Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hand n.1


a person; often as cool hand, loose hand.

[UK]J. Reynolds Blind Bargain I i: The Londoners had heard as how I was a tidy hand at cricket.
[Scot]W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 461: The captain’s a queer hand.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford III 126: Don’t desave yourself, Master Pepper! [...] you’re too old a hand for the herring-pond.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 154: She is not the first hand that has caught a lobster, by puttin in her oar afore her turn.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 26 Oct. 2/4: Mr Rennie gave an immense number of examples of similar slang [...] music, for ‘fun;’ a good hand, for ‘dextrous’ or ‘expert;’ peckish, for ‘hungry;’ sticks, for ‘household furniture;’ seedy, for ‘poor;’ spliced, for ‘married’.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. III 55: The third person was a new hand to us, but not a new hand in villainy.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville General Bounce 175: A quaint boy at Eton, cool hand at Oxford, a deep card in the regiment, man or woman never yet had the best of ‘Uppy.’.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 68: Do you think I’d be such a cully as to tell a pack of green-horns like you the truth before a sharp hand like our governor.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 117/2: I found that she was not a ‘regular hand,’ and only now and then ‘minded the stall’.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 32: You’re cool hands, you and your mate.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 164: Oh, you’re a new hand, are you?
[US]W. Sickert N.Y. Herald 17 Apr. 4: ‘S’ is evidently a raw hand.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 35: Karl Alley [...] is a nasty corner for a green hand to find himself in after dark.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Dec. 20/1: ‘Didn’t notice her,’ answered Jack. / Bill snorted. ‘You’re a pretty ’and at noticin’.’.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Three Elephant Power’ in Three Elephant Power 2: A queer cove this Henery was — half mad, I think, but the best hand with a car ever I see.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 219: Mrs. Pennyfather said Deb was a rare hand at breaking things.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Snatching of Bookie Bob’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 128: We are never any hands to hold post-mortems on bad days.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 117: Just a country boy [...] A regular hand.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 90: All hands are in first fucking class. You can get a weekend first for a extra tenner each way.
[US]M. Waters q. in R. Gordon Can’t Be Satisfied (2002) 58: I can't dance—quit tryin’: Just wasn't a hand to dance.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

handsy (adj.)

of man, physically intimate, esp. when prone to sexual touching of women without invitation or permission; thus as n., an act of touching.

[WI]S. Selvon Those who Eat the Cascadura 94: Not a feel-up, not a handsy, not even a sly pin-t [sic] at her panties.
[US]F. Yerby Hail the Conquering Hero 191: ‘Footsie, hell. Handsy and titsy and tailsy and what have you’.
[US]TV Guide 22 Mar. 1/1: Jim peck, our lip-smacking host, prods for lascivious details. ‘He’s really handsy’.
[US]B.A. Gutek Sex & the Workplace 81: He was just ‘handsy.’ He was transferred because of it. He was a real jerk.
[US]Tucker & Tucker Life Oughta Come with Directions 55: She was sick of handsy guys [...] Maybe you've gone on a mercy date [...] and he touched you on the shoulder or brushed up against you on purpose — all night.
[UK]R.P. Clair Organizing Silence 95: Vanessa, a nurse, reported [...] a doctor who was ‘pretty handsy’ and harassed several nurses.
[US]L. Martin Shameless [ebook] Speaking of getting ready, I need to get dressed, and I won't if you're here being all handsy, so scoot.
[UK]‘Aidan Truhen’ Price You Pay 100: Boss get handsy and you broke his arm?
[US]T. O’Reilly Between the Shadow and the Soul [ebook] ‘But you have to promise to be a gentleman. Don't get handsy.’ ‘Not even a little handsy?’.
[UK]Twitter 17 Nov. 🌐 The charming Stanley Johnson can be a little over-friendly -indeed handsy - but I don’t believe this is one for the police.

In compounds

hand and pocket shop (n.) [one must put one’s hand in one’s pocket]

an eating house where one must pay cash and credit is not available.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Hand and Pocket Shop. An Eating house, where Ready money is paid for what is called for.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 315/1: hand and pocket shop, eating-house où tout crédit est refusé aux consommateurs.
hand artillery (n.) (also hand cannon)

(US) a pistol.

[UK]L. Thomas Woodfill of the Regulars 58: He ran amuck, pumpin’ right and left with his hand artillery.
[US]Tarantino & Avery Pulp Fiction [film script] 113: He was in there with a goddam hand cannon.
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 99: Wanking Jackie Fandango [...] pulls out this monster hand cannon.
handbag (n.)

1. (Aus.) a woman’s male escort.

S. Rhodes Now You’ll Think I’m Awful 70: And every true bitch knows the value to her social standing, of the type of men best described as ‘handbags’. They’re lovely to look at, beautifully dressed and totally brainless.
[Aus]K. Lette Girls’ Night Out (1995) 181: You’re training me to become a human handbag that you can take on your arm to premieres and dinner parties.
[Aus]Sydney Morning Herald 22 June 17/1: Like the time she described James Packer as a ‘handbag’, something that apparently made him unhappy.

2. (UK black) of a man, one’s wife or girlfriend.

[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 235: Just me an’ the handbag havin’ a domestic over ma hard-earned wedge.

3. see abo’s handbag under abo n.

handball (n.)

see separate entries.

hand-basket portion (n.) [note 16C SE handbasket sloy, an unpleasant term for a woman]

a woman whose family continually gives money to her husband.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Hand Basket portion a woman whose family receive frequent presents from her father, is said to have a handbasket portion.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: A woman whose husband receives frequent presents from her father, or family, is said to have a hand-basket portion.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
hand book (n.) [book n. (3b)]

1. (US) a small bookmaker or illegal betting establishment.

[US]Sunset Mag. Feb. 82/1: I’ve known ’em to go as low as four a week for protecting a hand-book [DA].
[US]D. Runyon ‘Little Miss Marker’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 293: He is running a handbook over in Forty-ninth Street.
[US]Chicago Daily News 26 June 14/2: The mob was [...] operating handbooks with full knowledge of your police department [DA].
[US]‘Toney Betts’ Across the Board 124: Dollar John Langer [...] ran a handbook on a lower East Side street.
[US]L. Shecter On the Pad 246: [A] small-time guy who [...] ran a little handbook on the telephone in a bar on Second Avenue.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

Voice (N.Y.) 20 Sept. n.p.: In every saloon which boasts a ticker are to be found men who will register a bet to any amount. These ‘hand-book’ men [DA].
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 17: Rudolph was rushing into McNulty’s, where the handbook man was.
handbrake (n.)

(S.Afr. campus) a regular girlfriend.

Eng. Usage in Southern Africa XVII:2 34: The current term for a steady girlfriend among University of Cape Town students is a ‘handbrake’ [DSAE].
hand gallop

see separate entries.

hand gig (n.) (gay)

1. a homosexual prostitute who specializes in masturbating his clients or joining in mutual masturbation with them.

[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]Maledicta IX 146: Many of his [i.e. G. Legman’s] other terms (boy or come-on boy, peg house and show house, dick-peddler, floater, handgig, live one, muscle in, trade) prove he used to know the words and music of gay prostitute slang but is now out of date.

2. (also hand game) mutual masturbation.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 21: hand-gig (or hand-job) (n.): A male who masturbates his sex partner or engages in mutual masturbation. Can also mean the act of having this done.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 116: mutual masturbation by two men. [...] handgame [gig] male masturbation.
hand grenade (n.)

1. (US black) an amorous letter or note.

[US]D. Wells Night People 25: Higgie threw a hand-grenade at the boss’ wife. (A hand-grenade is a note saying, ‘I want to see you,’ or ‘I got eyes for you’).

2. (Aus.) a hamburger.

[Aus]V. Darroch On Coast 75: Hand grenades: Hamburgers [...] an allusion to their explosive effects on the digestion in some instances.
hand insurance (n.) [presumably ‘insurance’ against veneral disease]

as supplied by a prostitute, masturbation of a male customer .

[UK]Peeping Tom (London) 9 34/3: [A] syllabus of the names of the chief culls, or letches [...] Hand Insurance, or Turnwrist Plowing.
hand jig

see separate entries.

hand jive

see separate entries.

hand job

see separate entries.

handmade (adj.) (also hand-raised, hand-reared) [the idea that masturbation has changed its shape]

(US) of the penis, bent noticeably in one direction or another or particularly large.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[UK]B. Aldiss Hand-Reared Boy 23: I was introduced to the delights of masturbation early, and had never looked back. You might say I was a hand-reared boy.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 103: hand-raised [-reared] [...] handmade said of a large penis which supposedly attained its size by having been continually stroked or used in fucking.
[US]D. Goines Swamp Man 60: Masturbation ... made it what men called a ‘handmade’ dick.

see separate entries.

hand shandy

see separate entries.

hand solo (n.) (also han solo) [pun on the character Han Solo in the Star Wars films of the 1970s–80s]

1. masturbation.

[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: hand solo n. A solitary hand shandy (qv).
[US]quinnelk T. Rex’s Guide to Life 🌐 Okay, since people don’t want to actually say the m-word and the chicken and monkey phrases have been used to death on MTV, I thought it would be my duty to provide you with a bevy of other useful terminology that may be helpful in this area: [...] Han Solo.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 207: I’d a Hand Solo this afternoon, and another one, like, fifteen minutes ago.
Twitter 18 June 🌐 I just spent several moments assuming you were advocating giving Boris a hand shandy .

2. (N.Z. prison) a thief.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 84/1: hand solo n. a thief.
hands up (n.) [the bottle has the Red Hand of Ulster on its label]

(Irish) a bottle of Allsop ale.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 314: – Half one, Terry, says John Wyse, and a hands up. Terry! Are you asleep? – Yes, sir, says Terry. Small whisky and bottle of Allsop. Right, sir.
handsupper (n.) (also hand upper) [those Boers who surrendered, i.e. put their hands up, at the end of the Anglo-Boer Wars (1880–1, 1899–1902)]

1. one who surrenders or advocates surrender.

[UK]R. Rankin In Morocco With Gen. D’Amade 279: It transpired afterwards that one party was for surrender, and having enlisted the services of some M’Zamza, fell suddenly upon the intransigents. But the latter were the tougher in battle as in purpose, and the hands-uppers had to give in and go on fighting.

2. (S.Afr.) a traitor.

[SA]Blackburn & Caddell Secret Service in S. Afr. 4: Against the intimidation and corruption of British-born telegraph officials by certain Boer Commandants may be fairly set off that colossal blunder, the institution of the corps of ‘Hand Uppers’ by the British General Commanding.
[SA]C.R. Prance Tante Rebella and her Friends (1951) 18: When he remonstrated in Afrikaans she denounced him as a renegade and ‘handsupper’.

In phrases

down hand on someone (v.)

see under down v.3

hands off (your) cocks, feet in (your) socks (also drop one’s cock and grab one’s socks, drop one’s rocks and grab one’s socks)

a joc. wake-up cry, attrib. to RAF, but general in the services, institutions and similar sites of dormitory accommodation.

[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 577: Come on, Prewitt, lets rise and shine. Drop your cocks and grab your socks.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 306: Drop the rocks and grab yer socks!
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Peacock Valhalla 488: All right, motherfuckers [...] leggo your cocks and grab your socks.
[UK](con. WW2) R. Poole London E1 (2012) 186: ‘Wakey-wakey [...] an’ put your socks on.’ They smiled at the omission from the traditional Naval reveille.
[UK]A. Wesker Chips with Everything II i: Hands off your cocks and pull up your socks, it’s wake to the sun and a glorious day.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 101: Holly, Holly, Holly, hands to scran [...] Holly, Holly, Holly, hands off the lever.
[US](con. 1950s) McAleer & Dickson Unit Pride (1981) 325: ‘Drop your cocks and grab your socks,’ one of them shouted.
[US]D. Ponicsan Last Detail 101: Drop your cocks and grab your socks! Reveille!
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 119: Being woken at six-thirty by a bellow from the corporal . . . hands off cocks and on socks.
[UK]G. Melly Rum, Bum and Concertina (1978) 120: I was woken by the tannoy telling me to rise and shine and suggesting we all took our hands off our cocks and transferred them to our socks.
[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] Hands off cocks and onto socks / And God help the last one out of his stinking pit!
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 443: Wake up Henry! It’s quarter of four, time to drop your cock and grab your socks.
hand-to-fist (adv.)

intimately, right up close to each other.

[UK]Dryden Wild Gallant IV i: Jack Loveby, what think’st thou of a game at piquet, we two, hand to fist? you and I will play one single game for ten pieces.
[UK]T. Shadwell Squire of Alsatia III i: Mrs. Hackam and I have been at Bumpers hand to fist.
[UK]Midnight Rambler 37: They were boozing hand to fist.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Hand to fist. Opposite, the same as Tete a tete or Cheek by Jowl.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
have one’s hand out (v.) (also have one’s mit out)

1. to beg, to scrounge.

[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 3 Dec. 17/7: ‘A man with his hand out’ is a beggar, and to ‘have your hand out’ means to beg .
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 153/1: His hand was out (Peoples’). Ready to take all and everything at all times.

2. to be amenable to a bribe.

[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 102: ‘Can he keep his clapper quiet?’ ‘If it’s made interestin’ for him, I guess. He’s got his mit out like the rest.’.
[US]R. Daley Target Blue 66: Smith seemed to believe that every cop on the street had his hand out, that every cop who was offered graft would take it.
on one’s own hands

looking after oneself, taking responsibility for one’s own life.

[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 101: I was already ‘on my own hands,’ as the vulgar saying is.
play a lone hand (v.)

(US) to masturbate.

[US]‘Mark Twain’ ‘Some remarks on the Science of Onanism’ in The Mammoth Cod (1976) 25: ‘If you must gamble away your lives sexually, don't play a Lone Hand too much [...] get your Vendome Column down some other way - don’t jerk it down’.
put one’s hand down (v.) [i.e. down into one’s trouser pocket]

to pay, to stand one’s turn.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 169: – He’s not too bad, Nosey Flynn said. He has been known to put his hand down too to help a fellow.
put one’s hand out (v.)

to go through a drunk person’s pockets looking for cash and/or valuables.

[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 159: Put Your Hand Out . . . To go through a lush’s pockets.
put one’s hand up (v.) (also stick one’s hand up) [classroom practice]

to confess.

[UK] ‘Metropolitan Police Sl.’ in P. Laurie Scotland Yard (1972) 326: put the hands up, to: to confess.
[UK]G.F. Newman Villain’s Tale 109: Pyall turned and regarded his prisoner [...] ‘What d’you reckon, Benny? Want to put your hands up for it now?’.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 29: You expect a lump of bird when you stick your hands up to armed robbery.
take a hand out of (v.)

(Ulster) to tease, to ‘take the mickey’.

[UK]B. MacLaverty ‘A Happy Birthday’ in Secrets 7: Often his wife took a hand out of him, saying ’Do you think you’ll pass your Christmas Tests?’ .
throw hands (v.) (also throw ’em)

(orig. US black) to punch, to hit; to fight.

[US]B. Seale Seize the Time 45: They say Huey was throwing hands.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Short Timers (1985) 92: You harass one more little girl and [...] you and I are going to throw some hands.
[US]T.R. Houser Central Sl. 53: throw ’em [...] ‘Don’t mess with Dubie, man, nigger knows how to throw ’em.’.
Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 throw hands v 1. to fight. (‘Look, they’re about to throw hands!’).
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 27: Hey [...] they’re throwing hands over there.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014.
with one hand (tied behind one’s back) (also with one’s shoes on, on one leg)

(orig. US) very easily, with minimal effort; usu. as do something...

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 59/2: Do a bit on one leg. (P) To serve a light and easy prison term. [...] Do a bit with one’s shoes on. See Do a bit on one leg.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 75: I could take him with one hand.
eye 1 June 🌐 As a matter of fact, many women can also do it with one hand tied behind their backs -- and half their free fingers broken -- but this has little to do with the fact that we’re all sexually complex.
Harvard Health Policy Rev. I:1 (Fall) 🌐 The Clinton Administration said, ‘Oh, we’re going to use the marketplace and let people pick from the private sector option.’ But they tried to do it with one hand tied behind their backs.