Green’s Dictionary of Slang

feel v.

1. to caress sexually, whether or not the advance is desired.

[UK]J. Taylor ‘Bawd’ in Works (1869) II 98: Touching or Feeling is a very merry Bawd, and though a man or woman can neither Heare, See, Taste or Smell, yet Feeling may remaine’ without which ‘all the rest of the senses were but senslesse’.
[UK]Pepys Diary 7 Sept. n.p.: [I] did feel her; which I am much ashamed of, but I did no more, though I had so much a mind to it that I spent in my breeches.
[UK] ‘Fairing for Young Men and Maids’ in Ebsworth Roxburghe Ballads (1893) VII:1 111: The Maids were not unwilling, as far as I understand, / But Will was for kissing and feeling a Maid upon every hand.
[UK]‘A Medley’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 140: We’ll play with Peggy and Molly, / Dance, and kiss, and Feel.
[UK]N. Ward Infallible Predictor in Writings II 361: A great many strong Beasts will be there to be seen, and a great many worse Creatures to be felt.
[UK]London-Bawd (3rd edn) 143: [He] would needs have been feeling where I was’nt willing to let him.
[UK]Correct List of the Sporting Ladies [broadsheet] You sportsmen, who are free and willing / To feel, you’re welcome for a shilling.
[UK]Satirist (London) 15 July 229/3: It was the pithy and appropriate reply of Miss Bagster [...] as to what took place in the postchaise to Scotland, that such question was meant as a feeler.
[UK]Cythera’s Hymnal 72: Take your hand off my quim; / I much prefer fucking to feeling.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) I 56: Have you felt a woman before?
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 6 Sept. 2/2: A Sydney youth was making himself very agreeable to two young ladies [...] when a well-known society lady passing by said, ‘Well, Mr. Blank, this is a case of a thorn between two roses.’ ‘Yes,’ gushed one of the girls, ‘but he’s been awfully nice, and hasn’t let us feel him yet’.
[UK]P. Norroy Art of Child-Love 97: ‘Well, little girl, I want to feel you,’ he said [...] he told me that he wished to put his hand between helen’s legs and mine.
[UK]Lustful Memoirs of a Young and Passionated Girl 37: I stood still only spreading my legs and let him feel.
[US]‘J.M. Hall’ Anecdota Americana II 26: I says ‘Go ’long an’ leave me be.’ But he doan pay no ’tention, judge. He just keeps feelin’ of me.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 228: Take those two kids [...] feeling each other in that booth.
[US] ‘Ed Lacy’ Lead With Your Left (1958) 28: Keep your feelings for your girlfriends.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 49: She cornered me when we had our break, and I was forced into feeling her.
[US]E. Shrake Strange Peaches 278: This one boy [...] thought he was so cool, but he just acted crazy. He tried to feel me’.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 197: Alternatively, she may like to play hot cockles or allow someone else to fumble, feel or finger-fuck her.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 166: Fucking beautiful birds some of them, got to feel a few at school only a feel’s all you get unless you get it before nine o’clock.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 235: ‘I hope you’re feeling better soon.’ ‘I hope I’m feeling you soon.’.
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 1: I broke with Fairhurst after he felt Rachel’s tit at a party.

2. (US black) to empathize with; thus affirmatory phr. I feel you.

[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 215: I played my cool role. I didn’t feel the picture much. It was like mixing rice and beans with corned beef and cabbage.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 12: Why you walking so fast? Hurrying to help the kids with their homework? I feel you. The capital of Kansas is Topeka, that’s all I remember.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 ‘I feel ya’ Definition: same as ‘Yes, I understand what you are saying.’ Example: Ay yo, man, I feel ya. Bitches are always trippin.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 183: I’m kinda feelin him [...] He’s a sexy lil MC.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘The Target’ Wire ep. 1 [TV script] Don’t plan on knowing shit about jail. You feel me?
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[UK]G. Malkani Londonstani (2007) 45: I ain’t feelin the word crib either cos that’s what American babies sleep in.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 82: I’m not feeling any love from you right now.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 81: Yo, your kite was right!! [...] I’m feelin’ that!
[US]tweet on 12 May 🌐 u go for a cheeky nandos wif the lads but u arent feelin the banter cos u got absolutely battered in the election.
[US]N. Walker Cherry 204: We went back to my apartment and there was no more coke and Megan wasn’t feeling it. She said, ‘Take me home, Libby’.
[US]S.A. Crosby Blacktop Wasteland 74: ‘We all straight. Don’t get high. Don’t pop no Oxy. Don’t smoke a blunt’ [...] ‘I feel ya’.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 31: I guess the gyaldem were feeling him.
[US]J. Hannaham Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit 56: ‘I ain’t sure what’s your issue, but you better have it somewheres else and at some other time, you feel me?’.

3. to arrest.

[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 3: Ain’t you got no villains to feel George?

SE in slang uses

In phrases

feel a draught (v.) (also feel the breeze, ... a draft)

1. to feel insecure, esp. financially.

[UK]V. Cranton Keepers of the Desert 173: Business was good but shipping [...] was beginning to feel the breeze and the more far-seeing underwriters at Lloyds were beginning to talk doubtfully of the future.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 384/2: 1925.

2. (US black) to sense racial antagonism in one’s conversation or dealings with whites; thus drafty adj., unfriendly to blacks [the phr. is generally credited to the jazz musician Lester Young (1909–59)].

Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop The Clown [album liner notes] Mingus feels the slightest draft, even when no draft is there.
[US]Esquire Sept. 91: The term ‘I feel a draft’ is used by Negro musicians when there’s evidence in a restaurant — or elsewhere — of Jim Crow. Ironically, white musicians who have played with Negro groups have sometimes used the same phrse in order to tell each other that they’re being frozen out of the conversation or an afterhours party.
[US]R.S. Gold Jazz Lex. xix: I feel a draft [...] usually means that the Negro speaker suspects hostility or discrimination directed against him by a white.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 83: About 70 items refer to whites or African Americans or to relationships between them. [...] feel a draft means ‘sense racial prejudice’.

3. (US black) to warn one’s friends that a white person has entered the room.

[US](con. 1940s–50s) C. Major Juba to Jive.
feel all (a)round my hat (v.) [? ballad ‘all round my hat I wears a green willow’; thus ? ref. to the green pallor of an ill complexion]

to feel unwell.

[UK]J. Manchon Le Slang.
feel all right (v.)

to feel pleasantly drunk.

[UK]Mills & Scott [perf. George Leyton] ‘The best of friends must part’ 🎵 Young Spifkins and Jones, two smart clerks in the city, / Have been on the ‘ran-dan’ and feel just all right.
feel as if a cat had kittened in one’s mouth (v.)

to feel the nauseous after-effects of drinking on ‘the morning after’.

[UK]Kipling ‘Black Jack’ in Soldiers Three (1907) 100: Whin I roused the dhrink was dyin’ out inme, an’ I felt as though a she-cat had littered in me mouth.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight.
feel funny (v.)

1. to feel (unpleasantly) drunk.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 226: He is feeling funny.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.

2. to feel very emotional.

[UK] ‘Windham Lunacy Case’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 130: Oh, the money, the money, they wanted the money, / And that was the thing made the parties feel funny.
[US]N. Mailer Naked and Dead 280: It’s gonna make him feel mighty funny.

3. to feel ill.

‘Pissed Off and Passed Out’ Diary 31 Oct. on Jealous Monk 🌐 I am feeling funny now, so I decide to head back to the bed room. I stand up, excuse myself, and head to the door of the dining room, but never make it. When I regain all senses, I find the world turned sideways.
feel good (v.) (orig. US)

1. to feel in good spirits or health; thus feel-good adj., life-affirming.

[UK]Marryat Diary in America II 224: I don’t feel at all good, this morning [DA].
[US]Journal of Discourses II 224: You will see how good we will make the transient residents feel [DA].
Texas Siftings 15 Sept. n.p.: The saloons are going Saturday afternoon, and the men feel pretty good before they come abroad [F&H].
[US]N.Y. Eve. Post 23 June 3: The captain himself said, ‘I feel good,’ but he did not look well [DA].
[US]Collier’s 26 Jan. 8/4: I began to feel pretty good [DA].
[UK]Guardian G2 18 June 10: It combines a push-up effect with the all-important feel-good factor.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 14 Jan. 4: Real, feel-good laughs.

2. to feel mildly drunk, to begin to experience a drug.

[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 246: The lad was feeling pretty good by this time, and he could not let a gentleman treat without returning the compliment, you know.
[US]E.C.L. Adams Congaree Sketches 84: He missed the water and got hold of the whiskey glass, and he got to feeling good and commenced to preach [DARE].
[US]Goodman & Kolodin Kingdom of Swing 107: [E]verybody had a few drinks and was feeling good.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. of Sl. 106.7: Drunk. . . feeling . . good [DARE].
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Rock 86: A cat gets up [...] He’s feeling good, singing.
[US]H. Williamson Hustler 31: I guess Callie was feelin’ pretty good ‘cause she had been drinkin’, and she set on my lap and kissed me.
J. Bouton Ball Four Plus Ball Five 414: One afternoon we all came back feeling pretty good.
D.H. Edwards The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing 40: We'd go out with our guitars, try to get a good shot of that white whiskey and feel good.
feel like a ball of string (v.) (also feel like a bag of string) [pun on Aus. phr. ball of muscle, an energetic person + poss. pun on phr. all wound up, emotional, tense]

(Aus.) to feel exhausted.

[Aus]‘No. 35’ Argot in G. Simes DAUS (1993).
[Aus]‘David Forrest’ Last Blue Sea 128: Your feet wear down to the ankles, and your get falls in like a bag of string, but your mind stays quite clear to the end.
feel like a boiled rag (v.) (also feel like a piece of chewed rag/string)

to feel ill.

G.E. Wyatt Lionel Harcourt, the Etonian 263: I feel like a boiled rag. If I once get into bed, I don’t believe I shall get up again for a week.
J. Winter Heart and Sword 156: I feel like a boiled rag [...] I will tell you what it is, Violet, I want a holiday.
Pall Mall Mag. XL 760/2: ‘I always feel like a piece of chewed string afterwards.’ The rest of us felt the same, and said it.
[UK]P.C. de Crespigny Mark 187: ‘I feel like a boiled rag.’ ‘As you played the same tune to four different songs , I should not have thought the strain would have been so very great.’.
A.W. Myers Capt. Anthony Wilding 213: Have gone too quick, and feel like a piece of chewed string.
G. Frankau Air Ministry, Room 28 239: And now I’d better try to get some sleep, otherwise I’ll feel like a piece of chewed rag in the morning.
E. Huxley Man from Nowhere 253: I’ve got a heavy day tomorrow, I shall feel like a piece of chewed string and be about as useful.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 385/1: feel like a boiled rag [...] C.20.
E. Davies in Baker Nightingales in the Mud on ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee 🌐 I never did like working with mentals, for it takes so much out of me. I feel like a piece of chewed string after duty ... Shell shock is fearful, worse than death.
R. Bryant-Jefferies on Bryant-Jeffries 🌐 Another important aspect of Collaborative Review is that it offers the opportunity for the practitioner to talk through difficulties with clients [...] whose level of neediness drains the practitioner and reduces their effectiveness in establishing a therapeutic relationship with clients (‘I just feel like a chewed rag after being with him, I think I’m losing my boundaries somewhere’).
feel like a (fresh-)boiled owl (v.) (also feel like a stewed owl, ... stewed witch, look like a boiled owl)

(US) to be extremely hungover, to be very exhausted, run down.

[US]Harper’s Mag. Aug. 367/1: I felt, to use a certain figurative expression, ‘like a boiled owl’ [DA].
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitsmann in Holland’ in Hans Breitmann in Europe 246: Dwo weeks der Breitmann studiet, / Vile he vent it on de howl, / Ile shpree so moosh to find de troot, / Dat he lookt like a bi-led owl.
[US]Journal of Amer. Folklore V 60: To feel like a stewed owl, or like a stewed monkey. More idiomatically, like a biled owl [DA].
[US]Rising Sun (Kansas City, MO) 14 Apr. 3/3: What was that stuff I drank last night, and why [...] do I feel like the second joint of a stewed owl this morning?
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Word-List from Hampstead, N.H.’ in DN III iii 187: feel like a boiled owl, v. phr. To be nervously exhausted, as from loss of sleep. ‘I feel like a boiled owl this morning.’.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:v 375: stewed witch, n. phr. Used to indicate a very uncomfortable bodily condition or state or feeling. ‘I feel like a stewed witch this morning.’.
[US]letter dated 1904 in Bisbee Dly Rev. (AZ) 10 Dec. 3/4: By the time I get to five o’clock in the afternoon I will be feeling like a stewed owl.
[UK]Lancs Eve. Post 23 Mar. 4/5: Here is a man [...] who has so saturated himself with drink [...] that he looks like a boiled owl.
feel like death warmed up (v.) (also feel like death on a bun)

to feel absolutely appalling, often used by those suffering from hangovers (cf. look like death warmed up under look like... v.).

[UK]N&Q 12 Ser. IX 503: Death Warmed Up (To Feel Like). To feel ill.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 2 Jan. 6/4: There are asses who say, 'Got a cold?' when you totter into the ofice feeling like death warmed up.
[UK]Hartlepool Mail 9 Mar. 5/2: A motorist who, according to the police, said after a fatality that he ‘felt like death warmed up’.
Brickhill & Norton Escape to Danger n.p.: For hours and hours he had to stick to the controls, feeling like death warmed up.
[UK]Yorks. Post 10 Dec. 5/2: ‘ don’t feel like death warmed up,’ he said.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 3: death [...] After last night’s party I feel like death on a bun.
[UK]Guardian 19 Dec. 🌐 ‘We’re both absolutely exhausted all the time,’ he says, ‘but I’m quite happy to feel like death warmed up to feel like a family.’.
feel (like) shit (v.) (also feel shitty)

see under shit n.

feel moldy (v.) [SE mouldy]

(US campus) to feel humiliated, embarrassed.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U.
feel no way

(W.I., Rasta) don’t take offence, don’t be sorry, don’t worry.

[WI]Peter Tosh ‘Feel No Way’ 🎵 No bother feel no way / It’s coming close to payday, / I say No bother feel no way.
feel off (v.) [SE off used to imply agency as in jerk off v. (3) etc.]

to manipulate a sexual partner to orgasm.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 3: feel off – to manipulate another person’s sexually sensitive areas of the body.
[US]‘Bill E. Goodhead’ Nubile Treat 🌐 He pressed his thumb against her clit, and she pressed his prick in reply. It was so nice for both of them that each was tempted to just feel the other off.
feel someone’s collar (v.) [the physical act of grabbing a villain]

(UK Und.) to arrest, to place under suspicion.

[UK]P. Tempest Lag’s Lex. 49: To ‘get your collar felt (or touched)’ is to be arrested or stopped by the police.
[UK]R. Fabian London After Dark 11: Next time it came my way to ‘feel his collar’ for possessing stolen goods I would see the judge was told.
[UK](con. 1920s) J. Sparks Burglar to the Nobility 72: The Law is reaching out for my collar over this Mappin and Webb job.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 28: Transferring as a DCI might have been a prospect, only in the Squad they were generally administrative and rarely got to feel a collar.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 86: You miss the hurly-burly, getting out and feeling a few collars.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 275: They surged through the council flat like a human tidal wave, eager to feel some collars and seize some product.
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 39: Some geezer tapped me on the shoulder. Fact he felt my collar [...] He was Karachi Old Bill.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 402: She can recall Suave Ted advising her not to risk driving: ‘You don’t want to get your collar felt’.
feel the draught (v.)

1. to be inconvenienced, suffering the consequences of something.

[UK]Westminster Gaz 27 Apr. n.p.: When the wind changed it might be the Conservative Party which would be feeling the draught [OED].
[UK]Guardian 2 Jan. 🌐 Birmingham are none the less feeling the draught of suspensions on top of injuries.

2. to have serious money problems.

N. Marsh Surfeit of Lampreys 103: ‘Did he go bust?’ [...] ‘I don’t think so, Curtis. Must have felt the draught a bit.’.
[UK]Listener 9 June 831/2: With only so much national advertising to go round [...], the oldest commercial stations are feeling the draught as well.
[UK]Financial Times 13 Apr. 13/3: If the BSC or the bigger firms in the private sector felt the draught and turned their attention to smaller orders, the lesser firms could suffer badly to the point of extinction .
[UK]Guardian 7 Jan. 🌐 In the US, growth is slowing fast as the manufacturing sector struggles against cheap Asian imports. Moreover, the non-manufacturing sector is now feeling the draught.
feel up

see separate entries.

go feel around

(US) a dismissive phr.

‘Tra-la-la-loo’ [ballad] And when I bid her stay at home, she says ‘Go feel around.’.