Green’s Dictionary of Slang

one adj.

used with a n. to emphasize a comment, e.g. one serious boy, one angry young man; esp. as abbr./euph. for one hell of a at hell of a, a under hell n.

[US]J.E. Rendinell diary n.d. in One Man’s War (1928) 23: I sure was one happy boy.
[US]Black Mask Aug. III 34: Jerome Ormond was one sweet baby.
[WI]A. Durie One Jamaica Gal 22: Lawd, but the ‘missis’ is one sweet lady [...] an’ Mister Hilary am sweet too but him too foo-foo.
[US]M. Curtiss Letters Home (1944) 2 Feb. 5: Yup that was one swell battle!
[US]A. Kapelner Lonely Boy Blues (1965) 26: Oh, ain’t he one dirty pink!
[US]W. Murray Sweet Ride 152: That Artie [...] that is one great American!
[US]D. Ponicsan Last Detail 97: He’s one smart honcho, that’s for sure.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 23: That Maloney’s one tough dude ain’t he?
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 312: I am one guilty teenager.
[US]C.W. Ford Deuce’s Wild 46: ‘You one polite motherfucker,’ T-Mo said.
[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 263: ‘That’s one strong bastard,’ said one of the policemen admiringly.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

one-bagger (n.) [such an individual is so ugly one would need to put a bag over their head before having sex; note Urquhart, The Complete Works of Rabelais (1653): ‘To be short, they occupied [i.e. had sex with] all like good souls; only, to those that were horribly ugly and ill-favoured, I caused their head to be put within a bag to hide their face’]

(US campus) a very ugly person.

[US] P. Munro Sl. U.
one-bar (n.) [from the single bar that serves as his badge of office]

(N.Z. prison) a junior prison officer.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 130/2: onebar n. a junior prison officer.
one-cheek squeak (n.)

an instance of breaking wind.

P. Gilstrap ‘Breaking Story’ New Times 🌐 It’s all part of the considerable strength of brown air, the ability of the lowly one-cheek squeak to unnerve the upper strata of the media.
one dollar (n.)

(N.Z. prison) $10.00.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 130/2: one dollar n. $10.
one-finger(ed) salute (n.)

(US) an obscene gesture of contempt.

[US]F. Elkins diary in Elkins Heart of a Man (1973) 17: We have a picture of the Russian tail gunner [...] giving one of our F-8 pilots the international one-finger salute, the bird.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 176: Carl slammed down his marking tape. ‘This behaviour is just not acceptable!’ Tash replied with a one-fingered salute.
[US]Daily Star 16 Mar. n.p.: But just three hours later, she was back in front of the lenses as she left, giving onlookers the one-finger salute after collapsing on the floor.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] I clipped a sharp one-fingered salute at them as they retreated.
[US]D. Swierczynski California Bear 47: Hightower allowed the Audi to pass but raised a one-finger salute to send it off.
one-finger exercise (n.) [pun]

manual stimulation of the vagina or clitoris.

Sex-Lexis 🌐 female masturbation: do a one-finger exercise.
one-hand magazine (n.) (also one-hand reading material)

a pornographic magazine, used as an aid to masturbation.

[US]M.F. Shugrue Essay 593: Penthouse would pay even more although he doesn’t want it to appear in a one-hand magazine.
[Aus]Aldrich & Wotherspoon Gay Perspectives 54: In prisons and the military one-handed reading matter is stick-books, while prisoners also talk about bat material.
[UK]Roger’s Profanisaurus in Viz 87 Dec. n.p.: art pamphlet n. A jazz mag; one handed reading material.
[US]F.V. Reed Nekkid in Austin 41: SOF may be the only one-hand magazine whose readers hold a surplus-store bayonet in the other hand.
[UK]Ben Bad Wank Day on 🌐 The pages of the one handed reading material, although filled with pictures of scantily glad beautiful women, lacked the degree of pornographic filth that I need to get off.
[US]H. Ellison Introduction in Pulling a Train’ [ebook] One-handed reading material, intended to keep truck drivers entertained in roadside toilets.
one-horse (adj.) (also one-mule, one-pub) [18C SE one-horse, drawn or worked, by a single horse]

1. (orig. US) of places, insignificant; esp. as one-horse town n., a small town of no importance.

[US]Western Police Gaz. (Cincinnati, OH) 29 Mar. n.p.: Those boys who frequent that one-horse grocery [etc].
Criminal Life (Boston) 19 Dec. n.p.: Billy McH—h, whose father keeps a one-horse whiskey mill.
[Ind]Bombay Gaz. 29 Dec. 2/6: Yankeedom could not afford to go to war with Brazil which it calls in contemptuous slang a one horse power.
[UK]W. Stamer Life of Adventure II 34: Sydney was not such a go-ahead place as the capital of Victoria. [...] After the noise and stir of Melbourne, it seemed what the Yankees would call a very ‘one-horse sort of a place’.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 104: Those gentlemen, Major, don’t want to come all the way over here to eat a dinner at a one-horse country tavern.
[US]B. Harte Gabriel Conroy I 97: It was a season of unexampled prosperity in One Horse Gulch.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 29 Oct. 3: He keeps a one-horse grocery.
[UK]Sporting Times 22 Mar. 2/2: There’s no tape, no ‘special,’ nor anything in this swivel-eyed, one-hoss hole!
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Boss of the Admiral Lynch’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 121: And the king of ’em all, I reckon, the man that could stand a pinch, / Was the boss of a one-horse gunboat. They called her the ‘Admiral Lynch’.
[UK]W.D. Howells Landlord at Lion’s Head 143: We don’t run the house like his one-horse European hotels.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Sept. 4/7: Whatcher call this poverty-stricken, God-forsaken, one-hoss settlement?
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Defeat of the City’ in Voice of the City (1915) 85: ‘Bob’ abandoned the certain three-per-diem meals of the one-horse farm for the discontinuous quick lunch counters of the three-ringed metropolis.
[US]H. Hapgood Types From City Streets 286: It was a one-horse language; it was a mere dialect.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe on the Job 117: Of all the forsaken, dreary, one-mule towns along the line that was the worst.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 188: Gadding about, now to Philadelphia [...] anon to Onehorseville.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 62: The post office in thet little one-horse town [...] was good pickin’s.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Haxby’s Circus 16: Forty miles between here and the next one-horse town.
[UK]M. Marshall Travels of Tramp-Royal 172: Aviemore is merely a one-horse hamlet where motorists pull up to fill up.
[Aus]D. Stivens Tramp and Other Stories 23: Fat old fool. No wonder they left him here in this one-pub town.
[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 62: I’ll get you a better ken than this one-horse dump of yourn.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 276: Always was a one-horse town.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 7 Dec. in Proud Highway (1997) 143: One-horse gossip sheets and country weeklies.
[Aus]R.H. Conquest Horses in Kitchen 121: My favourite town is strictly a one-horse town on the Queensland coastline.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 34: Ask some of these fornicating friggers who live in this one-horse town!
[US]K. Vacha Quiet Fire 161: It’s really changed from the one-horse town I knew.
Sun. Trib. 10 Feb. 8/3: Holywell is a one-horse town half-way between Holihead and Wrexham.
[US](con. 1960s) G. Washington Blood Brothers 105: I want all you dog-people of this one-horse town to know I am still military commander of this area.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 244: You need to get outa this onehorse town, bro.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘A bit of land in a one-horse town’.
[Aus]P. Papathanasiou Stoning 118: ‘[N]o-one gives a toss about protocol in a one-horse town’.

2. of individuals, second-rate, petty; usu. of politicians, minor officials.

[US]R.F. Burton City of the Saints 304: They have been served with ‘small fry’ politicians and ‘one-horse’ officials.
[UK]G.A. Sala My Diary in America II 94: The negro will put you down as a ‘mean cuss,’ a ‘one-horse’ sort of a person.
[UK]Mrs J.H. Riddell Mitre Court II 116: Send it round to my own poor little one-horse money-changer.
[UK]Music Hall & Theatre Rev. 2 Aug. 11/2: [S]ome one-horse spouter in a one-horse town.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Dec. 21/1: A weariful sign of the times is the little one-horse nonentity who writes an enormously wordy letter to the British Premier to tell that complete stranger that he, the nonentity aforesaid, is strongly loyal to the township of God-for-gotten.
[US]S. Ornitz Haunch Paunch and Jowl 132: Puffed-up one-horse politicians.
one-legged race (n.)


[US]Ian Dury ‘Hey Hey Take Me Away’ 🎵 There’s nutters in here who whistle and cheer / When they’re watching a one-legged race.
[UK] ‘Maxim Thesaurus’ Maxim Jun. 🌐 One-legged race: ‘What are you doing in there, Jimmy?’ ‘Just having a one-legged race, Mom.’.
one-leg trouser (n.) [resemblance]

a style of skirt, tight and straight, popular in the 1890s.

[UK]Daily News 18 Apr. Ladies in the latest ‘one-leg-trouser’ fashion from Paris.
one-lunger (n.)

1. (US) a single-cylinder vehicle, usu. a motorcycle.

[US]S. Ford Side-Stepping with Shorty 90: Then me and Sadie in her bubble, towin’ the busted one-lunger behind .
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 52: It was a One-Lunger with a Wheel Base of nearly 28 inches.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 83: He had this Indian — you know, one of those small jobs. Not a onelunger.

2. (US Und.) a consumptive.

[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.

3. (US) any small or inferior set-up or device.

[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.

4. (US) an eccentric.

[UK]Guardian Rev. 14 Apr. 11: Cranks and misfits and one-lungers.
one-piece overcoat (n.)

a condom.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 832: since ca. 1950.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 1 Oct. 5: ‘Curses,’ he said. ‘I’ve no Reggie and Ronnies about my person. Could you oblige me with a one-piece overcoat?’.

In phrases

one eye and a winkle (n.)

a blind person or a person with one eye.

[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 275: A person who is either blind, or short of, an eye, and who is an object of dislike, is referred to as ‘one eye and a winkle’ or ‘... a whelk’.
one fat lady (n.) [resemblance to her opulent curves]

(bingo) the number eight. 🌐 Bingo Nicknames [...] 8... One fat lady.
one-legged (adj.)

(US) second-rate, inadequate.

[US]D. Hammett Red Harvest (1965) 36: He ought to know what a swell chance he’s got of hanging a one-legged rap like that on me.