Green’s Dictionary of Slang

corn n.1

[lit. and fig. uses of SE corn]

1. (also seed corn) money; thus earn one’s corn, be worth one’s corn, to deserve one’s wages [the roles of corn and money as staples of existence].

[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 23: To the Brokers then my hedge-bird flies, / for Goods she brings good Corn.
[US]A. Greene Life and Adventures of Dr Dodimus Duckworth II 39: Have you got corn enough to build that meeting-house yet?
[US]W.T. Porter Big Bear of Arkansas (1847) 72: There aint nobody round here kin make seed corn off o’ me at cards. I’m rale smart.
[UK]C. Roberts Adrift in America 54: I acknowledge ‘the corn’ myself, as they say across the Atlantic, and I owe a few dollars.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 93: He just had to shell down the corn, and he didn’t have much money, either.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 368: shell out (the corn). v. phr. To pay (money).
[US]Blind Lemon Jefferson ‘Saturday Night Spender Blues’ 🎵 But soon as night come, I goes out for a spendin’ fling / I have five, six, and seven women, and a whole lots of corn.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 55: Corn. – Small change.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 105: The old hen has cut me in on her corn, Jack.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[UK]Smiley Culture ‘Cockney Translation’ 🎵 You know dem have wedge while we have corn.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 27: Going to a party and drapesing some bwai for his corn.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 7: They’ve moved on to less obvious undertakings to provide the corn.
Jah Lyrics Dict. 🌐 corn [...] 2. money.

2. as an ingredient of alcohol.

(a) (US) corn whisky.

Chillicothe (OH) Supporter 5 July n.p.: If we go to town, [...] we are invited to try a little corn as usual [DA].
[Scot]‘Humours of Glasgow Fair’ in Nimmo Songs and Ballads of Clydesdale (1882) 196: Now Gibbie was wanting a toothfu’ / Says he ‘I’m right tir’d of the fun; / I say, lads d’ye think we’d be the wauro’ a mouthfu’ / Of guid nappie Yill and Bun’ / ‘Wi’ a’ my heart,’ says Tam, ‘teth, I’m willing, / Tis best to water the corn’.
[US]J.J. Hooper Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs (1851) 54: Let me git one o’ these book-larnt fellers over a bottle of ‘old corn’.
[US]N.Y. Pick (NY) 21 Feb. n.p.: We have touched and tasted the accursed bowl [...] we are willing to confess the corn.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘The Jelly Bean’ in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald V (1963) 205: Such potent nectar as ‘good old corn’ needed some disguise beyond selzer.
[US]G. Milburn ‘Me and My Bindle’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 262: So I slipped down to a scatter to lap a shot of corn.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 82: Bix always had a jug of raw corn with him.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 104: They [...] drink corn from mason jars.
[US]Champion Jack Dupree & Mickey Baker ‘In the Evening’ 🎵 (Spoken:) Do you remember when this number first come out, man? [...] I used to have a gal in my arm, you know... a bottle of corn liquor on my left... (Moonshine, man) Oh, no moonshine man, corn whiskey! C.H.O.D.N., corn, man, real corn, you know!
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 35: I was about halfway through a bottle of corn.
[US]Jeannie & Jimmy Cheatham ‘Don’t Cha Boogie with your Black Drawers Off’ 🎵 Turn on the lights, pour a corn.

(b) (US) a drunkard.

[US]J. Downey Cruise of the Portsmouth (1963) 227: You’ve gone and drunk half a pipe of wine, and not content with that, you’ve got in all over and gone swimming in it. Don’t you think you are a Corn?

(c) (W.I.) rum.

[WI]cited in Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).

3. (orig. US) anything unsophisticated, irritatingly or foolishly old-fashioned or sentimental, hackneyed, trite, inferior [such things supposedly appeal to country people, i.e. growers of corn].

[US]McKinney’s Cotton Pickers ‘Just a Shade Corn’ 🎵 That melody / Seems to me / Just a shade corn!
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 25: I thought George was going to knock out some of the usual corn.
[US]‘John Eagle’ Hoodlums (2021) 107: How had Jeannie fallen for this corn?
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 17 Mar. 124: Lines, business, cracks — corn — the lot [...] just get your laughs any way you can and devil take the hindmost.
[Ire]P. Boyle All Looks Yellow to the Jaundiced Eye 103: If it’s corn they want, it’s corn they’ll get.

4. (W.I. Rasta) marijuana.

Marijuana Growing Forum Apr. 🌐 There’s this weed real popular over here called ‘Popcorn’ or Corn for short.
Jah Lyrics Dict. 🌐 corn 1. marijuana.

In derivatives

corned (adj.)

well-off, in funds.

[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 3 Nov. 5/3: I spoze Muster Gratwicke wosnt minde Muster kent buying another farme now, for all ov ’em’s well ‘korned’ for ther winter.

In compounds

corn coffee (n.)

(US) alcohol.

[US]M. Prenner ‘Drunk in Sl.’ in AS XVI:1 Jan. 70/2: liquor [...] corn coffee.
corn juice (n.) (also corn-moon, ...liquid)

(US) whisky, whether legally or illicitly distilled; thus corn-juicy, drunk.

S. Lee Sheppard Lee 33: There was just light enough to discern a black jug lying broken at his side, from which arose the odour of corn-juice, but by no means of the true Monongahela savour.
[US]G.W. Harris ‘The Knob Dance’ Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) XV July in Inge (1967) 46: He can belt six shillins worth of corn-juice at still-house rates and travel.
[US]W.K. Northall Life and Recollections of Yankee Hill 153: The Ingins knew heow to use it in the rough, but, oh! Johnny cakes and corn juice, tew what parfection it was finally brought by the descendants of the primitive fathers.
[US]R.F. Burton City of the Saints 30: He can do nothing without whisky, which he loves to call tarantula-juice, strychnine, red-eye, corn-juice, Jersey lightning, leg-stretcher, ‘tangle-leg,’ and many other hard and grotesque names.
[US] in T.P. Lowry Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) 35: The boys got hold of some corn liquid and about a dozen of them got slightly inebriated.
[UK]J. Mair Hbk of Phrases 101: Corn-juice, whisky.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 21 Oct. 10/4: He managed to reach the boiler and seize a dipper of boiling corn juice, which he hurled at his assailants.
[US]Donaldson Chief (LA) 27 Sept. 2/3: The corn-juicy cowboy.
Durham Dly Globe 7 Nov. 1/2: Mike Jenkins, white, contributed $5.00 to the town treasury for drinking too much cornjuice.
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 xxv: Tex swaggered over to the bar and tossed a quarter upon it: ‘Corn juice,’ he laconically exclaimed.
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 42: [He] wore a Coon-Skin Cap and drank Corn Juice out of a Jug.
[US]L.A. Times 15 Aug. 25/2: Colored valet has New Name for Hip Adornment [...] ‘He had a Kaintuicky bustle on both hips [...] stuffed with good old corn juice from Louisville’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 572: Stephen [...] though he was not in any sober state himself, recognisd Corley’s breath redolent of rotten cornjuice.
[US] (ref. mid-19C) N. Kimball Amer. Madam (1981) 24: My father didn’t sit drinking corn-moon.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Mountain Man’ in Action Stories Mar.–Apr. 🌐 Drink in reason; half a gallon of corn juice is enough for any man.
corn mission (n.)

(UK black) an illegal money-making scheme, e.g. a robbery.

[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 186: Your corn missions are too dodgy, man. I gotta keep outta jailhouse mission.
corn sack (n.)

(Aus. prison) a veteran prisoner.

Launceston Examiner 12 May 5: The prisoners had a slang amongst themselves which was sometimes expressive; the old prisoners they called ‘corn sacks’.
corn squeezings (n.)

(US) illicitly distilled whisky.

[US]B. de Beck Barney Google [synd. cartoon strip] Ax th’ varmints ef they fotched any corn squeezin’s.
[US]Austin American-Statesman (TX) 19 Jan. 15/8: Tyler officers [...] arrested a negro [...] and seven jars of corn squeezings.
[US]George Jones ‘White Lightning’ 🎵 Mighty, mighty pleasin’ / Pappy’s corn squeezings, / Mmm . . . white lightnin’.
[US]R.S. Prather Dig that Crazy Grave 82: But when it comes to drinking, I've got everything from lime juice and little pearl onions to Obawalla Scotch [...] and fermented corn squeezings.
[US]V. Randolph Who Blowed up the Church House? 51: Sometimes the husband has got a jug of corn-squeezings hid somewhere outside, where the menfolks can take a little snort,.
[US](ref. to 1900) P.T. Maiken Night Trains 161/1: Peoria had been a major distillery center since the mid-1880's. By this century it was producing a greater volume of corn squeezings than any other American city.
[US]R. Stewart Boy Meets Horn 97: Joe tossed my luggage in the car, gave me a big drink of corn squeezings (corn whiskey), ran over a chicken and informed me that I was to live at the Country Club.
[US]B. Bilger Noodling for Flatheads (2001) 71: Old stories [...] of judges going home from court half-drunk on ‘corn squeezin’s’.

In phrases

corn up (v.)

(US) to get drunk.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 88: It got so that every time I corned up I just long to get on a train and ride to the middle of the country.
on the corn (also eating corn) [the hominy diet therein]

(Aus. prison) serving time in prison.

[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 76: ‘We look like doing three months on the corn.’ ‘The corn?’ ‘Yeah. The prison porridge.’.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxiv 4/4: eating corn: Doing time.

SE in slang uses

In compounds


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

corncake (n.) [SAmE corncake, a cake made of Indian cornmeal, but why?]

(US) $1.

J. Cannon Nobody Asked Me 141: You’d think we heisted a poorbox instead of trying to make a few corncakes [HDAS].

see separate entries.

corncracker (n.) [? their subsisting on corn or maize] (US)

1. a poor white farmer, a rustic.

[US]Ripley Transcript (MS) 30 Nov. 2/4: Take notice, all ye [...] Corn crackers, Yankees, Flat Heads [...] Land Pirates or what not, that if anyone has squatted on my improvements [...] I will row you up salt creek.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 237: Such corn-crackers as that, let them be who they may, arn’t over safe in the dark.
[US]G.F. Ruxton Life in the Far West (1849) 18: Them diggings gets too over-crowded now-a-days, and it’s hard to fetch breath amongst them big bands of corncrackers.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ Life in Dixie’s Land 169: He’s a North Carolina corn-cracker one of the ugliest specimens of humanity extant. They’re as thick as fleas in this part of the state.
[US] in DARE.

2. natives of Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, or Virginia.

[US]Republican Banner (Gettysburg, PA) 2 Sept. 2/6: The Illinois Pioneer gives the following list of nick names adopted to distinguish the citizens of the Western states. In Kentucky they are call’d Corn Crackers.
[US]Cincinnati Chronicle 26 Aug. n.p.: People in the Atlantic States know as little about the high and beating heart of the Mississippi Valley, as we Buckeyes, Corn-Crackers, and Hoosiers do about Nova Zembla.
[US]‘Edmund Kirke’ My Southern Friends 63: No corncracker ever held sech doctrines as them.
[US]North Amer. Rev. Nov. 433: Among the rank and file, both armies, it was very general to speak of the different States they came from by their slang names. Those from Maine were called Foxes; [...] Kentucky, Corn Crackers.
[US]C. M’Govern By Bolo and Krag 37: A really pretty young native woman was married to Clarke, as this ‘Virginia gentleman, sah, corn-cracker’ was named.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 200: The suckers of Illinoy, the pukes of Missouri, and the corn-crackers of Virginia. (Thorn).
C. McWilliams Southern Calif. Country 172: Marylanders are ‘crawthumpers’; Kentuckians, ‘corncrackers’; Mississippians, ‘tadpoles,’ and so forth [DA].
[US]D. Shulman ‘Nicknames of States and Their Inhabitants’ in AS XXVII:3 183: The following nicknames may be included with those given by Mencken: Pennemites for Pennsylvanians, Tuckahoes for Virginians, and Corn Crackers for Tennesseans.

see separate entries.


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

corn-grinders (n.) (also corncrackers)

(US) the teeth.

[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick in England II 259: He grinned so, he showed his corncrackers from ear to ear. She said he stript his teeth like a catamount, he look’d so all mouth.
[US]‘Jonathan Slick’ High Life in N.Y. II 197: I jest bent over a trifle, and grinned jest enough to show my corn-grinders.
[US]T. Haliburton Nature and Human Nature I 261: It is apt to hit her in the mouth, which is a great matter, if she has tooth-ache, for it will extract corn-crackers a plaguey sight quicker that a dentist.

see separate entries.

corn-husker (n.) (also corn-rustler) [SE cornhusker, one who strips the husks from the ears of Indian corn]

1. (US) a farmer, a peasant.

[US]A. Stringer Door of Dread 84: Hand it to the corn-rustlers who ain’t hep to a crook from the gyp-game days! For it don’t go wit’ me! I know who yuh are.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Mr. & Mrs. Fix-It’ Coll. Short Stories (1941) 414: Her dogs hadn’t fretted her once since this cornhusker started tendin’ to them.
[US]G. Fowler Good Night, Sweet Prince 401: Barrymore made a radio broadcast in Omaha on this May 1, and in it offended many corn-huskers.
[US]L.F. Cooley Run For Home (1959) 317: If you want to buy that corn-husker a toy [...] get it yourself!
[US] in DARE.

2. a native of Nebraska.

[US]Dly Gate City (Keokuk, IA) 16 Nov. 9/5: Towles scored a place kick for the Cornhuskers [i.e. U. Nebraska football team].
[US](con. WWII) J.O. Killens And Then We Heard The Thunder (1964) 411: He was [...] medium-sized and corn-fed and Midwestern Yankee. A Minnesota gopher maybe. Nebraska cornhusker.
[US](con. c.1900) J. Thompson King Blood (1989) 74: Sooner [...] was to become an affectionate second-name for Oklahoma [...] as was Jayhawk for Kansas and Cornhusker for Nebraska.
cornpone (adj.) [SE cornpone, a cornmeal cake or bread made of maize, milk and eggs, formed into ovals and baked or fried]

(US black) second-rate, unsophisticated; also as n.

[US]S.J. Perelman letter 26 Feb. in Crowther Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 23: Organized effort to show him up for the cornpone Hitler he is.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 18: Grey studs on the unglamorous side of the cornpone riff.
[US]J. Wambaugh Onion Field 120: Jesus, he thought, how much longer can I take this fuckin paddy cornpone with his fuckin family.
[US]T. Wolff (con. mid-1950s) This Boy’s Life 105: He said the stupid cornpones had no idea what it [i.e. a piano] was worth.
Dabbler 13 June 🌐 Yeah, your dumb iPhone will also do this, but imagine what some corn-pone who used to pilot a big aluminum dump truck like the B-17 made of this!
cornpopper (n.) [? the noise of the exhaust (i.e. like popcorn)] (US)

1. a large truck.

[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 55: On the highway the lights of the streaming cars made an almost solid beam in both directions. The big corn-poppers were rolling north growling as they went and festooned all over with green and yellow overhang lights.

2. a cheap car.

[US](con. 1916) G. Swarthout Tin Lizzie Troop (1978) 18: You pulled good stock all the way from El Paso behind those corn poppers?

see separate entries.

cornstealer (n.)

the human hand.

[US]Mass. Spy 24 Oct. n.p.: Give us a shake of your corn-stealer [DA].
[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 266: Hoping the time is not far distant when I shall have the exquisite pleasure of shaking your corn stealer.
S.H. Hammond Wild Northern Scenes 167: I reckon I had a time of it with the old buck that [scarred] my corn-stealer, as they say out West.
Congressional. Record 22 Jan. 488/1: His phalangers or metacarpus, or, rather, corn-stealers, are bigger than those of any other member [DA].
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
cornthrasher (n.) (also cornthresher)

(US) a farmer, a rustic.

[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) I 217: If I had done for all the corn-threshers (farmers) whom I have only singed, I should have nothing to funk about now.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 20: Corn-thrashers, farmers.

In phrases

acre (of corn) (n.) [the use of corn is a ref. to hominy, a staple of Aus. prison food; one will eat that much corn during the sentence]

(Aus./US) a prison sentence, cited variously as one month, twelve months or simply ‘plenty’.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 2/2: An acre, a month (prison).
[Aus]‘No. 35’ Argot in G. Simes DAUS (1993).
corn in Egypt (n.) [phr. corn in Egypt, a plentiful supply, f. Gen. 42:2]

(sufficient) money or other needs.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 129: Corn in Egypt a popular expression which means a plentiful supply of materials for a dinner, &c., or a good supply of money. Its origin is of course Biblical.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 2: Corn in Egypt - A good supply of money; a plentiful supply of materials for a dinner, etc.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. [as 1882].
get one’s hot corn (v.)

to suffer; to get one’s deserts.

[US]N.Y. Herald 2/1: Some were so uncharitable as to say ‘I hope in God both [duellists] may get their hot corn’.
have corn/corns in the head (v.) [play on SE corns/corn as used in brewing]

to be drunk.

[US]B. Franklin ‘Drinkers Dictionary’ in Pennsylvania Gazette 6 Jan. in AS XII:2 90: They come to be well understood to signify plainly that A MAN IS DRUNK. [...] Got Corns in his Head.
have one’s corn ground (v.)

(US) to have sexual intercourse.

Amorous Songster 91: Sir, I must have my corn ground, I must and I will.