Green’s Dictionary of Slang

homeboy n.

1. (also home-buddy) someone who stays mainly at home.

[UK]Ruskin Præterita (1978) 189: Both despised me, as a home-boy, to begin with; Kynaston with justice .
[US]Eve. World (NY) 20 Apr. 2/4: Old Homeboy — [...] Excuse me to-night: I am such a foolish old homebody.
[US]Z.N. Hurston John Redding Goes to Sea (1995) 931: Ef he wuz uh home-buddy he’d be drove ’way by you all’s racket.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 35: Now Homey was a Home Boy, a strictly Hometown Square.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 242: homeboy/homegirl 1. One who spends much time at home. 2. One who is under the domination and control of the mother.

2. a neighbourhood person [homeboy originated in the South and was used by all races before it migrated, with the black population, to the urban ghettos; its modern use in rap music has rendered it once again trans-cultural].

[US] Colored American 15 Nov. 3/3: The ‘home-boys’ with the Williams and Walker aggregation were sore over the frost they met with in the proud city of Washington .
[US]Colored American (Wash., DC) 12 Nov. 7/1: Mr West is one of the home boys, and is popular with the home folks.
[US]Princeton Union (Minn.) 4 June 8/2: Foley’s star slab artist, Kasner, will be on the firing line for the Irish, and Wilkes will heave them over for the home boys.
Macon Tel. (GA) 9 Oct. (in Tosches 2001) n.p.: The overflowing crowd’s response to Miller could not be attributed solely to his being a ‘home boy’ said the reviewer.
[US] in V. Randolph Pissing in the Snow (1977) 140: The home boys all laughed like hell when they heard that joke [about incest in Arkansas families].
[US]‘Paul Cain’ ‘One, Two, Three’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2006) 3: He was sitting in a stud game with five of the home boys.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 111: One of my homeboys came in last week.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 24: Homeboy tried to make a go of it but his whole body was stiff.
[SA](con. 1950s) G. Moloi My Life 122: To our great relief ‘The Army’ had arrived. Scaru, Puru, Toffie, Play and a lot more of our home boys from the ‘Rough House’.
[US](con. c.1970) G. Hasford Phantom Blooper 24: His heavily armed and highly motivated reinforced rifle squad of homeboys will go back to the block.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 5: ‘Homeboy’, ‘homie’. Even that word, such a staple of hip-hop vocabulary, works to join men to a location.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 275: They were black kids. Homeboys.

3. a good friend; thus as a term of address.

[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 56: What’s th’ long face fer, home boy?
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 93: Look, homeboy, talk to him, or have him get in touch with me.
[US]Ice-T ‘Personal’ [lyrics] Homeboys, you know the situation.
[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 57: Leave the vato alone, homeboy.
[US]Source Nov. 164: ‘He’s come a long way,’ says Bizzy’s longtime homeboy Big B.
[UK]Guardian G2 6 Dec. 36: I don’t care if Jesus is Your Homeboy.
[US]NY Times 26 Jan. [Internet] I like the word ‘homeboy’ cause I have alot of them. It means the boy is close to you and you’ve known him for a while.
[US]S.M. Jones Lives Laid Away [ebook] ‘As the saying goes, homeboy [...] that ship has sailed’.

4. a naïve person, newly arrived in the city from the countryside.

[US](con. 1940s) C. Bram Hold Tight (1990) 70: This homeboy was anything but slick.

5. (S.Afr./US) someone who has come to the city from the same rural or provincial area as oneself; see also homegirl n.

[SA]Wilson & Mafeje Langa 180: A home-boys’ clique co-operates with other like cliques for arbitration in disputes.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 169: ‘I can tell you’re from New York, and,’ he added, looking at Brew, ‘you’re not.‘ ‘Yuh right,’ Brew said, ‘Ah’s a home boy.’.
[SA]M. Dikobe Marabi Dance 41: He saw that some of his old ‘home-boys’ [...] had come to visit him.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 4: homeboy – male from the same town.
[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 25: (H)ome-bwoy one’s country man.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 201: We’re homeboys. I grew up on Thirty-fifth Street, two blocks over [from him].

6. (Irish) an ex-inmate of a religious institution.

J. McGahern Barracks [ebook] Labourers hired out for their lives from the religious institutions that reared them to farmers, homeboys, were known to have as few as 5 cars behind their deal coffins .

7. (US black) a young black or Hispanic member of a street gang, occas. Aus.; also attrib.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]King Tee & Mixmaster Spade ‘Ya Better Bring a Gun’ [lyrics] Now Compton is the city where the homeboys stay / Rollin in a different car everyday.
[UK]Guardian 2 Sept. 12: Small Latino ‘homeboy’ dolls said to resemble street gang members.
[UK]Indep. 17 Jan. 18: These guys are more than Tyson’s homeboys.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] [D]rinking elbow to elbow with backpackers full of drink and western suburbs home-boys full of attitude.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 468: Cyrus has homeboys. The Asians are a gang.

8. (US black) a fellow black person.

[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 225: Say D, do all home boys shoot like that?
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 188: ‘I thought you liked eatin like a home boy, Spermwhale,’ Calvin Potts grined.
[SA]M. Melamu ‘Bad Times, Sad Times’ in Mutloatse Forced Landing 41: My two home-boys, Cy and Biza are making my troubles the bus-stop gossip [...] They are talking full-blast, real township style. No inhibitions, my bla.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 5: home boy/home girl – a friend.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 170: Anything you need, homeboy, just let us know.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 156: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Homeboy. Homeslice. Milquetoast.