Green’s Dictionary of Slang

molly n.1

[generic use of female name, underlined by Fr. molle, soft; note US regional dial. cut up molly, to act in an extravagant, frolicsome manner; ballad ‘The Maid’s Resolution to follow her Love’ (c.1820) which uses ‘Madam Molly’ for a woman who poses as a soldier]

1. (also moll) a male homosexual, an effeminate man; also attrib.

[UK] ‘Jenny Cromwells Complaint against Sodomy’ Harleian Mss. 73I5.226: Scarsdale [...] skulks about the Alleys And is content with Bettys, Nans and Mollys.
[UK]N. Ward London Terraefilius V 10: He behaves himself more like a Catamite, an Eunuch, or one of those Ridiculous Imitators of the Female Sex, call’d Mollies, than like a Son of Adam.
[UK]Select Trials at Old Bailey (1742) I 281: Clayton came in and quarrelled with me, and called me Molly and Sodomite.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 16 Oct. 6/1: When any Member enter’d into their Society, he was christened by a female Name, and had a Quartern of Geneva thrown in his Face; one was call’d Orange Deb, another Nel Guin, and a third Flying Horse Moll.
[UK]Life of Thomas Neaves 35: Those detestable Set of People call’d Molly’s,or Sodomites.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 6 Sept. 219/2: The Boy complain’d to me about three Quarters of a Year ago, that the Prisoner was a Molly and a Sodomite, and that he had committed Sodomy with him, and been the ruin of him.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 17 Jan. 58/2: He unbutton'd his Breeches and let them full half Way down his Thighs [...] I said, Sir, here is a Molly, a Sodomite, or a Devil, I know not what you call him, not I.
[UK]Satan’s Harvest Home 50: Some of our Tip top Beaus dress their Heads on quilted Hair Caps, to make ’em look more Womanish; so that Master Molly has nothing to do but slip on his Head Cloaths and he is an errant Woman.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Molly. A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1785].
[UK]‘The Pleasures of a Married Life’ in Rake’s Budget in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 82: Poor and ragged he may go, / Unles [sic] he’d botch and sew, / And what man would be a Molly all his life, I’d like to know?
[UK]Paul Pry 5 Mar. 4/2: Paul Advises [...] Mr. J—p, [...] not to go prying into other people's affairs, but take off the petticoats and wear breeches again. We still see you buy large joints, you Molly.
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor title page: Here will be found A Capital Show-Up of the Most Infamous Pegging Kens, Sharking Fakes, Gulping Holes, Bellowsing Rooms, Fencing Cribs, Molly Clubs, Dossing Hotels, Fleecing Holes.
[UK] parody in Rakish Rhymer (1917) 122: O, where will I go when the law breaks my f—king, / And the Mollies have to scatter around?
[UK] ‘’Arry on Blues and Bluestockings’ in Punch 21 Mar. 135/1: Us as is men and not mollies. [Ibid.] 135/2: A man as is really a man, mate, and not just a molly in bags.
[UK]H. Macilwaine Dinkinbar 72: I’d call you a Molly if I didn’t think you’d get in a rage and read no more of this.
[Ire]P.W. Joyce Eng. As We Speak It In Ireland (1979) 295: Molly; a man who busies himself about women’s affairs or does work that properly belongs to women.
[US]M. Bodenheim Sixty Seconds 43: It was all right to be a molly and see queer things and love to pick bunches of wild flowers and get so damn soft inside you couldn’t recognize yourself; if you didn’t show this weaker side to any one — the boys in particular.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[Ire]F. O’Connor An Only Child (1970) 101: Everything would go well [...] till I said something wrong or used a word that no one understood, and then the whole group jeered me, and called me ‘Molly’ (our word for sissy).
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 131: feminine acting [...] molly.
[Ire](con. 1920s) P. Crosbie Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 132: Further up the river were other pools [...] ‘Last in is a Molly’. [Ibid.] 218: He’s a bit of a molly.
[UK]A. Higgins Donkey’s Years 96: Grogan is no Molly.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 114: The gay culture, long a clandestine network, by necessity developed a sophisticated little lingo for communication. This includes [...] molly, a term in use at least as early as the 1720s.

2. (also molley, mollie) a prostitute.

[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 5: Town follies and cullies, and Molleys and Dolleys.
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 13 July 234/2: Half-a-crown there will get you a Molly, / A Molly much better than Mog.
[US]‘Number 1500’ Life In Sing Sing 250: Molly. A prostitute.
[US]B.T. Harvey ‘Word-List From The Northwest’ in DN IV:i 28: tommy, n. A girl. Also called [...] molly.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 411: Molly. Disreputable woman.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 156: mollie [...] molly A prostitute.

3. a young woman, orig. a servant-girl.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 22 Oct. 10/1: ‘Packing mollies’ is the term applied by the [criminal] fraternity to designate a certain class of dishonest domestics.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Mohawks III 127: The cry of the sweep [...] and Irish Molly with her clattering milk-pails.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘The Ballad of Dan Homer’ in Snatches and Lays 18: There’s none av yer mollies-come-roll-on-the-grass, / But the foine-spoken gels of the best social class.
[Ire]E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 86: I’ve known Mollys with bikes, Mollys with skates, Mollys with foot scooters.
[Ire]R. Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 63: Dreaming about a molly, said James O’Keefe.

4. (US) a fool.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 97: What molly you? Gettee ’way, gettee ’way, heap damn fool!

In derivatives

mollyish (adj.) (also Miss-Mollyish)


[UK]Sporting Mag. May XX 119/2: If it wan’t for the petticoat-geer, With their squeaking so molly-ish, tender, and soft, One should scarcely know ma’am from monsieur.
[UK]C. Dibdin in Universal Songster 406/2: With their squeaking so mollyish, tender, and soft, One should carecely know ma’am from mounseer.
[UK]C. Webbe Glances at Life 2nd ser. 337: They [i.e. young aristocrats] can lisp, quizz, pat their curls, waltz, wear women's gloves and habit-shirts and stays, and look more Miss-Molly-ish than the milliners' girls.
[UK]‘Hubert’ Hubert’s Crusade 35: He is very shy, like you, and cries very easily, which I think is mollyish, but mamma says it's because he's delicate.
[UK]Blackwood’s Mag. 116 389: I do hope they’ll have the sense not to put it on; but I can’t very well tell Jem about it; it will look so mollyish.
[UK]W. Lewin (ed.) Papers for Times 92: If the men of the household attempt to interest themselves in the work of the women, they are usually checked very decisively. Any such interest [...] is dubbed ‘mollyish’.
[UK] in Punch 10 Jan. 21: Home-staying fogies of mollyish mood.

In compounds

molly-cull (n.) [cull n.1 (4)]

a catamite.

[UK]Select Trials at Old Bailey (1742) II 367: He removed to Beech-lane, where he likewise kept Rooms for the Entertainment of the Molly-Culls.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 5 July 168/1: Why he’s one of them as you call Molly Culls, he gets his Bread that way; to my certain Knowledge he has got many a Crown under some Gentlemen, for going of sodomiting Errands.
molly dike (n.)

(US gay) a lesbian.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]Maledicta VI:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 134: molly dike (which Rodgers traces to U.K. ‘molly = bosom, woman, effeminate’ but the point is in the connection between molly and women’s clothes, as with the disguised Molly Maguires).
molly-dodger (n.)

(US) a euph. for motherfucker n.

[US] in S. Calt Rather Be Devil 64: I say, ‘I don’t want no mollydodger (motherfucker) ease me in’ [the ‘dozens’] [HDAS].
[US]J. Lester All Is Well 122: His speech is filled with the speech of this area. ‘Molly-dodger’ is one of his favorite words.
[US]J. Lester Further Tales of Uncle Remus 54: But you don't mean to tell me that Brer Wolf and Brer Fox gon' let the molly-dodger get away with something like that.
molly-dooker (n.) [? duke n.3 , with derog. sense that an effeminate man, like a left-handed person, would be clumsy or ? mauley n.]

(Aus.) a left-handed person; thus molly-dook(ed), left-handed.

[Aus]Teleg. (Brisbane) 22 Feb. 3/4: He was a left-hander too, and there Is something fascinating about a ‘molly dook’ trundler.
[Aus]Referee (Sydney) 3 Dec. 2/2: ‘Our Jack’ is not eager for another meeting with the vicious little Baltimore ‘molly dooker’.
[Aus]Teleg. (Brisbane) 19 Nov. 8/4: Both were outstanding ‘molly dook’ punchers who surmounted the difficulties with which such boxers must contend.
[Aus]Advocate (Melbourne) 12 June 29/2: He is rarely sighted after the first few rounds—opponents having lasted, collectively, only 69 rounds with the young ‘molly-dooker’.
[Aus]Charleville Times (Brisbane) 11 June 12/3: The Charleville team defeated Roma [...] notwithstanding the ‘cricket score’ compiled by the ‘mollie-dooker’ of the team.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 100 85: Lever, a molly-dooker, is so used to being left out of English sides that he's acquired a reputation for being easy-going.
[Aus]T. Winton Scission 24: He taught me how to split wood though I could never do it like him [...] I'm a left-hander, a molly dooker he called me.
[Aus]J. Goldsmith Left-Handed in a Right-Handed World 29: The word molly-dooker causes many Australian left-handed boys to fight to prove their manhood, since a molly is a young woman and a dooker is one who uses his fists, thus the translation of sissy-fisted.
[Aus]D. Guest Queer Bible Commentary 170: [note] In Australia a left-handed person can be referred to as a ‘molly-dooker’, where a ‘molly’ is an effeminate man and ‘duke’ is slang for hand.
mollyhead (n.) (also mollyhawk) [-head sfx]

a fool, a simpleton.

[US]T.J. Hains Mr Trunnell Mate of the Ship ‘Pirate’ Ch. ii: ‘Who are you, you molly-hawk, to give orders aboard here?’ roared Andrews.
[US]Munsey’s Mag. Jan. 492/1: Stephens is in it to pass the stuff to the mollyheads that can’t be got at without him .
[US]D. Carey Best Destiny 126: Burgoyne jabbed his finger forward and spat his mustache out so he could speak. ‘It’s roight theh, Dazzo,’ he said. ‘See it, mollyhead? ’.
molly house (n.) [SE house/house n.1 (1)]

a male homosexual brothel.

[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 20 Apr. 6/1: Samuel Stephens thus depos’d. Mrs. Clap’s house was notorious for being a Molly-house.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 36: If Dalton and Susan would go to such a Place, naming a noted Molly-house, near Billingsgate, they would come to them.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 137: molly house (dated, Brit) a heterosexual whorehouse that would accommodate wealthy homosexuals.
molly man (n.)

an effeminate homosexual.

[US]Moses Mason ‘Molly Man’ [lyrics] Molly man’s coming / I hear his voice / He’s got hot tamales.
[Ire](con. 1916) R. Doyle A Star Called Henry (2000) 102: Call yourselves men? You’re only molly men.
molly-mop (n.) [dollymop n.]

an effeminate man.

F. Marryat Naval Officer 200: I’ll disrate you, by G—d, you d—d molly mop; is that the way you handle a cat; that's only wiping the dirt off his back.
mollyslop (adj.) [slop n.1 (2) ]

nonsensical, weak, with overtones of effeminacy.

[UK] ‘’Arry on ’onesty’ in Punch 31 Jan. 60/1: I shouldn’t go spouting of morals, pure art, and such mollyslop muck.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Season’ in Punch 22 June 298/1: ‘The sun rolling bounteous from Aries,’ and reams o’ such molly slop muck.

In phrases

Miss Molly (n.)

an effeminate homosexual.

[UK]N. Ward Amorous Bugbears 36: Another [...] comes behind Miss Molly and throwing a Box full of Spanish Snuff upon the Seat of her Smicker, made her Backside look as offensively besmear’d, as the hind Lappet of a Drayman’s Shirt.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Molly. A Miss Molly; an effeminate fellow, a sodomite.
Tom Molly (n.)

an effeminate homosexual.

[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 269: I suppose you’re a bit of a Tom Molly, and think you do these things better than the women. I shouldn’t wonder if you carry the key of the tea-chest in your pocket.