Green’s Dictionary of Slang

gab n.2

[Scot. gab, talk volubly]

1. (also gabs, twattle-gab) idle chatter.

[UK]A. Shirrefs Jamie and Bess v: Ye snarlin’ Critics, spare your bang, / It’s nae for you I write my Sang, / Sae steek your gab, for ye’ll be wrang, / To think to tease me; / Ere I reply, ye’se a ga’e hang.
[UK]M.P. Andrews Better Late than Never 46: My master, Councillor Gab, hath order’d me to run after you with a letter.
[UK] ‘Jenny’s Bawbee’ Jovial Songster 105: A lawyer neist wi’ blatherin’ gab, / Wi’ speeches wove like ony web.
[UK]‘Elegy Written in Spa-Fields’ in Morn. Post 13 Feb. 2/4: Can PRESTON’S gab come nearer to the mark? Or cow-mouth'd PENDRILL’S efforts at debate?
[Scot]Proceedings of Jockey and Maggy 38: A foul be your gabs, ye’re a fae gash o’ your gabbies.
[UK]Satirist (London) 30 Dec. 420/3: Upon foreign affairs they’ll admit me a dab, / And equal to bother them, all with my gab.
[US]J. Neal Down-Easters I 104: I’m some tired o’ that feller’s gab.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 96: Well, well, says I, a-stoppin’ of her gab.
[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 5 May 3/2: [W]hat with ther Newmarket Meeting and ther Chester bizness, that you ain’t got room for any of my gab this week.
[US]F.M. Whitcher Widow Bedott Papers (1883) 34: Folks’ll stop their gab about me and him now.
[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 19 Apr. n.p.: Wonder if Mrs M. and Miss M.W. [...] have got through with their twattle-gab about their neighbors?
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 35: gabs Talk.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US] ‘Tim Finigan’s Wake’ in I. Beadle Comic and Sentimental Song Bk 60: Och, none of your gab, sez Judy Magee.
[US]F. Dumont Africanus Blue Beard 5: I’ll get rid of this mother-in-law’s gab.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 1 July 10/2: The officials [...] are stricken dumb, paralysed under the flow of gab.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 7/1: So also has Dictator Dalley by his martial move furnished a subject for a rival to step into the arena of bunkum, and wrest from him the proud title of the champion of hifalutin gab.
[US]G. Davis Recoll. Sea-Wanderer 266: Everyone felt at ease, had full liberty to spin all his ancient yarns, now called chestnuts by landsmen, and to patiently listen to contests in which one Jack Tar tried to outsail all the others on the sea of gab and froth.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 34: I was always a one-er for the gab.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Oct. 26/2: ‘Jeff, this fellow Johnson likes to kid when he’s fighting, and he’ll talk his head off if there’s anyone to talk to. [...] When he starts talking to me you hook him with the left, and we’ll all be home in 10 minutes.’ Well, I was there with the gab, but Jeff wasn’t there with the wallop.
[Ire]K.F. Purdon Dinny on the Doorstep 142: And now let you hold your whist and not be puttin’ in your gab where it’s not wanting!
[US]M.E. Smith Adventures of a Boomer Op. 60: There wasn’t anything to his gab, that was the worst of it.
[US]C.R. Shaw Jack-Roller 123: He put up an oily line of gab.
[US]J. Mitchell ‘Professor Sea Gull’ in Joe Gould’s Secret (1996) 13: The Oral History is a great hodgepodge of [...] gab, palaver, hogwash, flapdoodle, and malarkey.
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 39: Oh, don’t worry about me, cock. I’m all gab.
[Aus]D. Niland Gold in the Streets (1966) 117: Gab, gab, gab; wax-boring old goat.
[US](con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 102: ‘I’m willing to pay for [...] talking to this man.’ ‘Ha!’ Mrs. Bosch folded her arms across her chest. ‘Pay for gab?’.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 72: The Sunday gab sessions were as enjoyable as those in the Hallock County can.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 148: That was all just gab an’ chirp.

2. talk, conversation, esp. charming and persuasive.

[UK]Morn. Post (London) 9 Jan. 3/3: You’ve heard the famous speech of draper Waithman [...] some others too are caught completely by his gab.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 277: Fools spake mighty sinsible betimes; but their wisdom all goes with their gab.
[US]Southern Literary Messenger Apr. 214: Cave was a man of mark [...] applying his talents to the slang-whanging departments of the profession. He went in for gab.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK] ‘’Arry to the Front!’ in Punch 9 Mar. 100/2: The traitors are great on the gab, but the tongue ain’t no match for the stick.
[UK]Leics. Chron. 31 May 12/2: Jerry, being ‘long in the tongue department,’ with plentyof gab, did fairly well as a hawker of small wares.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Ochre’ in Punch 15 Oct. 169/2: I suppose arf his gab is sheer mammon.
[Aus]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 119: They will have to stop our gab if they don’t want more of the same sort.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 100: Most of us young guys are gushers with the loud language when the Best and Only is in the building. How we like to gather the gab.
[Ire]Joyce ‘Counterparts’ Dubliners (1956) 94: What the hell do you know about it? [...] What do you put in your gab for?
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe on the Job 192: Leave me the transportation and talent end, while you do the polite gab at the main entrance.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Brain Goes Home’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 223: It seems that Bobby Baker likes highbrow gab.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 224: A smooth kind of gab, full of long skullbusting words and cliquish doubletalk.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 172: He cut the gab short when I appeared.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 182: I know you’re first trips, but don’t worry, you’ll get used to sea gab.
[US]I. Doig Eng. Creek 204: She and my father traded gab with the Hahns.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 165: He had loads of charm [...] all the wit and gab in the world.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 4: She had the stones. He had the bunco-artist gab.

3. a (foreign) language.

[UK] ‘’Arry on Commercial Education’ in Punch 26 Sept. in P. Marks (2006) 124: I ’ate all dashed foriners [...] / They ’ave gabs as we carn’t understand.

4. (US) one who talks too freely, one who cannot keep a secret.

[US]M. West Pleasure Man (1997) II ii: She’s not able to keep anything to herself. She’s such an awful gab.

5. as the gabs, a propensity to talk too much.

[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 108: What’s one less bag man with a case of the gabs.

In phrases

all gab and guts (like a young crow) (adj.)

irrepressibly and noisly loquacious.

Specimens of Eng. Dialects (Eng. Dialect Soc.) 2: All gab and guts like a young crow, a comparison.
[UK]W. Dickinson Gloss. [of] Dialect of Cumberland 2: All gab and guts like a young crow, a comparison.
[US]U. Sinclair (ed.) Cry for Justice 124: They’re all gab and guts, like young crows [...] And they think more of their dogs than they do of men like me and you.
[Ire]L. Doyle Dear Ducks 11: He’s all gab and guts, like a young crow.
M. Cadhain Dirty Dust 200: You’re all gab and guts and a filthy liar, you Toejam Nora you.
stow one’s gab (v.) (also cheese one’s gabs, cut one’s gab, hold..., stash...)

to stop talking, esp. as imper.

[UK]G. Colman Yngr John Bull III ii: Hoold [sic] your gab, woman.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie I iv: Then hold your gab, and hear what I’ve to tell.
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) III 64: Now, hold your gab, I tell you my plan is settled.
[US]A. Greene Glance at N.Y. II ii: Oh! stow your gab, Major.
[Aus]Northern Star (Leeds) 17 Apr. 12/3: Now do this, or for ever hold your gab.
[US]Calif. Police Gazette 17 Apr. 1/2: I’ll see you d---d first before I ‘pitch’ any more, unless you ‘cheese’ your ‘gabs’.
[UK]C. Reade Hard Cash II 242: ‘Stash your gab,’ said Mr. Green, roughly.
[UK]Penny Illus. Paper (London) 13 Oct. 10/1: ‘Stow yer gab, d’ye hear?’.
[US]Burlington Dly Sentinel (VT) 27 May 1/4: ‘Stash your gab,’ said the gypsy. ‘Folk’s coming’.
[US]G.G. Hart E.C.B. Susan Jane 8: Now I want ye all to ‘hold yer gab’.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Admiral Guinea III ii: Stow your gab.
[UK] ‘My Sally’ in Baumann (1902) cxix: Stow this ’ere gab, Billy, do!
[UK]Arbroath Herald 28 Apr. 2/5: ‘Haud your gabs, baith ’o you’’.
[UK]Marvel 12 Dec. 8: Stow your gab, Letitia!
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ In Bad Company 61: You hold yer gab, youngster.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 203: ‘Stubble the gab!’ whispered the brute-faced creature who sat across-table from the garrulous yeggman; ‘stubble, and ware the bull!’.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 79: Hod [sic] thy gab.
[US]P. Kyne Cappy Ricks 193: Stow the gab, you big Finn!
[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 13/2: Stow the gab – Stop talking.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Winner Take All’ Fight Stories July 🌐 Aw, stow yer gab, ye bleedin’ mick!
[Aus]R.S. Close Love me Sailor 86: Hey! stow yer gabs there, an’ let Ernie play us somethin’.
[US]M. Rumaker Exit 3 and Other Stories 93: Come on, cut that gab and let’s get outa here!