Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sure as... phr.

In phrases

sure as a gun

undoubtedly, certainly.

[UK]J. Phillips Maronides (1678) VI 13: The land is thine as sure as Gun.
[UK]Thrale Thraliana i Dec. 346: [G]et me a Surgeon for sure as a Gun I have broke my best Leg.
[UK]‘Bumper Allnight. Esquire’ Honest Fellow 25: And sure as a gun, when nine months were run, / She safely brought forth a plump daughter and son.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 9 Jan. 3/3: O Jack, we must not always look for fun, / There’s graver matter here, sure’s a gun.
[UK]Leeds Intelligencer 15 Nov. 4/1: The Country is ruin’d as sure as a gun.
[UK]Inverness Courier 23 Jan. 4/4: You’ll all go home happy, as sure as a gun.
[Scot]Fife Herald 29 June 16/1: Says Virgil, ‘’Tis done, and, as sure as a gun, we’ll lark it in capital style’.
Whitehaven News 27 Jan. 3: ‘Sure as a gun he’s lazy. He’d rayther toak than work’.
[UK]Sth London Press 30 Dec. 14/3: ‘I’m going to give you the identical knife, I am, sure as a gun’.
Barnsley Chron. 26 Mar. 6/1: ‘Daddy’d lick me, sure as a gun, if i let the wood go without money’.
[UK]Bristol Mercury 4 Jan. 6/3: ‘If Simon you can’t — or won’t — get it done, why I’ll do it myself, as sure as a gun!’.
[UK]Wrexham Advertiser 17 May 2/4: ‘As sure as a gun’ is a worthy old phrase that doesn’t seem to apply in our days.
Manhattan Nationalist (KS) 17 July n.p.: Why do they say ‘sure as a gun’? Because a gun is cock-sure.
[UK]Irish News 12 Oct. 5/5: You will get a second year’s office, as sure as a gun.
Scotsman 9 Aug. n.p.: Famous Sayings [...] ‘As sure as a gun’.
sure as death

undoubtedly, certainly.

[UK]Newcastle Courant 18 Nov. 5/3: ‘Sure?’ ‘Sure as death’.
[US]W. Thorin letter 2 Nov. in Weeks (ed.) Greater Love Hath No Man (1939) 178: [A] man’s life is guided from the time he is born to his end, by some invisible hand. Whoever is behind that hand is not possible for any clearly to know, but that there is something is sure as death.
sure as fuck

definitely, without the slightest doubt.

[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] And it sure as fuck ain’t gonna work to say these Charis Corp girls put their spare housekeeping money into real estate.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 247: I’ll get the bastard though, sure as fuck I’ll get him.
[SA]A. Lovejoy Acid Alex 238: I sure as fuck didn’t want to be the kind of weak pop that would back away from my chosen course.
[Scot]T. Black Gutted 13: I sure as fuck didn’t get anything out of it.
sure as God made little (green) apples (also sure as Christ made green apples, …little apples, sure as God made (sour) apples, …daisies, sure as God put worms in sour apples, sure as Jehovah made little green apples)

(UK/US) definitely, for sure.

[UK]‘T.B. Junr.’ Pettyfogger Dramatized II iv: As sure as God made apples, I’ll move the Court against him.
[UK]Western Gaz. (Somerset) 28 Jan. 3/5: As sure as God made little applers I am ready to die for my childrenb.
[US]C.F. Lummis letter 25 Jan. in Byrkit Letters from the Southwest (1989) 190: He could [...] make me jump about 30 just as sure as God made little apples.
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 11: As sure as God made little green apples.
[US]C. M’Govern Sarjint Larry an’ Frinds 136: Just as sure as Christ made little apples.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 179: They’ll win as sure as God made little apples.
[US]S. Lewis Main Street (1921) 414: It’s just as sure as God made little green apples.
[US]J. Tully Beggars of Life 9: Jim boy, you’re going to get somewhere some day just as sure as God put worms in sour apples.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Working Bullocks 200: She’ll die, sure as God made little apples, if we don’t get her away.
[US](con. 1918) J. Stevens Mattock 280: He’ll hook up with her as sure as God made sour apples.
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 349: I’ll bet as sure as Christ made green apples that he’ll go off his bean.
[US]S.J. Perelman letter 29 June in Crowther Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 14: Just as sure as Jehovah made little green apples.
[US]H.A. Smith Life in a Putty Knife Factory (1948) 87: Your names will go ringing down the corridors of history just as sure as God made little green apples.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 755: I’m going to kill Fatso, just as sure as God made little green apples. I aint got no choice.
[US]E. Dundy Dud Avocado (1960) 79: We’re going to foul up our leadership like England did, as sure as God made little green apples.
[US]F. Kohner Gidget Goes Hawaiian 3: I know as sure as God made daisies that it spells ‘Larry and I’ or just plain ‘Larry’.
[Aus]M. Anderson A River Rules My Life 85: As sure as God made little green apples that’ll be him.
[NZ](con. 1940s) I. Agnew Loner 128: You’ll get sentenced as sure as God made little green apples.
sure as hell (also sure as heck, …heaven’s happy, …hell’s hell, …hell’s hot, sure hell, sure in hell, sure to hell)

without a doubt, certainly.

[UK]C. Kingsley Alton Locke (1850) 25: As sure as hell’s hell, it’s your only chance.
[US]A. Adams Log Of A Cowboy 34: Your letter would hang him as sure as hell’s hot.
[US]E. O’Neill The Web in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 57: Git dat kid out of here or I’ll put yuh in the cooler as sure as hell.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 65: They sure as hell came this way; there’s no doubt about that.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 24: I thought sure as hell that we were going to be taken for a ride.
[US]R. Chandler High Window 128: Morny will sure as hell kill him, if he doesn’t lay off Lois.
[US](con. 1915) in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) II 621: And every night, sure as heck, / He’s stick it [i.e. his penis] in grandmaw’s ass-hole.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 34: Maybe I never went to college, but I can sure in hell add better ’n you.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 314: There’ll be nosing around there sure as hell.
[US](con. 1920s–30s) J.O. Killens Youngblood (1956) 525: ‘They’ll be back here just as sure as Heaven’s happy,’ Miss Lulabelle said.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 81: So shit, I sure as hell wasn’t gonna go fallin’ over her.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 12: You sure as heck ought to know it.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 163: That’s sure hell the route I went. Hog wild.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 225: She would sure in hell need it before I was finished with her.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 22: The Maras would have moved the Giants to Bermuda or Honolulu just as sure as hell.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 4: But it sure as hell paid the bills.
[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 112: So, sure to hell, he tells me I wasn’t shit, that I was fucking around.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 23: Now he was going to blub and sure as hell never wanted me clocking him.
[US]K. Vonnegut Bagombo Snuff Box 8: Ray was sure as heck prescient.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 21 Jan. 18: If she’s got a mean opinion it sure as hell ain’t gonna remain private.
sure as hogs are made of bacon (also sure as beans is beans, ...eggs ain’t chickens, ...eggs (is eggs), ...mutton’s mutton, true as eggs is bacon)


[UK]G. Colman Yngr Heir at Law III iii: To be sure you have; as sure as eggs is eggs.
[UK]G. Colman Yngr John Bull I i: See! yon’s a traveller, sure as eggs!
Bristol Mirror 24 Feb. 4/1: She soon had to repent (She had, sure as mutton is mutton).
[UK]W. Combe Doctor Syntax, Consolation (1868) 154: As sure as hogs are made of bacon, / Your tongue is woefully mistaken.
[UK]D. Carey Life in Paris 425: I came back directly to the place where I’d left Liddy, and, as sure as mutton’s mutton, the bird was flown.
[US]S. Smith Major Downing (1834) 103: The jig is up with me, for as true as eggs is bacon I left mine at home.
[US]Tennessean (Nashville, TN) 25 June 2/4: ‘As sure as Eggs are Eggs’ we have one.
[UK]Era 7 Mar. 10/1: That is given, is as certain as that eggs are eggs.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Jan. 3/1: Blowed if they beant Graham’s, and they ur, sure as eggs makes chickens.
[Ire]Dublin Eve. Mail 4 Dec. 1/6: As sure as mutton is mutton [...] to London it will go.
[UK]Derby Day 46: He’ll win it, mate, sure as eggs is eggs!
[UK]J. Greenwood Low-Life Deeps 309: The willain will nail him as sure as eggs ain’t chickens!
[UK]A. Griffiths Fast and Loose III 199: You got your dose of bread and water as sure as eggs next day.
[UK]Northampton Mercury 22 Mar. 9/6: As sure as beans is beans, the laggards will be bayonetted.
[NZ]Taranaki Herald (NZ) 11 June 2/8: Are sure as eggs is eggs [...] it will come to it.
[US]Little Falls Herald (MN) 24 Nov. 6/3: ’To crittercize no man has a right.’ Tis treason, sure ez beans is beans.
[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) 15 Dec. 9/6: Its only was th’ speeches, just as sure as beans is beans?
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 195: You’ll get married some time again as sure as beans is beans.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Have His Carcase 423: They’ll have been destroyed, as sure as eggs is eggs.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 10 Sept. 4/1: I’ll spiflicate that mongrel [...] sure as eggs are eggs.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 21 Apr. n.p.: As they say [...] As Sure as Eggs is Eggs.
[Can]Squamish Times (BC) 22 Apr. 3/1: She’ll do it — as sure as eggs is eggs.
Marshall News Messenger (TX) 27 July 25/2: Sure as eggs are eggs the heavens would open and out out the fire.
Clarion-Ledger (Jackson MS) 5 Oct. 1H/1: I knew just as sure as eggs is eggs that she wasn’t all that fond of me.
[US]Democrat & Chron. (Rochester, NY) 29 Aug. 36/3: The street in front of my house is in pretty good shape, but as sure as eggs are eggs potholes will eventually appear.
[UK]Guardian 18 Feb. 36/2: His time will come as sure as eggs is eggs.
[Scot]T. Black Gutted 144: I saw him [...] m sure as eggs he was there.
sure as shinola

(US) absolutely certainly.

[US]D. Swierczynski California Bear 58: ‘[I]f Dixon’s cooperating, then he sure as Shinola ain’t cooperating for free’.
sure as shit (also sure as cowflops, ...shit and taxes, ...shite on your shoe, ...shit runs downhill from a privy, …shit stinks, surer than shit) [shit n. (1a)/shite n. (1)]

1. certainly; definitely.

[US]J. Steinbeck Grapes of Wrath (1951) 351: ’Cause sure as cowflops she’ll drop ’em to two an’ a half.
[US]W. Burroughs Naked Lunch (1968) 123: Sure as shit some horrible old character get physical. [Ibid.] 198: Sure as shit and taxes, he comes there every night.
[US]B. Seale Seize the Time 424: Well, surer than shit, about a month later we got some information that P— [etc.].
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 12: Some people can . . . fade into the crowd, but sure as shit you can’t.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 18: Our man Paco, not dead but sure as shit should be.
[US]S. King It (1987) 84: That’s what happened, just as sure as shit runs downhill from a privy.
[US]B. Gifford Night People 74: Sure as shit some righteous bitches out there.
[Aus]Age (Melbourne) 9 Oct. 45/1: ‘Do we know that we’re the best guys around?’ ‘Sure as shit we do’.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 52: These spastics are not fucking well getting it their own way [...] that’s as sure as the shite on your shoe.
[US]J. Ridley What Fire Cannot Burn 82: She sure as shit missed Soledad’s O’Dwyer.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 320: ’It’s [i.e. a car] a beautiful thing.’ ‘It sure as shit is’.
[Aus]N. Cummins Tales of the Honey Badger [ebook] If the dingoes and centipedes don’t get ya up Rainbow/Fraser way, then the sharks are sure as shit willing to pick up rhe slack.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] Maybe, she thinks [...] heroin is God. We sure as shit worship it.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Sunset’ in Broken 206: ‘I sure as shit wouldn’t tell you’.
[Aus]C. Hammer Opal Country 52: ‘So you haven’t seen anything else unusual round here lately?’ he asks. [...] ‘Sure as shit have’.

2. used as an affirmation.

[US]E. Thompson Caldo Largo (1980) 51: ‘That thing went off!’ ‘Sure as shit did.’.
[US](con. 1970) J.M. Del Vecchio 13th Valley (1983) 427: Ya ken say that fer me too. Sure as shit stinks.
[US]L. Heinemann Paco’s Story (1987) 65: ‘You’re telling me there ain’t no work?’ says Paco [...] ‘Sure as shit. Fuckin’-A.’.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 131: Sure as shit, I reached into the waistband of his pants and came up with five little envelopes of white powder.
[Aus]C. Hammer Silver [ebook] ‘Is that right?’ ‘Sure as shit it’s right’.
sure as shooting (also sure as pop)

(US) definitely, for sure.

[US]G.F. Ruxton Life in the Far West (1849) 100: I’ll raise his hair, as sure as shootin’.
[US]‘Philip Paxton’ A Stray Yankee in Texas 116: To the latter [a Southerner], drawing his comparison from his idolized rifle, a thing is ‘as sure as shooting,’ while to the former [a Yankee], more pious or more hypocritical, it is ‘as sartin as preachin’.
[UK]Leics. Mercury 10 May 2/1: And that her sight is good to me / Is just as sure as shooting.
[US]Bloomfield Times (PA) 18 Mar. 2/3: It’s a lie as sure as shootin’.
[US]A.F. Pinkerton Dyke Darrel 39: You’re going to die, Sam, sure’s shooting.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 287: He’ll bite some party sure as shootin’.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 591: sure as pop, adv. phr. Very surely; without doubt.
[US]‘Commander’ Clear the Decks! 172: I’m going bugs sure as shootin’.
[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning 89: As sure as shootin’.
[UK]L. Short Raiders of the Rimrock 67: You’ll catch pneumony sure as shooting.
[US]W. Blair Tall Tale America 40: You sure as shootin’ can shoot.
[UK]D. Gram Foxes (1980) 94: ‘We’re not gonna have a party?’ [...] ‘We sure as shootin’ are,’ Mrs Axeman said.
[US]J. Britt Bob’s Ichthyosaur 100: Because sure as shooting somebody was sure to get goddamned lost, and it goddamned well wasn’t going to be him.
[US]Kuhse & Singer Bioethics (2nd edn) 492/1: He has killed that patient as sure as shooting.
sure as shucks

(US) for certain.

[US]Pittsburgh Press (PA) 12 Aug. 7/2: ‘Sure as shucks, he run his canoe up a-brach alongside Sally’s bow’.
[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 31 May 38/3: ‘He’ll strike out sure as shucks. They always do’.
[US]N. Algren Somebody in Boots 135: Puppy, yo’ keep awn a-pesterin’ me an’ sho’ as shucks ah’ll beat yo’ ’eahs down. Sh-sho as sh-shucks.
[US]Akron Beacon Jrnl (OH) 22 Aug. 6/6: But sure as shucks, I wasn’t looking for a Chamber of Commerce.
Wash. Record Herald (OH) 5 Jan. 4/5: A life setence [...] sure as shucks ain’t much fun.
Medford Mail Trib. (OR) 11 Sept. 4/8: ‘Frying cathish, it sure as shucks was a wonderful day!’.
sure as the devil’s in London (also sure as a devil in London)

(UK Und.) without doubt.

[US]N. Ames ‘Morton’ An Old Sailor’s Yarns 309: If we don’t have our reg’lar-cook’d grub, we’ll all get scurvy, as sure as the devil’s in London.
[UK] ‘Plunder Creek’ in Bentley’s Misc. Feb. 126: Massa Backwoodsley often say, ‘Ivory, I whop you, sure as a devil in London;’ and he always do it.
[UK]Chelmsford Chron. 19 July 3/2: He heard prisoner John say to Henry, ‘We shall be transported as sure as the devil’s in London’.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 275: You shall go to the workhouse this time – as sure as the devil’s in London to the workhouse you goes!
sure as there’s shit in a goat

without any doubt, certainly.

[US]J. Wambaugh Onion Field 244: ‘I looked at that gun and at his mean little eyes and I knew as sure as there's shit in a goat that if I didn’t do what he said, the coroner would be puttin in a special order’.
[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 99: ’Pint the night, wee man?’ [...] ‘Sure as there’s shite in a goat’.
K. Miles Double Eagle 35: Now, I know—as sure as there’s shit in a goat—that Kallgren isn’t going to lay out all that dough.
sure as there’s meat in mutton

(Irish) certainly, undoubtedly.

Irish Indep. 12 Nov. 2/5: ‘You think he’ll be captured?’ ‘As sure as there’s mate in mutton, your honour’.
C.F. Howell An Irish Ramble 198: The gate- porter [...] explained that ‘the down [train] was after holdin’ th’ up,’ but that all would be right a little later ‘as sure as there's meat in mutton’.
sure as twopence


[UK]Fielding Joseph Andrews (1954) II 136: As sure as twopence he hath left him behind at the inn.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 100: D—n un, what a sly b—ch ’tis. Ay, ay, sure as twopence, Tom is the veather of the bastard.
[UK]T. Morton Speed the Plough I i: As sure as twopence, that is Nelly’s husband.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie II iii: He’s dead as sure as two-pence.
sure as you’re a foot high (also sure as I’m a foot high, ...I’m a man fit to wear britches, ...the day is long, live,’re alive,’re born)

(US) absolutely, without a doubt.

[UK]Webster Devil’s Law-Case V i: [He] goes ingeniously The next morning [...] makes a spacious button For his foyle of toasted cheese, and as sure as you liue, That made him come on braueliest.
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 18: col.: But is he really dead? lady answ.: Yes, Colonel, as sure as you’re alive.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 126: The morning may dawn, as sure as you’re born, / Will find us dancing alone.
[UK]C. Kingsley Two Years Ago II 261: As sure as you live, Sir, [...] if you won’t talk honest prose, I won’t pay for the brandy and water.
M’arthur Democrat (OH) 9 Sept. n.p.: Dat Jeff’s done somethin’ to dese steers! Sho’se you’re born, he’s done somethin’ to dese steers.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 270: That’s poor Mister Doltin’s voice, as sure as yu ar born’d!
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 79: I’m dead broke, sure’s yer live.
[UK]Leeds Times 25 Mar. 6/5: I’ll raise that slab-faced galoot’s hair, sure as you’re born.
[US]Sweet & Knox On a Mexican Mustang, Through Texas 247: Indians been here last night, sure as you’re a foot high.
[US]E. Custer Tenting on the Plains (rev. edn 1895) 372: Miss Libbie, sure as you’re born, they was Indians gettin’ out of the way.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 16 Dec. 4/6: We’ll rope in that young man as sure as you’re a foot high.
[US]W. Norr Stories of Chinatown 7: He’s gone crazy, sure as you live.
[US]C. Chesnutt ‘The Gray Wolf’s Ha’nt’ in Conjure Woman 179: Ef I’d ’a’ had a son lack you, Brer Dan, I’d ’a’ be’n a proud nigger; oh, yas, I would, sho’s you bawn.
[UK]Sporting Times 9 June 3/3: Now comes where they think the hoss is on me. Sure as ye’re born they tip the waiter the wink I’m a new chum.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 192: ‘Will he then return to his drunkenness?’ asked the Reverend Bronson. ‘Sure as you’re alive!’ [Ibid.] 274: Inside of ninety days you’ll fish him out o’ th’ river; you will, as sure as I’m a foot high!
[US]C. Chesnutt Colonel’s Dream 79: He has fell on his feet dis time, suh, sho’s you bawn.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 144: We couldn’t get into Janissary’s house with a crowbar. [...] We’d get a tumble as sure as you’re born.
[US]D. Lowrie My Life in Prison 95: I’ll put you both in the morgue as sure as I’m a foot high.
[US] in J.F. Dobie Rainbow in Morning 89: As sure as you live; as sure as you’re born.
[US]C. Coe Me – Gangster 61: Don’t be scared of this case, Mary [...] I’ll beat it as sure as you’re a foot high.
[US]J. Conroy World to Win 326: Dat’s a fack, sure’s you’re born.
[US] ‘The Castration of the Strawberry Roan’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 95: He starts his frog walkin’, and sure as you’re born, / I’m crackin’ my balls on that damned saddle horn.
[US] ‘Yellowstone Flat’ in Lingenfelter et al. Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 332: We are the twisters as sure as you’re born.
[US]W. Fisher Waiters 177: ‘As sure as the day is long, babes,’ he’d answer.
[US]T. Capote Breakfast at Tiffany’s 12: It is her. Sure as I’m a man fit to wear britches.