Green’s Dictionary of Slang

beans n.3

also bean time

1. food.

[US]Current Sl. V:1.

2. a mealtime.

[US]F.H. Hubbard Railroad Avenue 332: Beans – [...] lunch period.
[US]Current Sl. V:1.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

full of beans (adj.) [horseracing jargon, referring to a sprightly horse]

1. (also full of oats) enthusiastic, excited, cheerful.

Satirist 15 Apr. 118/3: ‘Hello, old boy, how d’ye get on —full of beans, eh?’ ‘Full of beans?’ said I, ‘what the devil’s that.’ [...] ‘Last new thing, bran spank new, heard it at Mother Emerson’s last night. How do mother, said I. ‘I’m, full of beans,’ said she, haw, haw, haw.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall II 82: ‘That’s ooman’s mad — full o’ beans,’ observed Mr. Jorrocks with a shake of the head.
[Aus]G.C. Mundy Our Antipodes I 152: One or two fat constables full of beans and with nothing to do.
[UK]Sporting Times 29 June n.p.: The game began. ‘Ich dien,’ shouted Jack, as full of beans as the Prince of Wales’ plume [F&H].
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 22: The great, powerful animals, so full of beans.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 268: Talbot was in the happy condition of life [...] known as being ‘full of beans’.
[UK]J. Buchan Mr Standfast (1930) 719: It was clear frosty weather which makes the cheeks tingle, and I felt so full of beans that it was hard to remember my game leg.
[US]W.R. Morse ‘Stanford Expressions’ in AS II:6 276: full of hops (or beans)—crazy.
[UK]Gloucester Citizen 26 Oct. 10/3: They don’t pension us at 60. They expect us to be full of beans at that age.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 135: She had been a happy, smiling English girl of the best type, full of beans and buck.
[Aus]Franklin & Cusack Pioneers on Parade 99: I had a snooze, and now I’m full of oats.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘That Summer’ in Coll. Stories (1965) 176: I could have grabbed him round the waist and chucked him in the air, I was that full of beans.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 164: I had just done my first stretch at the Scrubs and was feeling full of beans. If that was bird I could do it on my ear.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 172: Bob, as usual, was full of beans.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 147: Now he is full of beans and vinegar and with a whole new outlook on Life.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 428: Lizzyboo is full of beans.
[UK]Guardian G2 3 Dec. 18: We liked her. She was full of beans.
Sami Un Nisa Asim Small Town Woman 1: Andrew was young, handsome and full of beans then.

2. arrogant, esp. through the sudden or recent acquiring of wealth.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 171: Full of beans, arrogant, purseproud. A person whom sudden prosperity has made offensive and conceited, is said to be too ‘full of beans’. Originally stable slang.

3. (US) nonsensical, rubbishy.

[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
know beans (v.) (also know beans when the bag is open, …untied) [abbr. know how many (blue) beans make five ]

(US) to be well aware, to be knowledgeable; often in negative.

[US] ‘One of the Boys’ in G.S. Jackson Early Songs of Uncle Sam (1933) 58: When dancing I know beans, and I widgin ping the greens.
[NZ]Observer and Freelance (Wellington) 29 Aug. 9/3: Bob knows how many beans make five.
[UK]Sporting Times 6 Feb. 1/3: Her character to draw I will not strive, / Save that she knew how many beans made five.
Chicago Herald n.p.: One has to know beans to be successful in the latest Washington novelty for entertainment at luncheons [JSF].
[US]Courier (Lincoln, NE) 10 Nov. 12/1: It is said also that there are people [...] who don’t ‘know beans’.
[UK]Blackburn Wkly Standard 3 Dec. 10/2: Plaintiff: I said I knew ’ow many beans made 5 — (laughter)— and if I wor cabbage-looking I woren’t green. (Roars of laughter.).
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:i 85: know beans when the bag’s opened, v. phr. Negatively, to know little, to be stupid. ‘He doesn’t know beans when the bag’s opened’.
[US]Carr & Chase ‘Word-List From Eastern Maine’ in DN III:iii 246: know beans when the bag’s untied, v. phr. To be sophisticated. ‘I guess I know beans when the bag’s untied’.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 13 Nov. 19/1: Those fellows ‘know beans’ all right.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 18 Mar. 21/1: Remarks conveying the idea that somebody doesn’t know beans about cards.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 581: know beans when the bag’s open, v. phr. Used in negative expressions to indicate ignorance or mental sluggishness. ‘He doesn’t know beans when the bag’s open, does he?’.
[US]Eve. Star (Washington, DC) 11 Sept. 64/1: [photo caption] The man who advice is sought on a subject he doesn’t know beans about.
know how many (blue) beans make five (v.)

to be alert, to be aware of facts or information.

[UK]T. Pasley Private Sea Journals 5 May (1931) 86: His Nephew, a very genteel young Man – seems to know how many blue Beans make five, if I may be allowed the vulgar adage.
[UK]J. Wetherell Adventures of John Wetherell (1954) 9–10 Oct. 69: You are all always pretending you know how many beans make five and after all know nothing at all.
[UK]J. Galt Lawrie Todd I Pt II 90: I had met with few men in America who better knew how many beans it takes to make five.
[UK] ‘Birmingham Boy in London’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 59: I’ll let them know now many beans make five.
[US]Nashville Union & American (TN) 30 Apr. 3/2: Two widows, both of whom know how many beans make five, if ever women did.
[UK] ‘Poor Little Joe’ Laughing Songster 30: I’ve gotten my eyes about me, and I knows how many beans make five.
[Aus]Gippsland Times (Vic.) 20 June 3/6: He said he knew how many beans made five without any instructions from interlopers.
[UK] ‘Zoological Comparisons’ [broadside ballad] Then just as we begin to know ‘how many beans makes five,’ The ladies call us puppies when we at that age arrive [F&H].
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 16: To say of a man that ‘He knows how many beans makes five’ is to speak highly of his shrewdness.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 23 July 4/8: Now Combo Jim was not a lout / [...] / He knew how many beans make five, with any man in town.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 27 July 14/1: They Say [...] That Newspaper Joe knows how many beans make five.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Madame Prince 246: If anyone was aware how many blue beans made five it was Jim.
[UK]Taunton Courier 19 Sept. 10/2: They not only know how many beans make fice but also [...] how many ‘taters’ make six.
[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 17 July 9/7: Solicitor at Shoreditch: Can you count? Debtor: I know how many beans make five.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 22 Feb. 7/6: A schoolmaster has to know ‘how many beans make five’.
[UK]Western Dly Press 9 Mar. 4/8: We suspect that most of them know ‘how many beans make five’ ands are practical if nothing else.
[UK]Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 88: Explanations of how things work or have come out are usually capped with [...] ‘Now you know how many beans make five’.
[UK]M. Amis Experience 344: Bernard knows how many beans make five.
like beans (adv.) (also as fast as beans, like beans in Boston)

energetically, very fast.

[UK]Comic Almanack Sept. 376: [illus.] There isn’t a young Jack Ass in the whole University but what can cut over the New Bridge like ‘Beans’!!
[UK]F. Smedley Harry Coverdale’s Courtship 104: After imbibing the ‘rosy,’ I went ahead like beans.
[UK]G.A. Sala My Diary in America I 133: Five minute; we go dere as fast as beans.
[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter I 21: ‘I can ride; I used to jump the old nag often unknown to my governor, and could go like beans’.
[US]C.F. Lummis letter 4 Oct. in Byrkit Letters from the Southwest (1989) 17: His heels caught on the rail, and down he went like beans in Boston.
[UK]Kipling ‘In Ambush’ in Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 42: Listen a shake. Foxy’s up wind comin’ down hill like beans.
[UK]Kipling ‘A Little Prep’ in Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 191: I swear, I’m goin’ to play up like beans.
not know beans (v.)

to be ignorant.

[US]Mad mag. Oct. 7: I don’t know beans about surgery.
some beans (adj.)

(US) impressive, of some account.

[UK]J.B. Finley Autobiog. 328: By golly! You’re some beans in a bar-fight. I’d rather set to with an old ‘he’ bar.