Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rush n.

1. in senses of lit. or fig. overwhelming.

(a) (UK Und.) robbery with violence; if the rush, then usu. of a single item, e.g. a cloak hanging outside a shop; if a rush, an assault by a number of men on a house with the intent of robbing the owners of their money and valuables.

[UK]J. Fielding Thieving Detected 11: The fourth way, they stile the Rush.
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 127: The Rush. Fellows who knock at a street door in a summer’s night: if the maid comes with a candle in her hand, they fling some powdered rosin across it, which seems to her to be a flash of lightning; they then rush past her, leaving, however, one or two behind them to guard her while they rob the house.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 262: rush: [...] a rush may signify a forcible entry by several men into a detached dwelling-house for the purpose of robbing its owners of their money.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 28: Rum rush – a number of villains rushing into a house in order to rob it.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].

(b) a swindle; usu. as rush act, the

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1001–2: from ca. 1840.

(c) (US campus) a mass confrontation, groups of students against each other.

[US]Yale Literary Mag. XXVI 22: As a basis, a Rush tacitly assumes that it is promoting a rivalry that is proper and praiseworthy [DA].
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 56: rush, n. 2. A contest of any sort between rival classes. 3. A cane contest between rival classes.
[US]C.A. Eastman From Deep Woods 68: The two classes met in a first ‘rush.’ [DA].

(d) a police raid.

[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 29 Aug. 8/7: Storming a penny gaff in Limehouse [...] Mr Worrels, superintenadnt of the K division, made a rush on the notorious penny gaff and captured the proprietor.

(e) (Aus./US) a stampede.

[US]Hunt’s Merch. Mag XX 60: In May, the gold itself began to come into the town. And then began the rising and the rush [DA].
[US]W.G. Simms Forayers 429: Hark! thar’s another rush! Half of them dashing up the avenue!
[UK]F. Whymper Travel and Adventure in Alaska 227: Minute specks of gold have been found by some of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s men in the Yukon, but not in quantities to warrant a ‘rush’ to the locality [DA].
[Aus]A.C. Grant Bush-Life in Queensland II 132: A confused whirl of dark forms swept before him, and the camp, so full of life a minute ago, is desolate. It was ‘a rush’, a stampede.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 15 Jan. 7/2: An ugly rush was made over the ropes towards the chairman [...] and for a few minutes it looked as though he was going to be hustled badly.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ In Bad Company 70: What’s to keep ’em from droppin’ us that way, from cover, and then makin’ a rush?
[US]R. Peattie Sierra Nevada 60: The discovery in 1859 of a glittering silver bonanza in Washoe County, Nevada, started a frantic rush over the mountains to Virginia City.

(f) the lavishing of attention on someone, usu. a woman, in the hope of gaining their affections; thus put on the rush, to attempt to impress.

[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 70: Mazie had a Rush of Men Callers.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 192: Then he does the whirlwind rush at Sadie.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘Bernice Bobs Her Hair’ in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald V (1963) 90: Girls with less position and less pulchritude were given a much bigger rush.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 17: He is giving her the rush of a lifetime.
W.H. Whyte Organization Man (1957) 252: An actor [...] comes to town from the city for a short stay. He gives her a mild rush, and she dreams of a glamorous life with him.
A. Lurie Real People 18: She certainly wasn’t prepared for the rush she got, probably for the first time in her life. [...] You’ve got to admit she’s not madly attractive.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 4: put on the rush – to try to impress someone, especially of the opposite sex.
[US]B. Gutcheon New Girls (1982) 85: She was getting a rush from two senior boys.

(g) see bum’s rush n.

2. in US campus uses.

(a) a poor recitation.

[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 134: Went to recitation with the certainty of a rush staring me in the face if I should be unlucky as to be taken up.

(b) a perfect recitation.

[US]Yale Banger 22 Oct. n.p.: In dreams his many rushes heard [DA].
[US]L.H. Bagg Four Years at Yale 47: Rush, a perfect recitation.
[US]Harvard Crimson 22 Feb. [Internet] When he wishes to say that he has made a ‘spurt,’ or a ‘rush,’ or a ‘flunk,’ he calls upon words that would assuredly be distracting to the classic Corneille.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 56: rush, n. A good recitation.

3. a winning streak.

[US]D. Runyon ‘A Very Honorable Guy’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 423: When a guy finally gets his rushes in gambling nothing can stop him.

4. in drug uses.

(a) the immediate effect of any drug.

[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 43: Cocaine and bombitas are both stimulants, and combined with heroin, a depressant, they produce an electrifying ‘rush’ or ‘flash’ far more pleasurable to the addict than heroin alone.
[US]Sat. Rev. (US) 8 July 38: Amphetamine laced with other substances, such as ether, is thought to produce a heavier flash or more intense rush than pure methamphetamine does.
[UK]D. Gram Foxes (1980) 129: Annie, riding a wine rush wrapped in reefer high had a case of lip.
[UK]M. Thelwell Harder They Come 152: After a while he had a rush: he felt relaxed, but tingly in his limbs [...] and very attuned to everything around him.
[US](con. 1950s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 116: Somewhere between ... [pauses] 1948 and 1960 it took a nosedive in quality and in the chemicals that they cut it with. This guy Florida Jack was the first man who sold dope with quinine in it. People began to get that rush from the quinine, and if they didn’t get that rush from the quinine the dope wasn’t no good.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 91: The freeze was pretty good [...] with a fast rush to it.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 223: You were always chasing the virgin lick, the first wild rush.
D. Vrij ‘Tying Off’ on Inter-zone.org [Internet] Adding cola to the mix, adds a dimension of space. Its a rush drug, pure and simple, any time any where, a speedball junkie can find a place for a coke hit.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 69: Billy sniffled [...] The rush was already fading.

(b) the immediate and intense feeling that follows the injection of heroin into a vein.

[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 28: Shooting up you don’t get the taste; all you get is a fast rush and a boss feeling.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 20: [...] and shot the shit into their vein and waited for the first rush.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 343: rush: The sudden onslaught of euphoria after heroin is mainlined.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 4: Her skin looked like caramel and felt softer and smoother than the best heroin rush.
[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 51: What this pure shit does [...] you don’t have to pop it, see, to get a rush.
[US]J. Stahl Bad Sex on Speed 25: Shame is like a rush in the wrong direction.

(c) a rush of adrenalin.

[US]Current Sl. IV:1 13: Rush, n. A chill as though someone had walked over one’s grave.
[US]N.Y. Times Mag. 5 Aug. 42: Pictures can be laid down layer upon layer, the way sound is edited. I got a rush, standing there, contemplating the possibilities.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 236: The San Francisco Rush. Just approaching my favourite adopted city was cutting through all the trauma and fatigue of the past month.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 101: Sticking up gave me a rush that I never got from B&Es.
[UK]Observer Screen 4 July 27: What possesses people to bungee jump? [...] it isn’t just to feel a euphoric rush or impress your mates.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 25: It’s a word that conveys some of the adrenalin rush that ‘snipers’ get, putting up posters on a busy street.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Mag. 21 Jan. 54: When ‘My Name Is’ blew up, I was surprised, and it was a rush.
[US]N. McCall Them (2008) 115: He got a real rush in knowing he had finally hit upon a way to yank the old man’s chain.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 112: [Policing] would make my heart race and the adrenaline pump through my veins. It always gave me the rush I was looking for.

(d) amyl or isobutyl nitrite, which produces an instant effect.

[US]J. Rechy Rushes (1981) 37: When he can’t get the real ones [i.e. amyl nitrite] he settles for one of the liquid substitutes of butyl nitrite more readily available — Rush. Bullet.
[US]R.O. Scott Gay Sl. Dict. [Internet] amyl nitrite: [...] Syn: rush.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 18: Rush — Cocaine; isobutyl nitrite; inhalants. It’s one thing to get fame on your block, but to get it nationwide and then worldwide is incredible.

(e) as ext. of sense 4(a) in non-drug use, a pleasure, a thrill.

[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 17: Doing drugs and alcohol had never been his rush.
[US]J. Stahl OG Dad 118: It weirded me out how all of us are basically bortn addicted. Living from tit-rush to tit-rush, with a lot of nodding off, puking and howling in between.

In compounds

rush act, the (n.)

1. (US Und.) the use of pressure to achieve a confidence trick, the tricketers attempt to rush a victim into agreement.

[US]Oasis (Arizola, AZ) 21 Mar. 3/1: J.D. Brown, comnfidence man [...] got himself in jail here [...] through his efforts to do the rush act and secure the loan of money.
Mohave Co. Miner (Mineral Park, AZ) 9 Sept. 6/5: I cannot [...] in my professional capacity expect to do a rush act at stock selling.

2. an attempt to befriend somebody.

[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 404: Hink had not batted an eye when the Jew had tried to put the rush act on him.

3. (US) in lit. use of sense 1, to move fast or hurriedly.

[US]J.T. Farrell World I Never Made 233: ‘Let me open it for you [...]’ Peg said, reaching for the package. ‘Nix, nix on the rush act!’ Al said to Peg.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 128: Maxie was giving them the rush act. He had the fish in the basket and was closing the cover.
[US]J. Thompson ‘The Cellini Chalice’ in Fireworks (1988) 73: And you ain’t in no big hurry? You don’t want to give me the rush act?

4. (US) the courting or seduction of a woman.

Ryerson & Clements Divine Flora 113: [stage direction] [He does the rush act on her.].
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

5. (UK Und.) impersonating the police in order to extort bribes from fellow criminals.

[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 123: Rush act – a swindle in which criminals impersonate the police [...] Usually worked on other criminals who pay bribes to the ‘police’ for being let off.

In phrases

do a rush up the frills (v.) (also do a rush up the petticoats, ...up the straight)

to have sexual intercourse while virtually fully clothed.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VI 85/2: to do a rush up the straight (the frills, or petticoats) = to possess.
give it to someone upon the rush (v.)

to make an intense effort to leave or escape a place.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 263: A sudden and violent effort to get into any place, or vice versa to effect your exit, as from a place of confinement, &c., is called rushing them, or giving it to ’em upon the rush.
give someone the rush (v.)

1. (UK und.) to escape.

[UK](con. 1800s) Leeds Times 7 May 6/6: [James Hardy] Vaux tried to give them the rush, to use a thieves’ phrase, but was over-powered [and] secured.

2. to sponge off someone for a lengthy period and top it off by successfully requesting a loan.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 274: To ‘give a man the rush,’ is to spunge upon him all day, and then borrow money at the finish, or pursue some similar mode of procedure.
[US]J. Lait ‘Canada Kid’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 152: I useta wait till somebody gimme a quarter or a half an’ I’d give him the rush an’ say, ‘Jus’ a minute; bring yer change right back.’.
[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 26: Then I gave him the rush [...] and told him I had another customer.