Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sloppy Joe n.


1. (also sloppy) a loose, floppy sweater.

[US]Life 14 Apr. 32/2: The Self-Same Betty Hill swathes herself in an approved ‘Sloppy Joe’ sweater.
[US]S.F. Examiner 22 Mar. 20: Yesterday the youths donned their oldest and most tattered jeans and slacks and topped them with their own unique collection of ‘Sloppy Joe’ sweaters.
[US]H.A. Smith Rhubarb 20: There’s a sloppy at Bonwit’s and Myra yearns for it. It’s zoomy! It’s groovy! It’s beauteous! It’s lush! It’s eighteen bucks!
E. Grierson Far Morning 87: You don’t escape it by wearing a Sloppy Joe and jeans and putting a nickel in the juke box.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 30: They wore sloppy Joe sweaters and corduroy skirts.
E.D. Fraser Child and Physical Education 17: If his gang is wearing sloppy joes or dungarees, that is what he must wear.
[US]C. Clausen I Love You Honey, But the Season’s Over 55: Some sloppy-joe cardigans that neither of us had worn since we were sophomores.
I. Spring Phantom Village 151: I remember wearing a sloppy joe.
[Aus]Aus. Word Map [Internet] sloppy joe Long-sleeved sweatshirt: I'm gonna wear my sloppy joe tonight because it's getting cold.
[US]J. Ridley Conversation with the Mann 88: The Beat girls, sporting sloppy Joe sweaters and drainpipes that ran a few inches short of their flat Capezios.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 25: I exchanged my suit for jeans and a sloppy joe.

2. (also sloppy joe sandwich) a multi-decked sandwich (the fillings ooze out when eating it).

[US]Marion (OH) Daily Star 2 Nov. 17/1: [restaurant ad.] Sloppy Joe Sandwiches.
Nashua (IA) Reporter 10 Oct. 6/4: Did You Know That: A Sloppy Joe is the new name for a Dagwood Sandwich?
[US]Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH) 29 Nov. 6/7: While the guests are expending the last chord, you can warm up ‘Sloppy Joe’ sandwich makings whip cream to go on top of steaming cups of hot chocolate and serve the lunch in front of the fire.

3. a slovenly, inefficient person.

[US]A.I. Bezzerides Thieves’ Market 118: Stick around if you want, Sloppy.
‘L. Lane’ ABZ of Scouse 99: Sloppy Joe, a careless, shiftless person.
[SA]J. Naidoo Coolie Location 61: Dickie [...] was a sloppy Joe. He couldn’t care two hoots for the way he dressed.
[US]Newsweek 27 Oct. [Internet] He gets manicures and pedicures on Saturday nights; he shops till he drops; he conditions his curls, and he watches ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’—the TV hit wherein five gays make over average Sloppy Joes—and actually picks up its tips.

4. a type of hamburger in which the meat filling is diluted to a form of sauce.

[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 173: A lunch of Sloppy Joe’s, blackeyed peas [...] and milk.
[US]H. Gould Double Bang 108: Mama would make them Sloppy Joes on hot-dog rolls.
‘Food Files’ Seattle Weekly 15 Oct. [Internet] No need to make Sloppy Joes on Sunday nights; kids eat free at Chinoise Café.

5. (S.Afr.) a design of shoe favoured by S. Afr. ’teddy girls’.

[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 81: They usually wear tight skirts or jeans, shirts, and ‘jellybag’ hats and ‘sloppy-Joe’ shoes.