Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bitch n.1

[bitch as derog. sl. dates to early 17C, before which it had been SE. By 18C it was seen, according to Grose, as ‘the most offensive appellation that can be given to an English woman, even more provoking than that of whore’, and he cites the ‘Billingsgate’ rejoinder: ‘I may be a whore, but can’t be a bitch’. The original use implied disapproval of the woman’s sexuality, e.g. bitch in heat; today’s use focuses on her personality]

1. of women.

(a) [late 14C+] a derog. term for a woman, usu. judged an unpleasant one.

(b) attrib. use of sense 1a.

(c) [18C+] a general derog. term of address to a woman; or female creature.

(d) [late 17C+] a prostitute.

(e) [mid-19C+] the queen in playing cards or in chess.

(f) [1970s+] (US black) a girlfriend.

(g) [1980s] (US campus) the middle seat in a car, i.e. where a woman sits.

2. an object or person, irrespective of gender.

(a) [16C+] (UK/W.I.) a general derog. term for a man.

(b) [18C+] (orig. US) something or someone considered extraordinary or surprising.

(c) [early 19C+] an otherwise unspecified object, or creature.

(d) [1910s+] (W.I./UK/US black teen) a person, neither necessarily negative nor aimed solely at women, nor used solely by men.

(e) [1920s+] (orig. US) an exceptionally skilled person.

3. a weak or effeminate man; a homosexual.

(a) [mid-18C+] a derog. term for a weak or subservient man; thus as a term of address.

(b) [late 18C-early 19C] (UK campus) one who plays host at a tea-party.

(c) [1920s+] (US gay/prison, also bitchy) an effeminate male, supposedly the ‘passive’ partner in a homosexual couple; a male prostitute.

(d) in attr. use of sense 3d, pertaining to homosexuality.

(e) [1950s+] (US prison) a homosexual.

(f) [1960s] (gay) a fellow homosexual, usu. a friend.

(g) [1990s+] (gay) a submissive lesbian.

(h) [1990s+] a subservient person, a servant.

4. a problem, a complaint.

(a) [mid-18C+] anything unpleasant, difficult, problematic, ‘the devil’, e.g. that’s the bitch of it; ain’t this (about) a bitch.

(b) [1940s+] (orig. US) a complaint.

(c) [1950s+] one, irrespective of gender, who complains or makes (what are perceived as) unfairly negative comments.

5. [1960s+] (US prison) often as big bitch, a conviction under any crime that carries a mandatory life sentence; or a sentence so long that it is an equivalent.

6. [1960s] (US gang) as infix.

7. [1990s+] a large amount of money.

8. [1990s+] (US black) a thing.

In derivatives

bitchery (n.)

1. [late 16C-mid-18C] of a woman, behaviour categorised as unacceptable, usu. in the context of sex.

2. [1920s] (US gay) a bar frequented by homosexuals.

Bitchville (n.) [sense 1a + -ville sfx1 ]

1. [1990s+] of a woman, a state of extreme unpleasantness; used by men to denote (unacceptable) independence .

2. [1990s+] (US) a notional state of cowardice.

In compounds

bitch-ass (adj.)

see separate entry.

bitch bath (n.)

1. [1940s–50s] (US) a ‘bath’ in which the usual water is replaced by an application of cosmetics, masking the dirt rather than removing it.

2. [2000s+] (US) a cursory wash or ‘bath’ in a minimal amount of water (var. on whore splash under whore n.

bitch booby (n.) [booby n.1 (1)]

[late 18C] a rough, unsophisticated country woman (‘military term’, Grose).

bitch-boy (n.) [1990s+] (US campus)

1. a general term of abuse, underpinned by suggestions of effeminacy.

2. used as a term of affectionate address between friends.

bitch butter (n.) [butter n.1 (1)]

[1970s] (US black) vaginal secretions.

bitch fight (n.)

1. [1960s] (US gay) an argument between two homosexual men.

2. [2000s+] a fight between two girls or women.

bitch-fou (adj.)

see separate entry.

bitch-happy (adj.)

[2000s] (US) grateful.


see separate entries.

bitch lick (n.) (also bitch kick) [? the sort of SE lick one gives a sense 1]

[1980s+] (W.I./UK black) a hard blow.

bitch party (n.) (also bitching party)

1. [early 19C] (orig. US campus) a tea party.

2. [late 19C+] a party composed solely of women guests.

bitch’s bastard (n.)

see separate entry.

bitch’s blind (n.) [blind n.1 (1)]

[1970s+] (US gay) a gay or bisexual man’s heterosexual wife.

bitch’s Christmas (n.)

[1960s] (US gay) Halloween.

bitch slap

see separate entries.

bitch squeak (n.)

[1950s] (US) a tell-tale, garrulous female.

bitch’s wine (n.) [? supposedly preferred by women drinkers]

[mid–late 19C] champagne.

bitch tits (n.) [tit n.2 (1)]

[1990s+] (US) a bodybuilder’s over-developed pectoral muscles.

bitch up (v.)

see separate entry.

bitch water (n.)

[1940s] (US) cologne.

bitchweed (n.) [weed n.1 (4)]

[1980s+] (US drugs) adulterated, contaminated, inferior or otherwise ‘bad’ marijuana.

bitch wheel (n.) [? sense 1 or W.I. pron. of SE big + shape (of a wheel)]

[1950s] (W.I.) a large, round boiled dumpling.

In phrases

as a bitch (adv.)

[1950s+] a general phr. of intensification.

bitch-on-wheels (n.) [sense 2b]

[1930s+] (US) often but not invariably of a woman, an extreme example, someone or something infinitely superior.

flip a bitch (v.) (also flip a dick) [the stereotype of the poor woman driver]

1. [1980s+] (US campus) to make an illegal U-turn.

2. [2010s] (US) to lose emotional control.

get the bitch on (v.)

[1990s+] (US campus) to yell at someone, to criticize, to nag.

go bitch (v.)

[1990s+] (US Und.) of a man, to act in a cowardly or effeminate manner .

go bitchcakes (v.)

[2000s+] (US campus) to be angry, to act aggressively.

go bitching (v.)

[late 17C–mid-19C] of a man, to have sexual intercourse, esp. with a prostitute.

kitchen-bitch (n.) [Jam. kitchen bitch, a small, roughly made oil lamp, made of a tin can filled with kerosene oil with a cloth wick, and a rudimentary tin handle]

[20C+] (W.I.) a man who hangs around the kitchen instead of going out and doing ‘man’s things’.

like a bitch (adv.)

[1950s+] a general intensifier.

little bitch (n.)

[1970s+] (US prison) an exceptionally long prison sentence.

make a bitch of (v.)

[early 19C+] to bungle, to blunder, to ruin.

mama bitch (n.) [mama n. (1)]

[1960s] (US black) the most reliable and experienced of a pimp’s stable of prostitutes.

nothing-ass bitch (n.)

[1970s] (US black) general insult aimed at a woman; spec. a prostitute who will not work or who will not hand over the money earned to her pimp.

pitch a/the bitch (v.)

1. [1940s+] (US black) to complain, to fight, to cause a disturbance.

2. [1990s+] to reject, to leave.

pull someone’s bitch card (v.)

[2000s] (US black) to correct someone by the use of excessive force.

put the bitch on (v.)

[1960s] to file charges against a criminal as a habitual offender.

ride bitch (v.) (also sit bitch, ride the bitch’s seat, ...punk, ...pussy) [punk n.1 (1)/pussy n. (2)]

[1970s+] (US black/teen) to ride in the middle of the back seat or pillion on a motorbike, i.e. the supposed ‘woman’s seat’.

stamp a bitch (v.)

[2000s] (US black) of a man, to hit a woman hard enough to leave the imprint of his rings in her flesh.

stand bitch (v.) (also bitch the pot)

[late 18C–mid-19C] to preside as hostess at a tea party; a task that involves preparing the tea.

In exclamations

no bitch! [ride bitch ; excl. delivered in response to a claim of shotgun! excl.]

[1980s+] (US campus) an excl. used when choosing seats in a car, ‘I won’t ride in the middle of the back seat.’.