Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spit v.

1. of a man, to have sexual intercourse [SE spit, to pierce].

[UK] ‘Female Tobacconist’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 43: One was an old parson, three score and ten, / Who enjoyed his pipe a bit now and then; / For her spitting box, he’d eagerly call, / But he’d smoke the whole night without spitting at all.
[UK]‘Affairs in Greece’ in Boudoir II 54: To the pantry every day 'tis clear, / Voluptuous cookey used to repair, / Tho' a novel place for such a treat, / Twas there James used to spit cook's meat.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. to ejaculate.

[[UK]J. Phillips Maronides (1678) VI 111: St George he takes a furious course, / The Dragon spits, away flies horse, / Leaving St George upon the grass, / The sport of many a pretty Lass].
[UK]A. Cairene Sixfold Sensuality 23: When the dolly had spit in her bum [...] that spit began to run out of her brown sugar basim.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

3. (US black) to write and perform hip-hop or rap lyrics; unlike these, however, there is no necessity to produce rhyming lines; thus spitter, a rapper, spitting n.

[US]Too $hort ‘“I Don’t Stop Rappin’ 🎵 Spit that rap.
[US]Too $hort ‘Cusswords’ 🎵 Here’s another rap that Im ready to spit.
[US]Source Nov. 76: What we’re doin’ ain’t really rappin, it’s game spittin’.
Kanye West untitled track on College Dropout [album] 🎵 Jay came in and he spit all these songs in one day.
[UK]D.S. Mitchell Killer Tune (2008) 41: The underground rap crowd doing the usual who could spit the words on the mic the fastest.
[US]W.J. Cobb To the Break of Dawn 7: The legions of mic-grabbing rhyme spitters in Germany, Japan, France and Amsterdam are no more contrary to the black roots of hip hop than Leontyne Price [...] to the Italian roots of opera.
[SA]IOL News Western Cape) 4 Mar. 🌐 The Western Cape style of rapping was founded in 1995 by Dat (alias Archie Sopazo) who started spitting in tsotsi-taal.
A$AP Rocky ‘Ghetto Symphony’ 🎵 Spittin it like a Beretta, nobody do it better, nigga.
Skepta ‘Lyrics’ 🎵 ? Oh blud, what a chief / Sidewinder, you got air on the roads / Eskimo Dance, you was spitting off-beat.
Young M.A. ‘I Got the Bag’ 🎵 We need more spittas, less funny looking niggas.
[UK]G. Krauze What They Was 20: They spit rap and grime bars about bussin guns and murking man .

4. (UK black) to talk (persuasively).

[UK]Jade LB Keisha the Sket (2021) 20: He woz jus 2 sick annnnnn da boi can SPITTTT!

In derivatives

spitter (n.)

(UK black) a rap artist.

[UK]Wiley ‘On a Level’ 🎵 Got the sick spitters in training / Just like they're my army or navy.

In phrases

ready to spit

on the verge of ejaculation.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 196: When the red hot poker is foaming at the mouth and ready to spit, the gasp and grunt (rhyming slang) should be ready to let down its spendings.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

In phrases

spit-and-scratch game (n.) [women supposedly do not use their fists]

a fight, usu. between women.

[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 219: As for the spit-an’-scratch game – why, that’s outside ’er radius altogether. Never punched another woman in her life, I’ll lay.
spit cards (v.)

to leave visiting cards on one’s social round.

[UK]Thrale Thraliana i Apr. 489: Mr Thrale is very well now, & gone out in his Carriage to spit Cards as I call'd it—sputar le Carte.
[UK]Mme D’Arblay Diary and Letters (1904) II 155: As I had the coach, I then spit cards at Mrs. Chapone’s, who has sent me an invitation.
spit chips (v.) [chips of wood] (orig. Aus.)

1. to feel extreme thirst.

[Aus]Bulletin Reciter 1880–1901 108: While you’re spitting chips like thunder [...] / And the streams of sweat near blind you.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 30 July 1s/2: The lack of which makes Jaunty drear / As well inquire when chips you spit / But where are the beers of yesteryear?
[Aus]A. Marshall Tell Us About the Turkey, Jo 142: I was spitting chips. God, I was dry!

2. to manifest acute anger or vexation.

[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 13 Mar. 7/5: I could spit chips [...] They wouldn’t let me say a word.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 14: But when he comes rushing up – spittin’ chips, he’s so mad – young Dave only lets fly with one shot outa his ging, and the big bloke’s stonkered.
[Aus]A. Chipper Aussie Swearers Guide 48: For other foody epithets with bite, note: [...] spit chips (become angry).
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 48: Spit chips: To be so annoyed that one is capable of chewing up logs of wood and spitting chips.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read How to Shoot Friends 127: He coughed the slug up and spat it out as he ran away. Talk about spitting chips.
T. Bowden Spooling Through 45: Both Alistair Edison and Doug Blain must have been spitting chips about my stroke of luck.
[Aus]C. Hammer Scrublands [ebook] ‘He was in a fucking flap, I tell you, him and his mates, but especially him. Spitting chips. Funniest thing you ever saw’ .
[Aus]G. Disher Consolation 40: ‘It’s the convention to punish kids if a parent overlooks something, is it?’ He looked at Hirsch, spitting chips.
spit cotton (v.)

1. (US) to be very thirsty, to have a dry mouth.

[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers 2nd ser. (1871) 241/2: To spit cotton is, I think, American.
[US] in R.G. Carter Four Brothers in Blue (1978) 17 June 437: I suffered much from thirst [...] I could spit cotton without any exaggeration.
[US]F.E. Daniel Recollections of a Rebel Surgeon 114: The boy gave me a pull at his canteen, for I was near famished for water. I was ‘spittin’ cotton’.
[US]Van Loan ‘For the Pictures’ Taking the Count 331: Look at him! [...] Scared stiff and spitting cotton!
[US]D.I. Young ‘Chuck Away’ in Botkin Folk-Say 312: I’m so thirsty I’m spittin’ cotton.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 123: Hell, I’m so dry I couldn’t even spit cotton.
B. Schuette White Blaze Fever 86: It was 5 pm when I finally found water, and by that time, I was spitting cotton.

2. to be very angry.

[US]Chicago Daily News 14 June 6/3: The Kansas City vote frauds [...] have Attorney General Tom Clark spitting cotton, they believe [DA].
[Ire]G. Lish Extravaganza 167: Oh, God, am I spitting cotton! My God, my God, my God, this time I, Smith, am really spitting cotton!

3. (drugs) to spit white balls of spittle while under the influence of amphetamines.

[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 27: My mouth was dry and my spit came out in round white balls – spitting cotton, it’s called.
spit one’s beef (v.)

(US campus) to vomit.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 4: spit beef – to vomit: Don’t spit your beef in here.
spit one’s death (v.) [the practice of spitting to confirm the sincerity of one’s oath]

to swear one’s honesty.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Oct. 16/1: ‘Ne’er-do-Weel’ [...] refers to the curious custom among Queensland bush school children of striking their chests and spitting whenever they want to clinch an assertion. I have seen it practised among school children in Adelaide. They call it ‘spitting their death.’.
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 112: An’ I spit my death an’ all, an’ I’ll stick to it.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 269: For I’ll spit my death if it ain’t a fact [...] his profesh ’d make a millionaire of him if it was used what-you-might-call legitimate.
spit one’s guts (v.)

(US) to confess one’s crimes in full.

[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 84: Kid, the bloody great soft-hearted mug that he is went and spit his guts.
spit (it) out (v.)

to speak, esp. forcefully; to talk a language.

[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 78: Spit us out a yard or two more, Gig-lamps.
[US]E. Genet letter 20 Feb. in Channing War Letters of Edmond Genet 51: We decided it was best to stick it out in this army even if we weren’t very adept with our French. He can spit it out better than I can but he has a hard time with it too.
[UK]Operator 1384 Scourge of the Desert 39: ‘If you’ve anything to say you can spit it out and I’ll tell the sergeant’ .
T. ‘O’Reilly Tiger of the Legion 116: I mounted clumsily, and, to my delight, I heard the officer spitting out oaths.
[UK]J. Townsend Legion of the Damned 173: [S]ometimes the sentences stuck in my throat like fishbones while I coughed to spit them out.
spit (out) the dummy (v.) (also spit one’s dummy, spit the dummy out) [the image of a furious baby]

(Aus.) to lose one’s temper badly.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Spit the dummy out. Throw a tantrum.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read How to Shoot Friends 122: That wonderful article in ‘Woman’s Daily’ claiming Renée was my ‘pin-up girl’ caused Margaret to really spit the dummy with me. (New Bedford, MA) 24 Mar. 🌐 ‘I’ve watched male directors spit out the dummy and throw tantrums on-set and nobody says a peep,’ says [...] Pierce Brosnan.
[UK]Guardian G2 5 June 3: Alright, don’t spit your dummy, sport.
[NZ]C. Marriner Southern Style 8: I didn’t even spit the dummy when a fuck-up took me on a five-click detour.
[Aus]B. Matthews Intractable [ebook] Darcy, realising he had been geed up, spat his dummy. ‘You pair of fucking pricks,’ he muttered.
spit sixpences (v.) (also spit white (broth), spit white lime)

to spit out small gobbets of white mucus.

[UK]Lyly Mother Bombie III ii: That makes them spit white broath, as they doo.
[UK]Massinger Virgin-Martyr III iii: Had I been a pagan still, I should not have spit white for want of drink.
[UK]‘Geoffrey Wildgoose’ Spiritual Quixote I Bk iv 225: He had thought it rather a dry discourse; and beginning to spit-sixpences (as his saying was), he gave hints to Mr. Wildgoose to stop at the first public-house they should come to.
R. Curry Bahmanian Lore 81: Every story is preceded by the same doggerel: ‘Once upon a time, a very good time, / De monkey chewed tobacco, an’ ’e spit white lime’.
spit (someone) out of the window (v.)

(gay) to spit out one’s partner’s semen after fellatio.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Prostitutes and Criminal Argots’ in Lang. Und. (1981) 117/1: To spit (you) out the window. For a prostitute to refuse to swallow semen after ejaculation in the mouth.
[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 42: spit (one) out the window (v.): To refuse to swallow semen after ejaculation in the mouth, committing it to a handkerchief or towel or, indeed, spitting it out of a window. The term is that of prostitutes and not generally used by homosexual males, who very seldom refuse to swallow the semen.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 188: spit [somebody] out the window (dated, ’40s) to refuse swallowing semen after performing fellatio. Often considered insulting.
spit tacks (v.) [note synon. UK milit. spit button-sticks]

(Aus./US) to be irate, furious.

[Aus]D. Niland Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 113: Look! Strike me fat, I could spit tacks.
[UK]Daily Tel. 20 Oct. 🌐 The gist of the letter was: we want Green out, and we want him out by midday on Tuesday. The non-execs are spitting tacks.
spitting on the sidewalk (n.) [tramp jargon for police harassment, an arrest for no other reason than that one is a vagrant]

any trivial offence for which one still faces prosecution.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 203/1: Spitting on the sidewalk. Any trivial crime, the punishment for which is other than trivial; technical charge.
Bud Buck ‘Olympic Spitting’ 22 Sept. on Dale Connelly Reporting 🌐 Australian spitting has a long tradition. The British convicts who came here had absolutely no manners of any kind, and many claimed they had been sent to the penal colony for nothing more than ‘spitting on the sidewalk.’.
‘Slow Pace of Enron Probe Yields First Results’ on Daily Enron 🌐 The theory goes like this: if a person is suspected of committing massive financial frauds logic tells you that they probably also could not resist easier to prove petty crimes – the financial equivalent of ‘spitting on the sidewalk.’ So, hit them there first, put them and their assets on ice and then you take all the time you need to figure out and prove how they pulled off the big capers.
spit up (v.)

1. (Aus.) to vomit.

[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 182: Oh boy, that Big Dipper! You have a milkshake before you go on, and when you come off you spit up half a pound of butter.

2. to confess.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers Act II: What about what ’appened to me this morning? Come on now, spit up about that.

In exclamations

I could spit!

excl. of fury, frustration.

[UK]‘Josephine Tey’ Miss Pym Disposes 124: ‘If I were not a lady,’ she said at length in clear tones, ‘I would spit!’.
W.D. Myers Me, Mop, and the Moondance Kid 142: ‘I want to win so bad I could spit!’ Marla said.
spit it out! (also spit it)

speak up! confess! explain yourself!

[[UK] ‘Grand Quartett’ in Old Tom of Oxford Radical Harmonist 7: Lie away merrily, spit your slang, / And the game is all our own, brave boys!].
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 211: Curse it man, don’t hang fire—spit it out.
[UK]W. Pratt Ten Nights in a Bar-Room II i: Spit it out! – what is it?
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 9 Aug. 7/1: ‘Slangiana’ [...] Sharp! spit it out.
[UK]J. Horrocks letter in My Dear Parents 19 Aug. 149: major p.: Mr Ross, I have a favor to ask you. ross: Spit it out, Major.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 321: ‘Do you wish me to pray aloud?’ I asked, anxious to gain time. ‘Yes, yes, spit it out.’.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Little Mr. Bouncer 16: Now then!" spit it out, Giglamps!
[US]H. Frederic Seth’s Brother’s Wife 322: Ef you’ve got anythin’ to say, spit it aout!
Florence Trib. (AZ) 18 Dec. 1/3: I want to know what’s biting you [...] quit chewing the rag and spit it out.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Andy Page’s Rival’ in Roderick (1972) 361: What’s the matter with you? Spit it out!
[UK]Sporting Times 15 Feb. 2/5: Well, what is it, old second-’and? Spit it out.
[US]M. Glass Potash And Perlmutter 197: Do me a favour, Potash, and spit it out.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Caesar (1932) 70: ‘All right, spit it out,’ said Vettori.
[Aus]L. Lower Here’s Luck 175: ‘Sit on the bed and tell me all about it [...] Spit it out’.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 189: His hand closed suddenly [...] on Helen’s wrist. ‘Spit it out,’ he said.
[US]J. Evans Halo in Blood (1988) 130: ‘All right,’ he snarled. ‘Spit it out. Who are you and what do you want?’.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 27: If you know anything at all, spit it out. I mean, tell me. No matter what it is, it’s more than I’ve got now.
[UK]J. Barlow Burden of Proof 155: What rubbish! Spit it out! What’s the score?
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 255: Spit it out!
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 49: Spit it out, sport [...] What were they gabbin’ about at the Shamrock?
[UK](con. 1940s) P. Cumper One Bright Child 130: ‘Spit it out, dear,’ Margaret advised.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 107: Spi’ i’ ou’ . . . Wha’ was you gonna do wiv carrot-head?
[Aus]P. Temple Dead Point (2008) [ebook] What do you want? [...] Spit it out.
[Scot]T. Black Gutted 225: ‘Just spit it out, Gus.’ ‘I, eh, met Jonny again’.
[US]F. Bill Donnybrook [ebook] ‘Just spit it to me straight’.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] ‘Spit it out, Gregory. No need to be coy’.
spit me death! [spit one’s death ]

(Aus.) a defensive retort, meaning that one’s last statement is absolutely true.

[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 7: The second girl said ‘Aw gee. You don’t say?’ and the first girl said ‘Spit me death.’.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 97: Spit me death, I did.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 153: ‘Are you serious [...] Surely you’re making it up?’ ‘It’s ridgie-didgie,’ said Eddie. ‘Spit me death.’.
spit o’ my hand! [the spitting on one’s hand that seals a bargain]

used to emphasize whatever it is one has said, e.g. spit o’ my hand, you know it’s the truth.

[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 90: That’s always you. Too blinkin’ artful. Spit o’ my hand!