Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hustle v.

also hussle
[SE hustle, to push around or against, to jostle; ult. Du. husselen, hutselen, to shake, to toss]

1. to have sexual intercourse.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 585/1: 1830–1910.

2. to practise swindling or petty theft.

[UK]W. Perry London Guide 34: Women hustle at night, while bestowing their unasked for caresses, adroitly entering your pockets should you come in contact with them.
[UK]Comic Almanack Nov. 69: War beadles bustling, / Pickpockets hustling.
[UK]Liverpool Mercury 14 Jan. 38/2: [They] were convicted of a robbery (by hustling) at Burnley.
[UK]Kipling ‘Tommy’ in Barrack-Room Ballads (1893) 147: An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit / Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 157: Course I got to get out an’ hustle for some more dough, no matter what’s doin’.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 77: George’s stake should be about a thousand; he’s not entitled to it because he didn’t do anything, but he’s been hustling with us.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 115: We hustled and got more chairs and some tables.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 322: Hustle, To steal.
[US]J. Breslin World of Jimmy Breslin (1968) 11: I am only trying to recoup [i.e. expenses]. I am not hustling this joint.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 82: I know when I’m gettin’ hustled.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 75: Hustle – originally 1. to commit a robbery but now more usually 2. to obtain dishonestly and specifically.
[US]L. Pettiway Workin’ It 19: He’s not afraid to hustle [...] He’s just lazy and don’t wanna do it. When you robbing another person, you can go to jail.
[US]Ebonics Primer at hustle Definition: 1. to gamble as a profession. 2. to steal.

3. (UK und.) a form of street robbery whereby a gang push a victim (usu. one who is drunk) among themselves, each picking a pocket until everything has been stolen.

[UK]London Eve. Standard 6 Sept. 1/2: Their chief amusment is ‘hustling’ [...] to push a gentleman from one to the other [...] until he has been dispossessed of everything valuable.

4. (orig. US, also hassle) to use one’s initiative to obtain or secure; to live by one’s wits.

[US]Southern Literary Messenger VI 414/2: Can’t you go out to the woodpile and hustle me up a few chips to start this fire? [DA].
Freeborn County (Albert Lea, Minnesota) Standard 31 Aug. 6/2: I’d hev t’ hustle a consid’ble spell ’fore I got it [i.e. $10,000].
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Aug. 6/7: This Sydney native, who has had to hustle for his tucker since his babyhood.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 183: That’s all of the glorious flavour as we’re likely to get unless we hunch up and hustle for it.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 130: I kin still hustle. I won’t starve.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 163: He liked the easy life, and would not hustle for legitimate work.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Pick the Winner’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 318: Even if I am a hustler, I will just as soon try to hustle Santa Claus as Professor Woodhead.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 104: A businessman is a hustler with the dough to hustle on the legit ’n a hustler is a businessman who’s either gone broke or never had it.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 96: ‘I guess I wouldn’t mind if I had a job.’ ‘You’re a punk. I’m going to hustle.’.
[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 127: I know you got to hassle to get what you got coming.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 131: Get the kinks outta your ass and hustle some real scratch.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 9: Mostly hustlin’, thievin’, break and entry.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 342: hustle: As a verb, to sell contraband, steal, or otherwise raise cash to support a drug habit.
[UK]Guardian G2 16 July 7: If you want to get rich you can always hustle.
[US]Source Aug. 32: His own life story [...] revolves around hustlin’—anything or anybody—to survive.

5. (US) to work hard, to make an effort.

[US]World (N.Y.) 11 Aug. 3/6: It will make them hustle to keep near the Giants when they meet Saturday.
[US]World (N.Y.) 6 July 15/1: The Brooklyn lads will have to hustle to hold their own.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 89: If you’d only hustle a little harder, it wouldn’t be long before you could quit the business.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Apr. 1/3: When they looked for Keans, the American, they espied a crocodile in his wake. They shouted an alarm, whereupon Keans hustled a bit, and came in a winner by a length.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 351: ‘These boys look mighty bad,’ he observed. ‘We’ve got to hustle, Major, if we’re going to get seats for the last act.’.
[UK]Western Daily Press 14 Aug. 6/7: Hustling Harvesters [...] a field of oats [...] was carted, stacked, threshed and sold at 30s per quarter all in one day.
[US]Van Vechten Nigger Heaven 185: Want-ad-page in hand, I hustled from office to office.
[US]K.C. Star 11 Aug. n.p.: These farm girls know how to hustle [DA].
[UK]Western Daily Press 15 Sept. 2/5: An enterprising Gloucestershire farmer [...] has been doing a bit of hustling. Shortly after noon [...] he began cutting a field of wheat. [...] By two o’clock the wheat was on its way to the mills [etc.].
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 250: You’ve got to hustle [...] Get in before dark.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 4: The addicts must steal more, hustle more, look more desperately for good connections, settle for weaker drugs, get high less often.
A. Clarke When He Was Free and Young and Used to Wear Silks 91: He done make up his mind that he going to work at two car-wash places, and [...] he going hustle a next job on top o’ them two, too.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 43: Pull in that green Olds and dismount the snow tires [...] And hustle it up, the boss says the guy’s coming for it by six.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 6 Aug. 42: His education in hustling comes from the City, where he worked trading equities.

6. (US) to sell goods, esp. in an aggressive manner, to promote; thus in phrs. hustle hash, to work as a waiter or waitress; hustle shoes, to work as a shoe-shine; hustle sheets, to sell newspapers.

[UK]Sporting Times 15 Mar. 2/2: Paying a good deal extra for the Club-train one must, of course, expect to be hussled and humbugged and swindled by the French companies and their officials.
[US]Flynt World of Graft 168: Hustling in a big city for a kid means picking up his living where he can. Some shine shoes, some sell papers, and others become errand-boys.
[UK]T. Burke Limehouse Nights 258: I was hustling the match with Flash Fred, and we took a big nig off the water for the works. I stood for the finish on him, and it listens like good music to me, cos he don’t tip me. Fred spotted him an officed me to pull the rough stuff. Rough’s my middle name.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 103: Never hustle ’em. Especially provincials.
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 249: Woody! Where ya headin’? Amarilla? Hustlin’ signs?
[US]J. Thompson Savage Night (1991) 27: I’d hustled programs and pop in Kansas City.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 804: hustling sheets – Selling newspapers.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 389: He was a Harlemite, and always hustling [...] always trying to make that next dollar.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 24: Hustling the chicks and using their own people to pad their damned pockets.
[US]Maledicta IX 150: The original argot of prostitution includes some words and phrases which have gained wider currency and some which have not […] pushing ponies (pimp hustling broads).
[US]G. Sikes 8 Ball Chicks (1998) 243: Bird still hustled food stamps at the corner.
[US]Source Aug. 124: She hustled on the street [...but] she never went as low as selling her body.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 113: He was hustling the same movie we think you’re showing.

7. (US) to work as a prostitute.

[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning (1965) 85: Lulah [...] is in Kansas a-hustlin’ [NB: JEL dates this as 1895 but all other cites from the bk are 1926].
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 127: So I’m free to go hustling for the bloody two pounds to pay the ponces in the morning!
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 128: She’ll bring in more on a Sunday afternoon in Oak Park than your Mrs. could hustle right here on the street.
[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 52: It had one woman used to be hustling there, dress up nice, wearing fur coat.
[US]L. Wolf Voices from the Love Generation 169: I hustled my cock on Broad Street.
[US]D. Goines Street Players 186: That crap the preacher said about hustling don’t mean shit.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 157: Henry had gone to jail and she had hustled to keep him on dope while he was inside.
[US]D. Simon Homicide (1993) 262: Is the guy in the photo the same one out hustling in the bars.
[US]UGK ‘Gold Grill’ [lyrics] If she hustle, I ball.
[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 156: ‘I’ll go out and hustle before I [...] I got to [...] wait on some nigger to give me some money’.

8. to urge someone to work harder.

[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 29 Dec. 202: But won’t I hustle you when the gradient is perpendicular.
[US]S. Lewis Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 65: Hustle up with that bale, Pete.
[US]C. Coe Hooch! 147: Hustle it up, Dutch; don’t let it drip on the seats.
[US]B. Conlon ‘Rope Meat’ in Wild West Weekly 22 Oct. [Internet] Hustle up, thar! [...] What yuh so danged slow fur?
[Aus](con. 1941) E. Lambert Twenty Thousand Thieves 172: Yer’ll get it over yere head if you try and hustle me, sport.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 34: Can you hustle my baggage through. I really hate airports?

9. to obtain money or some other commodity through begging.

[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 24: ‘You want to hustle around quick an’ get some, an’ don’t forget that there’s three of us.’ ‘’Course I hustled, an’ had to pay ’em their percentage.’.
[US]N. Anderson Hobo 21: Jungle crimes include [...] (6) cooking without first hustling fuel.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch 50: I even descended to hustling pregnant women in the public streets.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 18: Do you know what it took to hustle twelve bolos between us?
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 87: Johnny Doleman hadn’t come hustling or trying to horn in.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 158: They was hustling him for a handout.
[UK]Observer Rev. 11 Oct. 3: All constantly hustling for the next puff of crack.

10. (US prison) to steal.

[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 28/1: HUSTLE. Steal, usually in a gang. Hence, hustling shorts: Gang-stealing (of small sums of money, personal effects) on a streetcar or in a crowd.

11. to deceive or to con.

London Daily News 14 June 3/3: The veriest welsher or purse-trick man on the course might have ‘hustled them up’ with impunity.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 4: They let the suckers hustle for them.
[US]V.F. Nelson Prison Days and Nights 103: They had been going out on a ‘racket’ known as ‘hustling fags.’ [...] attracting the notice of some sex pervert and pretending to be one.
[UK]S. Selvon Lonely Londoners 14: Moses smiling to see the test hustling tenants.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 150: I’ve tried to chill you back to K.C. to maybe hustle pool.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 167: They goes aroun’ to different lanes an’ hustles house bowlers like you guys.
[US]T. Jones Pugilist at Rest 147: That bitch is insane, Window, and she’s taking you for a ride. She’s hustling you, man!
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 324: Now you’re accusing me of hustling you? That supposed to be gratitude?
[Aus] J.J. DeCeglie ‘Death Cannot Be Delegated’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] I figured I had him hustled flat to begin [...] I’d figured like shit.

12. (US) to make sexual advances.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 105: Hes even hustled Officer Morgan.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 141: Hustle Take someone else’s date away.

13. to work as a male prostitute.

[UK]Richard Hauser Homosexual Society 46: The Call-boy [...] will be similar to the call-girl in that he will mainly have his regular customers and rely on them and on contacts at parties. He will not need to find new customers by going out ‘hustling’.
[US]J. Rechy Numbers (1968) 25: Is this why I’ve come back? To prove to myself I can still hustle?

14. to pimp.

[US]L. Heinemann Close Quarters (1987) 258: Then I started hustling Claymore Face, freak sideshow fashion, to the fucken new guys.

15. (drugs) to attempt to obtain drug customers, to sell drugs.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]Ebonics Primer at hustle Definition: [...] 3. to sell drugs. Example: Creeper hustles fo his fix.

In phrases

Hustle-town (n.)

(US black) Houston, TX.

South Park Mexican ‘Block of Rock’ [lyrics] Welcome everybody to Hustle Town.
Slim Thug ‘Welcome 2 Houston’ [lyrics] Hustle-town’s my home, it’s where I do my dirt.
hustle one’s bustle (v.) (US)

1. to work as a prostitute.

Marlow, Inc Consumer Retorts [Internet] Pepsi knows that the selling of their beverage can only be accomplished if a blonde, buxom bimbo hustles her bustle giving [people] the frustrated erections they need! Of course, using ‘sex’ to sell products is as old as the hills.

2. see also SE terms below.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

In phrases

hustle one’s bustle (v.)

1. (US) to hurry.

E. MacCown Siege of Innocence 80: ‘Hustle your bustle down to the Rue la Boetie,’ she babbled thickly.
L. Damon Summer Sunrise 348: We’re supposed to be there in fifteen minutes, so hustle your bustle, lady.
C. Weston Girltalk 231: Hustle your bustle and get your rear in gear!
‘Marketing Buzz’ Jan. [Internet] If you slacked off and didn’t do what I said in January, then early February is the time to hustle your bustle. But no more playing around, now. I mean it.
M. Nava Egret Cove 69: Time’s a-wasting, Angela, You’d better hustle your bustle.
B. Drake Shorty 30: Ya better hustle your bustle on out of here before we get upset with ya.

2. see also sl. terms above.

hustle pussy (v.)

to work as a pimp.

[WI]S. Selvon Moses Ascending (1984) 26: I am not getting any younger and I cannot hustle pussy and scout the streets.