Green’s Dictionary of Slang

track n.2

1. the highway or street as the home of tramps, prostitutes, pickpockets etc.

[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 36: I’ll back these three boys to dream longer than any other drummers on the track.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 211: I knew plenty of men at the track, along Broadway or among the grafters, who would be glad to lend Duke Merrill, topliner among the ‘con’ men.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 15 Nov. 7/2: The renowned local ‘Blue Spec,’ who has been doing splendid track work in the city, returned on Saturday. She is reported to be [...] a ‘dead cert’ for the Streetwalker’s Stakes.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 83: Bitch, the track closes at two.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 9: If it wasn’t for them bitches Earl got out on the track, he couldn’t borrow five dollars.

2. (Aus.) any outback road; also attrib.

[Aus]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 137: I don’t think a regular sundowner would have easy lines on this track.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Road to Gundagai’ in Rio Grande’s Last Race (1904) 78: Then slowly, looking coyly back, / She went along the Sydney track.
[Aus] (?) H. Lawson ‘The Green Lady’ in Roderick (1972) 897: They sung ‘For He’s a Jolly Good feller’ as we took the track.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 17: His track name was Duke, and he had been ‘busking’ — singing his way from town to town.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 241/1: track – any road in the bush or outback.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 56: The only tree within a bull’s roar of the track for five miles.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘There’s an army vet and his sheila down the track’ .

3. (US black) a dancehall, a ballroom, esp. the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.

[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
Ted Yates I’ve Been Around NY 12 Jan. [synd. col.] The Savoy Ballroom, popularly known as The Track, is Harlem’s claim to fame.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 216: Pick you up at The Track when the kitchen mechanics romp.
[US]Shapiro & Hentoff Hear Me Talking to Ya 194: When they opened at the ‘track’ they were just a band without any particular leader.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]T.M. Kochman ‘The Kinetic Element in Black Idiom’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 163: The place where the movement can occur is appropriately termed the ‘track,’ whether the place is a dance hall […].

4. (US black) the world of pimping, hustling, confidence tricks etc; the Eastern cities are the fast track, California and the West are the slow track or soft track.

[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 102: Putting down her broom on the main track in the Big Red with the Long Green Stem.
[US]T.M. Kochman ‘The Kinetic Element in Black Idiom’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 163: The place where the movement can occur is appropriately termed the ‘track,’ whether the place is a dance hall [...], the street.

5. (US black) that area of a street where a prostitute works.

[US] ‘The Fall’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 87: ’Cause my money’s low, and I need me a whore / Who can run that speedy track.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 76: The track was lousy slow all night.
[US]UGK ‘The Game Belongs To Me’ 🎵 Bitch ain’t gotta hit the track, ain’t gotta give no tricks no head.

In compounds

track dolie (n.) (also track man) [during the Depression itinerants were issued with food ration cards, but were not allowed to remain in any one place]

(Aus.) an itinerant.

[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 17: The track men come in to have their cards stamped at the police station and get their rations to carry them to the next ‘dole town.’.
E.J. Wallace Sydney and the Bush i: ‘Track dolies’ — swaggies or baggies, who had given up their homes to go on the road — were compelled to keep moving to collect their rations [AND].
track pizza (n.) (also railroad-track pizza)

(US) one who throws themselves in front of a railway or subway train.

[US]Salt Lake Trib. (UT) 21 Mar. H7/5: The train stops nearly every mile [...] to chase away some shepherd’s flock, preventing track pizza resulting from goats, sheep [etc].
[US]C. Ross Tunnel Visions 83: The Control Room [...] knew there was a one-under; what I heard called in New York a track pizza.
‘London Underground Guide’ at victorian.fortunecity.com 🌐 He learns why green grapes, are more deadly than banana skins, though not as lethal as suicidal ‘one-unders’ (or ‘track pizza’, to use a ‘lovely’ piece of New York Slang).
L. Freeman in New Yorker 79 174: I should have been a railroad-track pizza , a double Indian pepperoni with extra cheese. Sick and scared, I leaned over and puked whiskey.
B. Shah Blessings 136: ‘You should hear what they call them in New York...track pizza. Get it? Because of all the blood...track pizza...bloody hell’.
track thirteen (n.) (also track 13) [the trad. unlucky number]

1. in fig. use.

[US]Inter Ocean (Chicago) 13 May 33/3: After 30 there is a red lantern on love’s track, and at 35 it is track thirteen an’ a washout.

2. (US Und.) a life sentence.

[US]‘The Lang. of Crooks’ in Wash. Post 20 June 4/2: [paraphrasing J. Sullivan] Track No. 13 and a washout, a term strong in the West, is a life sentence.
[US]J. Sullivan ‘Criminal Sl.’ in Amer. Law Rev. LII (1918) 891: ‘Track 13’ and ‘washout’ is a life sentence in a Western pentitentiary.
Pittsburgh Sun-Teleg. (PA) 14 July 58/3: With somewhat more than a hundred thousand dollars’ worth of potential dynamite in his pocket to blow him back to a cell for ‘track thirteen and a washout’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

In phrases

(been) around the track (adj.)

(being) experienced, usu. spec. sexually experienced; if used of a woman (the usu. form) derog.

S. McKern Redneck Mothers 13: The New Belle is a bit older, then, than the average coed; she’s been around the track a time or two (though the mileage doesn’t show).
B. Granger Zurich Numbers 44: Listen, she’s been around the track. We’re not talking about high school.
[UK]Guardian 11 Nov. 🌐 Labour will choose from a trio of middle-aged professional politicians who have all been around the track a fair while.
Movie Films Fest ‘Naughty College School Girls 7’ Rev. on Excalibur Films 🌐 The cast here are all attractive fresh faces including Vanda (a cutie) edgy Capri, hard-driving Keki and Caroline (our foreign fucker). Only Felecia, who looks like she’s been around the track, doesn’t quite fit.
R. Yancey Highly Effective Detective 67: You’ve lived a lot longer than I have and been around the track a few more times.
down the track (adj.)

1. experienced.

[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 82: She was ten years or so further down the track than Wanda.

2. referring to the passage of time.

[Aus]Hackworth & Sherman About Face (1991) 38: He said there’d be another stripe in it for me somewhere down the track.
[Aus]L. Davies Candy 157: A few months down the track, we’d do it all again, try and stop.
[Aus]G. Disher Kill Shot [ebook] Not that she cared, but it might come in useful down the track.
fly the track (v.) [horseracing imagery]

(US) to abandon one’s duties, to depart from an expected course of action.

[US]Congressional Globe 4 Feb. 322/2: I had been accused of flying the track on the creed of the Democratic party [DA].
[US] ‘Losing Game of Poker’ in Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 47: That derned fool flew the track after I got a good hand.
C.W. Stearns Black Man of the South 390L: Lizzy made a third trial for a husband with whom she managed to ‘jog along’ in the matrimonial course, until this her last lover ‘flew the track,’ and again was she left comfortless.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. [title] The Fable of Why Sweetie Flew the Track.
C. Harris Eve’s Husband 85: No man ever gets too old to fly the track in some way [DA].
grub track (n.)

the search for food.

[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 7: I’m generally on the move, but it’s just along the grub track, and that ain’t excitin’.
off (the) track

behaving badly, making mistakes, being inconsistent.

[US]J. Harrison ‘Negro English’ in Anglia VII 262: To run plum orf de track = to be entirely wrong.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Nov. 13/2: [They] are all off the track in their vaporings anent the uses and uselessnesses of war-bikes against cavalry.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 131: ‘No,’ Ben said. ‘This thing’s off the track some place.’ You can bet it’s off the track some place, I wanted to tell him.
[UK] K. K. Howard Small Time Crooks 21: All right, Marc. I was off the track that time.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 142: You’re way off track babes.
on the track

the world of the outback, thus used of a person to imply a vagrant’s life.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Mar. 11/3: ‘Now, Dubbo Kate, you shall be let alone if you tell me what has become of Rorty Johnson. We want him for a super and slang!’ This is when they are ‘on the track.’ When they’ve got a clue, they sit in a pub. all day, and gaze attentively up at the wrong house.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Some Day’ in Roderick (1972) 138: I’ve been knocking around for five years, and the last two years constant on the track.
[Aus]Duke Tritton’s Letter n.p.: And I can come home now after a hard day’s yakka, [...] wade through half a dozen dishes of scran that we used to dream of when we were on the track, then finish up with Uncle Ned and Roll Me In The Gutter.
[Aus]J. Doone Timely Tips For New Australians 22: TO BE ‘ON THE TRACK.’ — To be tramping from place to place.
[Aus] in W.K. Hancock Australian in Baker (1945) n.p.: In their place is a new vocabulary of the Bush – [...] never-never, outback, backblocks. One is ‘on the track’, ‘on the wallaby.’.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 9: He was thinking that life ‘on the track’ was not so bad, with good places to camp and ‘cockies’ sheep to knock over.’.
[Aus]D. Cusack Caddie 255: He told me his plans. He was going on the track* [...] *On the track — Tramping the back country in search of work.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 48: Easy to see you weren’t on the track during the Depression.
[Aus](con. 1930s) F. Huelin ‘Keep Moving’ 1: ‘New on the track?’ my companion asked.
take the track (v.)

(N.Z.) to be dismissed from a job; thus put down the track, to dismiss.

Maoriland Worker 7 July 14: And a ‘drummer’ is the man with the lowest tally – perhaps because he is likeliest to take and keep the track with his ‘load’ [DNZE].
B. Richards Off the Sheep’s Back 98: The lamb would have to be killed. I felt embarrassed and upset because I was sure I would be ‘put down the track’ [DNZE].