Green’s Dictionary of Slang

stuff n.

1. [late 16C+] things or activities in general, varying as to context.

2. [17C+] semen.

3. [mid-17C+] anything that has no proper name, things that one cannot be bothered to describe properly.

4. [late 17C+] nonsense; lies.

5. as euph. for drink or drugs.

(a) [18C+] (also liquid stuff) alcohol, esp. bootleg liquor.

(b) [20C+] (drugs, also needle stuff) drugs, esp. heroin, morphine [‘William Lee’, Junkie (1953): ‘General terms for opium and all derivatives of opium: morphine, heroin, Delaudid [sic], pantopon, codeine, dionine’].

(c) [1940s] marijuana.

6. [mid-18C+] money.

7. [mid-19C] (US Und.) a copper watch which has been galvanized and is sold as ‘gold’.

8. in sexual contexts [20C+ use is usu. US black].

(a) [mid-19C+] the vagina, the buttocks; fig. used as female sexuality.

(b) [late 19C+] a woman, usu. attractive and often out, enjoying herself.

(c) [1960s+] (US prison) a male homosexual.

9. [late 19C+] arguments.

10. [late 19C+] a person.

11. [late 19C+] personality, character; ability.

12. [20C+] (US) something important, meaningful.

13. [20C+] (US prison) someone, or something, of value.

14. [1900s] (US Und.) an unappealing person.

15. [1900s–30s] stolen goods.

16. [1960s+] (US prison) a knife or gun.

17. [1980s] a term of address.

18. [1980s] constr. with the, a euph. for hell, the phr. etc.

In derivatives

stuffer (n.)

[1900s] (Aus.) a bettor, one who wagers money.

In compounds

old stuff, the (n.)

[1910s-60s] (US) nonsense, verbiage, deceptive chatter.

stuff-all (n.) [var. on fuck all n.]

[1980s+] nothing at all.

In phrases

do one’s stuff (v.)

1. [mid-17C+] to perform as one is expected to.

2. [1920s–70s] to show off a speciality.

feel one’s stuff (v.) (also feel it)

[1930s–50s] (US black) to base one’s actions or speech on one’s most intense and sincere emotions.

give a stuff (v.) (also give a gippo’s stuff) [backform. f. not give a stuff ]

[1990s+] (Aus./N.Z.) to care; usu. in negative use, e.g. who gives a stuff?

hit the stuff (v.)

1. [20C+] (US) to drink alcohol.

2. [1930s–50s] (drugs) to smoke opium.

3. [1950s] to use narcotics.

liquid stuff (n.)

see sense 5a above.

needle stuff (n.)

see sense 5b above.

no stuff

[1920s–60s] (US black) no fooling, no lies, absolutely honest and sincere.

not give a stuff (v.) [i.e. euph. for not give a fuck v.]

[1960s+] to not care whatsoever.

on the stuff

[1920s+] (drugs) using a narcotic drug, esp. heroin.

play stuff (v.)

[1960s+] (US black) to deceive or defraud by a smart line of verbal patter; thus stuff-player n.

put someone’s stuff down (v.) [put down v.1 (2a) + sense 1 above]

[1970s+] (US black) to disparage, to ridicule.

sit on one’s stuff (v.)

[1970s] (US black) to work as a prostitute.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

and stuff

[late 17C+] a meaningless addition to the end of a sentence, the implication is that the ‘stuff’ is essentially meaningless, irrelevant.

play with one’s stuff out of the window (v.) [? image of one who, planning an escape, has already placed their possessions outside the house]

[1900s–40s] (US black) to act with caution, e.g., when playing cards; esp. to act carefully when conducting a love affair.