Green’s Dictionary of Slang

high adj.1

1. [17C+] intoxicated with drink or poss. religious/spiritual enthusiasm.

2. [late 19C] (US) unfettered by social rules.

3. [1930s+] intoxicated with drugs.

4. [1930s+] very enthusiastic about or taken with something; often as high on

5. [1930s+] exhilarated; experiencing the sensation of drugs but without having taken any.

6. [2000s] in fig. use, successful [on the pattern of dope adj.1 ].

In phrases

get high (v.)

1. [mid-19C+] to drink, to be drunk.

2. [1930s+] (drugs) to experience a drug.

get high behind (v.)

[1950s+] (drugs) to experience a drug.

half-high (adj.)

[1960s–70s] (US) tipsy, mildly drunk.

high as a Georgia pine (adj.) (also higher than a Georgia pine)

[1920s+] (US black) very drunk.

high as a kite (adj.)

1. [20C+] in fig. use, emotionally stimulated, e.g. very happy or shocked; thus kite-high adj.

2. [late 19C+] a general intensifier.

3. [1930s+] very drunk [+ addition of rhy. sl. high as a kite = tight adj. (5)].

4. [1930s+] intoxicated by a drug.

high as ninety (adj.)

[mid-19C] (US) drunk [the use of ninety may be ext. of trad. image of nine as a lucky number].

high on [1930s+] (orig. US)

1. enthusiastic about.

2. in ample possession of.

SE in slang uses

Pertaining to the UK Und., implying superior

In compounds

high cape (n.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a dashing swindler.

high gammon (n.) [gammon n.2 (2)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) adopting an aristocratic persona for the purposes of swindling.

high-gloak (n.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a well-dressed highwayman.

high-go (n.) [go n.1 (3)]

[early 19C] a frolic, a spree.

high-grade (n.)

[2000s+] (US drugs) top quality marijuana.

high heel game (n.)

[1900s] (US) a form of confidence trick.

high mob (n.) (also high mobsmen)

[late 19C] (UK Und.) leading criminals.

high pad (n.) [pad n.1 (3)] (UK Und.)

1. [mid-16C–early 17C] the highway.

2. [mid-17C–mid-19C] (also high-padsman) a highwayman; also as n., high-padding, highway robbery.

3. (mid-17C) a horse thief.

high spicer (n.)

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a highwayman.

high tober (n.) [note EP suggests a mis-reading of high-toby n. and thus mis-definition]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und., an elite highwayman; US Und.) a superior thief.

General uses


see separate entries.

highbeams (n.) [SE highbeams, automobile headlights when they are not dipped] [1980s+]

1. (drugs) the wide eyes of a person on crack cocaine.

2. (US campus) prominent nipples.

highbinder/binding (n.)

see separate entries.

high blower (n.) [its heavy breathing]

[late 18C–mid-19C] a broken-down horse.

high boy (n.)

1. [18C] a High Churchman, and thus usu. a supporter of Jacobitism.

2. see highball n.1


see separate entries.

high brown

see separate entries.

high-cap (v.)

[1990s+] (US black) to show off.

high class (n.)

[2000s] (US prison) hepatitis C.

high cockalorum

see separate entries.

high cotton (n.)

see separate entry.

high-daddy (adj.) [daddy n. (6)]

[late 19C+] (US) slick, deceptive, excellent, pleasing.

high dice (n.)

fixed dice that will always show high numbers.

high diver (n.) [dive v.]

1. [1930s+] (US) a pickpocket.

2. [1930s+] one who performs cunnilingus.

high drag (n.) [drag n.1 (8b)]

[1960s] (US gay) formal clothing of the opposite sex.

high Dutch (n.) [presumably fig. use not of ‘Dutch’ but Hochdeutsch, High German, the German spoken in the southern part of the country]

[17C–mid-19C] nonsense, unintelligible gibberish.

high-end (adj.) [orig. commercial use]

[1960s+] (US) expensive or first-class.


see separate entries.

high fence (n.)

[1910s] (US tramp) a detachable white shirt collar.

high five

see separate entries.

high fly/-flyer/-flying/

see separate entries.

high guy (n.) [guy n.2 (1)]

[late 19C+] (US) an important person.

high hard yard (n.)

[1940s] (US black) a high stuff collar.

high hat/hatted/hatter/hatty

see separate entries.

high-headed (adj.) [orig. used of horses, referring to the way a horse carries its head high]

[20C+] (US) arrogant, haughty, self-important.


see separate entries.

high iron (n.)

[1930s–60s] (US tramp) the railroad, esp. as regards the main rather than branch lines.

highjacker (n.) [hijack v. (1)]

[1930s] (US Und.) a criminal or tramp who robs other criminals or tramps.

high jinks (n.) [SE high jinks, any form of game, usu. involving some form of forfeit, that is played by drinkers]

[late 17C–mid-19C] a gambler who drinks with his victim in order to render the latter more malleable.

high jump (n.)

see separate entry.

high-kicker (n.)

1. [late 19C+] (US) a dissolute person [image of a troublesome horse that kicks out].

2. [1900s] (Aus.) a chorus girl [the focal point of her performance].

high law/lawyer

see separate entries.

high living (n.) [pun]

[late 18C–early 19C] esp. of a thief, living in a garret or cockloft, i.e. a very small room immediately above the garret; thus high-liver, one who occupies a garret.

highlow (n.)

[1990s+] (US black) a variety of hairstyle, similar to the fade n. (4)

highlows (n.) [such footwear stands between low shoes and high boots]

[19C] laced boots that reach the ankles.

high maintenance (adj.)

[1980s+] (US) emotionally (or otherwise) demanding; thus low maintenance, easy-going.

high men (n.)

[mid-16C–early 18C] crooked dice that will always produce a high number.

high muck-a-muck (n.)

see separate entry.

high nation (n.) [-nation sfx]

[20C+] (W.I.) a high-caste East Indian.

high nellie (n.) (also high maggie)

[20C+] (Irish) an old-fashioned ladies’ bicycle.

high nose/nosed

see separate entries.

high octane

see separate entries.

high pike (n.) [SE pike, the toll paid at a turnpike]

[mid-19C] an exorbitantly high price.

high-post (adj.)

1. [1980s+] (US black) sophisticated, classy.

2. [1980s] (US black) in neg. use of sense 1, pretentious.

3. [1990s+] (US black) arrogant, supercilious.

high-play (v.)

[1960s] (US Und.) to act in an ostentatious manner.

highpockets (n.) (also high pocket, man with the high pockets)

[1910s+] (orig. US) a tall man; thus a nickname.

high-post (v.)

[1990s+] (US black) to show off.

high power (n.)

1. [1940s+] (US prison) the maximum security section; also attrib.

2. [1970s] a trusty n.2

high pressure

see separate entries.

high queen (n.)

[2000s] (S.Afr. gay) an active homosexual man, as opposed to a passive one, a top man under top adj.


see separate entries.

high roll/roller/rolling

see separate entries.

high-season(ed) brown (n.)

[1900s–60s] (US black) a beautiful, brown-skinned woman.


see separate entries.

high shot (n.) [var. on big shot n. (1)]

[1920s+] (orig. US) a superior person or one who claims to be superior; also attrib.


see separate entries.

high sign

see separate entries.

high-steam (adj.) [? SE high esteem]

[1940s] (W.I.) very good, superior.


see separate entries.

hightail (v.)

see separate entry.

high tec (n.) [play on SE high tec(hnology)]

[2000s] (drugs) alkyl nitrites.

high tide (n.)

1. [late 17C–mid-19C] a state of financial security.

2. a state of drunkenness.

high-toby (n.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.

high-top fade (n.) [fade n. (4)]

[1980s+] a style of haircut favoured by young blacks.


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

high yellow

see separate entries.

In phrases

high and dry

see separate entries.

high collar and short shirt (n.)

[late 19C] an imitation dandy.

high-cut (adj.)

[early 19C] of wagering, high-stakes.

higher than...

see separate entries.

high on the hog (also high off the hog) [that area of the animal from which come the choicest cuts of pork and its by-products]

[1940s+] living a comfortable, secure and well-off life; esp. in phrs. eat/live high on/off the hog (cf. live high ).

high-school harry (n.) (also harry high school)

[1930s+] (US campus) generic for any male high school student; .

live high (v.)

[mid-18C+] to live a comfortable, secure and well-off life (cf. high on the hog ).