Act II: courtly: (aside) Why, that’s is my governor, by Jupiter! dazzle: (aside) What, old whiskers! You don’t say that!
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 296: You don’t say so!
[US]‘Madison Tensas’ Louisiana ‘Swamp Doctor’ (1850) 150: Exclamations of [...] ‘Lordy grashus!’ and ‘Well, did you ever!’ and ‘You don’t say so!’.
[US]F.M. Whitcher Widow Bedott Papers (1883) 66: You don’t say so, elder! well, I declare, I do feel relieved.
[UK]E. Eden Semi-Detached House (1979) 36: You don’t say so!
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 208/1: Oh, Lor! ’ee don’t zay so.
[UK]Old Hunks in Darkey Drama 5 47: tommy: Dis is full of money! harry: You don’t say so?
[US]E. Eggleston Hoosier School-Master (1892) 160: ‘It was called Nazareth, which means ‘Bushtown’.’ ‘You don’t say?’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple I 242: ‘You don’t say so,’ whispered back Mr. Eggshells, with a sort of disgust.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Bad Boy and His Pa (1887) 83: ‘Sho! You don’t say so,’ says the grocery man.
[US]F. Harris ‘A Modern Idyll’ in Elder Conklin & Other Stories (1895) 115: ‘You don’t tell!’ she exclaimed.
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 121: ‘You don’t say so,’ replied her affectionate mother.
[UK]R. Whiteing No. 5 John Street 150: You don’t say so; why I’m going to a meeting at his mother’s house.
[UK]Boys Of The Empire 25 Dec. 188: You don’t say!
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 269: ‘All the gelmun’s as full as goats, Mis’ Trippit!’ [...] ‘You don’t say!’.
[US]M. Glass Abe and Mawruss 52: ‘You don’t say so!’ Morris cried.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Extricating Young Gussie’ in Man with Two Left Feet 29: the chappie: (sceptically) You don’t say!
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 73: ‘Are you aware that this man is a guest of mine, and sick?’ ‘You don’t say,’ remarked the leader.
[UK]G.D.H. & M. Cole Brooklyn Murders (1933) 46: ‘I should like to know approximately what Sir Vernon is worth.’ ‘Not far short of a million.’ ‘You don’t say so.’.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 41: ‘You don’t say,’ Dan pattered.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 94: ‘They should have called you Lousy, it would have matched up better.’ ‘You don’t say,’ I tell her.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 7: The second girl said ‘Aw gee. You don’t say?’ and the first girl said ‘Spit me death.’.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 150: Well, you don’t say.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 63: Pumpkins don’t grow under the ground. I know that, but this one was so heavy it sunk into the ground till you couldn’t see it. You don’t say.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 120: ‘You don’t say,’ said Mr Gawber.
[UK]J. Osborne Déjàvu Act I: You don’t say.

In exclamations

says you! (also sez you!)

a general excl. of contempt and disbelief, dismissing as beneath argument the previous speaker’s words.

[UK]Dickens Bleak House (1991) 52: That warn’t Chancery practice though, says you.
[US]Dunning & Abbott Broadway II. 108: Steve’s a fine fellow and he’s just out for some innocent fun — Says you — Says I.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Have His Carcase 412: ‘When Lord Peter gets these fits of quotation he’s usually on to something.’ ‘Sez you,’ retorted Wimsey.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 76: Only a feudal sense of what is fitting restrains you from substituting for it the words, ‘Says you!’.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 15: ‘Easy now [...] This isn’t the time to pull the artillery.’ ‘Says you,’ the barman sneered.
[UK]Diss Exp. 22 Oct. 4/1: Says You! ‘We have to drop all this confounded nonsense [etc.]’.
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers I i: cragge: ’E ain’t much good at anything. helen: Sez you!
[UK](con. 1930s) Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 35: In the early thirties all the herberts went about saying ‘Oh, yeah’, ‘sez you’ and ‘scram’.