Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hay n.

1. a bed; also in the context of a place for sexual intercourse; thus great in the hay, an above-average sexual performer [the use of hay for stuffing mattresses].

[[US]Flash (NY) 18 Sept. n.p.: Mr Plumb [...] nightly converts his receptacle for hay into something between an assignation house and a shindy shop. U..... D.., [...] goes there nightly after some of the girls, and he being very heavy, does great injury to the hay].
[US]Ade People You Know 13: He crawled into the Hay at 9.30 P.M.
[US]Van Loan ‘Little Sunset’ Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 125: The doc says if you stay in the hay this afternoon you can get out to-morrow.
[UK]Wodehouse Leave it to Psmith (1993) 563: Do not [...] let me keep you from the hay if you wish to retire.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Blood Pressure’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 87: She may just get out of the hay.
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act I: She woke up Chuck and dragged him outa de hay.
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 137: She was first-class in the hay.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 123: I’ll finish this one [game], then try the hay again.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 37: ‘How about the other guy?’ I asked, ignoring him. ‘What other guy was that?’ ‘In the hay, in the guest house. No clothes on. You’re not saying she had to go down there to play solitaire.’.
‘Don Elliott’ Gang Girl (2011) 19: The ugly cripple would probably have given his one good leg for half an hour in the hay with her.
[UK](con. 1940s) G. Morrill Dark Sea Running 196: You’re just a failure in the hay. You need monkey glands.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 117: She was a real emotional kind of woman, old Nola. Especially in the hay.
[US]T. Jones Pugilist at Rest 134: My mother always said he was pretty good in the hay.

2. as a metaphor for insignificance.

(a) a small sum of money; usu. in phr. that ain’t hay, remarking on a substantial sum.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 10 Apr. 1/6: Sent his prads across to Sydney / For to earn a bit of hay.
[US]J. Hill ‘The Preacher & Slave’ in Anderson Hobo 210: You will eat bye and bye / In that glorious land above the sky; / Work and pray, live on hay, / You’ll get pie in the sky when you die.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Broadway Financier’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 201: Three hundred G’s is by no means hay.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 127: A hundred bucks a week! [...] That isn’t hay.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 84: ‘Smash, dough, fiddlies, coin, tin, hay, oot, shekels, sponduliks,’ said Gordon. ‘I’m still the highest paid member of this company’.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 101: Can you let us have some hay, ‘Lucky’?
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 8: Okay. So I’m out a bundle anyway. A twelve-grand bundle. ‘Not exactly hay.’.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 128: Dum Dum wasn’t rolling in hay but he was managing.
[NZ]B. Crump ‘One of Us’ Best of Barry Crump (1974) 141: ‘I’m a starter,’ says I, ‘but we’ll have to pick up a bit of hay from somewhere. I’ve only got a quid left.’.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 270: I made some hay.
[US]S.A. Cosby ‘Grandpa’s Place’ in ThugLit Sept. [ebook] ‘Getting fatter and making hay’.

(b) in fig. use, something worthy of notice.

[US] ‘Whitman College Sl.’ in AS XVIII:2 Apr. 155/1: that ain’t hay. ‘That is worthy of recognition.’.

3. as something smokeable [note Kipling ‘The Taking of Lungtungpen’ (1880): ‘’Tis no good [...] fillin’ my pouch wid your chopped hay. Canteen baccy’s like the Army. It shpoils a man’s taste for moilder things’].

(a) (US) tobacco; cigarettes.

[[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 125: I had [...] a clay pipe and two ounces of hay tobacco].
[US] ‘Smokers’ Sl.’ in AS XV:3 Oct. 335/2: Tobacco is [...] hay, alfalfa, corn-shucks, coffee, cabbage, or rope.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 156: He offers to suck cock or proffers an upturned fanny in exchange for [...] hay (Calif. prison sl, ’71: cigarettes).

(b) (US drugs) marijuana.

[US]N.Y. Times 3 Dec. n.p.: About $7,275 worth of the weed, which is called ‘hay’ in the vernacular, was seized.
[US]W. Burroughs letter 19 Feb. in Harris (1993) 11: I would like some of that hay. Enclose $20 [...] and send along all the seed.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 32: Maybe they dope the victims; we’ve picked up dead hay smokers, hop-heads, drunks, a little of everything.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 126: ’Cause I’m takin’ a toke / of hay, hay, hay.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 104: hay [...] 2. (late ’60s) any inferior, low-grade marijuana.
[US]UGK ‘Diamonds against Wood’ 🎵 I’m puffin’ spliffs of hay.
[US]Source Nov. 206: The hay-smokin, barnyard b-boys, Crucial Conflict [...] have returned.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 11: Hay — Marijuana.

In compounds

In phrases

bale of hay (n.)

a stock of money.

[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 146: I had lost $125,00 of Charlie Braque’s bale of hay.
hit the hay (v.) (also hit the haybag, hit the slats, hunt the hay)

1. to go to bed; thus in the hay, asleep.

[US]Van Loan ‘McCluskey’s Prodigal’ Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 257: He hits the hay too early for a healthy man.
[US]Fort Wayne Sentinel 4 June 8/6: Down in New Orleans they say ‘I think I’ll take a little dodo,’ meaning they’re going to hunt the hay or go to sleep.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘A Word List From Montana’ in DN IV:iii 244: flop, v. To go to bed [...] Also hit the slats.
[US]N. Putnam West Broadway 96: We hit the hay of a standardized mattress in a standardized hotel.
[US]Broadway Brevities Dec 14/2: The little ladies of leisure who sleep until 1 p. m. and seldom hit the hay before 5 a. m.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Old Doll’s House’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 66: He comes to see her after her papa goes to the hay.
[US]Don Redmond ‘Try Getting a Good Night’s Sleep’ 🎵 She gave you eight for lovin’, and eight for workin,’ / The other eight is for hittin’ the hay.
[US]O. Strange Sudden Takes the Trail 182: Better hit the hay – to-morrow may be a long day.
[Aus]Aus. Women’s Wkly 26 July 22/2: When your soldier, home on leave, yawns and says he’s going to hit the ‘hay-bag’ it’s [...] his way of saying he’s going to bed.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 92: A breath of fresh air before hitting the hay would bring relief.
[US]J. Havoc Early Havoc 41: Only two hundred hours have been danced so far and already many couples have hit the hay.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 77: Pigs I haven’t!!! I can crack a fat with a flamin’ skinful. Let’s hit the hay.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 37: I’m tired. I think I’ll hit the hay.
[UK]H.B. Gilmour Pretty in Pink 136: I’d better hit the hay myself.
[UK]M. Haddon Curious Incident of the Dog 55: She said lots of things I didn’t understand, e.g. ‘I’m going to hit the hay’.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 239: By the time I got home [...] Red had hit the hay.
[US]L. Berney Gutshot Straight [ebook] ‘We can hit the hay early’.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] ‘You want to hit the hay?’ I asked. ‘Yeah,’ she said drowsily.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 209: Joseph very mildly says he’s going to hit the hay.

2. (also beat the hay) to sleep.

[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. x: The next morning while she was yet beating the hay, I [...] took it on the run away from there.
A. Baer To You I Tell It 20 Mar. [synd. col.] Rip van Winkles who would rather hit the hay than make it.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl.

3. (also go into the hay) to have sexual intercourse, to ‘go to bed with’.

[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 264: Oh, I had a girl friend, she liked to sport and play, / Cutest little girl friend that ever hit the hay.
[US]B. Hecht Sensualists (1961) 86: I don’t see how a girl like Ann can go into the hay with such a drip.
[US](con. 1950s) McAleer & Dickson Unit Pride (1981) 272: We ain’t gonna be gettin’ any pussy when we get back. So we better hit the hay while the sun shines.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 112: She was now also hitting the hay with an ad executive, another entire rock band and some married bloke called Brendon.

4. (drugs) to smoke marijuana.

[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 12: Hit the hay — To smoke marijuana.
load of hay (n.)

(US short order) a portion of shredded wheat.

[US]De Vries & Bushkin ‘Boogie Woogie Blue Plate’ 🎵 You can hear her calling orders like this [...] ‘Give me a triple beef on a load of hay / Combo rye and a bottle of aye’.
pitch hay (v.)

(US black) to gossip.

Dan Burley ‘Back Door Stuff’ 16 Apr. [synd. col.] [T]he women [...] were pitching hay with a six-pronged fork.
pound the hay (v.)

(US) to sleep.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 11 May [synd. cartoon] Gee! I mighta pounded the hay an hour longer Ida known Hawkins was in there.
that ain’t hay (also there ain’t no peanuts, ...persimmons) [the perceived insignificance of the various items]

(US) a phr. used to mean that something is a large and/or significant amount.

[US] ‘How Sally Hooter Got Snake-Bit’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 68: If you didn’t think all the peas in my corn field was er spillin in the floor, thar ain’t no ’simmons!
[US]J.M. Inks diary Eight Bailed Out (1954) 8 Aug. 51: Fifty thousand bucks ain’t hay even in Texas.
[US]F. Brown Madball (2019) 76: ‘Two thousand dollars isn’t hay’.
[UK]J. Osborne World of Paul Slickey Act II: Well, there’s a thousand pounds a week from record sales alone [...] well, it ain’t peanuts.
[US]T. Berger Sneaky People (1980) 91: He had a hundred and eleven dollars in the bank, and that ain’t hay.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

hayband (n.) [SE hay, the supposed content + the cigar-band]

a second-rate cigar.

[UK]H. Kingsley Hillyars and Burtons (1870) 314: They tossed for a go of turps and a hayband [...] that means a glass of gin and a cigar.
hay burner (n.)

see separate entries.

hay eater (n.) [? derog. ref. to white farmers]

(US black) a white person.

[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 227: Hay-eater (1880s–1930s) any white person.
hayfoot (n.) [the placing of a piece of hay and one of straw in the right and left boots so that otherwise ignorant farmboys could learn the difference]

(US) a farmer; also as a term of derision, a peasant, a rustic.

[US]C.H. Darling Jargon Book 16: Hay-foot – a farmer.
hay-footed (adj.)

(US) rustic, unsophisticated.

[UK]B. Harte Writings 386: Fought pretty well for a hay-footed man from Gil-e-ad.
B. Harte Works 69: But it ’s easy to see she ’s got hold of some hay-footed fellow up there in the mountains with straws in his hair.
haymaker (n.)

see separate entries.

haypile (n.)

(US) a bed or mattress.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. 108: Kind of bad just before hitting up the haypile.
[US]R. Lardner Gullible’s Travels 138: And oh, how grand that old hay-pile felt when I finally bounced into it!
[US]‘Max Brand’ Rustlers of Beacon Creek (1935) 4: Lead me to that hay pile, sheriff, will you?
hay pirate (n.)

(Aus.) a racehorse, presumably displaying piratical characteristics.

[Aus]J. Byrell (con. 1959) Up the Cross 39: D‘on’t [...] even say that name in front of us. The friggin’ hay pirate’.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 71: ‘Keep goin’ yer lovely old New Zealand hay-pirate’ [ibid.] 84: James ‘Grafter’ Kingsley who would later earn a certain reputation in the racing game as a daring lurk merchant and owner/breeder of some handy hay pirates.
hay-pitcher (n.)

(US) a farmer, a peasant.

[US]N.Y. World n.p.: ‘I wouldn’t hev come into his shop if I had known it,’ protested the imitation hay-pitcher [F&H].
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl. §391.3: rustic, bumpkin, haypitcher.

see separate entries.

hay-shaker (n.) (also hay-pounder)

(Aus./N.Z./US) a farmer, a simple peasant; also as adj.

[US]Burlington Wkly Free Press (VT) 16 Jan. 14/5: Snap out of your hop, you hay-shaker.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Hail the Professor’ in Top-Notch 1 Sept. 🌐 We had the sum total of all the hayshakers and six-day sock wearers in front of the bally.
[US]in DARE 930/1: hay pounder = hayseed.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl. §391.3: rustic, bumpkin [...] hay shaker.
[US]J. Archibald ‘Knife Thrower’ in Popular Detective June 🌐 Willie did look like a hayshaker who had swallowed three fingers of straight rye for the first time in his life.
[US]H.B. Allen ‘Pejorative Terms for Midwest Farmers’ in AS XXXIII:4 265: [...] hayshaker.
A. Seager Death of Anger 89: He wasn’t dressed as swanky as you are but you come from the country, your family, and he looked like one of your hayshaker cousins all right.
[US]S. Ace Stand On It (1979) 154: Man, those humpties and hayshakers all over the South just love demolition derbies.
[US]G.V. Higgins Patriot Game (1985) 83: He looks like some hayshaker, just come down from Bangor, see his first tall buildings.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 193: Those who live close to the land can be demeaned in terms of what they grow upon it. For example: [...] hay-shaker.
Moen & Davis Badger Bars and Tavern Tales 11: One of them called Harvey a big hayshaker and the other one made some wisecrack.
hay-tosser (n.)

(US) a farmer.

[UK]Middleton Michaelmas Term III i: Who would think now this fine sophisticated squall came out of the bosom of a barn and the loins of a hay-tosser?
[US]D.G. Phillips Susan Lenox I 209: As her voice died away he beat his hands together enthusiastically. [...] ‘She’ll set the hay-tossers crazy!’.
[US]A. Stringer Door of Dread 53: I’m hep to this burg [...] I ain’t been hibernatin’ up-state wit’ the hay-tossers, son.

In phrases

no hay on (someone)

used to state that one is not naive, foolish.

[US]H. Green Mr. Jackson 80: ‘How do you know, Henry?’ ‘They ain’t no hay on me, is they?’.
not hay

not an insignificant amount.

[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 17 June 12A: I have a job earning over $75 a week and that isn’t hay.
[US]‘John Eagle’ Hoodlums (2021) 131: ‘Two hundred dollars a week is not hay’.