Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wad n.1

[SE wad, a bundle; Irish wad, a lump of bread (Holinshed’s Irish Chronicle); repopularized c.1985 by UK comedian Harry Enfield’s character ‘Loadsamoney’, with his Thatcherite credo, ‘Wad is God’]

1. a roll of money; by ext, a quantity of money, a payment.

Niles’ Register VII 205/2: He then rammed both hands into his trowsers’ pockets, and drew out handfuls of notes ruffled into wads [DA].
[US]V.C. Giles Rags and Hope in Lasswell (1961) 159: He was invited over, with the modest request from Bill and Dick to ‘bring his wad with him.’.
[US]Wahpeton Times (Dakota, ND) 29 June 2/5: His eye lighted on Mr Williams’ wad [...] In an instant he had the wad out and slipped off the rubber band.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 35: He shoved a wad in my fist.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 212: In the old days, when a man had a good sized wad, he carried it about, flashing it pridefully.
[UK]Sporting Times 11 Feb. 3/1: And the rates go up, up, up / And our wads go down, down, down.
Drew & Evans Grifter 85: ‘I am the owner of several fair-sized wads of notes’.
[US]Perrysburg Jrnl (Wood Co., OH) 22 May 2/2: This is no needle monologue, but the goods, and I have the Wad to back it.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 7 June 9/6: Slang of Money [...] It has been called ‘the actual, the blunt, hard, dirt, evil, flimsy, gilt, iron, John Davis, lurries, moss, oil of angels, pieces, rowdy, spondulicks, tin, wad’ .
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 76: I made four straight passes with the whole roll riding each time and with all that wad parked on the two thousand dollar rug, I shot a five and a three.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 102: I was wise to the fact that he had a large wad on him.
[US]E. Anderson Thieves Like Us (1999) 87: I just wish you had got this bank here ’fore it [...] took my wad.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 15 Mar. 4/2: It was a bonser box [...] worth wads of dough.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 88: Bill fingered the wad and peeled off seven one-pound notes.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 172: Everyone knowing the kind of wad Louie had carried.
[US]‘John Eagle’ Hoodlums (2021) 52: Martin’s small wad couldn’t pay a month’s rent for this place.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 121: I had a bank balance now [...] and a wad tucked away in the pad that would have made a screwsman’s eyes gleam.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 67: We could really score if we had a nice wad with us.
[US](con. 1900s) S. Longstreet Wilder Shore 112: An alley was a good place [...] to conch (blackjack) a man flashing a wad.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 174: Tommy [...] tucked the wad in his robe pocket.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 178: Stacks Edwards sees my wad and starts doing his ‘black dude’ number. ‘How come I’m fucking broke and all you whities from the May-fia got the money?’.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 167: I delight in ostentatiously flashing my wad around.
[UK]Guardian Travel 9 Oct. 2: I peel off a couple of one dollar bills from my modest wad.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 21 Feb. 4: John gave him a wad.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Soho 96: When it came to peeling off the dosh, which he had done from a wad of readies on the bedside table, Brendan had been too pissed [...] to count properly.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] The first wad her old man had laid on me I gave mostly to her.
R. Brunet ‘Lucky for Me’ in ThugLit Dec. [ebook] ‘I just lost a wad on a lousy baseball game’.

2. money in general; thus wadded, possessing a good deal of money.

[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 296: Money itself has in the United States, as in England, probably more designations than any other object – liquor alone excepted [...] tow, wad (both of them evidently tailors’ slang).
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Chanson de Bohême’ in Rolling Stones (1913) 243: I’d rather distribute a coat of red / On the town with a wad of dough.
[US]S.E. White Arizona Nights 21: Think of all the wads he raked in!
Star (Sydney) 29 Dec. 4/4: ‘Don’t he shoot in his wad every month on booze and gambling? Yes. Did he over save a cent, in his life?
[UK]A. Conan Doyle His Last Bow in Baring-Gould (1968) II 799: It’s cost me two hundred pounds from first to last, so it isn’t likely I’d give it up without gettin’ my wad.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 758: A swell apartment [...] and a nice wad stocked away.
[US]W. Motley Knock on Any Door 205: Nick had a wad he had won in a crap game.
[US]J. Thompson Swell-Looking Babe 139: You’re the sole heir to a nice juicy wad.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 3: Confidence men who lay in wait for veterans wadded with mustering-out money.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 259: [W]hite people [...] pay nice wad for pipe and bounce .

3. a drink of alcohol.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 20 Dec. 1/2: ‘Let’s have a wad,’ said the empty shell to the charged cartridge.?’ ‘Oh, Lord! no! I'm loaded to the neck now’.
[UK]M. Forrest Hibiscus Heart 160: ‘He doesn’t drink, does he?’ ‘No: not more than any of us! Has a wad occasionally . . . Sometimes a double-header . . . but I’ve never seem him helpless.’.
[Aus]T. Wood Cobbers 210: I’ve had as many wads as he has; but by Jes’ I can carryemberrer!

4. (Aus./US) a large quantity of a commodity.

[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 178: This actin’ bloke’s a-going to git it in the neck if I sinks me wad!
[US]W.J. Kountz Billy Baxter’s Letters 18: I had wasted a wad of cries that would float the Maine.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 156: She and the Children would come in for a whole Wad of Money.
[Ire]Joyce ‘Grace’ Dubliners (1956) 159: He takes up a wad of cabbage on the spoon and pegs it across the room.
[US]A. Jennings Beating Back in Hamilton (1952) 93: The bigs wads of money [...] generally go under the seats.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 19 Nov. 5s/4: I’ve made my wad of boodle and I’ve had my whack of graft.
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 101: Wads of stuff about the dresses. I didn’t know Jeeves was such an authority.
[US]M. Prenner ‘Sl. Terms for Money’ in AS IV:5 357: If you wish to boast of having a great deal of money, you may speak of having gobs, oodles, piles, scads, or wads of it, or a wad of lettuce, meaning a big roll of bills or, inelegantly, of being filthy or lousy with money.
[US]J. Hoyt Cummings Fatal Pay-off 56: He wouldn’t be riding around with strangers — especially if he was carrying a wad of numbers pool money.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 59: I don’t mean anything crude like a wad of dough.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 87: They paid up in wads of marks and fat chinking coins.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 25: He [...] took out a wad of five-pound notes the thickness of a sandwich.
[UK]Guardian Editor 3 Sept. 18: The best and biggest wads of spit they could produce.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 26 Aug. 2: My wallet, with its wad of Fringe tickets, is still in my back pocket.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 49: She’s ironin out huge wads of loot every day.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 7 Mar. 7: Rachel produces a balled up wad of loo paper.
[US]Esquire 1 Sept. 🌐 He was on a sales call about to land a cushty deal and nail a wad of commish.

5. (orig. milit.) food, esp. a bun, cake or sandwich. In all cases its filling qualities are more important than taste etc; thus char and wads, tea and buns .

[Ind]Civil & Milit. Gaz. (Lahore) 18 Oct. 4/3: A man as don’t lower the porter. / Scorfs ’is pice over doorsteps an wads.
[UK]N&Q 12 Ser. IX 346: Cup and Wad. Cup of tea and a bun in the canteen.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 61: We drank tea and ate wads, awaiting dinner.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 88: Slipping out for a tea ’n’ a wad when on fatigue, for instance. Skiving.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 128: Char and wad in the square at five o’clock.
[UK]G.W. Target Teachers (1962) 240: Nine lumps and a wad, mate.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 18: ‘Cup of char and a wad,’ he said. ‘Come again’ said the proprietor. ‘Another cup of tea and a slice of that cake.’.
[UK]A. Burgess 1985 (1980) 135: We give them the odd wad like we’re doing to you.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 302: You could have treated me to ‘a wad and char.’.
[UK]Brummagem Dict. 🌐 wad n. a slice of cake.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 655: ‘What you needs is a nice strong cup of cha and a wad’.

6. (drugs) a bag of tobacco or marijuana.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 wad n. [...] (3) a bag of tobacco or marijuana.

In compounds

wad-shifter (n.)

a teetotaller.

[UK](con. WWI) F. Richards Old Soldiers Never Die (1964) 119: If a teetotaller he was known as a ‘char wallah’, ‘bun-puncher’ or ‘wad-shifter.’.

In phrases

blow one’s wad (v.)

(US) to spend all one’s money.

[US]W. Guthrie Seeds of Man (1995) 275: Maybe he’s too busy a-blowin’ his wad on one o’ them high nosey dames, kind that ya’ve gotta cram ’er hole with a thousand-dollar bill, an’ light up a big ha’f dollar seegar in ’er ass t’ git ’er juicy, t’ git ’em warmed up fer fockin’.
Land Rover Owner Daily Digest 2 June 🌐 My business dealings with Seth and his company are limited (I blew my wad restoring my L-R before meeting him), but I have no negative memories.
[US]D. Allison On the Whispering Wind 112: They blow their wad [...] on long circuitous cab rides, as Cassidy describes them, ‘from East Jesus to West Buttfuck.’.
buy the wad (v.)

(US) to suffer whatever is worst.

A. Myrer Once an Eagle 186: I’ve bought the whole wad. I know [...] I’m going to check out [die], Sam.
shoot one’s wad (v.)

(US) to commit oneself absolutely, e.g. in spending money, to excess.

B. Dreyer Bluesky 25 Nov. 🌐 Boy, did they shoot their wad on the credits sequences and then start pinching pennies.
wad that would choke a wombat (n.) (also wad that would choke a coal chute, ...a donkey)

(Aus./US) an exceptionally impressive roll of cash.

Typographical Jrnl 64 516/1: M. W. Sills is[...] lugging around a wad that would choke an ostrich, or, possibly, an alligator, as proof of his puissant prescience as a political prognosticator.
[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 158: Riding the scout car with a gun on your life and a wad on your hip that would choke a coal chute.
[Aus] in A. Marshall These Are My People (1957) 143: This time I had piled up a wad that would choke a donkey, then I blew the lot.
[Aus]Baker Drum 120: A large roll of banknotes [...] a roll that would choke an anteater, a roll big enough to choke a bullock, a wad that would choke a wombat.
[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 344: Terry digs into his pockets and peels off three hundred in fifties from a horse-choker of a wad.