Green’s Dictionary of Slang

side n.

1. pretentiousness, swagger, conceit; usu. in put on side, to give oneself airs [? play on billiards jargon side, spin or dial. side, proud; post-1940s use tends to be consciously archaic].

[UK]Dover Exp. 20 Aug. 3/5: He walks erect, he strokes his sleek skin, he adjusts his caleçons, he ‘puts on side’.
[UK]J. Hatton Cruel London III 170: Cool, downy cove, who puts side on.
[NZ]N.Z. Observer (Auckland) 25 Sept. 9/3: What a lot of ‘side’ the amateur scientists put on.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Jan. 9/2: It is amusing to watch the ‘side’ put on by some foolish young men.
[UK]H. Newton ‘Bai Jove’ [lyrics] I belong to the tribe they call ‘Chappie’ [...] We in fact cut a deuce of a figure, / For we glory in putting on Side.
[UK]Le Brunn ‘The Coster’s Muvver’ [lyrics] As far as me and ’eaven’s concerned, I don’t put on no side.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 23 Dec. 5/3: Inglishmen [...] put on such a horful lot of side, and that is very takin’, espeshelly with the ladies.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘You Can’t Go By Looks’ Sporting Times 31 Mar. 1/4: Bein’ a ‘pro,’ she’s inclined to put side on.
[UK]Sporting Times 27 Jan. 2/2: It is true that some of the Newmarket trainers used to smile at the polish, or ‘side’ of the late James Jewitt.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] The Coster’s Christening [lyrics] All the aristocracy in Befnal Green there was seen, / [...] / An’ I couldn’t ’elp a-puttin’ on some side.
[UK]Marvel III:53 3: They puts on no end of side ’cos they’ve sprung ninepence fer a seat.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 291: Why, then, dear old chaps, we may as well ‘swank.’ Rag, you’re in very proper livery, old chap. Let’s go through it with a bit of ‘side.’ Will you answer the bally bell?
[UK]‘Ian Hay’ Lighter Side of School Life 107: The smoker puts on no side about his achievements, whereas the ‘highbrow’ does.
[NZ]‘Anzac’ On the Anzac Trail 159: Officers (Navy) very fine fellows [...] No side or laddy-da .
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Langwidge’ in Backblock Ballads 15: She’s allus that stuck-up an’ full o’ side.
[UK]Marvel 8 May 5: My old dad’s one of the best in the world. There’s not a scrap of side about him.
[UK]Lawrence & Skinner Boy in Bush 249: ‘Jam and dog both mean “side”?’ ‘Verily.’.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 85: Oh, he’s all right [...] Never puts on side.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 138: A frightful oik, and a mass of side to boot.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 332: Putting on side.
[UK]‘Henry Green’ Loving (1978) 63: If I ’ave any more of that side from you there’s one thing you can bet your life.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 30: She lived at Mosman and put on a bit of side when she talked.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 155: Much more fun than in the forward lounge with the toffs putting on side.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Yarns of Billy Borker 48: I wore herring tins for shoes once. And my wife Clara—who always liked to put on side—wore condensed milk tins for high heels.
[Aus]J. Alard He who Shoots Last 205: Ya puttin’ on more side dan a rat wif a gold tooth.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 253: side (n) Pretension, exaggeration. British, since the 1870s.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 12: Bunging it on: To ‘stack on side’. More or less to act out of one’s own class in the upwardly mobile sense.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Rev. 15 Aug. 35: There’s no side to him. He’s an incredibly genuine person.
[UK]K. Richards Life 345: I respond instinctively to kindness with no side attached.

2. in geog. senses.

(a) (US) America, as opposed to England.

[US]J. Spenser Limey 13: I’m English, but I’ve been on this side for quite a while now.

(b) (orig. US black) the black area of town; the original was Chicago’s South Side.

[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 79: side n. area or side of town usually where the black community is located.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 73: I don’t know no other black couple living on these sides who have been together for so long.

(c) an area of a town or city; used (in London) as North Side, South Side, meaning Shepherd’s Bush or Brixton – somewhat romanticized analogies with areas of US cities.

[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 256: The south-side was a die hard area.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 76: Finnley did check some piece of beef up dem sides two weeks ago [...] it’s about time I was dealing with them fit steaks from north side.
[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 168: Him an’ Lizard gone up north east sides to dat club dat Shaka play at.

3. (US black) a gramophone record.

[US]N.Y. Times 25 May X8/2: Columbia has re-pressed two sides from Boris Godunoff, recorded as part of a comprehensive set by the Paris Opera.
[US]Metronome Mar. 31: It’s the wonder that Victor is issuing so many sides by his band.
[US]N.Y. Age 18 Dec. 2: We expect ‘Skiffle Blues’ to be one of our big sides in the coming weeks [OED].
[US] ‘Bop Dict.’ Mad mag. Oct. 20: Bop records – [...] sides.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 42: He put on a Shorty Rogers side and we had another beer.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 484: Put a dime in the git-box and play a side.
J. Baldwin Another Country (1962) 310: ‘How about some sides?’[...] Lorenzo put on the Modern Jazz Quartet .
[US]J.A. Williams Night Song (1962) 13: Play some of my sides for the man.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 16: We could turn on and play some sides?
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 191: We went on up to my place and started playing some sides.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 56: I know they got some tough sides round here.
[US]Grandmaster Flash ‘Superrappin’ [lyrics] He’s a disco dream of a mean machine / And when he cuts the sides you see what we mean.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 254: sides Records.
[US] (con. late 1960s) R. Crumb Zap Comix 13 in Coffee Table Art Book (1997) 32: Man, this new side by the ‘Stones’ is a funky get down stone groove!!

4. (US black) a woman [ideally she is on or at one’s side in all circumstances].

[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: side n. a female.

In derivatives

sidey (adj.) (also sidy)


[UK]Woman at Home Oct. 57/1: Tommy wasn't half a bad fellow once: he got a study at Soundbergh before me [...] I never counted him sidey, did you.
[UK]C. Mackenzie Sinister Street I 205: ‘All right, sidey Fane,’ they burbled.
[UK]A. Lunn Harrovians 19: Well, you needn’t be so sidy about it.
[UK]Union Jack 5 May 17: Do you hear, you sidey snob?
[UK]Hastings & St Leonards Obs. 31 Oct. 11/4: Speaking of Kipling [...] People said he had a swelled head, that he was ‘sidey.’ He was not a bit ‘sidey’.
[UK](con. 1912) B. Marshall George Brown’s Schooldays 115: He couldn’t very well put himself in first because people might think it rather sidey.

In phrases

bung on side (v.) (also bung on swerve) [bung v.1 (3) + sense 1 above/SE swerve + pun on billiards/snooker use]

(Aus.) to show off.

[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 25: You don’t think I’m going to get ten years, just so you can bung on side?
[Aus]A. Buzo Norm and Ahmed (1973) 14: If they ever bung on side with me, mate, they know what they can expect. I don’t take no crap from no one.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 19: Bung On Side Exaggerated behaviour.
more side than a billiard ball

(Aus.) very arrogant, snobbish.

‘Thirty-Five’ Argot 32/1: bung on side [...] to affect airs [...] hence, more side than a billiard ball.

SE in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.

In phrases

drive on the other side of the road (v.)

see under drive v.1

go off the side (v.)

(UK Und.) to abscond, e.g. when a criminal runs off with a gang’s spoils.

[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 197: Dem as I knows as ain’t in stir, would go off the bleeding side wiv the money.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 153: Rarely does the hirer ‘go off the side’ with the ‘fixer’s’ property.
on the side (adv.)

1. quietly, in secret.

[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 100: Has he any Ambition on the Side?
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 30: They say you don’t take in nothing on the side.
[US]Van Loan ‘For the Pictures’ in Taking the Count 323: He can clean up fifty thousand dollars on the side.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 43: It used to make me laugh when I drew my wages and compared them with what I made on the side.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 73: Hospitals where doctors competed with nurses for the chance of making a ten-spot on the side.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 121: Lupita fences on the side.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 14: Two fellers started to batter each other quietly on the side.
[US]Milner & Milner Black Players 247: A man who works in a straight job (cab driver, hotel employee) and pimps women on the side.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 108: Anyone you know bought a new video? Course not, too dear. Everyone knew some geezer get one on the side.
[US] M. McBride Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] What if we blame on that bloke, Valentine? Say the guiard had something going on the side with him.

2. of a sexual relationship, illicitly, clandestinely; also as adj.; thus bit on the side under bit n.1

[UK](con. WW1) P. MacDonald Patrol 140: [of visiting brothels] ‘Queer ’ow folks looks at this goin’ on the side . . . I wouldn’t do at ’ome, o’ course’.
[US]C. Himes ‘A Nigger’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 29: Mr Shelton, the old white man she went with on the side.
[US]J.T. Farrell ‘Omar James’ in To Whom It May Concern 132: Casey asked him if he were seeing a cutie on the side.
[UK]R. Hauser Homosexual Society 73: He knows that I love him only so he doesn’t mind when I go out and get a bit of excitement on the side.
[UK]A. Bennett Habeus Corpus Act II: She wasn’t just something on the side.
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 19: The people upstairs have never been divorced, whatever they may have done on the side.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 166: For all the sex he could have got on the side he very rarely played up behind Louise’s back.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 165: He’s got another girl whom he’s seeing on the side right now.
D. Shaw ‘Dead Beard’ at [Internet] Dionne was very partial to being melvyn bragged by everything in strides, a hobby she didn’t dare indulge in with Lingers around, what with him being [...] likely to cut her to pieces if she got caught having it away on the side.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 330: The kind of guy who also gets some on the side.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] The good doc [...] had a little something on the side.
over the side

away from one’s home or place of work.

[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 257: Side, Over The: Absent without leave.
[UK] ‘Metropolitan Police Sl.’ in P. Laurie Scotland Yard (1972) 325: over the side, to be: to be about one’s own affairs, usually sexual, during time on duty.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 201: Side, over the Absent from place of duty, or home.
side of a funeral (n.)

(US) pork chops.

[US]L.A. Times 9 Apr. 5: ‘Wake up,’ he cried, ‘one brown stone front, side of a funeral; two Irish lemons with all clothes on; plate of punk; an easy smear of axle grease and draw one in the dark, cap it all off with a farmer’s alliance.’.

In exclamations

my sides!

(US campus) an excl. denoting that one is being overwhlemed by laughter, ie. ‘my sides are splitting!’.

[US]Eble UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 Fall 4: MY SIDES — <my sides are splitting with laughter response to something extremely funny.