Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wolf n.

1. [mid-19C+] a male overtly pursuing women for sex; also attrib.; thus wolfy adj.

2. [1910s] (US) an obsessive, one who is very keen.

3. [1910s] (US Und.) a tramp who rides on passenger trains by virtue of strength rather than cunning.

4. [1910s+] (US gay) a predatory male or female homosexual; esp. in context of prison.

5. [1920s+] (US) an older, usu. homosexual, tramp who travels with a young boy.

6. [1980s] (US) a member of a teenage gang, or ‘wolfpack’.

7. [1930s] (US Und.) a criminal who works alone [SE lone wolf].

8. [1950s+] (W.I. Rasta) one who is not a Rastafarian but wears their hair in dreadlocks.

9. [1970s] (drugs) phencyclidine [its non-recreational use as an animal tranquillizer].

10. [1970s] (US prison) a 15-year sentence.

11. a lesbian.

12. [1990s+] a professional poker player.

In compounds

wolf bait (n.)

[1940s] (US teen) an attractive female.

wolf-call (v.)

[1940s+] to whistle at a passing woman in an admiring, lustful way; also as n.

wolf pack

see separate entries.

wolf’s handshake (n.)

[1970s] (US gay/prison) the tweaking of a new inmate’s cheek by a veteran homosexual.


see separate entries.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

wolf-trap (n.) (also trap)

[mid–late 19C] (US) a cheap, poss. crooked casino.

In phrases

wolf in the breast (n.)

[mid-18C–19C] (UK Und.) a trick practised by strolling beggar women, who ask for alms to obtain medicine to deal with a gnawing pain in their breast.