Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lady n.

1. a crooked or hunchbacked woman.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Lady a very crooked, deformed and ill-shapen Woman.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.

2. (US) one’s girlfriend or wife.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 85: lady, n. Wife. ‘Bring your lady and the children.’.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke vii: Lady – girl.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 189: I don’t want to embarrass your lady.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 217: So is the brother and his lady.
[US]Detroit Free Press (MI) 6 July 17/1: lady (she’s my lady) — girlfriend.
[UK]A. Payne ‘The Last Video Show’ Minder [TV script] 28: My lady made a bit of a mons. She brought back four videos this morning, but one of them was mine.
[US]Snoop Doggy Dogg ‘Gin and Juice’ [lyrics] She used to be the homeboy’s lady.
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 49: It’s my lady, man, Guinevere, she’s up the duff.

3. (also her ladyship) a queen in a pack of playing cards.

[US]A. Pinkerton Reminiscences 190: This was the ‘rip-roaring’ female that wins every time! [...] he observed how neatly her ladyship could be brought to the surface.
[UK]H. Macfall Wooings of Jezebel Pettyfer 313: De jack counts for eleven and de lady for twelve.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 44: lady, n. Queen at cards.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 30 Nov. 2/3: ‘Four ladies, you can part up.’ ‘Hold on a bit [...] these ’ere kings would beat ’em‘.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 267: He’s the guardian angel of every confidence trickster, and the sporting gent as’ll lay you five to one you don’t find the lady.
[US]Hecht & MacArthur Front Page Act I: How’d I know you were out? Two Johns. Ladies, etc.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Spanish Blood’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 10: I have a lady too, John. Also an ace.
W.P. McGivern Odds Against Tomorrow (1991) 70: ‘And here come the K-boys,’ Ingram said, tossing out the kings. And behind them the ladies, and the jacks.
[Ire](con. 1940s) K.C. Kearns Dublin Tenement Life 157: There were two ordinary cards and a queen. The idea was to find the ‘Lady’.

4. (US prison) one’s effeminate homosexual partner.

[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 257: ‘Wild Bill,’ notorious invert [...] has been after ‘Fatty Bobby’ for quite a while, and he’s forever pestering ‘Lady Sally’.
[US]L. Berg Prison Doctor 119: I’m going to cut your heart out and feed it to the dogs. I’ll teach you to leave my ‘lady’ alone.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 259: Any drink that goes over with ladies’ll pay the rent in this place. They could serve ’em with an endive hotdog to all the Nellies.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle 79/1: Lady Godiva n. gay nudist. Lady of the Vapours n. gay man who frequents steam baths, usually for sexual purposes.

5. an independent, high-class prostitute.

[E. S—cy Country Gentleman’s Vade Mecum 44: [She] can shew you three or four Couple of the choicest Strumpets (Ladies she calls ’em)].
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 115: If the lady has not got clothes of her own, she can find them (on hire) at the upper class of bad houses, [...] deriving, from this source, no small part of their profits.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 July 9/1: These jewels wer the property of a lately-deceased ‘lady’ whose trade was one which will flourish as long as woman is beautiful and frail and man impressionable.
[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 35: I hobnobbed with [...] ‘ladies’ of a certain sort.
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Life and Death at the Old Bailey 246: Lou Harvey was a ‘lady’ of the West End.
[UK]A. Baron Lowlife (2001) 26: Marcia is the only lady I ever knew. She lives in Half Moon Street [...] and charges twenty pounds for a short time.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 36: The most common terms for women in The Life are bitches, ladies, and hos [...] Ladies is the polite form, and carries the connotations of ‘ladies of the evening’ and sportin’ lady, that is, a kind of gallant euphemism.

6. (gay) as a term of address to a fellow homosexual male.

[US]‘Lou Rand’ Gay Detective (2003) 19: ‘Let me at that blondined Navy-bait . . .’ ‘Ladies! Please!’ said Morley.

7. (US gay) an effeminate homosexual.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 123: lady 1. genteel, proper chap too grand to be manly; demure, fastidious fellow 2. any homosexual man.
[US](con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 198: See you in the funny papers, ladies.

8. (US) a prostitute belonging to a specific pimp.

[US] in Oui Aug.
[US]A.K. Shulman On the Stroll 113: He called her his lady, slipped spending money into her pocket, dressed her, fed her, bought her anything she wanted.

9. (drugs) cocaine [abbr. of white lady under white adj.].

[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 242: Lady or Girl – A specific reference to cocaine; as in ‘on the girl’, or ‘the girl is fat’.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 338: lady: Cocaine.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 13: Lady — Cocaine.

In phrases

lady and gentleman racket (n.)

(UK und.) poultry stealing at a market.

‘Adventures of Mr and Mrs Sandboys’ in Bells New Wkly Messenger 9 Mar. 6/2: The lady and gentleman racket, or stealing cocks and hens from the markets; and bug-hunting, or looking out for drunken men [i.e. to rob].

SE in slang uses

In compounds

ladies’ college (n.) [euph.]

a brothel.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 661/1: C.18–early 19.
ladies’ plaything (n.) (also ladies’ delight, ladies’ treasure, plaything) [note ety. of dildo n.]

the penis.

[UK]Practical Part of Love 62: [A] Fool finding his tool limber [...] did verily believe he had lost his play things.
[UK] ‘News from Tunbridge’ Harleian Mss. 7319.356: Some indeed so young, they’re still call’d Miss That cry for Playthings.
Venus in the Cloister Pt IV 144: I saw him throw himself upon the Bed, and handle his Play-Thing with a very deep Sigh or two.
[UK]St James’s Register 13: Did never any poor Woman lose her Play-thing before?
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues IV 140/1: Ladies’ Treasure (Delight or Plaything) [...] The penis.
ladies’ walk (n.)

a ladies’ lavatory.

[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 27 Jan. 102: He instantly perceived that the boys had thrown his hat into what is significantly called the ladies’ walk [...] ‘There’s a fellow gone into the ladies’ walk, Bob!’ said a mischievous thin lad to a laughing fat boy.
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (4th edn) 736: Walk. As ‘Ladies’ Walk,’ ‘Gentlemen’s Walk,’ i.e. a privy. This absurd piece of squeamishness is common at hotels and at railroad-stations.
lady love (v.) [backform. f. lady lover ]

to engage in lesbian behaviour.

[US]V.G. Burns Female Convict 77: They’ve been lady-loving — and they don’t want the bull to catch them at it!
Carpet Munching Coeds [Internet] Women in high heels get naked for some lady loving.
lady lover (n.) (also woman-lover)

a lesbian.

[US]C.W. Willemse Behind The Green Lights 251: Women degenerates and male degenerates – ‘lady lovers’ and ‘fags’ in police description – are mental cases.
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 94: See those two girls there with the short hair? [...] They’re lady lovers.
[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 43: The lady-lovers are now so firmly entrenched they no longer hesitate to try to take pretty young girls away from high ranking male brass.
[UK]J. Colebrook Cross of Lassitude 155: Beppo is a ‘bull-dagger,’ a ‘low dyke,’ a ‘lady-lover,’ a ‘Les-wolf,’ and a ‘double-barreled broad’.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
lady’s jewels (n.) [note jewel n. (1)]

the testicles.

[UK]Cleland Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1985) 81: That enormous machine of his [...] together with its bottom dependence, the inestimable bulse [i.e. package] of lady’s jewels, form’d a grand show out of goods indeed!
lady’s leg (n.) [the shape]

(N.Z.) a liqueur bottle.

[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 125: lady’s leg Liqueur bottle, from the shape of its neck as much as any male expectation.
lady’s waist (n.) (Aus.)

1. (also lady’s finger, lady’s wish) a slender beer glass, with an hour-glass shape.

Dly Teleg. (Sydney) 16 Dec. 8/6: What is to be charged for the ‘long,’ the ‘medium,’ the ‘pony,’ the ‘lady’s waist’ of lager, and so on? Barmen were asked these questions yesterday, and for answer many of them could only scratch their heads, look puzzled, and say they were blowed if they knew.
[Aus]Maitland Dly Mercury (NSW) 14 Feb. 5: [advert] 7 OZ. LADIES’ WAIST TUMBLERS 6/6.
[Aus]Dly Mercury (Mackay, Qld) 1 Mar. 3: [advert] 1 Lady’s Waist, : 5oz. " 8/6 " . 6/6 doz. / Lady’s Waist, 8oz. " 10/- " " 7/9 doz. / Lady’s Waist, l0oz. " 11/- " 8/6 doz.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 249: Lady’s finger or wish – A tapering glass of spirits, especially gin.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Apr. 20/1: A daintier goblet I never fingered than the hourglass shape of a lady’s waist.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
S. Hope Diggers’ Paradise 232: What is called a ‘lady’s waist’ in some parts of the country is generally known as a ‘butcher’ .
[Aus]B. Hornadge Aus. Slanguage 230: The old terms of lady’s waist (Sydney) and pixie (Melbourne) for small glasses appear to have disappeared from the scene .
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.

2. a measure of alcohol, usu. beer served in such a glass.

[Aus]Nepean Times (NSW) 19 Jan. 4/3: Anyone who knows anything about tankards, pewters, ‘Jimmy-woodsers,’ and ‘lady’s-waists’ ought to have some knowledge of liquid measure. But beer is not always discussed in terms of pints, quarts, and gallons.
[Aus]Scone Advocate (NSW) 15 Nov. 7/5: [He] calls for a ‘lager, ladies waist.’ Cripes, - that riles yer. A bloke what can’t drink a pint don't want a drink.
Dandenong Jrnl (Vic.) 8 Feb. 5/2: The three beers which the barman called lady’s waists (laughter) were all he had, and he had driven 20 miles since taking them.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Jan. 12/1: Whatever you think of a Lady’s Waist Or a Barmaid Blush or a Horse’s Neck, A bull-whale’s Crush or a Slippery Deck, There’s nothing solid in what ghosts drink.
[Aus]Sun (Sydney) 27 may 5/3: Frank Albert Podesta, licensee of the Randwick Hotel [...] was fined £20 in the Special Federal Court today for over-charging on two ‘ladies’ waists’ (small beers).
[Aus]B. Wannan Folklore of the Aus. Pub 127: Lady’s waist: a 5 oz. glass of beer.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 33: A Lady’s Waist used to be either a 5- or 7-ounce measure of beer once served only in the parlour of a pub in New South Wales, but in Queensland was known as a glass because it was taken as a chaser to a glass or shot of neat rum.
[Aus] (ref. to 1946) Lidcombe Catholic Working Men’s Club (NSW) [Internet] In these early days a ‘Lady’s waist’ (or 7oz beer) was the drink of choice for most. A lady’s waist sold for Ninepence (10$).
lady ware (n.) [SE ware, goods]

1. the penis (and testes).

[UK]T. Kyd Soliman and Perseda G3: The ladies of Rhodes, hearing that you have lost a capital part of your lady-ware have made their petition to Cupid to plague you above all other, as one prejudicial to their muliebrity.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. the vagina.

[UK] ‘Will Bagnall’s Ballad’ in Wardroper (1969) 132: Your faces tricked and painted be, / Your breasts all open bare / So far that a man may almost see / Unto your lady-ware.

In phrases

hold the lady down (v.)

(US tramp) to ride on the ‘gunnels’ or ‘rods’ beneath the wagons while a fast train is passing over a bumpy stretch of track.

[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 101: Holding The Lady Down. – Riding on the ‘rods’ or ‘gunnels’ over a rough stretch of track or on a fast train.
lady about town (n.) (also lady of the town, town lady)

a prostitute.

[UK]T. Betterton Match in Newgate I ii: A Whore! Oh call her a Miss, a Ladie of the Town, a Beautie of delight, or any thing. Whore! ’tis a nauseous name.
[UK]Comforts of Whoreing 14: The Amorous prevailing Glances of our Town Ladies ... Animates the Vigour, and melts down the Modesty of our Young Country Esquire.
S. Centlivre Perjur’d Husband Epilogue: Mimick no more Town-Ladies in a Mask.
[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 46: There is the politick nation of your ladies of the town.
[UK]T. Baker Tunbridge Walks V: I heard of a fine Town-Lady, who Painted her Face with that variety, she was pick’d up by a Purblind Lord, Six Nights together for a fresh Mistress.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 49: He saw a Lady of the Town.
[UK]Laugh and Be Fat 122: The Town Lady [is] neither Saint, nor Angel, but a Whore.
[UK]Nancy Dawson’s Jests 9: A man meeting with a lady of the town offered her a Shilling to let him feel her private parts.
[UK]Mr Thompson Female Amazon 21: Her beauty and modest demeanour proving favourable to her calling, as a lady of the town.
[UK]Banquet of Wit 32: A gentleman who had given a lady of the town a purse of guineas, was disgusted [etc.].
[UK]‘The Parson and His Wench’ in Universal Songster II 89/2: The gay Miss Brown, / A lady of the town, / Was beloved by this clerical spark.
[UK]Morn. Chron. (London) 30 July 4/3: Margaret Williams, a young lady about town, was charged.
[UK]Dundee Courier 20 Apr. 5/5: William Joseph, seaman [...] and Bridget Taylor, the former a ‘nigger’ and the other a lady about town, were brought before the Court.
lady and gentleman racket (n.)

the theft of barnyard fowls.

[UK]H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor IV 26: Those who steal animals. [...] vi. ‘Lady and Gentlemen Racket Men,’ or those who steal cocks and hens.
lady five fingers (n.) (also old lady five fingers)

masturbation.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 47: I wondered if it were a capital crime [...] to get caught having an affair with ‘lady five fingers’.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 116: the masturbator’s best girl friend – his hand: the thumb is the mother to the four fingers. [...] old lady five fingers.
lady of pleasure (n.) (also daughter of pleasure, woman of pleasure)

a prostitute (cf. pleasure-lady under pleasure n.).

[UK]J. Whetstone Promos and Cassandra II ii: Set forth thy selfe to brauest show [...] accompt thou thy selfe the cheefe, of Lady Pleasures traine. [...] Thy weedes are braue, thy face is fine, & who for this doth paye?
[UK]T. Nabbes Microcosmus Act V: A desperate piece of neglected mortality, that have been a Lady of pleasure, and kept an open house.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 6 5 July 48: So the said Coach-men will [...] be carefull of their Black-patches, Mirkins or Dildoes, to take them up, if by chance they drop them in their Coach-box, as lately a Lady of Pleasure voiding a Worm in the Coach-box, bigger than a Polony Sassage, which the Coachman seeing smoaking hot, with the butt end of his whip, removed it away, to the shame as well great discredit of the Lady, who was then going a clicketting into the Red Lyons Den in Whitecross Street.
‘P.R.’ Whores Dialogue 5: We were Ladies of Pleasure, so we had a very pleasurable house, Gardens of pleasure, Arbors of pleasure, hang’d Rooms of pleasure, and beds of pleasures, where Gentlemen for their Money had their pleasure with us.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 90: A Whore [...] A Lady of pleasure. As errant a wh... as ever pist.
[UK]Whores Rhetorick 19: I my self in my younger years, was one of those the World calls a Lady of Pleasure.
[UK]Motteux (trans.) Pantagruelian Prognostications (1927) II 694: Those whom Venus is said to rule, as punks, jilts, [...] wag-tails, cockatrices [...] ladies of pleasure.
[UK]N. Ward ‘A Walk to Islington’ in Writings (1704) 63: Then I, like my Neigbours, to sweeten my Life / [...] / Was forc’d to take up with a Lady of Pleasure.
[UK]C. Walker Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury Dedicatory: The young Ladies of Pleasure under her Care.
[UK]Cibber Harlot’s Progress 11: Attended by Bess Brindle (a Runner to the Ladies of Pleasure).
[UK]Life and Character of Moll King 8: Here you might see ladies of Pleasure, who appear’d apparelled like Persons of Quality.
[UK]Robertson of Struan ‘On a Lady of Pleasure’ in Poems (1752) 80: [title].
[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 290: Her sentiments were espoused by all the company, except the French lady of pleasure.
[UK]Memoirs of an Oxford Scholar 24: They are the Gudgeons the Women of Pleasure angle for.
[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (4th edn) in Bohn (1855) 64: A whore [...] a lady of pleasure.
[UK]Leeds intelligencer 20 July 2/2: A Lady of Pleasure about town well known by the fictitious title of Lady M— [etc.].
[UK]G.A. Stevens Adventures of a Speculist I 137: The most famous woman of pleasure upon the town. [Ibid.] 259: Its Ladies of Pleasure are as vulgar and as ugly as superannuated cinder-sifters.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Apr. VI 41/1: A daughter of pleasure, who had followed a party of soldiers from Lincoln towards Hull, tired of her military companions [etc.].
[UK]Sporting Mag. Jan. VII 203/2: Prostitutes have very improperly been styled, women of pleasure; they are women of pain, of sorrow, of grief [etc.].
[UK]Devizes & Wilts Gaz. 21 Apr. 4/5: Memoir of a ‘Woman of Pleasure’. ‘Lady Barrymore’ was brought to Bow-street Thursday morning [...] The lady, it is well known, was once La Belle Harriette, the hired Cher Amie of a nobleman.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 392: Covent Garden [...] is grown as dull as modern Athens, and its ladies of pleasure almost as vulgar as Scotch landladies.
[UK]Paul Pry 30 Sept. 182/4: [S]he took a house, the York, at that time, being full of ladies of pleasure, did I say?—no! but ladies of sorrow!
Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: [S]he possesses a mind and heart rarely — very rarely to be met with in the frail daughters of pleasure.
[US]G. Thompson Gay Girls of N.Y. 24: Industrious and sleep-despising ‘ladies of pleasure’ were still to be seen, wandering about.
[UK]C. Deveureux Venus in India I 48: In every place where there is a ‘bazaar’ or shops, there are establishments for ladies of pleasure, these latter earn a good many four anna bits.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 26 Jan. 6/5: The term ‘woman of pleasure’ [...] infers a woman of the town, otherwise a harlot.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]R. Todasco Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Dirty Words.
lady of the game (n.) (also female of the game) [game n. (1b)]

a prostitute.

T. Rawlins Tunbridge-Wells I ii: O the dear time when Misses came up first in fashion: then half the Town were Novices in love; and not so many Ladies of the game.
[UK]C. Walker Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 139: I took more Pleasure to be in the Appartment of a Female of the Game than in my own Chambers.
lady of the lake (n.) [SE lake, to play amorously; ? ult. lark v.]

a prostitute.

[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 21 18–25 Oct. 182: On the left hand the Ticklers, next them the Bobbers, and over aginst the Groapers, the Ladies of the Lake, viz. Oyster-women, Mussle-women, Perriwinkle-women, and Crab-women, all sitting at a side-table by the men.
[UK]W. Davenant Siege Act V: Thou Lady o’th’ Lake: A pox a whispering!
[UK]S. Butler Hudibras Pt III canto 1 line 868: All women would be of one piece / But for the difference marriage makes / ’Twixt wives and ladies of the lakes.
lady of the town (n.)

a prostitute.

[UK]W. King York Spy 25: Wild Apprentices, and Wanton Ladies of the Town.