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.

[UK]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.
[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’ [lyrics] 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.’.
[Aus]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.)

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

‘London Underground Guide’ at [Internet] 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).
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 itias track thirteen an’ a washout.

2. (US Und.) 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. [Internet] 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 [Internet] 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.
[US]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.

[NZ]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].
[NZ]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].