Green’s Dictionary of Slang

side n.

1. [late 19C+] 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].

2. in geog. senses.

(a) [1930s] (US) America, as opposed to England.

(b) [1960s] (orig. US black) the black area of town; the original was Chicago’s South Side.

(c) [1970s+] 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.

3. [1930s–80s] (US black) a gramophone record.

4. [1960s+] (US black) a woman [ideally she is on or at one’s side in all circumstances].

In derivatives

sidey (adj.) (also sidy)

[late 19C–1940s] conceited.

In phrases

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

[1950s+] (Aus.) to show off.

more side than a billiard ball

[1950s+] (Aus.) very arrogant, snobbish.

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.)

[1930s–40s] (UK Und.) to abscond, e.g. when a criminal runs off with a gang’s spoils.

on the side (adv.)

1. [late 19C+] quietly, in secret.

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

over the side

[1910s+] away from one’s home or place of work.

side of a funeral (n.)

[late 19C] (US) pork chops.

In exclamations

my sides!

[2010s] (US campus) an excl. denoting that one is being overwhlemed by laughter, ie. ‘my sides are splitting!’.