Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bullet n.1

1. in pl., the testicles.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry IV Pt 2 II iv: fal.: Do you discharge upon mine hostess. pist.: I will discharge upon her, Sir John, with two bullets. fal.: She is pistol-proof, sir.

2. a notice of dismissal; usu. in phrs. below.

implied in get the bullet
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 13 Mar. 1/1: A refusal to titivate the boss’s pumpkin patch brings along the bullet.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Jubb (1966) 105: ‘Bullet?’ asked Duggie as I [...] began to clear out my desk.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxii 7/1: bullet: The sack, be fired. The Royal order of the boot.
[Aus](con. 1930s) F. Huelin ‘Keep Moving’ 51: The boss put one over ’em this mawnin! [...] If anyody’d said anything he’d a’ had th’ bullet.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 1: bullet – a rejection letter from a business firm to an interviewee.

3. (US) an ejaculation of semen.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 264: The next day, the sister and her husband came by, eager to see what they could glean, and the husband asked, ‘How many bullets did you shoot last night?’.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 38: bullets splotches or gobs of semen.

In phrases

cop the bullet (v.)

to be dismissed from a job.

[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 46: COPPING THE BULLET: getting dismissed: synonymous with getting sacked, getting the wallop, getting the sack, getting shunted, getting fired [...] getting shot, getting the chuck.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 253/1: mid-C.19–20.
get the bullet (v.)

to be thrown out of a place or dismissed from one’s employment; to lose a relationship.

[UK]W. Savage Dict. Art Printing 93: When a workman, at case or press, either for neglect, want of punctuality, or for gross misconduct, is discharged instanter, and the usual notice of ‘a fortnight’ is not given, it is said, He has got the Bullet .
[UK]T. Wright Great Unwashed 254: [One] who has [...] got ‘the bullet’, as the formal note intimating that, ‘owing to a reduction of our establishment your services will no longer be required’, is called among working men .
[UK]Chambers’s Journal 9 Mar. 147: When a fellow gets the bullet from his work, he mostly has a spell at cab-driving [F&H].
[UK]Sl. Dict. 101: To get the bullet is to get notice, while to get the instant bullet is to be discharged upon the spot. The use of the term is most probably derived from a fancied connexion between it and the word discharge.
[UK]Punch 17 Sept. 126/1: I have just got the bullet, Mate – sacked without notice.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Jan. 4/6: A few days later the whole of Charles’s clerical staff got the bullet.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 104: And I suppose [...] you used up all your manners, and that’s why you got the bullet.
[UK]Melody Maker Jan. 9/1: You and your band are getting the bullet, Bert Ambrose is taking over the Savoy in your place.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 210: Use y’ nut a bit this time or you’ll get the bullet.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 113: Oh, one of the blokes in the kitchen got the sack. A big log called Vodavitch. [...] He got the bullet.
[Aus]D. Hewett Bobbin Up (1961) 40: The girls at work reckon I’ll get the bullet pretty soon.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 16: I was dead lucky I didn’t get the bullet from this job.
[UK]Guardian G2 19 July 11: When Margaret Thatcher climbed into the Daimler the day she got the bullet, she had tears in her eyes.
give someone the bullet (v.)

1. to dismiss from employment, to throw out of a place.

Courier & Argus (Dundee) 1 Dec. 7/4: The warder really could make it out that a man had flown. ‘Oh! dear! What shall I do? They’ll give me the bullet’.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 186: What’d they give you the bullet for?
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 49: Didn’t do too well though. They gave him the bullet.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 186: Marty and Sadie are not going to like it when you give them the bullet.
[Aus]D. Hewett Bobbin Up (1961) 153: The day shift foreman found him there and give him the bullet.
[UK]H. Pinter Caretaker Act I: That was after the guvnor give me the bullet.
[Ire]T. Murphy Sanctuary Lamp in Plays: 3 (1994) II i: Giving you the bullet.
[Aus]P. Temple Broken Shore (2007) [ebook] I know him from before, he got the bullet from the Greeks, went Queensborough.

2. to jilt, to terminate a relationship with.

[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 273: If she goes and gives me the bullet I don’t know what I’ll do.
shake the bullet at (v.)

to threaten with dismissal, but not actually to dismiss.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 101: Bullet to discharge from a situation. To shake the bullet at anyone, is to threaten him with ‘the sack,’ but not to give him actual notice to leave. To get the bullet is to get notice, while to get the instant bullet is to be discharged upon the spot. The use of the term is most probably derived from a fancied connexion between it and the word discharge.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.