Green’s Dictionary of Slang

smack n.1

(orig. US)

1. a try, a ‘go’; thus have a smack at, to have a go at, to make an attempt at.

[UK]Wycherley Country-Wife IV iii: Your stingy country coxcomb keeps his wife from his friends as he does his little firkin of ale for his own drinking, and a gentleman can’t get a smack on’t.
[UK]J. Townley High Life Below Stairs II i: He has had a Smack of every sort of Wine, from humble Port to Imperial Tokay.
T. Moore Works 271: If you’ve whiskey in play, / To oblige you, I’ll come take a smack of it.
[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 21 Sept. n.p.: ‘Docile as a young gal when she’s goin’ to catch the fast smack o’ ’lectric telegraph’ .
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 256: I’d like to have a smack at you before you go into the Church.
[UK]Marvel 22 Oct. 7: Stand him on his feet, Sammy, and let me hab anoder smack at him.
[UK]A.S.G. Lee letter in No Parachute (1968) 9 Dec. 197: They’re terrifically keen about having a smack at the Hun.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: smack. [...] an attempt.
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 199: I’ll have a smack at him, anyway.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 154: Within the next few days Jerry’s going to have his smack at us.

2. (UK und.) an oath given in Court [one kisses the Bible].

[UK]Select Trials ‘Thomas Beck for Robberies’ Apr. 356: Prisoner. He comes to me in Newgate, and says, Damn me if I a’ n’t sorry to see you here: and if a Smack will do ye any Good, it’s at your Service .

3. a kiss [SE 17C–early 19C].

[UK]Foote Knights in Works (1799) I 74: Stout hearty smacks that would have made your mouth water.
[UK]Bridges Homer Travestie (1764) I 99: Enough he’d got of kiss and smack, / And found ’twas time to travel back.
[Scot]Burns The Jolly Beggars in Works (1842) 11/1: He stoitered up an’ made a face; Then turn’d an’ laid a smack on Grizzie.
[UK]Sporting Mag. July VIII 186/2: I [am] perfect in every branch of the art – from a hearty smack to the faint salute.
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Blue Devils 7: If I might be so bold as just, for once, to take a smack at your lips, Annette.
[UK]W. Combe Doctor Syntax, Picturesque (1868) 13/1: Your lips, my dear, are sweet as honey: / So one smack more – and there’s your money.
[Ire]Tom and Jerry; Musical Extravaganza I ii: Tip a farewell smack to your bit of muslin.
‘Mr and Mrs Jim Crow’ in Jim Crow’s Song-Book 5: Pretty Miss Jim Crow, / Give me now a smack.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall I 213: Thereupon he gave her such a smack, as caused the footman [...] to start and snicker outright.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick’s Wise Saws II 193: They kissed and were reconciled. ‘Well,’ sais I [...] ‘if you weren’t such an awful jealous pair, I would like to have that smack passed round.’.
[UK]Dickens Uncommercial Traveller (1898) 349: Heard the sound of a smack – a smack which was not a blow.
[Scot]Edinburgh Eve. News 28 Apr. 2/6: A lady out west is lecturing on ‘kissing.’ The subject seems to have a smack to it.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 8 May 7/1: Some lovers’ quarrels begin, and some end with a smack.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 2 Apr. 2: Finally reuniting them with a smack and a squeeze.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 May 10/2: [A] fair thing in spectacles suddenly grabbed him round the neck, pinned a badge to his coat, and kissed him a hard one on the cheek. I was two floors up, yet the ‘smack’ sounded like a box in the ear.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Michael Nolan] ‘“Come In”, Said Widdy Malone’ 🎵 Sure to kiss her how could I decline? / She gave me one back - such a beautiful smack.
[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/5: Here are a few more terms and definitions from the ‘Racket’ vocabulary: [...] ’smack,’ a kiss.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 208: [He] ran up to that tree [and] gave it a big smack.
[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2 43: Smack, n. [...] A kiss.
[Can]Totally True Diaries of an Eighties Roller Queen 🌐 7 Aug. Peter is such a puppy. He gave me one smack goodbye.

4. a portion, i.e. of food or drink.

[UK]Age (London) 26 June 55/3: Curiosity led me to [...] take a smack of ‘genuine Port,’ which it appears, the proprietors can command through their connections in Portugal.

5. a liking for [SE smack, enjoyment, appreciation].

[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 28 May n.p.: The young clerk [...] take [sic] a smack at his fine dishes and a look at his pretty daughter.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 209: Him telling me he went a great smack on leeches.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

6. a telling-off, a punishment.

[UK]G.R. Sims Dagonet Ballads 84: I felt when that grey chucked us over as Providence meant it, maybe, / As a smack for a-sellin’ a critter as had given her best days to me.

7. a blow, a slap; also fig. use.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 31 Jan. 1/6: He [...] popped in a smack with his left on Caunt’s right eye.
[UK]Sam Sly 14 Apr. 3/3: [H]e was not thought anything more of for giving old Th—ins a smack in the eye.
[UK]Leics. Mercury 30 Nov. 2/4: [headline] A Real ‘Smack’ on the Kisser.
[UK]Barman & Barmaid 12 July 6/1: We had a smack at the Railway Companies last week on account of overcrowding.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 23 July 21/4: Such a sentence as ‘Tom received a tidy smack on the spectacle beam,’ leaves no doubt in one’s mind as to where the blow fell, and but little as to the force with which it was propelled.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Jan. 10/1: Did not [he] promptly accept the wager, and win it with a smack that touched the plaister and tapped the claret at the same time, to the chagrin of the bruiser.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘ The Making of Mac’s’ in Man with Two Left Feet 132: The young feller took a smack at him.
[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/5: Here are a few more terms and definitions from the ‘Racket’ vocabulary: [...] ’smack,’ a blow.
[UK]D. Ahearn Confessions of a Gunman 224: He said: ‘Get the hell out of here,’ and give me a smack in the face.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 122: One smack from that right ’and and yer jaw’s just the place where yer teef used to be.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 147: They take a smack at you, and run.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 33: A real parachutist’s smack right on the kisser.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 46: You could have received a smack in the face.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Cash and Curry’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Why don’t you chaps get out of the way before someone gets a smack in the ear!
[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 57: I’ll give them grief, like a smack in the mouth.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 3 23: A punch is tossed and one of the Aussie boys cops a smack in the mouth.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Coorparoo Blues [ebook] ‘Go downstairs and give that clown Ed a smack in the chops’.

8. in senses of money, which one ‘smacks down’.

(a) a pound sterling.

[UK]Sporting Times 25 Feb. 5/2: Three quidlets apiece, or p’r’aps five—p’r’aps ten— / And so the smacks went rolling.

(b) (US Und.) a form of confidence trick based on matching pennies; also attrib.

[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 21: Within a few months one of them filled in for a small part in a smack touch (coin-matching racket).
[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 308: Another common trick of crooked gambling [...] is the ‘match’ or the ‘smack’ in which three women match pennies or nickels and often two of them will cheat the other woman.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 307: The smack. An intricate short-con game based on matching pennies.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 67: Son, what you were bucking is a con game older than Moses. It’s called ‘the smack.’ It gets its name from the belt on the jaw that the mark gets when the con men have him clipped.

(c) (US tramp) a dollar.

[US]E. O’Neill The Movie Man in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 188: I’ll bet you that smack.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Zigzags of Treachery’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 122: I had gone to see the doc, and had demanded a hundred thousand cool smacks.
[US]K. Brush Young Man of Manhattan 177: Does that one thousand five hundred and ninety-seven dollars include, by any chance, the twenty smacks you borrowed from me before the fight in Philly?
[US]D. Lamson We Who Are About to Die 200: The shoes I wore in here were Hanans, worth fifteen or twenty smacks.
[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 23 Nov. [synd. col.] He got exactly ten bites, which at five smacks per bite equals exactly one-half yard as they measure it on Broadway.
[US]J. Weidman Price Is Right 88: This baby is worth six or seven hundred smacks to the herd.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 16: He [...] uses Eau-de-Colon costs 20 smacks a bottle.

9. (US black) sexual intercourse.

In derivatives

smacktastic (adj.) [-tastic sfx]

(US black) physically violent.

[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 smacktastic Definition: either describing or implying the use of force of the backhand on a defiant prostitute or any other woman. Example: Ho, slow your roll less I get smacktastic on yo ass!

In phrases

have a smack at (v.)

to attack.

London Courier 20 July 2/2: After the appearance of the mob [...] the butler [...] expressed his wish to put up lights [...] but they answered, ‘No, d—n your lights, no! we’ll not have lights, we’ll have a smack at your house!’ They then commenced the attack.
Isle of Wight Times 5 June 5/5: He said two or three times that he should like to have a smack at me, and knowck my — head off.
[Scot]Aberdeen jrnl 27 Nov. 6/6: ‘Just discovered a recruit stowed on board [...] he stowed himself away so as to have a smack at the Boers’.
Lincoln Star (NE) 26 July 24/4: If our fellows cluld have a smack at your fellows, and your fellows have a smack at our fellows, it would make for a good understanding all round.
Scotsman 19 Dec. 6/4: Like most overtrained soldiers, a large proportion of haganah would like ‘to have a smack at the enemy’.
lay the smack down (on) (v.)

1. (US black) to hit someone.

Central N.J. Home News (New Brunswick, NJ) 16 May E3/2: I’m gonna lay the smack down on your candy ass.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 smack down, lay the Definition: to beat severely. Example: Tyrone you get yo ass out and get yo mamma some chicken wings, and bread sticks, befo’ I lay the smack down on yo ass!
S. Bernskoetter Surviving Twilight 160: [...] ten fully loaded magazines so I could lay the smack down just in case they got a little belligerent.

2. (US) to talk aggressively.

Tulare Advance-Register (CA) 5 Aug. 11/3: [headline] King of the Jungle lays the smack down [...] urging his callers to ‘trade smack’ (talk trash).
Index-Jrnl (Greenwood, SC) 5 Oct. 2/1: That’s the day Big Daddy is gonna lay the smack down on a bunch of wannabe spelling bee champions.
Longview News-Jrnl (TX) 10 Jan. C6/5: The Rock inspired the show’s title with his famous ‘Lay the smack down’ trash talking.
put the smack down (on) (v.)

to hit, to assault.

[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) 🌐 Put the smack down (verb phrase) To intervene in a harsh manner.
[US]Casey Jepson ‘Smack Down’ [poem] 🌐 I laugh at your physique and say your mama’s fat / So please allow me to remove my watch / While I put the smack down on yo ass, byatch.
E. Karres Mean Chicks 46: You’re not afraid to put the smack down on the Teaser when she’s getting on your case.
smack in the eye (n.)

see separate entry.

In exclamations

oh smack!

(US teen) a reaction to something astonishing.

Jacques Duvoisin ‘I’ll Decide That’ at 🌐 Oh smack, finally a car worthy of blastin’ Gin Blossoms and my new Duran Duran/DJ Jazzy Jeff mix tapes!!