Green’s Dictionary of Slang

house n.1

1. [16C+] a whore-house, a house of ill-repute, a brothel.

2. [17C–1920s] a public house, a hotel, an illegal drinking house.

3. [mid-19C–1900s] a poor-house, a workhouse; a tramps’ lodging house.

4. [late 19C–1930s] (UK society) a group of guests at a ball or dance who sit, eat and dance within their own circle only.

5. [20C+] (US Und.) a police station.

6. [1920s+] (US Und.) a single prison cell; thus house time, a sentence in jail.

7. [1940s–70s] (US black/teen) a prison.

In compounds

house girl (n.)

1. [1950s] (US Und.) a prostitute who works in a brothel.

2. (US black) a respectable girl [she is based in the house rather than the street].

house-keeper (n.) [euph.]

[late 18C–1940s] (US Und.) a madame.

house mother (n.)

[1950s+] in the sex industry, a madame.

In phrases

atop of the house

[late 17C–mid-18C] very angry.

hit a house (v.)

[20C+] (US prison) to search a cell.

house of civil reception (n.) (also house of civil entertainment)

[mid-18C–early 19C] a brothel.

house of conveniency (n.)

[18C] a brothel.

house of delight (n.) (also house of entertainment, ...pleasure)

[mid-17C-mid-18C] a brothel.

house of profession (n.)

[17C] a brothel.

house of resort (n.)

[late 16C–early 17C] a brothel.

house of sale (n.)

[late 16C–early 17C] a brothel.

house of state (n.)

[17C] a brothel.

house of waste (n.) [the moral standpoint]

[late 18C–early 19C] a tavern.

in the house

1. [1970s] (US black) at home.

2. [1980s+] lit., present and fig., aware, ‘on the ball’ etc.

3. [1980s+] (orig. US black/teen) excellent.

play house (v.)

1. [20C+] (US) to cohabit.

2. [1930s+] (US campus) to have sexual intercourse.

3. [1950s] to insult one’s peers with ref. to their mother.

4. [1960s] of two homosexuals, to play around in a sexual manner.

SE in slang uses

Pertaining to a lavatory

In phrases

House of Commons (n.) [pun on SE/commons n.]

1. [late 18C] a brothel, or a whore’s vagina .

2. [late 18C–mid-19C] a privy, a lavatory.

house of easement (n.) (also chapel of ease, house of..., office of..., place of...) [euph.]

[17C–19C] a privy.

house of office (n.) (also house ex officio)

[17C–mid-19C] a privy.

houses of parliament (n.) [‘where all the big pricks hang out’]

[1960s+] (UK/N.Z.) a lavatory, esp. a public lavatory.

General uses

In compounds

house-a-blazes (adv.)

[1940s] (W.I.) utterly, completely.

house ape (n.)

[1960s+] (US) a small child.

house dog (n.)

[1930s] (US tramp) one who takes jobs in private houses.

house-fed lamb (n.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a kept mistress.

house fee (n.)

[1980s+] (drugs) a fee charged for entry into a room or apartment where one can smoke crack cocaine.

house-knacker (n.) (also house-farmer) [SE house-knacker, one who buys old houses to strip out their materials or to convert them for profitable use]

[late 19C] a landlord who rents third-rate accommodation to the poor.

houseman (n.) [his specializing in house-breaking rather than safe-cracking etc.]

1. [1900s–40s] (US) a burglar.

2. the house representative in a gambling game.

house-plant (n.)

[1910s+] (US) an indolent person who does nothing but sit around.

house rabbit (n.)

[late 19C] (Aus.) a rat.

house rat (n.)

[1960s] (US) a child.

housework (n.)

[1900s–20s] (US Und.) burglary; thus house-worker, a burglar.

In phrases

house for rent (n.) [a widow becomes ‘vacant’ for a new (male) ‘tenant’] [18C–19C; 1930s]

a widow.

house of countless drops (n.) (US black)

1. [1930s–40s] a bar that sells grilled food as well as the usual liquor.

2. [1990s+] the House of Detention.

house of D (n.) [abbr.]

[1960s+] (US prison) a house of detention; spec. the Women’s House of Detention in NYC.

house of many slammers (n.)

[1940s+] (US) a prison.

house of pain (n.) (US black)

1. [1940s] the dentist’s.

2. [1990s+] a prison.

house that Jack built (n.) (also Jack’s house)

1. [late 19C–1930s] a prison [the generic hangman Jack Ketch].

2. [1920s+] (Aus.) the Government Savings Bank in Sydney, opened 1928.

house under the hill (n.) [the image of the vagina as being ‘down there’ and beneath the fig. hill, or pubic mound; note Aubrey Beardsley’s title for his sole and unfinished erotic novel Under the Hill (1898)]

[late 19C+] the vagina.

house with green shutters (n.)

[1930s] (US prison) the gas chamber.

house without chairs (n.)

[1920s–40s] (US black) a temporarily unfurnished apartment or house; usu. as used for parties.

throw the house out of the windows (v.) (also cast the house out of the windows, turn…)

[mid-16C–19C] to make a great deal of noise or disturbance in one’s house.