Green’s Dictionary of Slang

broad n.2

[early black use, c.1930s, added to an implication of a shapely, well-built woman (cf. brace of broads under brace of... n.), although this may have been a pun on the mainstream use); Gold, A Jazz Lexicon (1964), also suggests link to SE broad-minded; note also Jackson & Hellyer at sense 1]

1. (US Und.) a female confederate.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 19: broad [...] Current amongst genteel grafters chiefly. A female confederate [...] Broad is derived from the far-fetched metaphor for ‘meal ticket,’ signifying a female provider for a pimp, from the fanciful correspondence of a meal ticket to a railroad or other ticket, which latter originally was exclusively used by ‘gonifs’ to indicate ‘broad’ or a conductor’s hat check.

2. (mainly US) a prostitute.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 19: broad [...] a woman of loose morals.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 94: Now we go up Bowery Street look at broads. Me pay.
[Aus]Eve. News (Rockhampton, Qld) 27 May 3/1: A revolver is called a ‘gat’ in many circles; and the Americanisms, ‘spade’ (a negro) and ‘broad’ (a woman) are commonly used in Sydney.
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 157: You’re giving my jack to those other broads of yours.
[US]H.A. Smith Life in a Putty Knife Factory (1948) 115: I read that book. Had one of those unhappy endings to it. Only had one dame in it and she was a broad.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 169: Cocktail lounges and strip-joints, all equipped with B-girls and other hussies, and yet the sea-dogs seldom come. The lonesome broads sit by themselves.
[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 83: The place was dimly lit and the air reeked of rot-gut whisky, male sweat, and cheap perfume, which ineffectually hid the female perspiration of Coloured ‘broads’ playing White, and of ‘White’ girls playing Native for the night.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 49: Some dumb spic broad hustling a guy who’s probably too stupid to know she’s on junk.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 75: That night I’m not interested in no broads.
[US](con. 1964–73) W. Terry Bloods (1985) 26: A little Coke girl would show up with Coca-Cola. And also some broads would show.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 272: I was just wonderin’, was it you who chilled them broads?
[UK]Guardian Guide 13–19 May 52: ‘Skells’ and ‘broads’ proliferate.

3. (orig. US) a woman; the implication is of promiscuity.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 20: I caught Harry using my phone yesterday and took the message myself—she was some broad too.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 79: Of course he stepped out with other broads occasionally.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 35: Lay off the broads (keep away from the girls), Limey, or you’ll sure be in lots o’ trouble.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 9: Here on Eighth Avenue [...] a gentleman is a fellow who calls a woman a broad instead of something else.
[US]C. Himes Imabelle 33: If all that broad has got in her trunk is clothes, she has teamed up with that slim stud.
[UK]J. Osborne World of Paul Slickey Act II: Listen and tremble all you swinging chicks and broads.
[US]C. Himes Rage in Harlem (1969) 34: [as 1957].
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 48: I’ve forgotten what broads look like.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 26: You sent that broad? I thought she just showed up.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 160: ‘I lurve any kind of broads [...] ’specially if they blonde’.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 28 Aug. 3: That society broad who turns down a suitor with the words, ‘No, darling, I only sleep with the first 11’.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 40: Wit his horn in his hand and on his arm a sealskin-brown broad.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 30: Don’t blow it all on one broad, the money.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 12: ‘He’s got a nice-looking broad on his arm’.

4. (US Und.) in cards, the queen.

[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 6/1: Broad – [...] queen in a card skin game.

5. (US prison, also broadski) an effeminate male homosexual, often a prostitute; thus broad squad, a ‘team’ of homosexuals.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]J. Blake Ex Post Facto in Joint (1972) 45: If you wasn’t a broad I’d stomp yuh!
[US]H. Huncke in Huncke’s Journal (1998) 14: When any new young boys or fags or broads appear on the scene, Cuba is the first to know.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 253: ‘I hear you latched on to a broadski.’ ‘I got one stuck in my cell if that’s what you mean.’.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 199: broad squad, n. – homosexuals that work together.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 50: Is that kid Ron a broad?
[US](con. 1930s–60s) H. Huncke Guilty of Everything (1998) 244: He had me pegged for a broad [...] He says to me, ‘C’mon, give me a blowjob’.

6. (US campus, also brodie) an attractive woman.

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: Broad ... Girl.
[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) 303: He was going with his broad, Maria [...] She’s good-looking for a change, not a tramp.
[US]Current Sl. I:3 1/2: Brodie, n. A girl.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

7. (US gay) the buttocks.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 23: posterior [...] broad (since this part of male anatomy most resembles a woman’s curves).
[US]R.O. Scott Gay Sl. Dict. 🌐.

8. (Aus.) a tough, independent outspoken woman.

[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 272: Idealism [...] I envisage her as a sassy broad with a big ‘I’ on her chest.

In compounds

broad jumper (n.)

(US prison) a rapist.

[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 18: Broad jumper – one who forcibly violates a female; a rapo.

In phrases

beating the broads (n.) [‘Broad is derived from the far-fetched metaphor of meal ticket, signifying a female provider for a pimp, from the fanciful correspondence of a meal ticket to a railroad or other ticket [and thus] a conductor’s hat check’ Jackson & Hellyer (1914)]

(US Und.) corrupting a conductor on any form of transportation line.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl.
house broad (n.)

(US) a prostitute who lives and works in a hotel.

[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 183: I was house-broad there. I been house-broad in some of our best hotels.
square broad (n.) [square adj. (2)]

(US black/Und.) any woman who is not a prostitute.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 23: That same square broad, wine and dine her – she’ll screw her tail off for you.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 40: The process of taking a square broad (one who is not a prostitute) and teaching her game is called turning her out.