Green’s Dictionary of Slang

push v.

1. to have sexual intercourse [push n. (1a)].

[UK] ‘Whose There Agen’ Pepys Ballads (1987) IV 127: You that have got wanton Wives, I pray of them be wary; For they love pushing as their lives, and love a Man that’s hairy.
[UK]Farquhar Love and a Bottle II ii: Every one of you that live by Dancing should die by Pushing, Sir.
[UK]N. Ward Mars Stript of his Armour 37: Notwithstanding his being a pushing Man, she can beat him at his own Weapon.
[Scot]Order of the Beggar's Benison and Merryland (1892) 31: Dinner Sentiments [...] ‘That’s a stunning affair,’ quoth the Damsel when she was hard pushed.
[Scot]Robertson of Struan ‘Marriage Song’ Poems (1752) 96: Push on, push on, ye happy Pair!
‘Ranting Joan’ Female Garland 5: I was pushed both by Priest and Clark, and other Fellows two or three.
[UK] ‘Some Love To Push’ Cockchafer 48: Some love to push round the forest bush.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 18 Mar. 2/3: Not yet is she fit in the ‘jorum’, / To enjoy the old ‘cock-a-lorum’, / She’s too tender for the bull’s rushing, / Too delicate for a man’s pushing.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 112: Estocader. To copulate; ‘to push’.
[US](con. 1890s) in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 702: There must have been some pushin’, / For there’s blood upon the cushion.
[US](con. c.1912) in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 702: There’s a grease spot on the cushion / That is evidence of pushin’.
[US]K. Marlowe Mr Madam (1967) 272: PushParties. ‘Everyone works then. Parties are such fun for all!’.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Penfriends’ Snatches and Lays 49: I’m the one that did the pushin’.
[US]Kool Moe Dee ‘Go See the Doctor’ 🎵 And if I see another girl and I know I can rock her / Before I push up, I’ll make her go see the doctor.

2. to go, to leave [abbr. push off ].

[UK]B.M. Carew Gypsey of the Glen I iii: We can never return again to Tiverton – the cry is up, and we must push for London.
[US]J.J. Hooper Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs (1851) 38: I must push. Good mornin’.
[US]W.G. Simms Forayers 439: This will so. Push ahead.
[US]H.A. Franck Zone Policeman 88 122: On the second day I pushed past Cucaracha.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 296: I will push round to Comrade Jarvis’s address.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 2: Put on the soup and fish preparatory to pushing round to the Drones for a bite of dinner. [Ibid.] 122: Shortly after that we all pushed back to bed.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 109: ‘Come on,’ I said to Jinx. ‘Let’s push. . .’.
[UK]H.E. Bates Darling Buds of May (1985) 87: Well, I must push back. Got a few things to do before bedtime.

3. in commercial senses [SE push, ‘to advance or try to advance or promote’ (OED)].

(a) (orig. US) to sell, to promote, to advertise.

[US]E. Crapsey Nether Side of NY 64: My Dear Sir: We wish to secure the services of a live gentleman to push the business named in the enclosed circular.
implied in pusher n. (1a)
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 182: ‘Well, what’s his line?’ ‘Share-pushing.’.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 48: When he is tired of pushing his cab round the streets he parks it somewhere.
[UK]K. Amis letter 19 Feb. in Leader (2000) 372: Will let you know how the trip goes, and do my best to push you.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 20: Pushers in New York [...] do not really have to push. It’s a seller’s market with heroin. [...] The image of the sly pusher enticing nonusers into trying a free bag of heroin is pure myth.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game 11: You’re not gonna do it [i.e. make money] pushing radios.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 67: We relied on the jocks to push the records.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 135: ‘I’ve been pushing it [i.e. commercial sex] six nights a week [...] ever since’.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 39: The ‘jewelers’ pushing gold chains to the drug kids.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 29 Oct. 10: They wanted to emphasise the overall quality of the piece, rather than push it as a Bruce Willis movie.

(b) to distribute counterfeit money.

implied in push the queer under queer n.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Banker Tells All 11: When a forger ‘pushes’ his cheque at a cashier, he takes care to be dressed in quiet and unobtrusive clothes.

(c) (drugs) to sell drugs.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 108/1: To push. To peddle narcotics, especially as a sub-agent or small-time dealer.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 209: Most all of us were real poor, until some of us began pushing reefer.
[UK]J. Osborne World of Paul Slickey Act II: It will surely bug you when there is no man to hug and no tea to push.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 97: Destinee’s last husband just got busted pushing hard stuff.
[US]E. Tidyman Shaft 104: There was all this pot and pill shit goin’ and everybody was pushin’.
[US]S. King Christine 335: Neither did his younger brother, who pushed more dope than any other kid in Gornick Junior High.
[US]W.T. Vollmann Whores for Gloria 115: At the corner of Turk and Jones the pushers were pushing.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 113: The idea of the rapper as drug dealer, pushing illegal substances.

(d) to sell any item.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 21: Sid would rather have his throat cut than push them at legit prices.

4. (US black) to drive a vehicle [one pushes the accelerator].

[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 24 May 9/7: Gladys Tate, pushing that ’41 Caddy is solid strate.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 102: Whitey pushed the Jaguar up to eighty.
[US]P. Rabe Murder Me for Nickels (2004) 25: With that kind of attitude he didn’t push trucks very long.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 72: He’s got an old lady hustlin’ and he’s pushing a Cadillac.
[US]E. Bunker Little Boy Blue (1995) 220: Keep that vato pushin’ a Rolls Royce and eatin’ filets.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 261: Whether you’re pushing a ’98 S600 Benz or something a little more modest, you want to make sure your whip is buttery.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] They came down in Timberlands and Carhart, pushing three used Volkswagen Jettas.

5. (US black) of a man, to accompany a woman.

[US](con. 1930s) C.E. Lincoln The Avenue, Clayton City (1996) 7: How come you pushin’ Poochie? Thats Jubal’s woman.

In phrases

push along (v.)

to leave, thus as imperative.

[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 5 Mar. n.p.: Vilst to the door he hustle me, saying push along keep valking.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure (1962) 58: Let’s be pushing along, shall we?
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 222: Guess I’ll be pushing along. I’ve a date to keep.
[UK] D.L. Sayers Have His Carcase 152: Thought I’d better push along.
[UK]A. Christie Murder Is Announced (1958) 152: I’ll push along there now.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

push-foot (n.) [on this car low gear was engaged by pressing a foot-pedal]

(W.I.) a Ford Model T automobile.

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).
pushover (n.)

see separate entry.

push-up (adj.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

push a pike (n.) [SE push of pike, close combat, fighting at close quarters]

sexual intercourse.

[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II:7 12: But when at Push a Pike we play / With Beauty, who shall win the Day.
push clouds (v.) [one’s ascent to heaven]

(US) to die; to be dead.

[US]Daily Trib. (Bismarck, ND) 23 Oct. 4/1: To die is [...] ‘push clouds.’.
[US]A. Welcker People 150: The man who took it regularly for twelve months could then have presented to him an opportunity to drop dead and ‘push clouds’.
[US]L. Pound ‘Amer. Euphemisms for Dying’ in AS XI:3 198: Is pushing the clouds around/about.
push it (v.)

to approach a limit, often in one’s conduct; esp. as don’t push it, don’t go too far (or you will face the consequences).

[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 921: ‘Dont push it,’ Warden said.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 69: He was pushing it now.
[US] in C. Browne Body Shop 67: It’s OK to die for your country, but why push it?
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 78: I was wondering whether one earring might be pushing it, never mind two.
[UK]C. McPherson Weir 73: Don’t push it, boy.
[UK]Observer 9 Jan. 26: Don’t push it too far, I’m on the 1 o’clock news tomorrow with the Interior Minister and I can get you fired.
[UK]K. Richards Life 261: If I feel I’m pushing it a little bit, need to relax it, have a little bump of smack.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I briefly considered trying to wheedle Jenny’s number out of her mum, but she seemed like a pretty switched-on old cookie, so I decided not to push it.
[Scot]I. Welsh Dead Man’s Trousers 3: I pushed it and she kicked off.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 206: ‘You’re pushing it, Daniels’.
push off (v.)

1. to leave; esp. as imper. push off! go away!

[UK]C. Speckman Life, Travels, Exploits, Frauds and Robberies 38: Then I pushed off for Henley on Thames.
[UK]T. Morton A Cure for the Heart Ache in Inchbold (1808) XXV 24: Push off – brush – run!
P. Freneau ‘On the Conflagrations at Washington’ in Amer. Poetry: the 19th Century I 9: They said to Cockburn, ‘honest Cock! / To make a noise and give a shock / Push off’.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 380: I suppose he saw them push off before he returned.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Sept. 48/1: ‘Push off!’ said the shameless Joe easily. ‘You can’t have him for your boy – he’s married.’ / The girl hesitated for a minute; then she squealed and slapped him. ‘You can’t pull my leg! Take that!’.
[Ire]S. O’Casey Juno and the Paycock Act I: I’ll have to push off now, for I’m terrible late already.
[UK]Rover 18 Feb. 24: Got a nerve, ain’t you? Push off!
[UK]Whizzbang Comics 40: Me no speak-a da English! Push-a off!
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 273: I’d better be pushing off.
[Aus]D. Stivens Scholarly Mouse and other Tales 50: I’m sick to death of visitors...push off!
[UK]C. Lee diary 14 May in Eight Bells & Top Masts (2001) 216: The Third [Engineer] told him to push off because he’d got typhoid .
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 15: ‘Push off,’ said my little blonde to the intruder.
[UK]M. Novotny Kings Road 227: We might as well push off now.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Christmas Crackers’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You’re not honestly suggesting that we just push off out of it and leave him to spend the night on his own?
[UK]M. Coles Bible in Cockney 104: They left ’im and pushed off.

2. to start, esp. to start a game [SE push off, to push a boat off from its mooring].

[US]H.S. Thompson letter 7 Feb. in Proud Highway (1997) 316: Push-off date is still about a month.

3. to go somewhere.

Gleason’s Monthly Companion VII 128: ‘And now let me advise you, young man,’ turning to Leonard, ‘to push off to America’.
G.N. Peacock Stubbs at Fifty 62: I’m going to leave this curious old backwater and push off to London. ...
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 64: Was Zola in the Franco-Prussian War? Bet your life ’e wasn’t—’e pushed off to Marseilles.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 29: Where are we pushing off to, Phil?
B.T. Bradford To Be the Best 196: I’ll spend the weekend here with the kids, then push off to London on Sunday night.
S. Warrier Sniper 170: He’d push off to somewhere in Bengal [...] and live out his days in a village there.

4. to kill.

[UK]D.L. Sayers Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (1977) 181: What the deuce did it matter if old Fentiman was pushed painlessly off a bit before his time?
[US]E. Caldwell Poor Fool 164: I’m getting him for pushing Louise off.
[US]D. Runyon ‘A Job for the Macarone’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 693: He is sick and tired of living [...] He does not have the nerve to push himself off. So he wishes to find some good reliable party to push him off.
[US]R. Starnes Another Mug for the Bier 125: ‘Courtney Mandrel is pushed off with a poison’.
push on (v.)

1. to continue on one’s way, to take the next step of a journey; the underlying sense is often one of reluctance or weariness.

[UK]C. Speckman Life, Travels, Exploits, Frauds and Robberies 6: I [...] pushed on for London.
[UK]T. Morton Cure for the Heart Ache in Inchbold (1808) XXV 24: Come along, dad – push on, my dear dad [...] keep moving.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 442: You two push on, and strike across the heath.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 115: Shall you go back to de city, Mishter Murden, or vill you push on for Bendego?
[Aus]M. Clarke Term of His Natural Life (1897) 8: We must push on, for it grows late.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘With French to Kimberley’ Rio Grande’s Last Race (1904) 161: But French looked once, and only once, and then he said, ‘Push on’.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure (1962) 15: Well, I was rather thinking of pushing on as far as the Park.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 285: The day after to-morrow was dole-day, and whether they liked it or not, they must push on.
[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 73: I’ll push on.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 185: Let’s push on! [...] Feel like pushing on, Bunter?
[NZ]B. Crump Odd Spot of Bother 26: We’d better push on.

2. to depart, to commence a journey.

[UK]Longman’s Mag. XXIV 196: And now, if you’ll allow me, I’ll push on home.
[UK]Marvel 17 Nov. 475: I say, push on at once!
[UK]J. Buchan Mr Standfast (1930) 801: The idiots say the Huns will be in Amiens in a week. What’s the phrase? ‘Pourvu que les civils tiennent.’ ’Fraid I must push on, Sir.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 295: But I really must push on now.
[UK]J.G. Brandon Gang War 231: We better be pushing on, Osaki. Your car should be waiting.
[WI]R. Mais Black Lightning (1966) 41: Guess I better be pushing on home.
[NZ](con. 1930s) I. Agnew Loner 87: We’d better push on back to work before we’re missed.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 293: I stayed three weeks before pushing on.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 push on Definition: to leave a potentially hostile situation. Example: You betta push on or get yo ass whupped on!!

3. to accompany on a journey.

[UK]J. Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 86: I think I shall push on with you after all [...] but I don’t mind waiting till you have finished the game.
push one’s... (v.)

see also under relevant nouns.

push one’s own barrow (v.) (Aus.)

1. to brag.

timothy ‘A Traveler’s Guide to Mars’ posting on Slashdot 3 Sept. 🌐 I particularly liked the way Hartmann kept almost all his own tale in small sidebars called ‘My Martian Chronicles’, 15 of them scattered through the book. These were interesting and meant that he could push his own barrow in a way that didn’t intrude into the rest of the book, you could read them when you wanted.

2. to look out for one’s own interests first.

Yae ‘Speight himself’ posting 10 July on Forum on ABC Online 🌐 George Speight comes over as well educated and articulate, which he probably is. Unfortunately this gives him the cover he needs to push his own barrow.
push shit up a hill (v.)

to engage in homosexual anal intercourse.

[US] (ref. to 1920s–30s) in M. Houlbrook Sun among Cities 219: We treated them as a joke. We had various names for them, not very nice names. If you wanted to describe a gay man with a gay man we would say, ‘he’s pushing shit up a hill’ .
push someone’s face (in) (v.)

to hit someone in the face.

[Aus]Gadfly (Adelaide) 14 Nov. 772/3: [W]hen I meet him I intend to assault and batter him with great fury and malice aforethought and criminal intent, with my best wishes to do him grievous bodily harm, to wit, push in his face.
[US]Carr & Chase ‘Word-List From Eastern Maine’ in DN III:iii 248: push one’s face, v. To strike one in the face. ‘He pushed his face.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 July 26/1: Ow! you blanky, awful cow! Push his face in!
[UK]Western Dly Press (Bristol) 25 Feb. 6/4: Leigh threatened to push his face in.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 10 Aug. 7/5: If he told Mrs Phillip anything about his [i.e. the accused’s] wife he would push his face in.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 33: I should have pushed her face in.
Red Clay Reader 4 91/1: ‘We should push your face in,’ one of them said. The big guy grabbed his shirt in his fist.
P. Smith ‘Piss Factory’ 🎵 You do it my way or I push your face in. / We knee you in the john if you don’t get off your get off your mustang Sally.
D. Shahar His Majesty’s Agent 351: If things had been the other way around I would smash you, push your face in.
M. Jevons Murder at Margin 163: If you ever try something like that on me again, I’ll push your face in. 19 Aug. 🌐 If you start over from the beginning one more time, I swear to God I’m going to push your face in.
push someone’s key (v.)

(US prison) to irritate someone, to tease someone.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 90: Push Someone’s Key To cause someone to become extremely irritated and angry.
push the... (v.)

see also under relevant nouns.

push the boat out (v.)

1. to spend heavily, usu. on pleasure, eating, drinking etc, often treating others.

[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 214: Going to push the boat out for me? [...] Mine’s a claret and soda.
[UK]N. Jacob Man Who Found Himself (1952) 71: It was the accepted thing [...] to order whiskies and sodas, to ‘stand your corner’ and ‘push the boat out’ readily and generously.
[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 39: This bloke you’re meeting up the Old Jacket and Vest to-night, let him push the boat out.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 2 Oct. 6/3: ‘And if you’ll allow me, Miss Wimbush, I shall be ’appt to push out the boat [...] ’appy to buy the first round.’ [...] ‘Two double brandies,’ he ordered.
[UK]A. Burgess Time for a Tiger 77: ‘Oh well, one for the road then.’ ‘Push the boat out, Adams,’ said Hart. ‘Stengah for me.’ .
[UK](con. WW2) R. Poole London E1 (2012) 122: Boy-boy quietly slipped three one-pound notes into his father’s hand. ‘Push the boat out, old’n’.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 24: What will you have? I’d like to push the boat out.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Diamonds are for Heather’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You’re pushing the boat out a bit aren’t you?
[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] I was skint, not a bloody penny to my name, and this here hatter— a real toff he was— comes up and pushes the boat out for a few jars.

2. to do something to excess; to speak unguardedly.

[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 36: She straddled him on his chair and gave him the goods, really pushed it out.
[UK]Guardian 14 Feb. 17: Sensing the beginning of a very special relationship he pushed the boat out a little.
[Ire]J.-P. Jordan Joys of War 28: Judging by the faces on my patrol commanders I had pushed the boat out way too far.

3. to exaggerate.

[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 24: He sometimes pushes the boat out a bit far.
push the bottle (v.) (also push the glass about)

to drink.

[UK] ‘Humours of an Election Entertainment’ inLondon Mag. Mar. 159/2: Ye hearty cocks! who feel the gout / Yet briskly push the glass about.
[Scot]Burns letter 30 June in Works (1842) 262/2: We dined at another good fellow’s house, and consequently, pushed the bottle; when we went out [...] we found ourselves ‘Not vera fou, but gaylie yet’.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 19 May 3/4: Then push round the bottle [...] And now for a toast to delight you, my boys.
[UK]Bristol Mercury 20 Sept. 4/1: Now let’s push the bottle around, / And make the broken glasses skip.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 210: Tom, having pushed the glass about briskly after dinner, proposed a visit to the Theatres.
(con. late 17C) E. Hardcastle 29th May II 168: Come, push the glass about my blades — more work for the cooper.
[UK]Leicester Jrnl 21 Dec. 3/1: ’Tis a cold winter’s night, but the fire blazes bright / [...] / Push the bottle about.
G.H. Fielding Barmecide’s Dream 4: And not look over wise! But push the glass about, my boy, Nor leave a heeltap sly.
push the recall button (v.)

(N.Z. prison) to be a recidivist.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 148/2: push the recall button v. to reoffend and return to prison, esp. to be recalled after serving a life sentence.
push up (v.) (US black/W.I.)

1. to make romantic moves towards someone, usu. in the hope of seduction.

[UK]T. White Catch a Fire 112: Someone would start talking carelessly about ‘pushin’ up’ someone’s sister.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 138: A number of terms relate to sexual behavior, including: pushin up.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] Nigguh, don’t talk to him, talk to me! I pushed up on him.

2. to frighten, to intimidate.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 168/1: Push up. To hold up.

3. to approach aggressively, to ‘get in someone’s face’.

[US]W.D. Myers Shooter 37: She pushed up on Len, got her face right into his, and he said something to her and some spit came out of his mouth.
[US]W.D. Myers ‘what would jesus do?’ inWhat They Found 19: So I thought that I would talk to him and just push up on him enough to check him out.
push up (the) daisies (v.)

see separate entry.

In exclamations

push me pink!

(Aus.) a dismissive retort.

[Aus]R. Tate Doughman 206: ‘Run along and hurry up those Viennas.’ [...] ‘Push me pink, I will!’ answered Dicky.