Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rug n.1

1. (orig. US) a wig, a toupee, a hairpiece, esp. in show business [it lies on/covers one’s head/bald patch].

[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 106: ‘Where did you get the rug, Jones?’ ‘I bet it’s stuck on with gum.’.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 109: I even wear a little rug up front.
[UK]K. Amis letter 18 Oct. in Leader (2000) 406: James Bartley had removed his shirt . . . ostensibly for greater coolness, actually I think to display the grey rug on his chest.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 34: A makeup man from NBC dropped a curly headed rug over my short hair.
[US]J. Kramer Instant Replay 208: He kept jiving up and down the aisle, showing off his rug and shades.
[US]G. Wolff Duke of Deception (1990) 219: White dinner jacket, pencil-line mustache, and rug.
[US]R. Price Breaks 168: I found myself scrutinising his wig. Usually I could spot a rug.
[UK]Guardian Guide 4–10 Sept. 13: Ron’s rug [...] remained completely untouched by the explosion.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 194: I reach down slow, grab his rug, rip it off his head, and shove it into his mouth.
Twitter 5 July 🌐 21st century rug knowledge is at an all-time low.

2. the hair.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 June 4/7: Imagine bashful Romeo, / And Juliet with her rug out.
[US]W. Guthrie Seeds of Man (1995) 389: My name’s [...] Bushy Head Woody. Fuzzy Rug, they call me. Ha hah.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) n.p.: I’ve got to pick up on a barber because my rug needs much dusting.
[UK]A. Close Official and Doubtful 89: We’d have to dye the rug of course.
[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 115: She’s gaun mental, climbin oan toap ay us, jist aboot ripped the fuckin rug oaf ma chist.

3. the pubic hair, usu. female.

[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 229: I closed in on her and I reached up under her dress to get at that hand-woven rug.
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 174: rug [...] 3. pubic hairs.
[US]Maledicta VI:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 131: Pubes […] moustache, rug, short and curlies and short hairs, velvet, wig, wool.

4. (US prison) a black prisoner.

[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 27: We’re the motherfuckers that be fightin’ when the rugs start wasting people around here.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 56: Rug A black person.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 373: Some young rug stood up in the courtroom with an Uzi.

5. see rughead

In compounds

rug-muncher (n.) [munch v.1 (4)]

(orig. US campus) a lesbian; thus rugmunching, cunnilingus; rugmunch, to perform (lesbian) cunnilingus .

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 54: carpet-muncher/rug-muncher female homosexual.
[US]G.P. Pelecanos Nick’s Trip 13: [of a lesbian] Occasionally she’d poke her head in the Spot [...] and invariably one of my regulars would boast that he could ‘turn one of those “rug munchers” around’ if he had the chance.
[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: rug munchers n. See fanny noshers.
L.G Surgeson ‘15 things not to say to a Lesbian’ on Daisy Realm on University of Wales 🌐 14. Do you prefer being called a carpet biter or a rug muncher, I can use both.
Kristen Archive 🌐 Jade gets a teaching job at a local Academy for girls. Lots of ‘rugmunching’ and intrigue.
Muff Guide to London 🌐 No visiting lesbian should miss the opportunity to rub shoulders (and much more!) with London’s rug-munchers in this intimate petit boite.
thelondonpaper 4 Sept. 32: ‘Lesbians!’ he yells. ‘Dykes! Rug-Munchers!’.
[Aus] A. Prentice ‘The Break’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] And all because of your chivalrous defence of a rug muncher.
[UK]J. Fagan Panopticon (2013) 209: I, Tash, will look after treasure and obey my teenage wifey, Isla, and I will never rug-munch another, as long as we both shall live, Amen.

In phrases

does the rug match the curtains?

a query as to whether a woman's hair is dyed or whether it matches the colour of her pubic hair.

[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 196: A ginger burd an aw! [...] Cannae wait tae see if the rug matches the curtains.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

rug ape (n.) (also drape ape)

(US) a small child.

[US]L. Dills CB Slanguage 34: Drape Ape: small child.
(ref. to 1967) D. Wilton posting 5 Feb. on ‘Wordorigins Org’ at Ezboard 🌐 ‘Rug-ape’ is from 1967 and ‘ankle-biter’ from 1963.
rug cut/cutter

see separate entries.

rughead (n.) (also rug) [the texture of black hair]

a derog. name for a black person; also as adj.

[US]D. Lebofsky Lex. of Phila. Metropolitan Area n.p.: Jungle bunny, chocolate bunny, burrhead, hardhead, hammerhead, rughead, nightfighter, spearchucker, hatchethead, rooster.
[US] (ref. to 1960s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 63: black man [...] rughead (pej, mid ’60s).
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 161: ‘Greaseball guinea honkywops.’ ‘Rug head.’.
[[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 115: They got these other dudes called the Rastafaries — you ever see them with those big rug heads].
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 56: Rug Head A black person.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 100: He’s with some rugheads came to make a buy from Larry.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 154: Charlie Bronson wreaking righteous havoc on a bunch of rugheads.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July 🌐 Rughead: African-American prisoner.
[US]G. Pelecanos Right As Rain 262: It [i.e. methamphetamine] gives me an edge when I’m dealin’ with those rugheads.
[US]C. Carr Our Town 86: ‘He came all the way from Birmingham, Alabama,’ Larry went on, ‘just to hang those stupid big-lipped rughead wide-eyed bigmouth niggers.’.
[US]G. Pelecanos (con. 1972) What It Was 230: Damn if I know [...] And I bet none of these rugheads know either.
rug joint (n.) [joint n. (3b); such restaurants were as distinguished by the splendours of their interior decoration as by their menus]

1. (US) an elegant, expensive restaurant, patronized by the wealthy.

[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 50: We’d go to overpriced places with red walls and wall-to-wall carpets – rug joints, we’d call them.
[US](con. c.1900) I.L. Allen City in Sl. (1995) 70: One mark of a fine place was carpeted floors, which gave rise to rug joint.

2. (US) an upmarket, luxury casino.

[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling 222: On December 26, 1946, Benjamin (Bugsy) Siegel opened the Flamingo Casino, the first of Nevada’s plush rug joints.
[US]T. Thackrey Gambling Secrets of Nick The Greek 73: The first ‘rug joint’ in Washington, D.C., was launched by Ed Pendleton in 1832.
[US]B. Hirschfeld Generation of Victors 273: I have rug joints in Vegas.
rug peddler (n.) [negative stereotyping]

(US) a Middle Easterner or someone of middle Eastern origins.

[US]R. Lardner Big Town 70: The door was opened by a rug peddler.
L. Block In the Midst of Death 95: [of an Armenian-American] He's gonna try to give the entire department the shaft, that's all he's trying to do. He's gonna help that shitkicker of a rug pedddler expose corruption in high places.
rug rat (n.) (also rug-muncher)

a small child who is still crawling on the carpet.

[US] in Current Sl. IV:3–4 (1970).
[US]A. Maupin Tales of the City (1984) 179: Driving an Audi now and sending a couple of rug rats to the French-American school.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 44: Rug rat: A small and obnoxious child under two years of age.
[UK]K. Lette Mad Cows 53: Well, rug-rat [...] the silver spoon one was born with has somewhat tarnished.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 299: I don’t think the little rug rat is even mine. Kid looks more like her goddamned boyfriend.
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 353: There’s a little girl out there, about four years old [...] this soldier gave her a candybar, just like she was some starving Kosovar rug-muncher?
(ref. to 1970) D. Wilton posting 5 Feb. on ‘Wordorigins Org’ at Ezboard 🌐 ‘Rugrat’ appears in 1970. It’s US in origin.
[SA]A. Lovejoy Acid Alex xiv: All the wives and rugrats.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] Caro and Barrera fought a war with each other back when she was a rug rat.
[US]S.A. Crosby Razorblade Tears 246: An early morning call would catch them all disoriented and scared to death for the rug rat.

In phrases

cut the rug (v.)

see separate entry.

rug’s the word (also rug) [? the security of a rug]

everything is fine, all is safe.

[Ire]N. Rowe Biter in Dramatic Works (1720) I.i: Fear nothing, Sir; Rug’s the Word, all’s safe .
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 130/1: Rugg, all right and safe.
rug up (v.)

see separate entry.