Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shorty n.

also shawty, shortie

1. a short person, often as a term of address or nickname; ironic use for a tall man.

[US]Eclectic Mag. July 416/2: One was a tall robust Yankee [...] the other a short little Cockney [...] Zeke the Yankee had christened his comrade ‘Shorty’.
[US]T.F. Upson diary in Winther With Sherman to the Sea (1958) 99: Chorus : There is Shorty Jones, just six feet six.
[US]W. Hilleary diary 23 Sept. in A Webfoot Volunteer (1965) 115: ‘Shorty’ the cook, (Smith 2d).
Boston Wkly Globe (MA) 30 Jan. 6/7: Persons doomed to everlasting ridicule [...] the ‘sawed-offs,’ the ‘shorties’ and the ‘snits’ of society.
[UK]Canterbury Jrnl 12 May 3/2: In some schools such boys are promptly nicknamed [...] Bricktop, Shorty, Beanpole.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 22 Jan. 3: He [began] wondering if his old friends, Shorty, and Puddin’ Foot, and Beaut, and other well-known roadsters, were shivering over a fire of old rails.
[US]J. London Tramp Diary in Jack London On the Road (1979) 38: One is about 6 foot 4, while the other is a little shorty.
[US]Hopper & Bechdolt ‘9009’ (1909) 55: A shock-headed, square-bodied little safe-cracker, called ‘Shorty’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Oct. 14/1: [cartoon caption] Long ’Un: ‘’Undreds of starvin’ Germans’ – / Shorty: ‘Pore cows! All the dust-bins must ’a’ got blown up.’.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Human Touch 5: ‘Hullo, Shorty,’ remarked the new-comer.
[UK]‘J.H. Ross’ Mint (1955) 155: The tall men are for memorial service tomorrow. The figure gives a large surplus of shorties.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 190: Shorty was a cheery little fellow, 5ft. tall, with merry blue eyes.
[US](con. WWI) H. Odum Wings on My Feet 129: Well, called ’em Funny Sambo and Shorty Geech.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 578: Don’t let him put anything over on you, Shorty.
[US]R. Chandler Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 223: Hi, Shorty. How’s all the bambinos?
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 136: Your own ears ain’t so little, Shorty.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Jennings Goes To School 95: Shorty and me are doing a bit of brass polishing.
[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 36: Junior was a shortie. A guy about five-six.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 161: How tall are you, Shorty?
[UK]J. Iggulden Storms of Summer 161: ‘Well . . . Ricco,’ said Shorty Burns, ‘You better call me Shorty.’ [...] ‘There’s just one thing Mr Shorty,’ said Ricco after a while.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 77: Well, you got me interested, shorty!
[US]E. Torres After Hours 42: Speak your mind . . . Shorty.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 57: Shorty, do you wanna come and have a ride with me.
[US]Ebonics Primer at ) [Internet] shawty Definition: a [...] short person.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 169: You, shorty, cross me again and I’ll cripple ya.
[US]Source Aug. 68: Shorty from Girlfight, Michelle Rodrigueze.

2. (US) half a pint of alcohol.

[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 20 Aug. [synd. col.] A ‘shortie’ of laughing soup, which is ½ a p;oint, costs only 35 cents a convulsion.

3. (US black) a young person.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 141: You head-pecked shorty, drive up to de cryin’ post and hitch up. You want another card?
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 253: ‘Shorty’, what if I told you I could beat this joint?
[US]Source Oct. 202: I see it. Shorties. 16-year-olds.
[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 54: ‘I was like a little shortie [i.e. aged 13]. I didn’t sell drugs. I didn’t run around shooting or none of that’.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 156: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Sheisty. Shorty. Shuffle.
[US]J. Stahl Pain Killers 170: Cathy, that shorty who did the doctor?
[US]K. Shea ‘Pride’ in C. Rhatigan and N. Bird (eds) Pulp Ink 2 [ebook] That watery-eyed shorty with the gold tooth.
Young M.A. ‘Eat’ [lyrics] Damn, I got a lotta bash for that phone shit / [...] / Shawty knew I was playing just on some joke shit.

4. (US black) a child.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 30 Sept. 11/2: [cartoon caption: child to younger one] Come on, Shorty, there’s a bow-legged guy in the front row who don’t wear ‘drapes’ .
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: shorties n. small children.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 297: ‘Man, let the little ones go past.’ ‘Shorty comin’.’.
[US]Noreaga ‘Flagrant Cops’ [lyrics] Yo in the whip yo the windows clogged up / Shorty givin me head mouth clogged up.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 181: Niggers I’ve known since back in the day when we was shorter than shorties.
[US]Ebonics Primer at [Internet] shorties Definition: little children Example: Der be little shorties playin’ der.
[US]Prison Slang Mommyblogger 23 Sept. [Internet] So your shortie jacked some wham whams from her ace-duces clavo?

5. (orig. US black, also shatty) a woman, a girlfriend; occas. a boyfriend.

[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 120: Shorty played it smooth, hanging out with her homegirls.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Shatty/shawty/shorty (noun & vocative) 1. Female; used to replace a name. [...] 3. The person with whom you are sleeping. 4. An attractive person of the opposite sex. [...] 5. Girl; friend; associate. [...] 6. Cute girl, or guy, a short person, or just a name to call someone. [...] 7. Your girlfriend.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 170: Girl, you my shorty, my wisdom, my Earth.
[US]Source Aug. 68: Wait for the video to come out on this one, get a shorty, and watch it at the crib.
[US]50 Cent ‘Wangsta’ [lyrics] Shorty she so fine, I gotta make her mines.
[US]UGK ‘Life Is 2009’ [lyrics] They call ’em shorties (shawty) we call ’em hoes (hoes).
[US]G. Hayward Corruption Officer [ebk] cap. 11: If you hook up with one of these shorties and ya’ll really feeling each other, she becomes your jail wife.
[US]‘Dutch’ ? (Pronounced Que) [ebook] Shameeq looked shorty over. She was a fly, chinky-eyed cinnamon bun.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014 Fall 6: SHAWTY — female, especially an attractive one: ‘Let me buy you a drink, shawty’.

6. (US black) a small penis.

[US]Ebonics Primer at shorty Definition: 1. a small penis.

In phrases

Shorty Brown in swimming (n.)

(US short-order) short ribs in brown gravy.

Commercial (Union City, TN) 22 May 5/1: ‘Shorty Brown in swimming.’ Short ribs in brown gravy.