Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mutton n.

[OED suggests ‘food for lust’, but prob. simply an old sheep as opposed to a young lamb]

1. with ref. to women.

(a) [16C–mid-19C] a promiscuous woman; a prostitute.

(b) [17C–early 19C] a woman.

(c) [17C–19C] (also piece of mutton) the vagina; thus sexual intercourse, sexual pleasure.

(d) [1910s] (Aus.) a girlfriend.

2. in self-referential senses.

(a) [late 18C–1910s] (US) one’s person, self, body or flesh.

(b) [late 19C–1980s] (orig. US) one’s preference, one’s liking; usu. in pl.

3. [mid-19C; 1960s+] (later use is Aus./N.Z., also mutton tail) the penis.

4. [1960s+] (US) cowardice [the timorousness of sheep].

In compounds

mutton-cove (n.)

1. [mid-19C] the Coventry Street end of Windmill Street, London, once well-known for its prostitutes [cove, abbr. Coventry].

2. [mid–late 19C] a womanizer [cove n. (1)].

mutton dagger (n.)

[1960s+] the penis.

mutton-faced (adj.)

[early 19C] fat-faced.

mutton-fed (adj.)

[1910s–20s] large, fat and well fed.

muttonflaps (n.)

1. [1960s+] (N.Z., also muttonflap) the stomach.

2. [1980s+] (N.Z.) the labia majora.

mutton gun (n.) [it ‘shoots’ sense 1c]

[1940s–50s] (Aus.) the penis.

mutton hill (n.)

[mid-19C] the female pudendum.

mutton merchant (n.) [merchant n.]

[1960s–70s] a sexual pervert, an exhibitionist.

mutton musket (n.) (also mutton bayonet)

[1990s+] the penis.

mutton-shunter (n.)

[late 19C] a policeman, esp. in his role of harrying street prostitutes.

mutton tail (n.)

see sense 3 above.

mutton-tugger (n.)

[late 16C–early 17C] a degenerate; a pimp.

mutton walk (n.) [early–mid-19C]

1. the saloon at the Drury Lane Theatre, Covent Garden; often as the Mutton Walk.

2. any street where one finds prostitutes, esp. the junction of Coventry Street and Windmill Street in the West End of London.

In phrases

bit of mutton (n.) [SE bit + mutton n.] [19C]

1. a woman, esp. a prostitute.

2. sexual intercourse; thus have a bit of mutton.

3. the vagina.

come one’s mutton (v.)

[1960s+] to masturbate.

cut at one’s mutton (n.)

[mid-19C] of a man, an act of sexual intercourse.

flog one’s/the mutton (v.) (also thump one’s/the mutton)

[late 19C+] to masturbate.

fond of one’s mutton (adj.)

[mid-19C] given to womanizing.

hawk one’s mutton (v.)

[mid-19C+] of either sex, to work as a prostitute.

hook your mutton

[1900s–10s] (Aus.) in a dancehall, the invitation to ‘take your partners’.

in her mutton

[late 18C–early 19C] of a man, having sexual intercourse.

in someone’s mutton

[early 19C] irritating, ‘getting under someone’s skin’.

make mutton (out) of (v.)

[mid-19C–1900s] to kill, to murder.

mutton in long coats (n.)

[late 17C–19C] women.

piece of mutton (n.)

1. [late 17C–early 19C] a woman, seen as a sex object.

2. see sense 1c.

unbutton one’s/the mutton (v.)

[1960s+] (N.Z.) to urinate.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

mutton-bird (n.)

see separate entry.

mutton-chopper (n.)

[late 19C] ‘mutton-chop’ whiskers.

mutton-chops (n.) [the similarity of fleece to mutton-chop whiskers, and pun on SE mutton chops. Note milit. jargon the Mutton Chops or Mutton Lancers, the Royal West Surreys, whose emblem is a lamb and flag]

[mid-19C] a sheep’s head.

mutton dummies (n.) [ety. unknown; ? mutton cloth, a type of cloth used to wrap meat + dummy n.1 (1); i.e. their relative silence, compared to the noise of leather soled shoes]

[20C+] (Ulster) plimsolls, trainers.

mutton-fist (n.) (also leg of mutton fist, shoulder of mutton fist)

[late 17C–19C] a large, coarse red hand, usu. in pl.


see separate entries.

mutton-holder (n.)

[mid-19C] (Aus.) a candlestick.

mutton-monger (n.)

see separate entries.

muttonpuncher (n.) [play on SAmE cowpuncher]

[1930s+] (US, mainly Western/N.Z.) a sheep-herder.

In phrases

dead as mutton (adj.) (also cold as mutton)

[late 18C–1950s] completely dead, certainly dead; of a place, quiet, deserted.

mutton dressed as lamb (n.) (also mutton done up as lamb, ...dressed up like lamb, old ewe dressed as lamb, old ewe dressed lamb fashion, sheep masquerading...)

1. [late 18C+] a woman who dresses younger than her years.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.