Green’s Dictionary of Slang

acid n.2

[SE acid tongue]

cheek, sarcasm.

[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 6/1: Carbolic acid – Goodbye in any language.
[US]R. Chandler High Window 215: ‘Last night—’ she said, and stopped and coloured. ‘Let’s use a little of the old acid,’ I said. ‘Last night you told me you killed Vannier and then you told me you didn’t.’.
[UK]C. Harris Three-Ha’Pence to the Angel 220: Enough of your old acid.
A. Stanford ‘Sea Sl. of the Twentieth Century’ in AS XXVIII:2 121: Common, nonnautical usage such as chicken fruit for eggs and acid for sarcasm.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 85: Acid (a) Cheekiness (especially in a child).
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

In compounds

acid drop (n.) [the sourness of the sweet]

an unpleasant, ill-tempered person.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 26 July 4/8: ‘What are you standing there for?’ demanded the missus, a hard-tempered old acid-drop.

In phrases

come the (old) acid (v.) (also come the acid drop)

to act contrarily, aggressively, to argue; to be unpleasant or offensive, to speak in a caustic or sarcastic manner, sometimes with affection.

[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 3: Coming the acid, stretching the truth; making oneself unpleasant; trying to pass on a duty; exaggerating one’s authority.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 87: Oh yeah? Left your coat behind on a night like this. Don’t come that old acid. We wasn’t born yesterday.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 132: Don’t start coming the urr er bleeding acid, for Christ’s sake.
[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 286: ‘Got a fag, Tom?’ ‘What! you coming the old acid again! ’Course I ’ave – ’e’y’ar!’.
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 19: Don’t come the acid drop.
[UK]H.E. Bates Little of What You Fancy (1985) 481: That was coming the old acid a bit, wasn’t it?
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 132: You like giving orders, yet you don’t come the acid.
put the acid in (v.) (also put in the acid)

to inform on, to tell tales about, to poison someone’s mind against.

[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 286: Bill’s getting his cards this week – shame – some dirty cowson must have been putting the acid in!
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 171: Acid, to put in the To inform against, or to say something unpleasant about someone in his absence.
put the acid on (v.)

1. (Aus.) to render impoverished; thus acid school, a gambling venue that takes its clients’ cash (prob. via cheating) .

[Aus]Gadfly (Adelaide) 14 Mar. 9/1: ‘Well, suddenly the commission agent goes broke over the Newmarket. “That puts the acid on him,” says I.’ / ‘The acid?’ I queried. / ‘Wipes him out,’ explained the sporty person. ‘You see, I had a bit of sugar – that’s money’ – he said it sarcastically – ‘so I was well in the running.’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Sept. 4/7: For the ‘push’ only. Notorious peter joint is now known as the ‘acid school’.

2. (Aus.) to exert pressure on a person for a loan, a favour, sexual compliance etc [supposedly orig. used by gold assayers who tested ‘real’ gold with acid].

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Mar. n.p.: Note ‘to put the gas on’ — a variant of ‘to put the acid on’, — the latter familiar slang from the mine-assayer’s lexicon.
[Aus]C.E.W. Bean Anzac Book 151: For the Allies put the acid on the Hohenzollern crowd, / And they piled the costs on William when they knew they had him cowed.
[Aus]Worker (Brisbane) 21 Dec. 14/3: When a bagman would ‘put the acid’ on him for rations he would say [etc.].
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 329: He buzzes off to put the acid on Yacob for a photo.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 17: Piddling all your savings up against a pub wall and putting the acid on some scrawny sheilas.
N.Z. Parliamentary Debates 1073: Mr Whitehead — Was the threat by the two members concerned to promote a private member’s Bill the reason the Prime Minister put the acid on his Ministers?
[Aus]G.W. Turner Eng. Lang. in Aus. and N.Z. 107: The list of items valid in both countries is a long one and would include [...] put the acid on ‘persuade pressingly’.
B. Howitt Super Sid 225: The minute I arrived in Auckland the selectors started putting the acid on me. Jack Gleeson approached me first and asked if I would consider making myself available. I explained why I couldn’t.

3. to speak sarcastically, aggressively.

[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 31 Jan. 11/8: If Ah Tye’s mistress had not put on the acid too much my client would have made good the damages.

4. to put a stop to.

[Aus] W.H. Downing Digger Dialects.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 232: Put The Acid On, To: [...] To put a stop to.

5. to confirm.

[Aus]F. Garrett diary 28 July Grants Militaria [Internet] After being a day ‘off duty’ Doctor gave me a ‘ticket for Lemnos’. Was sick in his surgery which put the acid on it.

6. to test out a person or statement.

[Aus] W.H. Downing Digger Dialects.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 232: Put The Acid On, To: To test a statement, or a man.
[Aus]J. Doone Timely Tips For New Australians 23: TO ‘PUT THE ACID ON.’ — To put to the test.
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 106: Suppose we get this, tart to one side [and] see if we can buy er off? [...] Really put the acid on -see if she bites.
stand the acid (v.)

(US) to stand up under pressure, to maintain one’s composure.

[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Mollie Matches’ in Sandburrs 48: D’ old woman [...] stood d’ acid all right.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 50: In every emergency with which he had to cope the man ‘stood the acid’.
[US]Van Loan ‘Mister Conley’ in Score by Innings (2004) 423: When the boss picks out a new man we give him the third degree; and if he stands the acid [...] we let him in.
W.P. White Lynch Lawyers 275: They’ve been licked, the both of ’em, an’ licked good [...] Square Face showed he wouldn’t stand the acid right after he was shot. Yesterday I couldn’t ’a’ talked to him like I did without a battle. To-day he quit cold.
Aus. Parliamentary Debates 104 1622: The proposition made by that honorable senator will not stand the acid of common sense.
take the acid off (v.)

(Aus.) to speak honestly, without sarcasm.

[Aus]L. Esson Woman Tamer in Ballades of Old Bohemia (1980) 64: katie: Don’t you worry. I’ll come back all right, bright and early too. chopsey: Take the acid off.