Green’s Dictionary of Slang

talk v.

1. [1920s+] (UK Und.) to confess or turn informer to the police or similar authority.

2. [1950s+] (US black/campus, also talk to/with) to have a relationship with someone, to date.

3. [1970s+] (US prison) having a relationship with another person of the same sex while in prison [euph.].

SE in slang uses

In compounds

talk doctor (n.)

[1990s+] (US) a psychoanalyst, a psychotherapist.

In phrases

all talk and no cider [supposedly orig. at a party in Buck County, PA, which had been arranged to enjoy a particularly good barrel of cider; a political argument began and emotions became so heated that half the guests left, claiming that the ‘party’ had been merely an excuse to wrangle, rather than drink]

[19C] (US) all theory and no practice, all proposals and no concrete results.

it’s the beer talking (also it’s the booze talking, ...drinks..., ...grog..., ...whisky...)

[20C+] an excuse for any excessive talk or actions when drunk, either at the time or when sober on reflection; thus n. beer talk.

now you’re talking

[mid-19C+] a phr. stating that the speaker is (finally) dealing with pertinent topics or talking to some purpose.

talk... (v.)

see also under relevant n. or adj.

talk braille (v.)

[2000s] (N.Z.) to be drunk.

talk crisp (v.) [note SE talk sharply]

[1910s–20s] to say unpleasant things.

talking to Jamie Moore (adj.) [? anecdotal]

[late 19C–1930s] (Scot.) drunk.

talk it up (v.)

to answer, to speak up.

talk like pound notes (v.)

[1950s] to talk in an affected, supposedly ‘classy’ manner.

talk one’s head off (v.) (also flirt one’s head off, gab one’s..., gas..., talk one’s ass off, ...leg off, swear the leg off an iron pot, swear a hole in a gatepost, talk the leg off an iron pot, …a pot) [SE talk/gab v./gas v.1 (1)]

[mid-19C+] to talk incessantly.

talk out of school (v.)

[20C+] to tell tales, to talk unguardedly.

talk out of the other side of one’s mouth (v.) (also smile out of the other corner of one’s mouth)

[mid-19C+] to change one’s mind, to contradict an earlier statement.

talk packthread (v.) [‘to use indecent language, well wrapt up’ (Grose 1796). SE packthread, heavyweight cord or twine used for tying bundles]

[late 18C–early 19C] to talk in double entendres.

talk pretty (v.) (also speak pretty)

[late 19C–1910s] (mainly Aus.) to speak in an affectionate, friendly manner.

talk sideways (v.)

[1910s+] (US prison) to talk disrespectfully, to talk ‘clever’.

talk someone’s ear off (v.)

see under ear n.1

talk someone’s head off (v.) (also jaw someone’s head off) [SE talk/jaw v.1 (1); ext. of prev., but also note talk one’s head off ]

[1920s+] (orig. US) to talk incessantly at someone.

talk through one’s socks (v.)

[1900s] (Aus.) to talk nonsense.

talk through the top of one’s skull (v.)

[1950s] to talk nonsense.

talk toll tawdrum (v.)

[late 18C] of women, to talk smut.

talk to the canoe-driver (v.) [play on SE canoe/cunnilingus + play on little man (in the boat) n.]

[1960s+] (US) to perform cunnilingus.

talk up a breeze (v.) [var. on talk up a storm ]

[1940s+] to talk in a fluent, persuasive manner.

talk up a storm (v.) (also beg up a storm)

[1940s+] (US) to talk loudly, at length and impressively.

talk up at the big gate (v.)

[1950s] (US black) to threaten to leave.

(we’re) talking... [originated in Hollywood where hyperbole is dominant, the implication is often one of slight reproof, i.e. don’t forget, we are not discussing any old topic, sum of money etc. but something quite exceptional or startling]

[1960s+] a use of SE talking with the word ‘about’ unstated, implying not so much person-to-person communication, but as a way of emphasizing the importance and immediacy of the topic in hand, e.g. we’re talking telephone numbers, this will be a very large sum of money.