Green’s Dictionary of Slang

old man n.

1. of a male.

(a) a woman’s husband.

[UK]D’Urfey ‘Roger’s Renown’ in Ebsworth Roxburghe Ballads (1893) VII:1 236: My Old Man is most unkind, he won’t do what he’s able / [...] / Ah! happy should I be indeed, if he was but as brisk as Roger.
L. Sterne Sentimental Journey (1802) 186: His wife [...] join’d her old man again, as their children and grandchildren danced before them .
[UK]Foote Lame Lover in Works (1799) II 89: It is my husband himself that I embrace, it is my little old man that I kiss!
[UK] ‘Female Husband’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 119: Well, Mother Frisky, how is your old man?
[US]R. Carlton New Purchase I 62: ‘He’s your old man, mam?’ Mrs. C assented.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville Kate Coventry 169: Mr. Lumley himself, or, as the old lady of the house termed him, ‘her old man.’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 101/1: On hearing this speech Joe muttered something that was rather derogatory to Mrs Dunn’s character, but his ‘moll’ didn’t like it and ‘beefed’ out: ‘What do you know about my old man?’.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 17 Mar. 6/3: Yum-yum — don’t let on to the old man if he comes in.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Feb. 6/1: She must write for the papers, she says, when her old man’s name in the whole of his dominions is not good enough for a sixpenny drink.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) II 260: My old man will be waiting for me.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 44: When you’ve done so, just you come back and polish off my old man. Give him a good hiding.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘An Ungrateful “Missis”’ in Sporting Times 25 Aug. 1/4: The old girl’s ungrateful to me, her old man, / Says I’m one of the indolent breed.
[US]J. London People of the Abyss 157: I descended to the semi- subterranean kitchen, and talked with her and her old man.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] You’re a thing of the past, old dear [lyrics] You’ve got your old man at home, and I’ve got none.
[US]B. Fisher Mutt & Jeff 14 Mar. [synd. cartoon] Hurry it up Doc, my old man has gone off his nut.
[US]Van Vechten Nigger Heaven 156: How’s your old man or what have you?
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 193: Show your old man you got it in you.
[UK]E. Garnett Family from One End Street 140: ‘Well, Old Man,’ said Rosie, as she kissed her husband ‘good night’.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 84: Mrs. Tyrell asked after Snow, to whom the stray referred as ‘me old man in hospital’.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 129: Shamed myself, you never met Old Man.
[UK]J. Osborne World of Paul Slickey Act I: Her old man was furious about it.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 65: A fast hustler [...] saw a chance to trim Pepper’s old man out of a bundle.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 248: If you’re not afraid of someone telling your old man about us being together.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 9: Your old man’s sticking his nasty in some horrible birds.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 299: She was from Detroit, and her ‘old man’ was doing six months in the local jail.

(b) (also man) the penis.

[UK]Delightful Adventures of Honest John Cole 22: Now honest John Cole, / Has got a black Hole, / For himself or his Man to creep into, / Let him pull up his Strength / With his Man at full length, / For his Marriage has made it no sin to.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]C. Prendergast Sadopaideia 2: My old man began to suggest that more might be intended. At last I felt what seemed a deliberate pressure of her thigh against my left trouser.
[UK](con. WWII) B. Aldiss Soldier Erect 43: You want to stay away from bibis unless you want your old man dropping off!
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Christopher Robin’ in More Snatches and Lays 87: Little boy sits on the lavatory pan / Gently caressing his little old man.
D. Shaw ‘Dead Beard’ at [Internet] Not that I care, my old man is starting to strain at every nerve and having Monica clocking all the action is really putting me into the mood for a friar tuck.

(c) a father.

[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 167: There is one thing above all others that the old man enjoins you.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) 186: Something must be done, or the old man will play the devil with me when I return.
[US]T. Haliburton Nature and Human Nature I 117: Here’s the old man a goin’ to give you another walloping.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 147: My old man is on my tracks, and I’m off.
[UK]Besant & Rice Golden Butterfly III 46: I was the prodigal son without the riotous livin’ – and found the old man gone, leavin’ his blessin’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 May 5/4: He is a skilful shepherd, planting his antipodean footsteps opposite to, but on a similar basis with, the old man’s at home.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 151: ‘Who keeps the old man in cat-lap?’ Robert was rather hazy as to which particular dairy [...] supplied the milk for his father’s household.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘House that was Never Built’ in Roderick (1972) 428: I suppose the boys will soon be talking of getting ‘fivers’ and ‘tenners’ out of the ‘guvner’ or ‘old man’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘A Reconnoitre with Benno’ in Roderick (1972) 835: The ‘old man’ had had a much harder, sterner bringing-up than we.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 23 Mar. [synd. cartoon] If that’s Schmalz’s son he’s a bad egg — I knew his old man too well.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Second-Story Angel’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 221: It was a choice of cashing in on what the old man and Frank had taught me or going on the streets.
[Aus]N. Lindsay Redheap (1965) 148: ‘Cripes! Here’s your old man’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Bloodhounds of Broadway’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 91: He has plenty of scratch which comes down to him from his old man.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 7: Old man: Father.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 465: What a dumb Polack his old man had been.
[US]P. Rabe Benny Muscles In (2004) 269: And he didn’t say father, really, he said old man.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 67: I get on better with my mother than my old man.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 76: I suppose you would like for your old man to be more like your boyfriend.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 93: ‘I’ll be down to see you next week.’ ‘Fair dinkum? [...] You gonna bring the old man?’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 287: What he told me, his old man was with the Romanian underground.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 81: [T]hat night he lost his cherry in the back of the old man’s Holden down at Woolloomooloo.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 16: Guy felt bad about his old man.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 7: Old Man Clark and the elder brothers have given up robbing banks.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 63: The old man was old school. You get a job, you work hard, you get married, you support your family, end of story.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 28: You sure your old man isn’t Italian?
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 6: The old man has been terrific [...] and I’m going to make my dad proud of me .

(d) (also old son) a general greeting or form of address given to a man (usu. one whom one knows), occas. to a woman; note cit. 1856.

[UK]F. Smedley Harry Coverdale’s Courtship 12: Markum, lend us a fin, old man, for I feels precious staggery-like, I can tell you.
[US]F.L. Olmsted A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States 207: ‘Well, now, old man,’ said I, ‘you go and cut me two cords to-day.’ ‘Oh, Marsa! two cords! Nobody couldn do dat.’ [footnote] ‘Old Man’ is a common title of address to any middle-aged negro in Virginia, whose name is not known. ‘Boy’ and ‘Old Man’ may be applied to the same person [DA].
[US]H.L. Williams Gay Life in N.Y. 66: Hullo, old man! What’ll you drink?
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 244: Blowed, old man, if we don’t go to Paris.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 17: Good-bye, George, old man. I’m sorry we can’t wire in with you.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 6 Nov. 89: Here you are then, old man.
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 151: On that occasion the sort of formality that had been present in our intercourse vanished from our speech; I believe I called him ‘dear boy,’ and he tacked on the words ‘old man’ to some half-uttered expression of gratitude, as though his risk set off against my years has made us more equal in age and in feeling.
[Aus] ‘Broken-down Squatter’ in ‘Banjo’ Paterson Old Bush Songs 56: But the farce has been played, and the Government aid, / Ain’t extended to squatters, old son.
[UK]Gem 23 Sept. 8: Oh, I’ll come, Manners, old man!
[UK]‘Sapper’ Mufti 95: Beg your pardon, old man.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Bulldog Drummond 121: It seems to me, old son, that you’re running an unneccessary lot of risk.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 234: Hello, Simon, Father Cowley said. How are things? – Hello, Bob, old man, Mr Dedalus answered, stopping.
[US]K. Brush Young Man of Manhattan 293: How are you, old man.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 387: Dolan walked up and thanked Studs, calling him old man.
[UK]D. Footman Pig and Pepper (1990) 228: Old man, I’m a crook.
[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 111: Drink this, old man.
[UK]G. Fairlie Capt. Bulldog Drummond 23: Help yourself, old man.
[UK]K. Amis letter 30 July in Leader (2000) 81: Congrats, old son.
[UK]K. Amis letter 22 Sept. in Leader (2000) 339: Whang in the gold, old son, whang in the gold.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 26: Still here, old man.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 208: That’s all right, old man.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 49: I don’t see where you’re in such hot shape yourself, old man.
[UK]A. Wesker Chips with Everything I ii: Look old son, you’re going to have me for eight painful weeks in the same hut.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 203: You amaze me, old man.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 31: Nice to have seen you, Wooster, old man.
[UK]G.F. Newman A Prisoner’s Tale 140: ‘Now look, old son,’ the chief inspector said in a man-to-man tone.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 146: I wouldn’t do that, old son.
[UK]Viz Oct./Nov. 29: This isn’t a village, Pete old man.
[UK]Guardian G2 3 Aug. 3: Not at all bad, old son, not bad at all.

(e) (Can./US) a boyfriend or lover, incl. a homosexual one.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 165: old man [...] main squeeze.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]Edwardsville Intelligencer (IL) 30 Mar. 2/3: Passive homosexuals are known as ‘fags’ [...] Their aggressive counterparts are called ‘daddies,’ or ‘old men,’ sometimes ‘jockers’ in the state institutions.
[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 14: Sister, did you see the fish line today? [...] They brought back my ex-old man, honey.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 78: My old son hasn’t had a meal lately.

(f) (US) a pimp.

[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 43: Take a pross [...] she gives it to her old man – guys like me.
[US]Winick & Kinsie Lively Commerce 40: ‘My old man’ is a pimp.
[US]Maledicta IX 150: The original argot of prostitution includes some words and phrases which have gained wider currency and some which have not […] old man (pimp).

2. (Aus.) a mature kangaroo.

P. Cunningham Two Years in NSW II 160: To your great relief, however, the ‘old man’ turns out to possess the appendage of a tail, and is in fact no other than one of our old acquaintances, the kangaroos.
[Aus]R. Dawson Present State of Aus. 141: If he (greyhound) has less ferocity when he comes up with an ‘old man,’ so much the better.... The strongest and most courageous dog can, seldom conquer a wool-man alone, and not one in fifty will face him fairly; the dog who has the temerity is certain to be disabled, if not killed.
[Aus]R. Howitt Australian 233: I stared at a man one day for saying that a certain allotment of land was ‘an old-man allotment’: he meant a large allotment, the old-man kangaroo being the largest kangaroo.
L. Leichhardt Overland Expedition 33: Mr. Gilbert started a large kangaroo known by the familiar name of ‘old man’.
[Aus]W. Burrows Adventures of a Mounted Trooper 90: The kangaroo [...] is the largest of all the wild animals; some full grown ‘old men’ or ‘boomers’.
[Aus]T. McCombie Aus. Sketches 172: The settlers designate the old kangaroos as ‘old men’ and ‘old women;’ the full-grown animals are named ‘flyers,’ and are swifter than the British hare.
J.B. Stephens Black Gin 39: The ‘old man’ fleetest of the fleet.
[Aus]J.S. Borlase Blue Cap, the Bushranger 31/1: Why, that doughty antagonist was not a human being, but an old man kangaroo.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Selector’s Daughter’ in Roderick (1972) 59: An ‘old man’ kangaroo leapt the path in front.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ In Bad Company 210: From the innocent ‘joey’ to the grim ancient, ‘the old man,’ in the vernacular of the colonists.
[UK]C. Tomalin Venturesome Tom 138: I could see [...] an old man kangaroo, standing fully eight feet high.
[Aus]J. Doone Timely Tips For New Australians 20: OLD MAN KANGAROO.—A large sized male kangaroo.
[Aus]T. Wood Cobbers 78: Butcher was a kangaroo-dog, a big dark-grey hound; ripped open once by the terrible upward kick of an ‘old man’.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 86: I had been feeding leaves [...] to a young kangaroo [...] We were quietly minding our own affairs when an old man strolled up and decided to take over.
F. Lane Patrol to Kimberleys 100: ‘What a whopper!’ Glen whispered. [...] ‘That’s old Man ’Roo himself,’ Dave said.

3. constr. with the.

(a) (orig. US) any senior figure, the boss, a commanding officer; a headmaster.

[US]J.F. Cooper Pilot (1824) II 130: We must get them both off [...] before the old man takes it into his wise head to leave the coast.
[US]Southern Literary Messenger III 86: I say, darkie, the old man keeps good liquor, and plenty of belly timber, don’t he? [DA].
[US]J.C. Neal Peter Ploddy and Other Oddities 131: All superiors are ‘old men,’ in modern phraseology, and our standing is measured by rank, not years.
[US] ‘Doing a Sheriff’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 99: Ef I don’t, the old man (the judge) will give me goss when I go back.
[US]C. Abbey diary 12 Dec. in Gosnell Before the Mast (1989) 127: I wish the ‘Old Man’ (i.e. the Captain) would come out of the cabin.
[UK]T. Archer Pauper, Thief and Convict 138: The proprietor (known here as the guv’ner, or more frequently as ‘the old man,’ ‘governor’ having, after all, a disagreeable association).
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 57: The old man has lost his spunk; he isn’t the skipper that he was five years since.
[UK]W.C. Russell Sailors’ Lang. xi: But the lack of variety is no obstruction to the sailor’s poetical inspiration when he wants the old man to know his private opinions without expressing them to his face.
[US]S. Crane Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 59: Yeh’ll git me inteh trouble wid deh ol’ man an’ dey’ll be hell teh pay!
[UK]E.S. Mott Mingled Yarn 114: The Old Man was simply a terror to any civilized community. Of Falstaifian build, possessing an unbounded capacity of swallow, always gay, always jesting .
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 120: The old man of my firm in Omaha heard about it.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 30 Mar. 402: There is no skipper in the Greenland seas like our old man!
[UK]‘Ian Hay’ Lighter Side of School Life 9: [of a headmaster] It’s a treat to see the way the old man keeps B and C up to the collar.
L.N. Smith Lingo of No Man’s Land 60: OLD MAN Universal term of affection for the Colonel of the regiment.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 36: The veriest recruit knew that ‘old man’ was the Commandant.
[US]P. White ‘A Circus List’ in AS I:5 282: Governor—The manager, or ‘Old Man’ of the circus.
[US](con. 1910s) L. Nason A Corporal Once 49: ‘Old Man is hit!’ he thought, but the major still stayed in the saddle.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Old man, the big underworld boss; boss politician.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 11 Dec. 7/3: When he appears before his commanding officer in answer to a charge he is ‘heeled up to front the Old Man’.
[UK](con. 1912) B. Marshall George Brown’s Schooldays 38: [of a headmaster] The Old Man never beats anyone before they’ve changed into footer togs.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 193: The Old man didn’t look very timid [...] A convict wanting to take advantage of him should be on his toes.
[US]E. Stephens Blow Negative! 179: He thought the Old Man was pulling his leg.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 95: Bloody well get out and dress, the Old Man is waiting.
[US]M. Baker Nam (1982) 111: The Old Man’s down there and he’s real lean and mean, about forty-five.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 123: He worried about pressure from the ‘old man,’ his connection.

(b) in cards, the King.

[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 166: I will bet you $1,000 that I can turn up the old man the first time.

(c) (US, also Old Bloke) God.

[US]O.W. Hanley ‘Dialect Words From Southern Indiana’ in DN III:ii 122: Old Man, n. Used commonly for the deity.
[UK]E. Blair in College Days (Eton) 4 1 Apr. in Complete Works X (1998) 65: [They] were rowing away down stream in a long thin coracle as if the Old Man himself was after them.
[US]D.M. Garrison ‘Oilfield Idyls’ in Botkin Folk-Say 144: I’ve made it right with the Old Man, yes sir, and He ain’t the kind to hold a grudge.
[US]T. Williams Camino Real Block Twelve: kilroy: The Old Man? esmerelda: God.
[Aus]R. Ward Aus. Legend 98: Yes, the Old Bloke makes a good job of them [i.e. sunsets] up this way.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 100: ‘I tell you that old guy up there’s been dusting us all night, flakes bigger’n thumbnails.’ [...] ‘You’re right,’ I said. ‘Old man’s been busy all right.’.

4. (US) a piece of piping used as a weapon.

[US]E. Caldwell Poor Fool 12: ‘Hey Bill! [...] Come here! and bring the old man with you.’ The ‘old man’ was a lead pipe with the ends rounded smoothly [...] so the sharp edges would not break the scalp and make a lot of blood for the police to kick about.

In compounds

old man’s milk (n.)

1. wine.

[UK]B.H. Malkin (trans.) Adventures of Gil Blas (1822) III 10: You reprobate the ignorance of those writers, who dignify wine with the appellation of old men’s milk.

2. whisky.

[UK]Saxon and Gael ii 78, 79: Flora made me a bowl of ould man’s milk, but nothing would bring me round [F&H].
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 229: You prefer whisky and take your choice of old man’s milk, mountain dew [...] or moonshine.

In phrases

give the old man his supper (v.)

of a woman, to make herself available for sex.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 188: To give the old man his supper (= to receive a man sexually).
old man has his Sunday clothes on (also in one’s Sunday best) [freshly laundered Sunday clothes were stiff with starch]

a phr. used of the penis, when erect.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 188: The old man can mean the Moby Dick itself, and the old man has got his Sunday clothes on (which were starched) means the part is erect.