Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mill n.1

1. the vagina [a play on SE grind/grind v. (1)].

[UK]J. Heywood Play of Weather in Farmer Dramatic Writings (1905) 118: She would have the mill pecked, pecked, pecked, every day!
[UK]‘I.T.’ Grim The Collier of Croydon I iv: You may do as other Millers do, grind your grist at home, knock your coggs into your own Mill, you shall not cogg with her.
[UK]Fletcher & Rowley Maid in the Mill V ii: I have oft been found-a Thrown on my back, on a well-fill’d sack, while the Mill has still gone round-a.
[UK]Parliament of Women B4: Rachael Rattle-a-pace [said] so I hope that I bringing my sack to the mill, it may be ground among the rest.
[UK] ‘I Cannott Bee Contented’ in Furnivall & Hales Bishop Percy’s Folio Manuscript of Loose and Humorous Songs (1868) 95: Looke in the dam, & you may spye / heere is soe much that some runs by; / that neuer came a yeere soe drye / cold keep the Mill ffrom grindinge.
[UK]Whores Rhetorick A5: He that would grind with you, must pay the Toll before hand, even before he is permitted to bring his Grist to the Mill.
[UK] ‘Bonny Peggy Ramsey’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 151: And square is her Wethergig made like a Mill [...] For Peggy is a bonny Lass and grinds well her Mill.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy II 24: She said his Corn was musty, nor should her Toll-dish fill, / His Measure too so scanty, she fear’d t’would burn her Mill.
[UK] ‘The Lady’s Water Mill’ Frisky Vocalist 15: Her mill’s surrounded thick with moss!
[UK] ‘Fanny’s Mill’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 13: For Roger knew well how to grind / Her mill, for it, was new and clean, / A neater mill could ne’er be seen.

2. in (UK Und.) use [SE mill, covering a variety of engines and tools].

(a) a housebreaker.

Wandring-Whores Complaint title: A full discovery of the whole Trade of [...] Bawds, Whores, Fyles, Culls, Mobs, Budges, Shop-lifts, Glasiers, Mills, Bulkers, [...] and all other Artists, who are, and have been, Students of Whittington Colledge.

(b) housebreaking.

[UK]‘A Newgate ex-prisoner’ A Warning for House-Keepers 3: Those that go upon the Mill, which are house-breakers, they are the most dangerous of all sorts, they have an instrument [...] which they call a Betty.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 242: Upon the Mill, which is breaking open Houses in the Night.

(c) a chisel.

[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Mill, a Chizel.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 13: Mill, a Chizel.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Mill, a Chizzle.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.

3. a fist-fight [mill v.1 (3)].

(a) a prize-fight.

[UK]Caledonian Mercury 14 Oct. 4/2: Bob Gregson tipped his customers a rum chaunt about the late mill.
[UK]Mr Lawson ‘Chaunt’ in Egan Boxiana I 477: Come list ye all ye fighting Gills, / And Coves of boxing note, sirs, / Whilst I relate some bloody Mills, / In our time have been fought, sirs.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 83: There was a most excellent mill at Moulsey Hurst on Thursday last, between the Gas-light man, who appears to be a game chicken, and a prime hammerer — he can give and take with any man — and Oliver — Gas beat him hollow, it was all Lombard-street to a china orange.
[Aus]P. Cunningham New South Wales II 64: Scientific mills often take place, also, between lads of the fancy, for prize purses.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 8: His rattler was sure to be full, both inside and out on the road to a prize mill.
[UK]Paul Pry 4 Dec. n.p.: Mark you that short, slight, well-dressed young man, eagerly devouring the contents of Bell’s Life. [...] Do you want the result of the last ‘mill,’ or the probable issue of the next?—he is your man.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 97: The ‘mill’ between Lurky Snaggs and Dan Pepper (the ‘Kiddy’) for one hundred pounds a side.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 9 Aug. 7/1: ‘Slangiana’ [...] A serious fight why style a mill?
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 379: Some brief account of a ‘mill’ that has recently taken place between those once highly-popular gentlemen — the members of the ‘P.R.’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 27 Apr. 6/4: The Washington Market roughs swore by Boss Harrington and were always ready for a mill.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Jan. 5/2: A ‘mill’ took place in Essex on the 10th instant, between Taylor and Longen.
[UK]Sporting Times 13 Feb. 5/5: After a merry mill [...] a ‘Corinthian’ took him for a ‘bung’.
[UK]J. Astley Fifty Years (2nd edn) I 143: I used now and again to go and see a merry mill.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Nov. 1/1: His amazement at the mildness of the ‘mills’ upset the equilibrium of his well-waxed whiskers.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 215: Nothing to be seen in the boxing world today can be compared to the merry mills of yesteryear.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 May 2nd sect. 10/4: Hawkes [...] is in pretty good fix for a mill with any of the heavyweight crowd.
[US]O.O. McIntyre Day By Day in New York 19 May [synd. col.] He’s been in many mills. He is use to the grind.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 2 Aug. 8/6: [headline] Good Bare-Knuckled Mill.
[US]H.C. Witwer Fighting Blood 344: Eleven people in all at a battle for the heavyweight championship of the world and ten of the low-voiced eleven is connected with the mill as principals or officials.
[US]H.C. Witwer Classics in Sl. 62: As twenty-four hours’ notice is much more than I usually get for a mill, I cheered up considerably.

(b) a fight, a brawl. sometimes a battle.

[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 6: Just think, please your Majesties, how you’d prefer it / To mills such as Waterloo, here all the merit / To vulgar, red-coated rapscallions must fall.
[UK] ‘The Drummer’s Stick’ in Frisky Vocalist 5: So he laid them all upon the grass, / Brought forth the magic stick, alas! / They look’d at it till fit to burst, / They had a mill which should have it first.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Scamps of London III ii: Lor, I had two or three mills, was thrown out of the house like a dog.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 6: The jolly mills they used to have with the town cads.
[US] ‘The County Jail’ in I. Beadle Comic and Sentimental Song Bk 55: At ten we raised a glorious mill / And smathered each other with right good will.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 248: Of all things I like to see a gallant mill.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Mar. 14/3: Our long stay at the Quay was rather enlivened by a couple of rounds between two amateur pugs [...] and their mill continued till an old gentleman stepped in.
[US]S. Crane George’s Mother (2001) 104: Zeusentell an’ O’Connor had a great old mill. They were scrappin’ all over the place.
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 198: Hot ’n’ willin’ was ther mills he had up under ther roof.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 23 Feb. 1/1: The threatened mill between the hairy theatrical clerk and the Grate-polisher is hoff.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 23 Jan. 2nd sect. 1/1: They Say [...] That the inevitable mill between the males will be painfully one-sided.
[UK]A. Lunn Harrovians 191: To be hauled up by a boy you could knock into a cocked hat in a mill, to be warned, then dismissed like the veriest fag.
[US]Wood & Goddard Dict. Amer. Sl.
[US]D. Hammett ‘His Brother’s Keeper’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 172: Boy, was that a mill!

(c) a blow, a punch.

[UK]H. Smith Gale Middleton 1 148: That crack upon the temple is a favourite mill of mine.

4. in sense of going or passing or putting through the mill.

(a) (UK Und.) the Insolvent Debtors’ Court.

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 179: Mill the old Insolvent Debtors’ Court. To go through themill is equivalent to being whitewashed.
[UK]Sl. Dict.

(b) any institution that acts to process its affairs by rote, rather than deal with them on their individual merits.

[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 93: A Modern Solomon, who had been chosen to preside as a Judge in a Divorce Mill, climbed to his Perch and unbuttoned his vest for the Wearisome Grind.
[US]Indian Advocate (Sacred Heart, OK) 1 Apr. 99: The divorce courts are so busy that they are generally referred to as ‘mills’.
[US]S. Ornitz Haunch Paunch and Jowl 69: I began to haunt the entrance to Essex Market Magistrates’ Court, the East Side’s police tribunal ... It was a busy mill of agonized humanity.
[US]E.S. Gardner ‘Honest Money’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2006) 42: Graves [...] told me her’d let me cop a minimum sentence if I’d rush her through the mill and make a plea.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 332: I got a couple of diploma-mill doctors that I wouldn’t let work on my own dog.
[US]M. Shulman Rally Round the Flag, Boys! (1959) 48: Doc [...] had received his M.D. from a Boston diploma mill.
[US]Gaddis & Long Panzram (2002) 95: A pain-and-punishment mill of almost legendary repute, Clinton Prison had virtually lost its name [...] in favor of Dannemora.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Hollywood Fuck Pad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 208: Those places were abortion mills back in the ’50s.

(c) (US drugs) anywhere that pure narcotics (e.g. heroin, crack cocaine), purchased in bulk, is diluted and packaged for street sales.

[US](con. 1950s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 66: Dope is maybe 97 or 98 percent pure [...] The big boys, they’ll sell it to somebody who’s damn near as big, somebody who’ll buy a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of dope. They’ll take the dope – they call the place where they cut up the dope ‘mills’ – they’ll take it and put twice as much on it as there is dope.
[US]A.N. LeBlanc Random Family 43: He set up a processing mill. He bought heroin, mannitol (a dilutant), a glass table, six chairs, a triple-beam scale, and glassine envelopes.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] Malone’s crew has been watching the heroin mill on the second floor.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] It was a crack mill [...] You hit it by the book, a warrant and everything, and the dealer didn’t run—he just sat there calmly and said, ‘Take it’.

5. in context of imprisonment.

(a) a treadmill.

[UK] ‘The Cly-Pecker’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 39: And the next day the beaks made her grind at the mill.
[Ire] ‘The Mill! The Mill!’ Dublin Comic Songster 104: I’m on the mill, I’m on the mill.
in upsetvictorians.blogspot.com [Internet] ‘[I] was quodded for prigging and had twelve-pennorth at the mill’.
[UK]Paul Pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: The ugly Jew and bully [is] not to decoy young girls [...] or perhaps he will get what he richly deserves — twelve months on the mill.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]T. Archer Pauper, Thief and Convict 162: The tread-wheel, which was first brought into use at Brixton prison in 1817 [...] has been the terror of idle scoundrels ever since, and is generally known among them as ‘the mill.’.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]J. Runciman Chequers 143: At one you mount the mill again.
[UK]E.W. Rogers [perf. Marie Lloyd] G’arn Away [lyrics] ‘Who cut all yer ’air orff? why, you’ve been upon the mill’.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Vesta Tilley] A Nice, Quiet Week [lyrics] How stern - how sharp Mr Justice was ‘As you came to seek, my friends, just a quiet week my friends / You shall have one each upon our mill’.

(b) a prison; thus attrib (see cite 1838).

[UK] ‘The Covey Of The Mill’ in Regular Thing, And No Mistake 64: He’s gone to Brixton Mill for the prigging he has done.
[UK]‘Paul Pry’ Oddities of London Life II 229: ‘I know the “mill-cut” too well to make a mistake.’ The magistrate was informed that the practice of cutting the hair close of those bad characters who were sent to hard labour, had the good effect for at least a month after they were discharged of showing that the party had been under the hands of the ‘Brixton barber’.
[Ire] ‘Pat And His Leather Breeches’ Dublin Comic Songster 155: The justice spoke his will, / And with upbraiding speeches, / He sent me to the mill.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville Digby Grand Ch. x: The latter worthy... gave a policeman such a licking the other night, that he was within an ace of getting a month at the mill.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 15/1: One day he got rather lumpy / And got sent seven days to the mill.
[US]Hopper & Bechdolt ‘9009’ (1909) 4: You’ll wish that more’n once before ye’ve croaked in this mill!
[US]C. Sherwood diary 10 Dec. [Internet] Patton and Finke turned loose. Peine put in mill.
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 29/2: MILL. A prison or jail.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 138/2: Mill. (Chiefly Central and mid-Western) A prison; a jail; reformatory; penitentiary.

(c) a military prison or guardhouse.

‘O’Reilly’ [US army poem] They ran him in the mill, they’ve got him in there still, / His bob-tail’s coming back by mail, / O’Reilly’s gone to Hell.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 104: Jack Fahey [...] had been busted from post Sergeant-Major [...] and he had been running mate of mine in the mill off and on.
[US]C. M’Govern ‘Soldier Sl.’ in Sarjint Larry an’ Frinds n.p.: mill:— Guardhouse.
[US]D.G. Rowse Doughboy Dope 45: J is the Jug, otherwise known as the can, the pen or the mill.
[US](con. 1918) L. Nason Sergeant Eadie 78: Put ’em in the mill!
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Jail [...] Mill.

6. (US) a bar.

[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 47: There were products of France all that day [...] at the mills ’way over on the South Side.

7. as a machine.

(a) (US) a typewriter [it ‘grinds out’ the words].

[US]Pacific Mthly Aug. 29/1: Plenty of time was left before the front page went down [...] andI hammered the story off on my ‘mill’ .
[US]E. Hemingway letter 3 Mar. in Baker Sel. Letters (1981) 321: My typewriter, slang for mill, battered key board etc.
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 107: He had learned to operate the ‘mill’ overseas in a machine gun unit.
[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. Supplement II 717: Writers’ cramp was cured [...] on the advent of the mill, i.e., the typewriter.
[US]J. Crumley One to Count Cadence (1987) 47: We recorded the messages – Morse Code groups by typewriter (mill) and voice on tape. [Ibid.] 52: I saw him resting his head on his mill.

(b) (US) an engine of an aircraft or ‘souped up’ car; thus turn the mill, start the engine [note WWI Fr. sl. moulin à café, ‘coffee-grinder’, i.e. a machine gun, operated by a crank handle].

[US]Atlantic Monthly Sept. 414: Motor is ‘moulin’ — to start it, one ‘turns the mill.’.
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Mill: Airplane motor.
[US] ‘Hot Rod Lexicon’ in Hepster’s Dict. 5: Mill – Automobile engine.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 16: How many carbs on your mill?

8. (US) by metonymy from sense 1 above, a woman.

[US]C. Himes ‘Prison Mass’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 165: She was the kind of mill who was ready-made for him, notorious, single, attractive.

In compounds

mill doll

see separate entries.

mill-ken (n.)

a lodging house.

[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 31 July [Internet] From thence I proposed to go Home to our ‖ Mill Ken. [...] ‖ Lodging.
mill-lay (n.) [lay n.3 (1)]

breaking and entering for the purpose of robbery; thus mill-layer, a housebreaker.

[UK]Hell Upon Earth 4: The Mill-Lay; which is breaking into Houses by forcing Doors or Windows open with Betties and Chizels.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 5: Mill-Layers, Such as break into Houses, by forcing Doors or Shutters open with Betties or Chizels.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Mill-Lay, to force open the Doors of a house in order to Rob it.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
millstones (n.)

the testicles.

[UK]‘Grinding’ in Flash Minstrel! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) I 102: I grind most famously, I owns, / And all admire my fine mill stones! [...] If you’re so inclin’d, and in want of a grind, / There’s nought like a miller and his mill stones.

In phrases

at the mill

engaged in sexual intercourse.

[UK]Red-Haired Suke‘’ in Flash Olio in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 187: I bends to her vill, tho’ she’s often at the mill, / But I’m blow’d if I’ll tell you h[e]r name.
dance the mill (v.)

(W.I.) to walk on the prison treadmill.

J. Williams Narrative of Events Since the First of August, 1834 (2001) 10: Two young women was sent in [...] to dance the mill, and put in dungeons.
J. Kelly Voyage to Jamaica 53: To work in chains and dance the treadmill.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

mill-clapper (n.) (also mill-clacker) [SE mill-clapper, an instrument which by striking the hopper causes the corn to be shaken into the mill-stones]

a (woman’s) tongue.

[[UK]Ford Fancies Act III: His tongue troules like a Mill-clack].
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Mill-clapper, a (Woman’s) Tongue.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 22: Her Tongue runs like the Clapper of a Mill; she talks enough for herself and all the Company.
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Duncombe n.p.: New and Improved Flash Dict. Millclacker a woman’s tongue.

In phrases