Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fiend n.

1. (orig. US drugs) an addict, esp. of opium; usu. in comb. with drug name [note Nat. Police Gaz. 20/2/1886 7/1: ‘“Fiends”, by which term is generally meant only Caucasian smokers’; contemporary use tends to be ironic].

[UK]Western Dly Press 29 July 2/6: The opium culture had only begun there during the past year [...] Dr Legge thinks the opium fiend will be exorcised.
[US]H.H. Kane Opium Smoking 51: The effects of opium-smoking [...] upon an habitual and excessive smoker or ‘fiend’.
[US] ‘Life in a New York Opium Den’ in T. Byrnes Professional Criminals of America 🌐 The old saying, ‘There is honor among thieves,’ applies equally well to opium fiends. They never steal from each other while in the joint.
[US]W.R. Cobbe Dr. Judas, A Portrayal of the Opium Habit 128: The effects of smoking in the ‘fiend’ endure for about eight hours; he has no need to resort to the pipe more than twice daily.
[US]T. Dreiser Sister Carrie 404: Like the morphine fiend, he was becoming addicted to his ease.
[US]C. M’Govern Sarjint Larry an’ Frinds 52: Was Oi iver afther tellin’ you, lootinant, about de expereince Oi wanst had wit’ a bino fiend [...] up in Batangas.
[US]N.Y. Times 28 Mar. n.p.: One of them, with the mendacity typical of morphine fiends, had stanchly declared himself cured of the habit and was about to leave the hospital when he heard of the experiments about to take place.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 11 May 14/4: They Say [...] That Joe P. has given up all his bad habits [...] but he is still a cigarette fiend.
[US]N.Y. Times 8 Feb. n.p.: Most of these insane drug users [...] were the victims of morphine; whereas the negro drug ‘fiend’ uses cocaine almost exclusively.
[UK](con. 1914) ‘Leda Burke’ Dope-Darling 43: He said in a low voice: ‘She is a cocaine fiend.’ Beatrice whistled.
[US]H.C. Witwer Alex The Great 291: They’re awful tough on hop fiends in this burg now.
[UK]E. Murphy Black Candle 276: In the Western Provinces of Canada, ‘fiends’ foregather in certain drug stores and purchase decks of cocaine, morphine and heroin as if these were candies, no prescriptions being required.
[US]H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 323: He was a camphor fiend and a cocaine addict.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 276: I don’t think he was a hop fiend.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 272: You ought to know not to camp with metho fiends by now.
[UK]P.C. Wren Odd – But Even So 23: I do not drink the black smoke. I am not an opium-fiend.
[US](con. 1920s) G. Fowler Schnozzola 88: He called this turn ‘The Hop Fiend’s Easter’.
[Aus]J. Cleary Sundowners 264: I’ll die decently drunk [...] a plonk fiend, maybe even drinking metho.
[US]E. Hunter ‘. . . Or Leave It Alone’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 59: Harry was a real fiend, an addict you know.
[US]J. Blake letter 13 Sept. in Joint (1972) 229: Looked like the star high school athlete who turns out to be a marijuana fiend.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 137: A butt wouldn’t finish rolling on the ground before it was scooped up and hoarded by some nicotine fiend.
[Ire]B. Geldof Is That It? 55: Murray’s wasn’t a nest of dope fiends, however.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 24: The scourge of grasshoppers and junk fiends everywhere.
[US]UGK ‘Pocket Full of Stones’ 🎵 And then them fiends started hittin crack viles.
[UK]J. Poller Reach 39: ‘It’s not ... bad for you,’ I say like an ageing dopefiend lethargically defending his chosen drug.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 153: If they happen to be coke fiends or smackheads, or E-chicks.
[US]G. Pelecanos Drama City 25: [of crack] Sittin’ around with a bunch of fiends, suckin’ on that glass dick.
[UK]K. Richards Life 204: Two fiends looking to see if they can get higher than ever before.
[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 132: The junkie tribe is a whole other category. Even though [...] I now owned the requisite face fur, my people were fiends, not hipsters.
[UK]K. Koke ‘Could Have Been’ 🎵 I ain’t chasing a dragon like feins on a foil. / I’m chasing my dreams, queens heads in the royal.
[US]F. Bill Back to the Dirt 86: ‘Way I hear it, they [i.e. drug dealers] got a fifty-fifty split, and I’ve been told this by more than one fiend in the valley’.

2. (US campus) a fool [fig. use of sense 1].

[UK]G.A. Sala in Living London (1883) Jan. 28: ‘Pug’ makes so many blunders, that at length his Gloomy Chief loses all patience with the ‘lubber fiend’.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 34: fiend, n. A fool, a blockhead.

3. an addict, an obsessive, other than of drugs.

[US]S.A. Mackeever Glimpses of Gotham and City Characters 51/1: The lunch fiend [i.e. a frequenter of free lunch counters] is always a man who has seen better days.
[UK]North West Chron. 20 Oct. 5/6: The Tea Fiend. To drink tea, the Dean of Bangor assures us, is as dangerous as to imbibe alcohol.
[US]World (N.Y.) 4 Jan. 19/7: THE POST-OFFICE FIEND. Every afternoon this crank can be seen busily engaged in writing letters (which are never mailed).
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 17: fiend n. A person wholly given up to one study or interest; an expert. ‘A philosophy fiend!’ ‘A chocolate fiend!’.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 34: fiend, n. 3. An instructor who makes his students work hard. [...] 5. An enthusiast. 6. A hard student.
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 x: I hears yu an’ Frenchy’s reg’lar poker fiends!
[US]Spokane Press 20 Feb. 17/2: Chop suey and noodle cafe of Kwong Hai Lo [...] where hundreds of noodle ‘fiends’ gather after theaters.
[US]R. Lardner ‘The Facts’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 453: I couldn’t trust a cigarette fiend with a nickel.
Eve. Sun (Baltimor, MD) 18 Nov. 3/3: horse, a pastry fiend / chases baker wagons / Owner Frantic Since Dobbin Ate / Doughnuts and Formed / Violent Craving.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 82: The habit had fastened on him. He became a fiend for gambling.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 27 May [synd. col.] Howard Chandler Christy is a frog leg fiend.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 262: They had me on the run, these crazy horsepower fiends.
[US]C.S. Montanye ‘Shoulder Straps’ in Thrilling Detective Feb. 🌐 I’m a fiend for a waxed floor and a gal to hoof with.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 41: Old Brossard was a bridge fiend, and he started looking around the dorm for a game.
[US]C. Brossard Bold Saboteurs (1971) 149: He’s a sex fiend.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 49: [T]he great army of jive fiends at this club of ours.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 43: Juicers on the wagon are all big coffee fiends.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 113: Dragged their by snatch-crazed fiends.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 3: fiend – to have a great love or obsession for: ‘Every time I visit you are sweeping; you must be a clean fiend’.
[US]B. Coleman Rakim Told Me 190: He ends our chat by dropping a newsflash that will make Juice Crew fiends froth [etc].

4. on bad = good model.

(a) (US campus) a clever student.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 34: fiend, n. One who excels in anything.
[US] ‘West Point Sl.’ in Howitzer (US Milit. Academy) 292–5: Fiend – One who is very skillful or a past-master at anything. Fiendish – Clever, remarkable; also eminently O. K., as, ‘a fiendish femme.’.

(b) (US black) a general term of praise for any person or thing.

[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 160: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Microphone fiend. Media assassin.

5. someone who smokes marijuana alone (since smoking is usu. a communal experience).

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 9: Fiend — Someone who smokes marijuana alone.

In phrases

hoosier fiend (n.) [hoosier n. (5)]

(US drugs) an inexperienced or naïve drug user, one who is in the early days of their addiction to narcotics.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 104/1: hoosier fiend. An inexperienced addict; a yokel who has become addicted, perhaps accidentally, and doesn’t know he is hooked until he is deprived of drugs and develops withdrawal distress.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 121: hoosier fiend An inexperienced drug fiend.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.