Green’s Dictionary of Slang

trick n.1

[note Dillard, Lexicon of Black English (1977): ‘The term trick for the sexual performance of a prostitute probably comes, ultimately, from the voodoo term for achieving control (often sexual control), possibly reinforced by the nautical term meaning “a task”’ i.e, trick n.4 (1)]

1. [late 16C+] sexual intercourse, occas. other forms of sexual encounter, esp. a prostitute’s intercourse (or other activity) with a client.

2. [20C+] a girl, a young woman.

3. [1920s+] (also trip) a prostitute’s client, whether hetero- or homosexual, the implication being of deceiving any such client into parting with money.

4. [1920s+] any casual sex partner.

5. [1950s+] a general term of abuse, equating the subject with a whore’s client.

6. (US) a prostitute.

7. [1970s+] (US black) one who can be easily manipulated, e.g. a longterm admirer who is never allowed sex, but merely kept in tow for the material pleasures they offer.

8. [1970s+] a boyfriend; hetero- or homosexual.

9. [1990s+] (US prison) a prisoner who can be easily exploited for money or presents.

In compounds

trick-ass (adj.) [-ass sfx]

[1960s+] (US black) a general derog. term, the implication is of sexual inadequacy (for a man) or promiscuity (for a woman).

trick baby (n.) [given no positive evidence to the contrary, the prostitute-mother assumes the father to have been one of the paying customers; note trick daddy ]

[1960s+] (orig. US black) an illegitimate child born to a prostitute.

trick bag (n.) [on model of scumbag under scum n.; the pimp assumption that only victims pay for sex and that such a victim deserves whatever happens to him]

1. [1960s+] (US black) an unpleasant and disadvantaged position, a no-win situation.

2. [1980s+] a fool, one who thinks they are better than they are.

3. see also SE compounds below.

trick broad (n.) [broad n.2 (3)]

[1970s] (US black) a prostitute.

trick bunk (n.)

[1990s+] (US prison) that bunk in a convict dormitory which is used for clandestine sex.

trick daddy (n.)

[2000s] (US black) the father of a prostitute’s child.

trick day (n.)

[1960s] (US gay) a day on which each partner of a gay couple is allowed to enjoy an alternative partner.

trick dough (n.) [dough n. (1)]

[1960s] (US Und.) money earned by a prostitute.

trick flick (n.)

[1950s+] (gay) a pornographic film.

trick money (n.)

[1940s+] (US black) the money a prostitute earns and hands over to her pimp.

trick pad (n.) [pad n.2 (2)]

1. [1990s+] (US Und.) an apartment, room or hotel room used by prostitutes to entertain their clients.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

trick room (n.)

[1920s+] a room, in a hotel or motel, where a prostitute can take clients.

trick suit (n.)

[1950s+] a prostitute’s dress that can be removed easily and is thus suitable for business.

trick towel (n.)

[1950s+] (gay) a towel for wiping oneself after intercourse.

trick willy (n.) [generic Willy]

[1950s+] (US black) a gullible black man.

In phrases

beat a trick (v.)

[1970s+] (US Und.) of a prostitute, to rob a client.

boss trick (n.) [boss adj. (2) ]

[1960s+] in prostitution, a good customer.

champagne trick (n.)

[2000s] a particularly wealthy or generous client for a prostitute.

cheap-trick (adj.)

[1960s] pertaining to the poorer of a prostitute’s clients.

do the trick (v.)

1. [late 17C; mid-19C+] of a man, to have sexual intercourse; also in homosexual use.

2. [early 19C] (UK Und.) to blunder.

3. [early 19C+] (orig. UK Und.) to get what one wants, to succeed, e.g. to perform a successful robbery, to achieve a seduction [SE from late 19C].

4. [late 19C] of a woman, to lose one’s virginity, to be deflowered.

5. [late 19C] to impregnate a woman.

6. [1910s] (Aus.) to get married.

do the trick of the loop (v.) [Gifford, Ulysses Annotated (1988) ‘“the trick of the loop”, a carnival game in which the contestants try to win prizes by pitching small wooden hoops at a group of upright stakes.’]

[1920s] to have sexual intercourse.

freak trick (n.) [freak n.1 (7) ]

[1960s+] (US prostitute) any customer who requires out-of-the-way sex or who attacks the woman physically.

get up to tricks (v.)

[late 19C] to work as a prostitute.

pull a trick (v.)

[1950s] (US Und.) to perform male homosexual fellatio.

straight trick (n.) [straight adj.1 (13) ]

[1970s+] a prostitute’s client who requires no ‘extras’ beyond normal intercourse.

turn a trick (v.)

see separate entry.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

trickology (n.) [SE trick + -ology n.]

[1970s] subterfuge, deception.

In compounds

trick-acting (adj.)

[20C+] (Irish) showing off.

trick-bag (n.)

1. [1970s] (US) a fig. respository of secrets and surprises.

2. see also sex compounds above.

In phrases

can’t take a trick (v.) [card-game imagery]

[1940s+] (Aus.) to be consistently unlucky.

catamaran trick (n.) [? early 19C SE catamaran, an ill-tempered person]

[early 19C] a practical joke.

cross-road trick (n.) [the trad. burying of suicides at a crossroads]

[late 19C] (Aus. prison) suicide.

pull a trick (v.)

to deal dishonestly with another person.

take a trick (v.) [card imagery]

[late 19C] (Aus.) to show promise; to be successful.

whole bag of tricks (n.)

see separate entry.