Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dude n.1

also dood
[duds n.1 (1) or abbr. SE attitude. The term gained a whole new currency, esp. among the pre-teens, with the popularity c.1990 of the cartoon characters Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, where it featured heavily; note also in Comments on Etymology Apr. 1997, Gerald Cohen has posited an orig. pron. of doo-dee and suggested an origin in Yankee Doodle + SE dandy]

1. (orig. US, also dudah, dudelet) a man, a fellow; post 1980s, a person, irrespective of gender.

[US]Daily Trib. (Bismarck, ND) 5 Sept. 11/6: Mike Sheridan’s my dude, and I’ll back him [...] for every nickel I’ve got.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Oct. 8/3: The writer then branches off to ask, ‘What could you expect from a bank dude?’.
Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth) 30 Sept. 3/4: Oh Dyson, would you sack the tart? / And rob the dudelet of his bart?
[US]F. Remington letter 14 Oct. in Splete (1988) 151: They look like soldiers and not like ‘doods’.
[US]Thomas Co. Cat 10 Dec. 3/3: What! the little dude with the spotted necktie?
[US]Kansas Agitator (Garnett, KS) 31 Mar. 6/3: The soft-handed dudes and duines of the world, who spend their time lolling around.
[US]F. Remington letter 29 Jan. in Splete (1988) 157: The cooks and the dudes and the women.
[US]F.P. Dunne Mr Dooley in Peace and War 156: Whin we larn it thruly, we’ll teach thim college joods fr’m th’ pie belt a thrick or two.
[UK]Sporting Times 17 Mar. 1/4: He wished to blind each cockney dudelet and dame / To the fact that he came from the country.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 Nov. 12/4: Dudes, dudelets, and dudines, appropriately garbed, have gathered and giggled on the piers, whilst hooking fish and covering themselves with scales, ooze, and piscatory odors.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 30 Mar. 3/6: [T]he wink that grave-faced bookie winked at me as the dudah turned away.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 49: If you don’t bring my pants back, you onery, dressed-up Chicago dude [...] I’ll let the sunlight through your hide!
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Real Holiday’ Sporting Times 12 Feb. 2/3: Mrs. Spluke had a dudelet [...] As an escort, while Spluke cavaliered a bold minx.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Extricating Young Gussie’ in Man with Two Left Feet 37: You suddenly went off and married that cane-sucking dude.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Jim Maitland (1953) 71: There’s a dude that calls himself Hildebrand wandering around.
[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 37: I been watching them dudes up there.
[US]W.D. Overholser Buckaroo’s Code (1948) 52: A smart alec, long-tongued, sashay-dude like you.
[US]Galaxy Nov. 67/1: ‘Dude aboard wants some info,’ said Possett. ‘Wants to know what Burgee did for a living’.
[US]B. Hecht Gaily, Gaily 89: We had picked up an odd admirer in our tour of the night spots — an undersized dude in a light gray suit.
[US]Helen Humes ‘Million Dollar Secret’ [lyrics] Now let me tell you women / If you’re over forty-two / Get you a young dude.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 26: The coolest dude was Bernardo.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: Dude – any person, usually a male.
[UK]A-Team Storybook 40: Those dudes never been looking at twenty years in no stockade.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 48: ‘You got the wrong dude,’ Joe said.
[US](con. 1920s) F.M. Davis Livin’ the Blues 38: All you whores come fall into line / Goin’ down to the river to wash your behind / I ain’t lyin’ and I ain’t jokin’ / One o’ you dudes better give me some smokin’.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 4 Jan. 6: His degree of self-possession he felt caused him to be perceived as a ‘cool dude’.
[US]A. Swartz ‘Sweet, Tight and Hella Stupid’ in S.F. University High School Update Mar.–Apr. 2: dude – friend.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 71: The only reason she wants to be there is to look at the dudes.
[US]C.D. Rosales Word Is Bone [ebook] Dude looked like his face on fire.

2. (orig. US) an overdressed, showy person, a fop or dandy.

[UK]Graphic 31 Mar. 319/1: The ‘Dude’ sounds like the name of a bird. It is, on the contrary, American slang for a new kind of American young man [...] The one object for which the dude exists is to tone down the eccentricities of fashion [...] The silent, subfusc, subdued ‘dude’ hands down the traditions of good form .
St Louis Post-Disptach (MO) 16 Apr. 4/6: His trousers were tight [...] his feet squeezed into long and narrow shoes [...] he wore English dogskin gloves [...] held a silver-tipped cane under his arm [...] He was a dude.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 13/3: At Tumberumba young ladies are scarce and dear. So, when a fair one of ravishing charms came to visit a station near by, a local youth (a very dude, indeed), immediately established what he considered a firm mash.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Dossing Out and Camping’ in Roderick (1972) 164: In the city nearly every man the poor unemployed meets is a dude, or at least, well dressed.
[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 12 Oct. 4/4: [of a woman] M. T. W. is getting such a dude since she came front the county.
[US] (ref. to 1892) C.R. Wooldridge Hands Up! 70: William Smith [...] was [...] a business man, liquor merchant, sport, politician, and dude. He wore, a silk hat, light lavender pants, white vest, patent leather shoes with white gaiters over the ankles, a gold watch with massive chain, diamond studs and finger rings, carried a gold toothpick behind his ear, four different colored pencils in his vest pocket, and had a messenger boy, in uniform, to carry his orders and messages.
[Aus]A.B. Paterson Rio Grande (1937) 127: So out he went; and, when folk saw the amateur was up, Some local genius called the race ‘the Dude-in-Danger Cup’.
[US]H. Hapgood Types From City Streets 81: He is taught to hate ‘dudes’ like ‘pisen’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 30 Mar. 11/5: He’s a mo waxed at the ends, and / Spiked like any old Tom cat / [...] / He’s a dude, and no mistakin’.
[US]H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 303: Chinatown laughed at him, for he was a dude. He had cut his hair and wore white man’s clothing.
[US](con. 1900s–10s) Dos Passos 42nd Parallel in USA (1966) 68: We’ll go to Duluth like a couple of dudes.
[US](con. mid-19C) H. Asbury Sucker’s Progress 233: A sizable portion of the ‘stuff’ that these slickers of the steamboats squeezed from the pockets of gullible travelers went for fancy clothing, for the river gambler of the 1840’s and the 1850’s [...] was perhaps the gaudiest and most picturesque dresser of his day; compared to him the New York dude [...] was a veritable scarecrow.
[US](con. 1870s) F. Weitenkampf Manhattan Kaleidoscope 83: ‘Chokers’ were the high straight collars worn especially by dudes.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 168: It was the top hip rendezvous for the dudes and toffs and mashers, and their birds.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 210: He is the archetypal dude, but Red never sketches him as a ridiculous figure.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 147: A brisk dude of a first lieutenant, scrubbed and shaved and polished to a dull glow.
[UK]M. Thelwell Harder They Come 153: The second kind [of attractive man] what you call a dude, or a stylis’. You see dah ugly bwai in blue. You see how ’im dress soft, everyt’ing just match? Carry ’imself wid style? Dass a stylist.
[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 44: The dudes began to sport cholo attire: the baggy starched pants and suspenders over white T-shirts [...] the bandanas and small brim hats.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 17 Sept. 12: This season’s hippest dude.
L.J. Maas ‘Tumbleweed Fever’ Part 4 on Royal Academy of Bards [Internet] Looking up she watched as John Montgomery aimed a Derringer at her head. Of course the rider thought it odd, the things you think about right before you die. Hell! Thirty-five years I made it, only to get my brains blown out by a fancy dude with a pea-shooter.

3. (Aus./US) a womanizer.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 1 Mar. 6/1: Stine denied that he was a real, full-fledged dude, but admitted that he had frequently been reprimanded [...] for standing on the public streets conversing with disreputable women.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 2 Jan. 3/4: ‘Dude’ - The term desiderated by the professor as expressing the ‘masher’ up to date.

4. (US campus) a fool.

[UK]Gem 23 Jan. 12: ‘I wefuse to be called a chump.’ ‘Dummy, then,’ said Mr. Finn grimly. ‘Silly idiot! Dude!’.

5. (US) an expert.

[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.

6. an excellent example.

[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 80: Believe me, he tells a dude of a yarn.
[US]H.C. Witwer Classics in Sl. 36: I’ll say that’s a dude of a label, hey?

7. (US) a thing.

[US](con. early 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 54: ‘Twenty-four cold dudes,’ he drawled, [...] They all grabbed fresh cans.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 58: dude n Thing.

8. a form of address.

[US](con. 1970) J.M. Del Vecchio 13th Valley (1983) 15: Wow, Dude, [...] You gettin ta be a real gung-ho airborne all-the-way-Sir soldier.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 232: ‘How do you know we’re not going to hit anything?’ ‘Well, true, dude, I don’t know.’.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 10: You heard him, dudes — stand up and strip.
[UK]Guardian Travel 10 July 12: Yeah, dude... you gotta come down. Rave with the wave, man.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 6: Inmates exchange intrixcate handshakes and formal titles: OG, young G, boo, bro, baby boy, brutha, dude, cuz, dawg, P, G, daddy, pimpin’, nigga, man, thug thizzle, my boy, my man, homie.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] Dude, in my experience the best way to manipulate men is to not root them.
[US]K. Tomlinson ‘Thicker Than Water’ in C. Rhatigan and N. Bird (eds) Pulp Ink 2 [ebook] ‘Dude, you totally fucked her, didn’t you?’ [...] ‘Don’t call me Dude ’.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Base Nature [ebook] ‘Dude, must one minute more’.

9. (US gang) a male gang member.

[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 117: ‘She [i.e. a girl who had a boyfriend from a rival gang] got beat up real bad [by] the dudes’.

In derivatives

dudelet (n.)

see sense 1 above.

dudesque (adj.)

having the attributes of a dude.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 31 Jan. 2/2: [T]he dudesque swell at the stage door, Bluff Van Bilk, bouquet, cane, collar and cuffs.
dudester (n.) [-ster sfx]

(US) a person, irrespective of gender.

[US]New Leave It to Beaver [TV series] See ya, dudester.
dudette (n.) (also dudess, dudine, dudinette) [fem. sfx -ette]

(US) a girl, a woman; often with a suggestion of stylishness or ostentation.

[US]Willimantic Chron. (CT) 8 Aug. n.p.: Is ‘dude’ libelous? Not long since a suit was brought in New York City on the ground that it was; and more recently a vigorous Bloomington woman cowhided a clerical editor for calling her a ‘dudess’.
[US]Philad. Times No. 2892. 2: Not [...] to encourage the development of the dude or the dudine in his dominion .
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant 335/2: Dudette, dudinette (American), a very young girl, a mere chit, who affects the airs and style of a belle.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 Nov. 12/4: Dudes, dudelets, and dudines, appropriately garbed, have gathered and giggled on the piers, whilst hooking fish and covering themselves with scales, ooze, and piscatory odors.
[US]O. Arnold Hot Irons 91: Therefore, the dude or dudette, after hearing the yearling bull bawl at hot iron branding, is likely to learn that the bull is being castrated too.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 2: dudette – female counterpart of dude (someone with some degree of style and attractiveness).
[US]Da Bomb Summer Supplement 5: Dudette (n) 1. Woman. (Using dude to refer to a girl is okay among friends.) [...] 2. (mt.) A greeting or salutation.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 70: dudess Girl, female version of the American ‘dude’, a person.
[US]C.T. French Bodyguard 208: ‘Everything’s clear, dudette,’ Bigun said. [...] ‘You sure you’re gonna be all right here, dudette.’.
[US]N. Jackson Yada-Yada Prayer Group 176: Her voice-mail message kicked in: ‘Yo, dude or dudette! Yo-Yo isn’t home and neither are the Rug Rats’.
dudish (adj.) (also doodish, dudeish)

smart, dandyish.

[US]Cincinnati Enquirer in Asbury Gangs of N.Y. (1928) 190: They talk in simpering, dudish tones.
[US]A.C. Gunter Miss Nobody of Nowhere 86: Little Gussie is the most dudish dude in New York.
[UK]Marvel 8 Dec. 2: Mr. Algernon Redsox, the dudish and well-paying boarder of Chuckleton Academy.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 30 Mar. 3/7: [T]he ‘'gentleman opposite,’ who was young, dudish and callow.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 217: Studs noticed a doodish guy on the bench [...] He was classily dressed.
[US]Botkin Lay My Burden Down 85: I [...] was ’bout the most dudish nigger in them parts.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 39: The watch was a good one [...] It was thin and dudeish looking with little gold dots in place of numbers.
[US] ‘Old Zebra Dun’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 80: Along came a dudish fellow and stopped to augur some. [Internet] The most dudish dudes around.
dudeism (n.)


[US]O. Kildare My Mamie Rose 19: Among the men it is considered an indication of effeminacy or dudeism to utter one sentence without profanity.

In phrases

dude up (v.)

(US) to dress (oneself) up.

[US]Van Loan ‘His Own Stuff’ in Score by Innings (2004) 386: I don’t often dude myself up and it seems a shame to waste it.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 38: When he went to a dance, he might express himself as ‘duding-up to put in a good hoof’.
[US]J. Berryman 77 Dream Songs 77: Seedy Henry rose up shy in de world / & shaved & swung his barbells, duded Henry up.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Spring 3: dude up – dress up.