Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tub n.1

1. (also bathtub) a boat; thus transatlantic liners, esp. as venues for crime; thus work the tubs under work v.

[UK]W. Raleigh Invention Shipping 9: In Cæsars time, the French Brittains [...] had very untoward Tubs in which they made Warre against him.
[UK]Humours of a Coffee-House 13 Aug. 3: What Cargo had the Old Tubs in ’em?
[US]E. Mack Cat-fight 150: Nor less did Pluto and his jeering court Of their tub-merchant make their jest and sport.
[Aus]G.C. Mundy Our Antipodes III 37: I removed my household goods, my wife, two servants, and a horse, on board a wretched little tub of a steam-boat.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Among the Mormons in Complete Works (1922) 191: She is a miserable tub at best, and hasn’t much more right to be afloat than a second-hand coffin has.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 32: ‘Blast his impudence,’ muttered Murphy; ‘How I should like to sink his old tub where she lies, and drown every soul on board.’.
[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter III 94: Many an old rotten tub had he stuck the unwary with, always receiving a percentage on the sale.
[UK]Bristol Magpie 27 July 5/2: The good old tubs strolled leisurely home from a three, six, or seven years’ cruise.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Life on the Mississippi (1914) 47: [I] took passage on an ancient tub called the ‘Paul Jones.’.
[UK]Sporting Times 8 Mar. 2/1: My friend the American Bulldog, himself a sailor, says that the States must be fools to send their twopenny-halfpenny tubs to be a laughing stock for Europe.
[US]F. Norris Moran of the Lady Letty 39: I’m the boss of the bathtub.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 17 Nov. 110: One of them orders you and some other meek and mild Fresher in to ‘tub,’ which you find is a boat.
[UK]N. Gould Straight Goer (1915) 16: ‘I might have been tossing about in some old tub on the ocean all my life’.
[UK]A. Brazil Fourth Form Friendship 221: [of a dinghy] ‘She’s a dreadfully heavy old tub [...] but she’s seaworthy’.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 165: The old tub took two days and a night to waddle from Ushant to Finisterre.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 64: On the Erin’s King that day round the Kish. Damned old tub pitching about.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 239: If I can get on some kind of tub that puts to sea [...] by God I’m going to do it.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Princess O’Hara’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 435: He is a great hand for riding the tubs back and forth between here and Europe and playing stud poker with other passengers.
[US]Kerouac letter Nov. in Charters I (1995) 31: Grab a nice clean tanker or freighter, not a rotten swarming tub like the Dorchester.
[UK]S. Murphy Stone Mad (1966) 139: The old tub began to roll up an’ down, hither an’ thither as the gale got worse.
[UK]‘Hergé’ Tintin and the Red Sea Sharks 32: So that’s the tub we’re going to board.
[Ire]F. O’Connor An Only Child (1970) 77: Steve worked on a tub called the Hannibal.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 148: So I’m on that tub an’ wot happens? This girl lets me chat her up.
[UK]G. Young Slow Boats to China (1983) 76: A small and rusty tub swerving too fast into a berth.
[UK]Beano Comic Library No. 190 34: This old tub can fairly shift when she’s got a nice head of steam!
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 June 20: Our tub was actually passing Charing Cross bridge.

2. a pulpit.

[UK]Three-fold Discourse Between Three Neighbours 3: Those you resemble to the inferior Clergy that take all the pains: and thus in your Tubs [...] you tax all the world.
[UK]‘The Rebellion’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 167: Take Pryn and his club, or Smec and his tub, / Or any Sect, old or new.
J. Taylor Ale ale-evated 5: [T]he Barrell is turned into a Tub, and the Tub transformed into a suitable Pulpit.
[UK] ‘A Song’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) I 223: First to tell [...] How I once did trot / With great Zealot to a Lecture, / Where a Tub did view, / Hung with aprons blew.
[UK]Rochester ‘A Satire Against Man’ Works (1721) 4: This made a whimsical Philosopher / Before the spacious World his Tub prefer.
[UK]N. Ward ‘Reflections on a Country Corporation’ Writings (1704) 22: ’Tis true, the Pastors of the Zealous, / Such Doctrines will in Tub reveal-us.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus I:5 17: Squeez’d in, and Elbow’d pretty near / The consecrated Tub.
[UK]N. Ward Vulgus Britannicus III 37: Some of the more Revengeful Mob, / Who took the Pulpit for a Tub; / The Sacred Hut in pieces Pull’d.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy IV 14: The Tub-preaching Saint was so Zealous a Blade.
[UK]Pope Dunciad II 2: High on a gorgeous seat, that far out-shone Henley’s gilt tub, or Fflecknoe’s Irish throne .
[UK]Pope Mother Gin 15: Herds of city Saints elected, As Bell-weathers and Bulls, for noise respected [...] who from their tubs Make bulls in praise of Schism and Calves-head clubs.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 495: With pious face; on Bethnal-Green, / An inspir’d cobler mount a tub, / And preach to ev’ry ragged scrub.
[UK]‘Bumper Allnight. Esquire’ Honest Fellow 149: When Squintum first mounted the clerical tub, / He had little or nothing to say to the mob.
[UK] ‘Gloucestershire Bumpkin’ Lover’s Harmony No. 18 138: Then up jumps a man into a tub [....] he turn’ up the whites of his eyes, / And for mercy upon us did heartily pray.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Turf’ Punch 29 Nov. 297/1: I know as you won’t mount the tub, as some sneaks I ’ave spoke to ’ave done.
[UK]W.E. Henley ‘Villon’s Good-Night’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 174: You bible-sharps that thump on tubs, / You lurkers on the Abram-sham.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Oct. 18/1: Alas, alack, it’s very rough, / The man the parsons so acclaim / For touching not the cursed stuff / Has drink connections just the same. / He won’t announce it from a tub, / But beer is in his family.

3. (mid-17C) the vagina.

[UK]Mercurius Democritus 22 May 5: Then merry Lasses jocund be and drink a Syllibub, / But never let a Round-head see the way into your Tub .

4. a coach, esp. a form of covered carriage known as a ‘chariot’.

[UK]N. Ward London Spy VII 151: Our Stratford Tub, by the Assistance of its Carrionly Tits of different Colours, had out-run the Smoothness of the Road.
[UK]N. Ward ‘A Step to Stir-Bitch-Fair’ in Writings (1704) 248: By the time I got thither, the Country Tub-Driver began to be Impatient, all the Company but my self being already come.
C. Dibdin ‘The Dinner’ in Songs 1 (1842) 215/2: ‘Oh yes, her ladyship brought me home in her ladyship’s tub’.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Mar. XVII 309/2: Our Belles and Beaux / Go riding in a Tub.
T. Carlyle in Froude Life in London (1884) 307: I was taken in the ‘tub’ to Cowbridge.

5. from sense 3, a promisucuous woman, a prostitute.

[US]Wkly Rake (NY) 30 July n.p.: wants to knowWhat O.N. [...] meant when he called a decent woman ‘ a tub’’.

6. a seatless carriage used on the early railways.

[UK]H.S. Brown Autobiog. (1887) 30: We called it a ‘stand up’ and it also went by the name of ‘a tub’ .

7. (US) a fire engine.

[UK]Student and Schoolmate Jan. 3: The rope was only half manned and wishing to make myself useful [...] I joined the party in charge of the ‘tub’ [OED].

8. a glass containing approx. one pint.

[US]Sun (NY) 21 Apr. 7/2: If the hoister is on intimate terms with these schooners [of beer] he familiarly calls them ‘tubs’ or ‘high hats’. Some prefer to call them ‘geesers’.
[US]I.L. Nascher Wretches of Povertyville 21: When beer is ordered in these places [i.e. a ‘barrel house’] the customer orders a ‘tub’ and receives a glass holding nearly a pint.

9. a car.

[US]G. Bowerman diary 19 Oct. in Carnes Compensations of War (1983) 38: I employ my time washing and greasing my old tub.
[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 293: This here tub’s all shot to pieces.
[UK]J. Worby Other Half 177: Well, if you’re insured heavy enough I’ll get the best out of this tub.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 75: We gotta nice yellow speed tub outside. Maybe you’d like to come for a little ride.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Broken Melody’ in Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 I’d grabbed the frightened wren and yanked her back into my tub.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 76: We had only gone a few blocks when we noticed the old tub was practically out of gas.

10. (UK Und.) an omnibus, a bus; thus work the tubs under work v.

[Aus]T. Winton That Eye, The Sky 120: The school bus is an old tub.

11. a truck.

[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 237: I might be able to get the old tub going and I might not.
[UK]B. Naughton ‘Late Night on Watling Street’ in Late Night on Watling Street (1969) 10: I’ll wait for you in my tub. We’ll drive off together.

12. (Aus. prison) a sanitary bucket.

[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xli 4/5: tub: Sanitary bucket used in prisons.

In compounds

tub house (n.)

(US) a mission.

[US]I.L. Nascher Wretches of Povertyville 188: The day is spent in a ‘tub’ house [...] he will go to a mission house, announce his willingness to reform, give his testimony, pose as the horrible example, be prayed over, cried over [...] receive useless religious advice.
tub-man (n.) (also tub-preacher)

a preacher, a parson.

[UK] ‘Tom Nash his Ghost’ in Grosart Works of T. Nashe I (1883–4) lxix: Yeare of the late Qu. Elizabeths Reigne when Martin Mar-Prelate was as mad as any of his Tub-men are now.
[UK]Right Way to Peace 19: These Tub-Preachers intended to abolish the book of Common-prayer.
[UK]Semper iidem in Harleian Misc. VII (1811) 401: George Eagles, sirnamed Trudge-over-the-World, who, of a taylor, became a tub-preacher, was indicted of treason.
[UK]J. Hacket Memorial of John Williams Pt II 165: Here are your lawful Ministers present, to whom of late you do not resort, I hear, but to Tub-preachers in Conventicles.
[UK]T. Brown ‘Letters on Several Occasions’ in Works (1707) I 85: The tub preachers are very much dissatisfy’d that you invade their prerogative of hell.
T. Hearne Reliquiae 4 Sept. n.p.: The doctor... bred a Presbyterian [...] his elder brother Samuel Mead having been a tub-preacher [F&H].

see separate entries.

In phrases

tubbed-up (adj.)

ensconced, situated.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 436: I was going to neglect to inform him where I was tubbed-up with Jenna.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

tub of guts (n.) (also tub of blubber, ...’gator guts, ...pelican puke)

a fat person.

[Ire]Freeman’s Jrnl 22 May 3/4: A little girl called me a tub of guts in the street and I ran after her to chastise her.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 11 June n.p.: Suse had called her a ‘tub of guts’.
[Ire]D.O. Madden Revelations of Ireland 116: You mealy-mouthed tub of guts.
in M. Leech Reveille in Wash. (1941) 260: One of them called out that the Austin equipage contained a ‘tub of guts.’.
[US]McCook Wkly Tribune (NE) 28 May 7/2: May the devil [...] make celery-sauce of your rotten limbs, you mealy-mouthed tub of guts.
[Ire]Joyce Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man 33: Respect! he said. Is it for Billy with the lip or for the tub of guts up in Armagh?
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 306: As I was sayin’ a while ago when I was interrupted by that tub o’ guts.
[US]Z.N. Hurston Jonah’s Gourd Vine (1995) 4: Hit me if you dare! Ah’ll wash yo’ tub uh ’gator guts and dat quick.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Nevada Gas’ Spanish Blood (1946) 145: A big crooked tub of guts that’s not even smart.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 159: He is really quite a tub of blubber and casts a very wide shadow.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 71: If I wanted a man to sleep with I’d pick a man, not a beery tub of guts.
[US]G. Marx letter 1 Nov. Groucho Letters (1967) 226: A fat tub-of-guts, as Dorrie described him.
[US]R. Carver Stories (1985) 15: ‘How is old tub of guts doing’.
[US]S. King It (1987) 126: Do you understand that, you tub of guts?
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 85: You big tub a pelican puke!
[Ire]P. McCabe Emerald Germs of Ireland 301: Had to be all the big fellows and that’s all there is to it. Scuttering tubs of guts who have to have all their own way.
tub of lard (n.) (also bundle of..., sack of..., tub of butter, ...hog fat, ...soapgrease, butter tub, gourd of hog’s lard)

a fat person.

[US]A.B. Longstreet Georgia Scenes (1848) 118: It would o’ flung Bostick right where that gourd o’ hog’s lard (Fulger) was.
[US]F.M. Whitcher Widow Bedott Papers (1883) 13: A great fat, humbly, slanderin’ old butter tub.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 51: By golly, George, I hed tu promis the ole tub ove soap-greas tu cum an’ hev myself convarted.
[US]Van Loan ‘The Bone Doctor’ Score by Innings (2004) 368: Why, you old tub of lard!
[US]S. Kingsley Dead End Act I: Aw, yuh fat tub a buttah.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 183: She informs me that I am nothing but a tub of lard.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 136: ‘Creep,’ she muttered [...] ‘Fatmouth sack of lard.’.
[US]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 13: I told her she was a tub of lard.
[US]T. Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Act II: Son of a – tub of – hog fat ...
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 203: I wonder ‘ow much that bundle o’ lard has left in it.
[US]F. Elli Riot (1967) 23: Ain’t nothin’ wrong with the tub of lard.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 36: He was a tub of lard rounded into an over-strained pin-striped business suit.
[UK]C. Knight We Shall Not Die 112: The big, burly sack of lard came forward with his Sunday grin on his face.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 232: lard. Fat, in various combinations, e.g., lard ass, lardball, lard bucket, and tub of lard, all referring to a grossly overweight person, and lardhead, to a dumb one.
[UK]L. Gould Shagadelically Speaking 75: lard, tub of, Usually used to describe an enormously fat fellow.
[US]‘Randy Everhard’ Tattoo of a Naked Lady 60: Hey, tub-o-lard! Looks like you never met a meal you didn’t like!
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 156: ‘You look like shit [...] Fucken tub of lard,’ said Les. ‘Lookit your legs, fucken cellulite’.
tub of shit (n.)

(US) a term of abuse for a fat person.

[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 25: ‘I said you look just like a big tub of shit.’ [...] She was right. There seemed to be a little pouch of fat on each side [...] just above the hips.
[US](con. c.1967) J. Ferrandino Firefight 163: Why you sidin’ with the gray dude for, eh, you tub of shit.