Green’s Dictionary of Slang

stuff n.

1. things or activities in general, varying as to context.

[UK]G. Walker Detection of Vyle and Detestable Use of Dice Play 23: A god’s name, what stuff is it? I have often heard men talk of false dice, but I never yet heard so dainty a name given them.
[UK]G. Whetstone ‘Ortchard of Repentance’ Rocke of Regard 21: You Burgoses, which sell the costly stuffe.
[UK]Three Lords and Three Ladies of London H3: What’s here my boy, what’s here? pleasure, this suit is sure to you, for it’s mad stuffe, and I know not what it meanes.
[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) IV i: She’s wouen of such bad stuffe.
[UK]Dekker O per se O M: In their nasty Libkens, where they lye like Swine being of nothing, but Wapping, Niggling, Prigging, Clowing, Filching, Cursing, and such stuffe.
[UK]Fletcher Spanish Curate IV v: His Gall contains fine stuff now to make Poysons, Rare damned Stuff.
[UK]T. Shadwell Squire of Alsatia III i: Rascally stuff; fit for no place but Ram-alley or Pye-corner.
[UK]Farquhar Sir Harry Wildair III ii: wild: There is a Repose, I see, in the next room. [Aside. lure: Unnatural stuff].
[UK]Swift ‘Cadenus & Vanessa’ in Chalmers Eng. Poets XI (1810) 394/1: I own, that out-of-fashion stuff / Becomes the creature well enough.
[UK]Richardson Pamela II 24: A deal of Stuff and Chit-chat between me and the odious Mrs. Jewkes.
[UK]G. Colman Jealous Wife V ii: Prithee, creature, don’t teaze me with your fiddle-faddle stuff.
[UK]J. Hogg Wool-Gatherer 100: What are you going to do with that wretched stuff, lassie?
[UK]J. Burrowes Life in St George’s Fields 6: He very soon felt the effect of the invigorating stuff.
[UK] ‘Plunder Creek’ Bentley’s Misc. Feb. 128: What they wanted in cash they made up in fierce love to Doll Deypester; and stuff, and notions, and palaver to the ould Dutcher.
[UK] ‘I’m One of the Chaps Wot Sings’ in Holloway & Black (1979) II 17: If I go take a room / There wants no talk or stuff.
[US]J.H. Green Reformed Gambler 123: Approaching the drinker, he very earnestly made inquiry about the ‘stuff’ he had just drank. ‘It was a Seidlitz powder,’ the drinker replied.
[US]C.C. Nott Sketches in Prison Camps 152: Look at the stuff [i.e. food], look at it.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 100: There was a lump of the ‘stuff’ in the barrow weighing, I should think, 20lbs.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Mar. 12/1: Now Chris., sirs, he was popular, / So pretty lips did pout; / He was so useful at a ‘tea’ / To ‘put the stuff’ about.
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 102: She never seemed to Appreciate my Stuff.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 13 July 642: Turning out more stuff than the Bonanza, they tell me.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 11 Sept. 20/1: The Weep Stuff and the Picture Shows.
[UK]T.S. Eliot ‘The Triumph of Bullshit’ Inventions of the March Hare in Ricks (1996) 307: Ladies who think me unduely vociferous / Amiable cabotin making a noise / That people may cry out ‘This stuff is too stiff for us’.
[US]H.V. O’Brien diary 3 June Wine, Women and War (1926) 107: Picked up a couple of filles (non-professional). Park bench stuff.
[US]C. McKay Banjo 91: Tha’s time-past stuff. But wha’ you call coon stuff is the money stuff today.
[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 188: Hero stuff, see? Like one o’ them martyrs, huh?
[UK]P. Larkin letter 9 July in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 102: When I see Bruce raking in money off two continents for a bit of stuff he turned out in three weeks, there is something savage in me and I want to hit things with my fist.
[US]M. Spillane One Lonely Night 85: That’s government stuff!
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 45: All that stuff he been doin’, ain’t nobody but the police been botherin’ him.
[US]C. McFadden Serial 92: Che asked Gregor to just make up some stuff for his dreambook.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Wanted’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Oh come on. Don’t give me all that James Cagney stuff!
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 59: She was [...] chatting away about the kids and that. Girl’s stuff. Nanny stuff.
[UK]Guardian G2 6 Jan. 30: Meanwhile bad stuff is going down at a nuclear installation where the alien is hiding.
Austin American Statesman (TX) 4 Feb. F8/2: ‘This stuff isn’t easy. It takes tons of time’.

2. semen.

[UK]Shakespeare Timon of Athens IV iii: Thy father, [...] who, in spite, put stuff / To some she-beggar, and compounded thee / Poor rogue hereditary.
[UK]J. Harington Epigrams (1930) No. 368: Yet stowd I no mans stuff but first perswaded / The bottom with your ballast full was laded.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) III 570: No man’s stuff has ever been up me for quite two years but yours.
[UK]Lustful Memoirs of a Young and Passionated Girl 25: He got off of Julia, his yeard still large but hanging his head, which was not of such a deep red as before, while drops of a queer looking stuff dropped from it.
[US]C. McKay Banjo 24: Ise got moh joy stuff in mah whistle than you’re got in you’ whole meager-dawg body.
[US]N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 117: Most whores when they cop a joint, swallow the stuff as a prevention of galloping lung trouble.
[US]‘Victoria Parker’ Incest Schoolgirls [Internet] ‘I’m all wet with stuff!’ Jilly scolded. ‘I know, darling. I know,’ Mr. Davidson apologized. He took his hankie from his pocket and wiped at her pretty face, dabbed away the cummy goo.
[US]‘Bill E. Goodhead’ Nubile Treat [Internet] When Nell and her brother had oral sex, she found herself surprised by the amount of spunk his balls contained. This time he had plenty of stuff. It seemed as if his dork wouldn’t ever stop. There was jism everywhere.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 131: Except for the pathologist finding two guys’ stuff inside her, right? That makes it more complicated.

3. anything that has no proper name, things that one cannot be bothered to describe properly.

[UK]Rowlands Humours Ordinarie F: I thinke the Stuffe is namelesse he doth weare, But what so ere it be, it is huge geare.
[UK]R. Brathwait Age for Apes 169: Now and then the City recompenses With a commodity of stale-stuffe wenches.
[UK] ‘Tom Longe’ in Furnivall & Hales Bishop Percy’s Folio Manuscript of Loose and Humorous Songs (1868) 112: A health to all Ladyes that neuer used Merkin, / yett their stuffe ruffles like Buff lether jerkin! / Strike home they pipe, Tom Longe.
[UK]R. Howard The Committee III i: c.bl.: How, Kitchen-stuff-acquaintance! c.car.: Yes, Mrs. Day that commanded the Party in the Hackney-Coach was my Father’s Kitchen-maid.
[UK]Nancy Dawson’s Jests 20: He was come to abjure the errors of the romish religion; all their transubstantiations, trinity, and stuff.
[UK]Foote Bankrupt II ii: Is there not some danger in concealing the portable stuff, as you call it?
[UK]Devizes & Wilts. Gaz. 8 Dec. 4/3: The nasty stuff one gets to eat.
[UK] ‘Nancy Dawson’ Nancy Dawson’s Cabinet of Songs 9: She was such a sprightly lass [...] Shew her your stuff, she’d wag her a--e.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 35 8: The doctor’s gone to a birth; but we’ve given him a bottle of stuff [...] and made him comfortable.
Marion Star (OH) 6 Aug. 2/4: He supplied the stuff [i.e. counterfeit notes] to thirteen passers.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 24 Nov. 113: You’ve got plenty of the right stuff in you.
[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 79: Don’t pull that gallery stuff around here. You can get the office boy to smile but its shine stuff.
[Aus]R.L. Mackay diary 17–18 Aug. [Internet] Tremendous lot of ‘stuff’ in from Brigade (Paper).
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 323: Then sloping off with his five quid without putting up a pint of stuff like a man.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 196: He didn’t die right away and kept kicking. Cops fainted and all that stuff.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 47: We need cars and a bunch of stuff.
[US]F. Brown Fabulous Clipjoint (1949) 60: I’m going down to the drugstore. There’s some stuff. I don’t know what you call it.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 318: I like Andy. He’s top stuff.
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 19: His stuff. My stuff. Everyone was worrying about their stuff.
[US]D. Mamet Sexual Perversity in Chicago (1977) 34: You ever do that stuff when you were kids? [...] You know. Stuff with other kids.
[UK]A. Sayle Train to Hell 78: I could see field upon field of growing stuff. There was some wavy yellow stuff, some brownish stuff and some green stuff growing on trees.
B. Obama Dreams from my Father (2008) 102: We should be worrying about whether our stuff’s together instead of passing judgement on how other folks are supposed to act.
[UK]Observer Mag. 27 Feb. 25: He’d been keeping a lot of stuff inside. He’d been spending time around people he knew, and yet still found himself feeling alone.

4. nonsense; lies.

[UK]Etherege Man of Mode II i: What a deal of stuff you tell us!
[UK]Dryden Don Sebastian 85: What stuff he talks!
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Stuff Nonsense, idle, ridiculous, impertinent Talk.
[UK]Cibber Double Gallant IV i: Lovers! Lard! how you talk! Can’t People converse without that Stuff!
[UK]C. Coffey Devil to Pay I i: Did ever one hear such Stuff!
[UK]Foote Knights in Works (1799) I 76: Stuff, Dick, stuff; my daughter, knight, has had another guise.
[UK]A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess IV ii: Gae wi’ your stuff, I think your head’s turn’d light.
‘Humours of Bartleme Fair, O!’ in Vocal Mag. 1 May 153: How do you like it, Sir, — Oh, its all damned stuff.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 111: The former, in her dislikes, tossing her head, observes, it was shocking, quite a bore, beastly, stuff, &c.
[US]W.A. Caruthers Kentuckian in N.Y. II 188: Oh! how I hate that old saw [...] ’Tis all stuff.
[UK]Thackeray Pendennis I 126: ‘Stuff,’ said the great man. ‘He has relations in the country, hasn’t he?’.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 366: They talk about pheasants costing a guinea a head on one’s table. It’s all stuff.
[US] ‘O Andy J’ Grant Songster 29: The loyal people have got too knowing / To be taken with your ‘stuff’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Himself’ in Punch 21 Dec. in P. Marks (2006) 6: As to slang, and strong language, and so on, objections to them is all stuff.
[UK] ‘’Arry in the Witness-Box’ in Punch 5 Feb. 61/2: The old mivvy went orf in highstericks, the toffs lost their ’eds and talked stuff.
[US]N.Y. Journal 18 Oct. in Stallman (1966) 256: The trial of Officer Nightstick of the police force took place yesterday before Commissioners Guff and Stuff.
[UK]Punch 24 Jan. 69/1: Don’t talk such stuff to me, Sir!
[US]Van Loan ‘On Account of a Lady’ in Taking the Count 137: P’fesional jealousy! Where do you get that stuff? You’re supposed to be wise.
[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 305: stuff [...] Hokum. Boloney. Banana oil. ‘They tell me that Sheba tried to commit suicide over her daddy.’ – ‘Huh. That’s a lot o’ stuff.’.
[US](con. 1930s) C.E. Lincoln The Avenue, Clayton City (1996) 118: They don’t take no stuff. From nobody. Black or white.

5. as euph. for drink or drugs.

(a) (also liquid stuff) alcohol, esp. bootleg liquor.

[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II:4 26: I paid three Shillings, in a huff, / For my half Pint of liquid Stuff.
[UK]Derby Mercury 13 Apr.2/1: ‘What Stuff was it that he took?’ ‘A sort of Julep’.
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans IV 191: A tankard of what he former called humming stuff.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘Nothing Like Grog’ Collection of Songs I 102: A can of good stuff, had they twigg’d it, / ’Twould have set them for pleasure agog.
[UK] ‘A Sup of good Whisky’ Jovial Songster 136: The Quakers will bid you from drink abstain [...] Yet some of the broadbrims will get to the stuff, / And tipple away till they’ve tippled enough.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) vii: A jolly long pipe, a cann of prime stuff before me.
[UK]Marryat Snarleyyow I 97: Tell old Frank Slush to send us another dose of the stuff.
[US]W.E. Burton Waggeries and Vagaries 12: First rate stuff it was, I swow. It oiled the parson’s tongue like all out doors.
[Ire] ‘Fair of Clogeen’ Irish Songster 23: I called for the stuff and she guzzled it.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 387/1: They carry about their persons pint bladders of the ‘stuff,’ or ‘jigger stuff’.
[US]Buffalo Courier (NY) 12 Feb. 4/7: The grande princesse offered me some liquid stuff in a kind of toroise shell cup.
[UK]G.R. Sims Dagonet Ballads 69: Stay ye here, lad, and hand us a drink. That’s the stuff in the jug on the tray.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Oct. 8/2: Though genuine hops may be used for that stuff / ’Tis better to booze at the pumps, / For those dreadful long beers, if imbibed long enough, / Will soon produce genuine ‘jumps.’.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 21: I just got nibbling at the stuff [...] nibbling at the red-eye.
[UK]Cardiff Times 4 Jan. 1/8: The vicar’s wife [...] wanted me to take a bottle of wine home [...] I’m sure we didn’t want her old stuff.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 Aug. 14/1: bung: ‘This is a drop of good stuff. Had it by me seven years.’ / cocky: ‘Well, don’t try workin’ yer old tack off on me. Trot out something fresh, or I’ll go across the road.’.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Fifth Wheel’ Strictly Business (1915) 68: The Stuff [...] You know. But subsequently nit. Not a drop.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 22 July [synd. col.] In the language of Broadway, she [i.e. a bear] is ‘off the stuff’. [...] Katrina got stewed the other night [etc].
[US]McKinney’s Cotton Pickers ‘Sellin’ That Stuff’ [lyrics] She sold more whiskey than the law allowed; / Oh, she’s sellin’ that stuff.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Goldfish’ Red Wind (1946) 166: I sniffed the stuff, wrinkled my nose.
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘A Sunday in April’ To Whom It May Concern 151: Better lay off the stuff, Jim [...] I feel a thousand times better since I went on the wagon.
[US]J. Thompson Alcoholics (1993) 57: He wasn’t a real alcoholic, of course; always’d been able to handle the stuff.
[UK]A. Bennett God the Stonebreaker 192: GB poured a dry sherry, commenting as she smacked her lips [...] ‘This is luvly stuff’.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 171: Whiskey was cheap enough to drown in [...] and since then I have never touched a drop of the stuff.
[UK](con. 1950s) D. Nobbs Second From Last in the Sack Race 266: I often go up there, sup a bit of stuff.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 152: Ferra woman, like, she carn arf put the fuckin stuff away.

(b) (US) a ‘knock-out drop’.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 3 Jan. 14/1: ‘Send Lize down to watch the clodhoppers and have her pour a little more of the “stuff” down ’em’.

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

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 18 Oct. 3/3: The money was handed to her, she took up several [opium] pipes [...] When she found the one she wanted she [...] handed it to the visitor, saying ‘There, fix it yourself; ‘Here’s the stuff’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Oct. 14/4: [of opium] [I] told him that if he didn’t give me the straight tip about doctoring the stuff he could roll up and ‘clear.’ Was then informed that cold-tea was the proper ‘fake,’ and I got that shearing through all right.
[UK]A.B. Reeve Constance Dunlap 295: ‘He’s a lobbygow for the grapevine system they have now of selling the dope in spite of this new law.’ ‘Where does he get the stuff?’ she asked.
[UK]‘Sax Rohmer’ Dope 228: Somewhere not a hundred miles from this spot where we are now there’s a store of stuff big enough to dope all Europe!
[US]C.S. Montanye ‘White as Snow’ Detective Story 18 Feb. [Internet] [of cocaine] I’ve got a couple of friends in town who want to load up on the stuff before catching the rattler.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 175: ‘Can’t you leave the stuff alone?’ ‘I got to have me bit of coke,’ Pinkie answered.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 136: I think we’d better cook up a shot just to see if the stuff is all right.
C.B. Yorke ‘Snowbound’ in Gangster Stories Oct. n.p.: Suds Garland sells the stuff [i.e. cocaine] that makes old men our of young men.
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 116: Gum opium [...] is bought from dealers, usually for about fifty-five dollars a pound. Anna and Jake paid about eighty-five dollars a month for ‘stuff’.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 280: Thought you was off the stuff, Dealer.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 61: I got a fresh shipment of the stuff [i.e. opium] this morning.
[US]E. Hunter ‘Vicious Circle’ Jungle Kids (1967) 35: He was willing to sell [marijuana] so he could get his paws on the needle-stuff.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 7: When I go to a pusher, do you think he dares hand me any beat stuff? [i.e. heroin].
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 85: ‘Cab. What they got you for?’ ‘Possession.’ ‘Stuff?’ ‘No, just pot.’.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 155: You know. Stuff. Smack.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 177: They shoulda called me Little Cocaine, I was sniffing so much of the stuff!
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] He’s got the stuff on him, hasn’t he?
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] Some of these fuckers have been using the point of the needle to stir the stuff when they’re cooking up.
[UK]Observer 15 Aug. 11: I don’t bother trying to sell stuff over here any more – too many Old Bill around.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 101: ‘Whadda ya lookin’ for?’ ‘Stuff.’ ‘Stuff?’ ‘Heroin, smack, stuff.’.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 149: [of crack cocaine] We’re out of stuff, and we need some. Now!
[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 145: ‘He’ll have it already wrapped up [...] and give it them and they have to go cut they own stuff down’.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Hard Cases’ Wire ser. 2 ep. 4 [TV script] That shit got more rat poison in it than there was stuff.
[Aus]P. Temple Broken Shore (2007) [ebook] T‘Debbie says the Piggott kid [...] he’s sellin stuff at school.’ [...] ‘Got something against drugs, Bern? Since when?’.
[Can]Star Phoenix (Saskatchewan) 17 Apr. 2/4: So maybe all this needle stuff just isn’t that big of a problem.
[UK]K. Richards Life 13: Otherwise the search is illegal and even if they find the stuff the case will be thrown out.
[UK]K. Richards Life 260: I would have probably written ‘Gimme Shelter’ whether i was on or off the stuff.

(d) marijuana.

[SA]H.C. Bosman Willemsdorp (1981) I 481: The fragrance of the greyish smoke that came through the window impinged itself on the nostrils of the Zulu watchman. [...] He sniffed appreciatively. It was good stuff, that.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 11: All those narco heat know where to come by the stuff [i.e. marijuana] and smoke it.
[US]Current Sl. IV:1 15: Stuff, n. Marijuana.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 180: [of marijuana] I had some stuff from Nam.

6. money.

[UK]Rowlands Diogenes Lanthorne 11: My Gowne-brother, he promist me good stuffe truly, a great peny-worth indeed, and verily did gull me.
[UK]Colman & Garrick Clandestine Marriage I i: There’s no stuff in the case; no money, Lovewell!
[UK]Sheridan Rivals (1776) I i: But has she got the stuff, Mr. Fag? is she rich, hey?
[UK]‘A. Burton’ Adventures of Johnny Newcome III 152: To furnish John with Lots o’th’ stuff.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy II 215: He [...] put a little more of the right sort o’ stuff in my jacket pockets to pay harbour dues with.
[UK]Tom Cladpole’s Jurney to Lunnun 27: ‘Ya’ve twenty more to pay!’ ‘Fer what?’ I ax’d, dey sed ‘fer cost,’ [...] So I dubb’d down de stuff ya see, An den dey let me goo.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 8 Nov. 92/1: Hauling out a handful of bills [he said ‘Thank God, I’ve got stuff enough to buy off all the police’.
[UK]Dickens ‘Slang’ Household Words 24 Sept. 75/2: Money – the bare, plain, simple word itself [...] might have sufficed, yet we substitute for it – tin, rhino, blunt, rowdy, stumpy, dibbs, browns, stuff, ready [etc.].
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 353/1: Then they hand over to the long-day man ‘the stuff’ as they call it.
[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 272: I’ll tell you what you mustn’t do, or you’ll blue all the stuff (lose all the money).
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Feb. 11/1: Pushed for a feed, why, in you’d walk, / Where chained is every knife and fork; / And, ever being without ‘stuff,’ / Would get a dinner ‘on the bluff.’.
[US]W. De Vere ‘A Black Hills Sermon’ Tramp Poems 23: He had plenty of ‘stuff’ in his ‘leather’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Feb. 2/8: To indicate money you must say ‘beans’, ‘gaunts’, ‘rhino’, ‘sugar’, ‘stuff’.
[US]Neihart Herald (MT) 18 Apr. 2/4: Don’t know what a jigger is? Why ye scratch yer arm ’n put some kind of liniment on it, ’n it swells up, ’n then ye show it ter people ’n they come down with the stuff, easy, see?
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 134: Swears did not run the risk of disgusting his later-day Good Samaritans by squandering the stuff.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Send Round the Hat’ in Roderick (1972) 472: Later on it [i.e. a donation] was half-a-sovereign, and so on down to half-a-crown and a shilling, as he got short of stuff.
[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 147: Stow that chaff [...] I’m as good as you are here and one better to, for I’ve got the ‘stuff’ in my pocket, and you haven’t.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 74: De ‘stuff’ is de boodle dat de gang what runs de city shakes down from de crooks; and ‘dey’ is de shaker-downs.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 30 Aug. 9/7: They can't pay for there acooshments /Cause they hasn't got no stuff.
[Ire]Joyce ‘The Boarding House’ Dubliners (1956) 63: She knew he had a good screw for one thing, and she suspected he had a bit of stuff put by.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 261: Soft stuff—paper money.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 55: He has the stuff in gobs, but he hates giving it up.
[US]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.
[US]J.E. Webb Four Steps to the Wall 15: Your pal outside sent word you had some big stuff to change.
[US]H. Whittington Web of Murder (2000) 5: Cora was loaded with the stuff.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 155: All right, when do I get my stuff?

7. (US Und.) a copper watch which has been galvanized and is sold as ‘gold’.

[US]N.Y. Herald 27 Sept. 2/3: However, [...] the gentleman drew from his pocket a watch, which Mr. T. thought to be gold, and placed it in his hands as a collateral security — [...] but shortly afterwards, Mr. T., upon examining the watch, discovered it to be what is called a ‘stuff’, that is, a copper watch galvinized.

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

(a) the vagina, the buttocks; fig. used as female sexuality.

[UK] ‘The Priest Of The Parish’ Regular Thing, and No Mistake 72: He’ll find Judy Magrath has a tight bit of stuff of it, / By my soul she will blunten the edge of his knife.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 5: Sold her stuff at the shop / Of a musical wop / Who played with her soft little titties.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 199: Theres no sense in turning down a piece of free stuff, when it costs three bucks at Mrs Kipfer’s.
[US](con. 1930s) R. Wright Lawd Today 93: She was saying something like this: ‘[...] I jjjust ddon’t llike to sssell ... my ssstuff ... I jjjust lloves to gggive ... iit away ...’.
[US](con. c.1900) J. Thompson King Blood (1989) 112: Were those [...] women only hairless between their arms, or was the area surrounding their stuff also without hair.
[US]C. Himes Blind Man with a Pistol (1971) 45: Been pimping and running whore houses ever since you learned the stuff would sell.

(b) a woman, usu. attractive and often out, enjoying herself.

[UK]Randiana 73: ‘Is there anything hot and hollow about,’ asked I [...] ‘Well, there may be some stray ‘stuff’ dropping in.’.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 235/2: Stuff. Girl. (See Bit o’ stuff.).
[US](con. 1920s) S. Lewis Elmer Gantry 377: He couldn’t of married Lulu. No. [...] Small-town stuff. But awful nice to pat!
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 17: A passing short-skirted, bow-legged blond. Nice stuff!
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 645: Ever screw any nigger stuff?
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 136: She was some hunk of stuff if you didn’t mind a face that was too much lipstick, too arched eyebrows.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 7: What’s an old blowhard like you doing around North Beach? After some young stuff?
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 131: He’s got some mighty fine stuff back there with him.
[US]LaBarge & Holt Sweetwater Gunslinger 201 (1990) 189: How’d you like that Vietnamese stuff?
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 30: You still goin’ at that young stuff.
‘Trance Ender’ ‘Cindy Does Her Best Friend’s Dad’ www.asstr.org [Internet] He’d long been attracted to young stuff and had fought hard to not act on his urges.

(c) (US prison) a male homosexual.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 219: Red leaned close to whisper, ‘That kid’s stuff [...] That kid was a queen in Tracy. They called her Candy Cane’.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 265: Yeah, cute stuff! I’ll be waiting.

(d) (US gang) the penis.

[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 139: ‘The other one put his stuff in her butt’.
[US]in J. Miller Getting Played 79: ‘They’ll do it to her then she’ll just suck they stuff’.

9. arguments.

[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 20: I see he had a still on an’ I didn’ wanna giv ’im no stuff.
[US] ‘Return of Honky-Tonk Bud’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 61: If yu think this is bluff, just start some stuff, / And we’ll break you out a new tombstone.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 161: Can just wouldn’t accept any stuff from people, no matter how talented.

10. a person.

[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 97: If Nathaniel spotted a bit of promising stuff in a street fight, he’d [...] invite the winner to step out into the back yard of the nearest alehouse.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe on the Job 158: Go on, you whiskered old stuff!
[US]L. Dent ‘Angelfish’ in Goulart (1967) 232: What put you wise, tall stuff?
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 43: You look like city stuff, but sort of simple.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 93: Hell, with all the free stuff coming through here who’s going to play around in those bug mills?
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 205: ‘Got that stuff!’ – usually refers to a homosexual; often used in a joking manner among friends.

11. personality, character; ability.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 May 5/2: The Premier remonstrated, but the captain, who was of proper British stuff, said ‘Look here, sir, you’re Premier on land, hut I’m Premier on this here ship’.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 33: If I didn’t know you were the right stuff, you’d never have seen it.
[UK]Magnet 22 Feb. 11: I’m a bit different stuff from Nugent, you see.
[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 21: You’re a meek little baa-lamb, but you’ve got lots of stuff in you, old Wrennski.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Score Another One for Barnum’ Argosy All-Story 11 Sept. [Internet] Sir Dante Grimm, Student of Facial Control and Will-Power—that’s his stuff—was sitting on the platform.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 169: Did you think I wanted to see a guy like you, with stuff in him, working in a factory?
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 204: Jimmy was a tall, rangy boy with more stuff than I would have expected.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 6: Maybe Whitey saw himself as the leader, but if he did he was jiving himself. He didn’t have the stuff.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 51: Why wasn’t I allowed a chance to show my stuff last night?
[US]T. O’Brien Going After Cacciato (1980) 30: The man had his stuff tight.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: call one’s stuff – to tell someone about themselves; to set a person straight.

12. (US) something important, meaningful.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 79: Oh this is the stuff — no more burglars around the house.
[UK]A.N. Depew Gunner Depew 77: Don’t hand me no cones of the hokey-pokey. Gimme a drop of the stuff. Tell me, do I croak, Doc?
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 39: About six months [...] ’at’s if you show some stuff!
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 98: But ah’m tawkin some stuff, buddi.

13. (US prison) someone, or something, of value.

[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 252: Stuff. Something of value.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 150: And they had talked about who was stuff and who wasn’t. Stuff was anything of value and faggots and sissies were of great value to many.

14. (US Und.) an unappealing person.

[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 252: Stuff. a coward or braggart.

15. stolen goods.

[UK]News of the World 7 Jan. 3/3: Dawson said he would have quieted the superintendent if he hadn’t dropped his jemmy as it didn’t matter to him much what happened so long as he got away with the stuff.
[US](con. 1910s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 160: I knew years ago of a publican’s wife who bought stuff when she thought it was a ‘stone ginger’ (perfectly safe).

16. (US prison) a knife or gun.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 166: ‘If you come on the yard tomorrow morning, you better have your stuff.’ ‘My stuff?’ ‘Your shank, your knife.’.
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 50: stuff A handgun. ‘Look out! Nigger got some stuff.’.

17. a term of address.

[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 54: What’s on’ on, Stuff?

18. constr. with the, a euph. for hell, the phr. etc.

[SA]P. Slabolepszy Sat. Night at the Palace (1985) 17: Jeez . . . where the stuff are we?

In derivatives

stuffer (n.)

(Aus.) a bettor, one who wagers money.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 30 Jan. 1/2: Owners propose and stuffers dispose.

In compounds

old stuff, the (n.)

(US) nonsense, verbiage, deceptive chatter.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 6 Jan. [synd. cartoon] Indoor Sports. Watching a joe salesman in a hick suit [...] peddling the old stuff.
[UK]Ballymena Wkly Teleg. 8 Feb. 7/6: The Fuhrer’s speech was only a rehash of the old, old stuff.
L. Deighton Ipcress File (1964) 107: Standing around giving each other the old stuff about retreads, P.T.A. meetings and where to go for a good divorce.
stuff-all (n.) [var. on fuck all n.]

nothing at all.

[SA]P. Slabolepszy ‘Boo to the Moon’ in Mooi Street (1994) 133: You know when Napoleon sent a piss-willy little telegram to Bismarck, but I bet you know stuff-all about what happened.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 113: He jumped in, boots an’ all, and Davo racked off with the capital. [...] He’s been left with stuff all.

In phrases

do one’s stuff (v.)

1. to perform as one is expected to.

G. Fox letter in Works (1831) 22: A while after, when the priest had done his stuff, they came to the Friends again.
[US] ‘Crap-Shootin’ Charley’ in J.J. Niles Singing Soldiers (1927) 27: Come on, bones, and treat me nice. / Phoebe, Phoebe, do your stuff.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 29: Just do your stuff and leave it at that.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 147: A rather oversized greyhound and a somewhat slimmer electric hare doing their stuff on a circular track.
[UK]N. Mitchison Among You Taking Notes 26 Oct. 166: Then the Gaumont British News, with the commentator [...] doing his stuff.
[UK]Oh Boy! No. 18 9: Come here rifle! Do your stuff!
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 101: Signalling to the clergyman to do his stuff.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 142: They were coming out via Kennedy airport; there the FBI were to do their stuff.
[US]H. Ellison All the Lies in Shatterday (1982) 165: All set. Do your stuff, Kerch.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 94: We jes lie on ar backs in-a grounds uv-a ole abbey an weyt fer the acid ter kick in an do its stuff.

2. to show off a speciality.

[US]O.O. McIntyre White Light Nights 47: One may find a sprinkling of Broadway’s Who’s Who willing to step out on the Lilliputian dance floor and ‘do their stuff’.
[US]O.O. McIntyre ‘New York Day by Day’ [synd. col.] 5 Oct. He was doing his stuff in a soda water parlour on Broadway.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 10: I then amuse myself watchin’ the guy on the dance floor doin’ his stuff.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 10: I watched them do their stuff one evening.
[UK]P. Reading ‘Travalogue’ in Nothing For Anyone 30: It used to be a tiny place until – / a bunch of whizz-kid architects had done / their stuff.
feel one’s stuff (v.) (also feel it)

(US black) to base one’s actions or speech on one’s most intense and sincere emotions.

[US]N.Y. Post 3 Feb. 15: If he’s in the mood, we say he’s in the groove, or feeling his stuff.
[US]Shapiro & Hentoff Hear Me Talking to Ya 356: He couldn’t feel it.
give a stuff (v.) (also give a gippo’s stuff) [backform. f. not give a stuff ]

(Aus./N.Z.) to care.

[UK]R. Stow Tourmaline 47: Who gives a stuff about beliefs?
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 78: If he wants to con the poor old poms, who gives a stuff.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 70: The king meant bugger-all to me and I don’t think the country would have given a stuff if I starved.
[NZ]V.G. O’Sullivan Pilate Tapes 57: As though old Clarrie gave a gippo’s stuff for a bit on the side.
[NZ]V.G. O’Sullivan Let the River Stand 40: ‘Not lousy even so much as shagged,’ Dick said, ‘because no one’s given a stuff about them for years.’ [DNZE].
[Ire]Eve. Herald (Dublin) 17 Nov. 12/4: ‘Who gives a stuff that a Red Sox fan would die for his season ticket?’.
hit the stuff (v.)

1. (US) to drink alcohol.

[US]H. Green Mr. Jackson 89: ‘You want a drink [...]? ‘Naw, I don’t!’ exclaimed Henry, rebukingly, ‘think I’d hit that stuff an’ him ill?’.
[US]Van Loan ‘For the Pictures’ in Taking the Count 338: Hitting that stuff awful hard, ain’t you?
[US]G.V. Higgins Cogan’s Trade (1975) 134: You’re hitting that stuff pretty hard, aren’t you, Mitch?

2. (drugs) to smoke opium.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 122/2: To hit the stuff. 1. To be addicted to narcotics.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.

3. to use narcotics.

[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 310: hit the stuff. To be addicted to drugs.
liquid stuff (n.)

see sense 5a above.

needle stuff (n.)

see sense 5b above.

no stuff

(US black) no fooling, no lies, absolutely honest and sincere.

[US]R. Fisher Walls Of Jericho 33: Listen, I’m handlin’ a Canadian Club that’ll sell itself, no stuff.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 129: Soon as we hit that town and get set we’ll send for you, no stuff.
not give a stuff (v.) [i.e. euph. for not give a fuck v.]

to not care whatsoever.

[Aus]K. Gilbert Cherry Pickers II i: Them doctors an’ nurses knew what was happenin’ about my babies—but they blamed me. They couldn’t give a stuff.
‘Ricki Francis’ Kings X Hooker 44: ‘Perhaps you are a poufter, but then I couldn’t give a stuff any more’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 15: But Les didn’t really give a stuff.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 93: Joe Blow doesn’t give a stuff about the [...] Royals.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 109/1: stuff [...] in phr. not give a stuff not to care; eg ‘Nobody gives a stuff about the score, it’s the game that counts with us.’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Davo’s Little Something 5: I don’t give a stuff where he got the money.
[UK]Guardian 7 Oct. [Internet] Damian Green, the Conservative environment spokesman, said the government did not give ‘a stuff about the environment’.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 26 Aug. 268/2: They really couldn’t care a stuff.
[UK]Guardian Travel 10 Dec. 6: The majority of us couldn’t give a stuff.
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 13: Police don’t give a stuff, let them kill each other.
[SA]Mail & Guardian On Line (SA) 14 Aug. [Internet] Whites are privileged, rich, arrogant and do not care a stuff about their compatriots of another skin colour.
on the stuff

(drugs) using a narcotic drug, esp. heroin.

[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 403: Drug Addict [...] on th’ stuff.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 124/2: on the stuff. 1. Addicted to narcotics [...] . 2. Under the immediate influence.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 313: on the stuff. Addicted to drugs.
[US]H. Whittington Forgive Me, Killer (2000) 64: How long you been on the stuff, Ziggy?
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 119: What the hell you saying, Cherry? You on the stuff?
play stuff (v.)

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

[US] ‘The Fall’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 81: She played stuff like an ace, never lost a case, / And put many a mark in debt.
[US] ‘Sporting Life’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 161: There are two-way layers and old stuff players, / And all know how to cheat.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 196: There hadn’t been the slightest thought in my mind of playing stuff.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
sit on one’s stuff (v.)

(US black) to work as a prostitute.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 133: Put ’er on d’ co’ner, so she can sit on her stuff and bring my money home!

SE in slang uses

In phrases

and stuff

a meaningless addition to the end of a sentence, the implication is that the ‘stuff’ is essentially meaningless, irrelevant.

J. Lewis Memoirs of Duke of Gloucester (1789) 66: She turned to me and said, ‘Lewis, I find you pretend to give the Duke notions of the mathematics, and stuff.’.
Swift Grand Question debated in Complete Poems (1983) 385: Your Noveds, and Blutraks, and Omurs and Stuff, By G, they don’t signify this Pinch of Snuff .
[UK]O. Goldsmith Retaliation 19: They talk’d of their Raphaels, Corregios and stuff.
[UK]Tom Cladpole’s Jurney to Lunnun 18: Wid beef, an beer, an gin, an stuff, Dey kipt me loike a king.
[UK]Thackeray Henry Esmond (1898) 330: And as for you, you want a woman to bring your slippers and cap, and to sit at your feet, and cry, ‘O caro! O bravo!’ whilst you read your Shakespeares and Miltons and stuff.
[US]J.R. Lowell Fireside Travels 177: I like folks who like an honest bit of steel, and take no interest whatever in ‘your Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff’.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 50: Sure, he’s got nice clothes and stuff.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: and stuff expression equivalent to ‘etc.’.
[US]‘Victoria Parker’ Incest Schoolgirls [Internet] Did he squirt and stuff?
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 91: I know it’s pathetic and stuff.
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]

(US black) to act with caution, e.g., when playing cards; esp. to act carefully when conducting a love affair.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 50: You playin’ wid yo’ stuff out de winder, You fat ’round de heart. Bet some money. [Ibid.] 143: Youse skeered to bet. Gamblin’ wid yo’ stuff out de window.