Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bomb n.

1. (US) a surprise or unpleasant event, a sensational development.

[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 58: I had just ben saying to myself ‘Death, where is thy jolly old sting?’ when she hove the bomb.
[US]S. Lewis Kingsblood Royal (2001) 238: That evening, Clem had a few other bombs.
C. ‘Kid’ Motsisi ‘Mattress’ Casey and Co. (1978) 19: He throws the bomb I’ve been expecting right in my face. When do I think I’m going to pay my last month’s rent, he wants to know.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 133: When the man dropped the bomb, they just sort of eased away. I guess they didn’t want to hear no more.
[US]H. Dowd ‘Crazy Summer’ 🌐 The five days from when mom laid this bomb on me, and the following Tuesday, went by quickly.
[US]R. Cea No Lights, No Sirens 251: [N]arcotics collared some mope [...] He started to drop bombs for the narcotics guys, gave up a shooter for a body.

2. (US prison) an egg, usu. boiled.

[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 580: In virtually all American prisons [...] eggs are bombs.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

3. (US) a hard blow (with a fist).

[US]F. Flora ‘Collector Comes after Payday’ in Best of Manhunt (2019) [ebook] The old man set up him up with a left jab and threw a bomb.
[US]W. Pastrano in Heller In This Corner (1974) 395: I never took so many punches [...] He bombed some bombs at me.
[US]R. Graziano Somebody Down Here Likes Me, Too 41: I hit him with one of my bombs in the first round.
[US]F.X. Toole Rope Burns 54: Fifth round and Dashiki make his run. He come out throwing bombs.
[US](con. 1954) ‘Jack Tunney’ Tomato Can Comeback [ebook] He puffs hard right before he unleashes one of those bombs.

4. a large sum of money; often in make a bomb

[UK]B. Hill Boss of Britain’s Underworld 4: From the race-tracks alone they earned bombs in dough.
[UK]F. Norman Fings I i: I feel dead lucky – reckon I could earn meself a bomb.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 32: He’s sitting on a bomb.
[UK]J. Sherwood Botanist at Bay 128: The venison alone must sell for a bomb.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 159: Her notebooks would fetch a bomb.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘Time to Munch Our Moggies’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] And the first half-smart business man/woman who doesn’t mind getting a bit of dirt on their hands is going to make a bomb.
[Ire](con. 1970) G. Moxley Danti-Dan in McGuinness Dazzling Dark (1996) I iv: Would you say the Topaz suite at the airport would charge a bomb for the reception?
[UK]J. Fagan Panopticon (2013) 225: You remember Mark [...] He owes the troll a bomb.

5. (US) a very sexy woman.

L. Margulies Punk 110: She’s a bomb ... a great, big wonderful bomb [HDAS].

6. (US teen) verbal aggression.

[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 76: But it was too neat an evening for bombs so they all waved and gave him the eye.

7. as a vehicle or gadget.

(a) (US) a fast car or motorcycle.

[US] ‘Hot Rod Lexicon’ in Hepster’s Dict. 1: Bomb – A car that goes fast.
[US]G. Swarthout Where the Boys Are 16: I bought a car, a year-old Porsche, a real bomb.
[US]L. Bruce Essential Lenny Bruce 139: A ’36 Terraplane. They’re bombs. Good roadability.
[US]Chopper Mag. Mar. 15/2: All you got was a few quick glances, possibly sufficient to qualify your ‘bomb’ as a ‘real hot scoot’.

(b) (orig. Aus./N.Z./US) a dilapidated, run-down old car.

[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 14: Racing back to town in a Beat-up Bomb.
[UK]J. Iggulden Storms of Summer 341: That’s their joint with the old bomb outside. That old ute of theirs.
[Aus]A. Buzo Rooted I iii: It’s a wonder you haven’t got a defect notice for that old bomb of yours.
[Aus]K. Gilbert Living Black 62: I wound my old blue bomb up and started to drive across those plains.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 108: He just drove old bombs — for the time being anyway.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 17/2: bomb old dilapidated car or motorbike; c.1945.
[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 62: He had just bought a ‘bomb,’ a 1950s car cut low and sleek.
[Aus]L. Davies Candy 46: We jumped in the car, an old bomb Len had given us.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

(c) (US prison) toilet paper rolled in a certain way so that it continues to burn for a long time when set alight .

[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 198: bomb, n. – toilet paper rolled in such a manner that it will burn for several minutes; used to heat water or food.

(d) (Aus./N.Z. prison) an illicit gadget used to heat water (for brewing tea etc).

[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 85: Every smoko time, at about 20, Junk or Baine would pull their bombs out of snooker and brew up a cup of tea or cocoa.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Boiler. A home-made implement usually comprising two razor blades separated by matches used for boiling water. This practice is illegal because dangerous voltage fluctuations occur. Kits of this sort appear to have wide usage. In New Zealand they are referred to as ‘bombs’.

(e) (S.Afr. prison) solitary confinement .

[SA]A. Lovejoy Acid Alex 206: I’ve been to the bomb for three weeks for being caught with sarmies that a Welfare worker threw away in a bin.

8. in the context of drug use.

(a) a very large and potent cannabis cigarette.

[US]Kerouac letter 27 May in Charters I (1995) 358: I am of course indulging in a perfect orgy of Miss Green & can hardly see straight right at this minute, whoo! 3 bombs a day.
[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 27: A bomb is about as big as a Pall Mall and as fat as a Pall Mall.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 171: You kin roll it real fat. One o’ dem bombs.
[US]R.C. Cruz Straight Outta Compton 52: LeRoy saw a man put a bomb in his mouth and light it [...] It was a Bob Marley bigger-than-life joint.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 4: Bomb — [...] large marijuana cigarette.

(b) any form of pill containing sleep-inducing or depressant drugs.

in J.C. Pratt Vietnam Voices 239: I had two or three of our ‘red bomb’ sleeping pills.
J. Hudson Case of Need 185: Bombs [...] Speed. Lifts. Jets. Bennies [HDAS].
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself 122: Dexatrim and Vivarin, the caffeine bombs.
[UK]H. Kureishi Black Album 52: ‘How many d'you want?’ the kid said. ‘Three.’ The kid laid three of the bombs in his palm; Shahid popped two. ‘What d'you call these?’ Shahid asked. ‘These white ones? Leg-openers. I’ve got other sorts’.

(c) (Aus.) an illegal stimulant given to a racing animal.

[Aus]Morn. Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld) 3 June 6/4: The administration of the dope is often carried out in the crudest possible manner, and to the permanent injury of a horse. There is a type of trainer only too ready to listen to suggestions that all his horse needs is a ‘bomb’ to make him win several races on end.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxii 7/1: bomb: A stimulant given to a greyhound or a racehorse.

(d) heroin or other narcotics of well-above-average purity.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 8: I got a bomb to knock your nuts out.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 104: He knows where to cop the bomb at.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 337: bomb: High-potency heroin.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 7: Man, that shit’s a bomb.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 4: Bomb — [...] high potency heroin.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Straight and True’ Wire ser. 3 ep. 5 [TV script] [of crack] They say the WND is the bomb.

(e) crack cocaine.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 4: Bomb — Crack.

(f) phencyclidine mixed with formaldehyde.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 51: Squeeze also Mr. Whipple and Bomb Expressions used in reference to the drug PCP that has been mixed with embalming fluid.

(g) (US) a package of drugs.

[US]S. Moore In The Cut 63: I have many more words for the dictionary [...] bomb, drug package.

(h) amphetamine, mixed into a drink and swallowed.

[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 291: Fuck snortin, fuck bombs, fuck dabbin.

(i) swallowing a package of otherwise unpleasantly tasting drugs.

[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw vii: Bomb The practice of wrapping noxious-tasting drugs in Rizla paper and swallowing.

9. (orig. US theatre) a disaster, a flop.

[US]Mad mag. May–June 32: Saw ‘Our American Cousin’ when it played Chicago. It is a bomb. [...] Stay home.
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 35: The Club Charles in Baltimore was my last bomb.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 281: This stinker, loser, bomb, meant twenty-three million dollars of P-P’s money down the toilet.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 28: The whole thing turned into a disaster [...] the new venue was a complete bomb.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 3: Bomb: 1. A bad production, The play was a bomb.
[US]B. Popik mail to ADS-L 🌐 29 May I hope an ADS-member dialect coach didn’t work on this ‘bomb’.

10. (orig. UK theatre) a major success; esp. in phr. go down a bomb.

implied in like a bomb
Pink 12 May n.p.: The gig was fantastic – we went down a bomb [KH].
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘The Longest Night’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] You wouldn’t go down a bomb at the Ram Jam Club, would yer?
[UK]Observer Rev. 11 July 9: Bet it goes down a bomb in Seattle.
[UK]Guardian 14 Jan. 32: It went down a bomb with a group of under-10s.

11. (US black/campus, also da bomb, bombness) constr. with the, the best.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 160: I got the bomb, baby, the bomb!
[US]G. Tate ‘Santana’ in Flyboy in the Buttermilk (1992) 92: Even when that boy’s music ain’t the shit his album covers always been the bomb.
[US] Dr Dre ‘Bitches Ain’t Shit’ 🎵 The pussy was the bomb, had a nigga on sprung.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 2: the/da bomb – the best, amazingly good or admirable [...] ‘When it comes to basketball, Michael Jordan is da bomb.’.
[UK]Guardian Guide 22–28 Jan. 28: This Justin Future is Da Bomb.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 22: ‘That was the bomb,’ he says enthusiastically.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: the bombness – very cool or fun: Last night was the bombness.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 198: ‘That’s the bomb,’ the crowd cried, and ‘Awesome!’.
Zenobia 2 fast Going Nowhere 86: Da’ Bomb Birthday ‘La come on out,’ shouted Derek.
[UK]A. Wheatle Crongton Knights 138: ‘Those cheesecakes are the bomb!’.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 169: It’s Aarah-Marie. Do the Bum Dance! You’re the Bomb!!!
[US]C.D. Rosales Word Is Bone [ebook] Art Laboe’s [radio] show is still the bomb.

12. (US) in pl., the female breasts.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 85: Bombs The female breasts.
J. Torres et al. Scream Blacula [film script] Come on, come on, let me get a good feel of those bombs [HDAS].

13. (US campus) the grade of B.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

14. (US campus) a difficult examination.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS.

In compounds

bomb-battery (n.) [joc. play on bum n.1 (1)]

the buttocks, the posterior.

[UK]Peeping Tom (London) 28 112/2: [H]er garments [...] rose [...] far above the lady’s bomb-battery.

In phrases

cost a bomb (v.)

to cost a great deal.

F. Norman in Sun. Graphic 20 July n.p.: Every time I go to Soho it costs me a bomb.
[UK]A. Bleasdale Scully 166: It must be costin’ Florrie a bomb. All the drinks are on her.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 126: I hurtled through a quick time for . . . don’t ask / it cost a bomb.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 26 Aug. 7: The Cleopatra costs a bomb.
[Aus]P. Temple Dead Point (2008) [ebook] ’Must be good to live on the water.’ ‘The best. Cost a fucken bomb’.
[UK]Guardian G2 4 June 5: It costs a bomb.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I smelled aftershave that must have cost a bomb but was way too sweet and musky.
have the bomb (v.)

(Aus.) of individuals, to fail, to be rejected; of machinery to break down (irrevocably).

[Aus]‘Bluey’ Bush Contractors 265: The old winch has about had the bomb though it’s at its maximum pull.
C. Bowles G’DAY! 9: MACKA: What about we try an con up those two tarts inner corner? SHANE: Nar, I’ve ad the bomb.
like a bomb (adv.)

1. very successfully.

[UK]H.E. Bates Darling Buds of May (1985) 108: The thing positively went like a bomb.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 78: Any old how, the show went like a bomb.

2. (orig. US) very fast.

[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 184: Toby, who was a highly-skilled mechanic, had given it a V8 engine that could go like a bomb.
[UK]A. Buckeridge Trust Jennings (1989) 5: Sometimes the lesson went like a bomb.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 81: It ain’t so bad. She’ll go like a bomb again.
[UK]Guardian 12 Sept. 🌐 The combination of strong interims and a clutch of positive announcements has made it hot property in the City. As one analyst put it: ‘If results are anything in line with what people are expecting, it is going to go like a bomb.’.
make a bomb (v.)

to make a great deal of money.

[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 79: Most of them [i.e. prison warders] are [...] too scared to do any trafficing, but the ones that do make a bomb.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 30: He [...] had made a bomb out of most of them and charvered them into the bargain.
[UK]Times 14 Sept. 8: I’d put my granny’s savings in it, not to make a bomb, but as a secure blue chip for a steady income.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 49: I made a bomb.
on the bomb (adj.)

(US) in fine condition.

[US]Day Book (Chicago) 17 June 26/2: ‘How do you feel?’ the blackhand man asked of his bosom chum. ‘Well, comrade,’ he replied, ‘today I’m feeling on the bomb.’.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

In compounds

bombhead (n.)

see separate entry.

bomb-proof (adj.) [SE]

(orig. US milit.) untouchable, absolutely secure and safe.

L.N. Smith Lingo of No Man’s Land 15: BOMB-PROOF A safe job; same as ‘cushy’.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
bombshell (n.)

see separate entry.

In exclamations

bombs away!

(Aus.) used to announce an act of defecation.

[Aus]Tharunka (Sydney) 3 Sep. 17/5: I can remember not so long ago, when one could plant their feet firmly on a toilet seat, of being able to gaze at my members gently rocking to and fro, and listen to that cry of ‘bombs away’.