Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bum n.1

[orig. ME; echoic of the smack of one’s backside hitting a flat surface, and as such coined as early as 1386. The word is also allied to a variety of terms meaning protuberance or swelling, typically bump; a cit. c.1650 referring to a cure for syphilis, includes the posterior and genital area]

1. [late 14C+] (also bumb, bum-bay, bumbum, bumm) the posterior, buttocks, anus, rectum.

2. [17C–late 18C] in a sexual context, the vagina.

3. [late 17C+] in a sexual context, the anus as a target for sodomy; an act of homosexual activity; thus in compounds referring to a homosexual, as listed below; note also bit of bum

In derivatives

bumfest (n.) [-fest sfx]

[1990s+] a homosexual orgy.

bumkin (n.) [dimin. sfx -kin]

[mid-17C–18C] the buttocks.

In compounds

bum bacon (n.)

[1990s+] the labia.

bum bag (n.)

[1950s+] (orig. skiing) a small bag or pouch, secured to a belt and worn around the waist.

bum bags (n.)

[mid-19C–1950s] trousers.

bum balls (n.)

[19C] the testicles.

bum-banger (n.) [1970s] (Aus.)

1. a short jacket, just covering the buttocks.

2. a male homosexual.

bum barber (n.)

[2000s] (N.Z.) a sheep shearer.

bum bass (n.)

[late 18C–19C] a cello.

bum-beating (n.)

[early 17C] jostling.

bumboat (n.)

see separate entry.

bum boy (n.)

1. [19C+] a male homosexual.

2. [20C+] anyone regularly saddled with dirty jobs.

3. [20C+] a toady, a sycophant.

4. [1990s+] (mainly UK juv.) on pattern of gay adj. (9), a term of abuse, irrespective of sexuality, for an unpopular individual.

bum-brusher (n.) [SE brush, to thrash; note WWI Aus. milit. bumbrusher, an officer’s servant]

[18C–1930s] a schoolmaster.

bumbud (n.)

[1990s+] (US black teen) marijuana, a marijuana cigarette.

bum buddy (n.) [buddy n. (2)]

[1990s+] a homosexual's male partner.

bum-burn (n.)

[1990s+] (UK juv.) pain during defecation, the result of eating an excess of over-spiced food.

bum card (n.)

[mid-16C–early 17C] (gaming) a marked card.

bum-case (n.)

[mid-19C] a pair of trousers.

bum chum (n.) [chum n. (1)]

1. [1970s] (orig. Aus.) an intimate friend.

2. [1990s+] a male homosexual.

Bum Court (n.) [? sense 1; its members spent much time sitting down]

[mid–late 16C] the Ecclesiastical Court; also attrib.

bum-crawler (n.)

[1930s+] a toady, a sycophant.

bum-creeper (n.)

1. [mid-17–19C] one who walks with their back noticeably bent.

2. [1910s+] a sycophant, a creeper.

bum-curtain (n.)

[19C] a jacket.

bum-drops (n.)

[1930s] hen’s eggs.


see separate entries.

bumfake (v.) [sense 1 + fake v.1 (3)]

[late 19C] to have sexual intercourse; thus bum-faker n., a male homosexual.

bum-feague (v.) (also bumfeagle, bum-feg) [SE feague/feague v. (2)]

1. [late 16C–early 17C] to thrash, to beat severely.

2. [early 18C] to have sexual intercourse.


see separate entries.

bum-fighter (n.)

[early 18C] a womanizer, a whoremonger.

bum-firker (n.) [firk v.; sodomy being seen as a stereotypical ‘Italian trick’ or ‘sin’]

[late 17C] a sodomite; thus bum-firking n. and adj.

bumfluff (n.)

see separate entry.

bumflummux (v.)

see separate entry.

bum-fodder (n.)

1. [mid-17C+] (also bum fluff, tail fodder) lavatory paper.

2. [mid-17C–mid-18C] trashy literature; also as adj. [i.e. only good for use as sense 1].

bumfoolery (n.) [SE tomfoolery]

[2000s] homosexuality, homosexual activity.

bum freezer (n.)

1. [late 19C+] a short jacket that stops short of covering the buttocks; orig. describing an Eton jacket, latterly the ‘Italian’ styles of 1950s and thence any short (men’s) jacket.

2. [1940s] (Aus.) a mean, cheating person.

bum-freezing (adj.)

[2000s] used of a very short skirt.


see separate entries.

bum gravy (n.)

[2000s] diarrhoea.

bum-gut (n.)

[mid-17C; 1920s] the anus; thus bumgut-shot n., a breaking of wind.


see separate entries.

bum-jerker (n.)

[early–mid-19C] a schoolmaster.

bum juice (n.)

[1990s+] sweat that gathers between the buttocks.

bum-jumper (n.)

[1980s+] a male homosexual.

bum labour (n.)

[early 18C] prostitution.

bum-licker (n.)

[1930s+] a toady, a sycophant; cite 2011 is a general term of abuse.

bum man (n.)

[1950s+] a man who finds a woman’s buttocks her most alluring feature; cite 2012 is gay use.

bum-numbing (adj.) [SE numbing; the image is of sitting so long that one loses sensation in the buttocks]

[1970s+] infinitely tedious, usu. applied to work of some sort.

bum nuts (n.)

[1980s+] (Aus./N.Z.) eggs.

bum-perisher (n.) (also bum-shaver) [SE shaver; the implication is of failing to warm, cover or reach the buttocks, but note perisher n.1 ]

[late 19C+] a short jacket.

bum plumber (n.) (also bumhole plumber) [SE plumber]

[1990s+] a male homosexual, a sodomite.

bum-puncher (n.) [SE puncher]

[1980s+] (Aus.) a homosexual.

bum punching (n.)

[1980s+] (Aus.) (homosexual) anal intercourse.

bum-robber (n.)

[20C+] a male homosexual.

bum-roll (n.) [SE roll; the shape]

[17C] a bustle.

bumscrape (n.)

[1990s+] (Aus.) an incompetent, a fool.

bumshop (n.)

1. [mid-19C–1900s] a brothel.

2. the vagina.

bum soup (n.)

[1990s+] diarrhoea.

bum-strings (n.)

[late 17C] metaphorical ‘strings’ that secure the buttocks to the torso.


see separate entries.

bum tags (n.)

[20C+] deposits of faecal matter in the hairs around a badly cleaned anus.

bum-tickler (n.)

[late 19C] the penis.

bum-tickling (n.)


bum wad (n.) [1940s] (US)

1. lavatory paper; also attrib.

2. a newspaper.

bum-warmer (n.) [on model of bum freezer ]

[1940s] a long suit jacket, covering the buttocks.

In phrases

all bum (adj.)

[mid–late 19C] of a woman, wearing a noticeably large bustle (a stuffed pad that emphasized the rear of the dress).

bit of bum (n.)

[late 19C+] sexual gratification, whether homo- or heterosexual; thus have a bit of bum.

bum over breakfast (adv.)

[2000s] (Aus.) head over heels.

give one’s bum an airing (v.)

[1940s–50s] to visit the lavatory.

go bum-faking (v.)

[early–mid-18C] to have sexual intercourse.

go bum-fighting (v.) (also go bum-tickling, -working)

[late 19C–1900s] to have sexual intercourse.

land with one’s bum in butter (v.)

[2000s] (N.Z.) to experience good luck.

put the bum on (v.)

[1970] (US gay) to offer oneself for homosexual sex.

talk through one’s bum (v.)

[1980s+] to talk nonsense.

In exclamations

bite your bum! (also bite your backside!) [backside n.]

[1950s+] (Aus./N.Z.) an excl. of contemptuous dismissal.

my bum!

[1930s+] a general excl. of disdain, dismissal, arrogant contempt.