Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cabbage n.2


1. a form of hairdressing resembling a chignon, popular at this time.

[UK] ‘Voyage to Maryland’ Mundus Muliebris 6: Behind the Noddle every Baggage, Wears bundle Choux, in English Cabbage. [Ibid.] 16: Choux. The great round Boss or Bundle, resembling a Cabbage, from whence the French give it that name.
[[US]Perrysburg Jrnl (OH) 6 May 4/1: Fairholt defines the ‘choux’ as ‘the great round boss or bundle of hair, worn at the back of the head, and resembling a cabbage!

2. (inferior) smoking materials.

(a) (also cabbage-leaf, cabbage-wrapper, El Cabbago, spinach) a cheap, inferior cigar.

[UK]Punch’s Almanack in Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues II (1890–1904) 3/2: The cigar dealers, objecting to their lands being cribbed, have made us pay for the cabbage ever since .
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 528: ‘Sarve me out a couple of your confounded fried cabbage-leaves’ [...] The youth lit one of them.
[UK]Sam Sly 9 Dec. 4/3: [H]e wildly rushes into a cigar shop; and if there happens to be a pretty girl there, all the better for the cabbages, for he thinks nothing of the flavour of the weed, whilst she hands him a light.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 14 Apr. n.p.: As for the cigars, they are nothing more than ‘rolls of Connecticut cabbage-leaves’.
[UK]Sportsman 21 Nov. 2/1: Notes on News [...] Perhaps the worthy judge is smoker, and looking upon the abstracted goods as ‘cabbage,’ or pickwicks.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 62: The cloth always turns out to be pure shoddy, the cigars clear cabbage, and the bay rum a bad mixture.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Dec. 141/1: [I]f he does not leave off [...] smoking those abominable ‘weeds’ (cabbages I call them) I shall really have to give him up.
Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday 6 July n.p.: Last week he offered me a weed – / A worse one no man’s lips e’er soiled. / ‘No, thanks,’ said I, ‘I know the breed; / I much prefer my cabbage boiled’ [F&H].
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 15 Nov. 5/1: ‘I take no commission. You merely purchase a cigar with each ticket.’ [...] Every man who invested a dollar is charged a bob for a bad cabbage leaf.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 110: It seems to be an ordinary twopenny smoke. Cabbage, with a bit of tobacco-leaf wrapped round.
[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 29 Mar. [synd. cartoon] There goes a good jitney cabbage and I just lit it.
Washington Herald (DC) 28 Nov. 27/1: I called loudly for cigars; they were bad — cabbage wrapper.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Complete Life of John Hopkins’ in Voice of the City (1915) 14: Hopkins [...] entered and called genially for his ‘bunch of spinach, car-fare grade’.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 37: The place reeked of cigar smoke [...]. ‘That boy friend of yours,’ he’d said, ‘he really smokes El Cabbago. Better put him on cigarettes.’.

(b) (US) tobacco.

[US] ‘Smokers’ Sl.’ in AS XV:3 Oct. 335/2: Tobacco is [...] hay, alfalfa, corn-shucks, coffee, cabbage, or rope.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS 83/1: cabbage n. 2. Tobacco.

(c) (N.Z. drugs) low-grade marijuana.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 36/1: cabbage n. marijuana of poorest quality, from the leaf of the plant.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 42: cabbage Cannabis leaf, sometimes referred to dismissively when its quality is poor.

3. in the context of the colour green.

(a) (orig. US, also happy cabbage) cash, banknotes.

[US]K.E. Harriman Homebuilders 37: [He] drew out a great wad of paper money. ‘Whew!’ ejaculated the humorous Billy, ‘look at th’ cabbage.’.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 173: ‘You carry this head of cabbage, Kid,’ passing me a pack of greenbacks about the size of a brick.
[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 187: He’s whatever looks good to him, whatever has the cabbage pinned to it.
[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Currency [...] Happy Cabbage.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Coffin for a Coward’ in Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 You had invested so much cabbage in his latest production that you’d be bankrupt if the pic flopped.
[US]L. Lariar Day I Died 130: That’s a lot of cabbage, Coyle. A lot of loot.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 157: By tomorrow I might have the necessary cabbage.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxiii 4/3: cabbage: Money.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 126: The sacks of ‘cabbage’ that ‘they’ keep hidden in the house.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 7: ‘Twenty Oxford Scholars is a lot of cabbage for one fluffy duck,’ he said.
[US]Da Bomb Summer Supplement 3: Cabbage (n.) Money.
[US](con. WWII) R. Mooney Father of the Man Prologue: He bet the farm nearly every time and died with enough happy cabbage in his pockets to feed the First Army.
[UK]Guardian G2 20 Oct. 5: He gave his housekeeper cigar boxes stuffed with ‘cabbage’ to buy OxyContin (street name ‘killer’) from drug dealers.
[UK]Skepta ‘Numbers’ 🎵 My accountant countin' my cabbage.

(b) a mortgage.

[UK]C.B. Poultney Mrs. ’Arris 158: ‘Wot does that mean?’ I whispers to Hemma, ‘a cabbage on this ’ouse?’ ‘’Ush,’ whispers Hemma, ‘’e said mortgage,’ and I were no wiser.

(c) (S.Afr.) a ten-rand banknote.

[SA]M. Mthethwa in Frontline 28 July n.p.: Their pockets and wallets and purses are thickly lined with stacks of ‘cabbages’ and ‘chocolates’ ten and twenty-rand banknotes.
[SA]Wilhelm & Naidoo in Sun. Times (Jo’burg) 1 May 15: Notes all have different names: a R10 is a cabbage (because it is green) or a tiger.
[SA]Wilhelm & Naidoo in Sun. Times (Jo’burg) 1 May 15: Notes all have different names: a R10 is a cabbage (because it is green) or a tiger.

In derivatives

Cabbageopolis (n.)

(Aus.) Melbourne, Victoria.

[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 12 Oct. 1/1: That Round Hill mining boom in Cabbageopolis was not a square affair apparently.

In compounds

cabbage leaf (n.)

1. (US, also cabbage-roll) a poor-quality cigar; thus the joc. query Who’s smoking cabbage leaves?

[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 231: Poor Footelights, who’d think as much of cabbage-leaves as he would of real Havannahs.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 22 Sept. 3/3: And stretching across the counter, assisted himself to a jar containing a few bundles of the primest ‘cabbage leaf’.
[US]Night Side of N.Y. 18: The cigarette of the youth, the black cabbage-roll of the rough and the light Havana of the bank clerk.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 258: A winkin prudins’ an’ silence at me frum onder the aidge ove a cabbige leaf monsus strong.
[US]M. Nicholson A Hoosier Chronicle 62: Try one of those cigars [...] If they’re cabbage leaf it isn’t my fault [DA].

2. (US) money, banknotes; usu. in pl.

[US]T.J. Farr ‘The Language of the Tennessee Mountain Regions’ in AS XIV:2 90: cabbage leaves. Paper money.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

SE in slang uses

Pertaining to nationality

In compounds

cabbage-eater (n.) [racial stereotyping: both nationalities are allegedly devoted consumers of cabbage] (US)

1. a German.

[Scot]Falkirk Herald 25 Sept. 4/5: The German reporters [...] says the correspondent of the Times, write in eloquent blanks. ‘My pen,’ writes one bedazzled cabbage-eater, ‘comes to a stand-still involuntarily as the scene passes’.
[US](con. 1919) D. Wecter When Johnny Comes Marching Home 283: Cold contempt for Heinies, the cabbage-eaters, the squareheads, was agreed to be the best behavior.

2. a Russian.

[US]Record-Union (Sacramento, CA) 12 Nov. 8/3: Cabbage eater, Kapustalk, a Russian .
[US]Maledicta VII 25: Russians were named cabbage eater.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 228: Cabbage eater, a Russian.
cabbage garden (n.) (also cabbage land, cabbage patch) [the state crop; note Stephens & O’Brien, Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. (ms.; 1900–10): ‘The phrase is credited to the late Sir John Robertson, a New South politician of more rigour than polish. Sir John Robertson was one of the old Sydney politicians who had a full and bitter contempt for anything Victorian. He was in fact the head and front of the interprovincial jealousy which only received its quietus from the Federal movement. His reason for so calling Victoria was no doubt a retort to somebody who was either extolling Victoria’s policy or praising its products.’]

1. (Aus.) Victoria; thus cabbage gardener, cabbagelander, cabbage patcher, a native of Victoria.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 4 Oct. 3/1: A hungry looking individual, of the ‘loafer’ class, and rejoicing in the same patronymic as the Irish patriot, of Cabbage garden notoriety.
[Aus]S. Aus. Advertiser (Adelaide) 30 Nov. 2/5: Mr Macleay [...] called the Attorney General a cabbage gardener and a fenian.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 24 Jan. 6/3: Mr Bent [...] referred to the recent allusion to Victoria [...] in which the colony was termed ‘a cabbage garden’, and that he, Mr Bent, had been called by some people ‘the cabbage gardener’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 6/4: We did have some thoughts of wedding a ‘Cabbage Garden’ girl, but have since concluded to wait. It may be stated that the Jane above mentioned resides in Collingwood (Vic.).
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 15 Apr. 1/1: The wholesale reduction in prize money for the Melourne Cup (Victoria’s world-wide advertisement) is a fair indication of the depression existing in the decaying ‘Cabbage Garden’.
[[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 7 Nov. 1/1: The big Carnival of racing commenced by the V.A.T.C. last month [...] A Cup carnival in the cabbage cultivating country can cripple the racing].
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 36: CABBAGE GARDEN: a New South Wales nickname for Victoria. [...] At the time a large trade was carried on in the export of cabbages and cauliflowers from Melbourne to Sydney, in fact the Sydney market was almost wholly supplied with these vegetables from Victoria. [Ibid.] 49: Cabbage-gardener [...] Victorians.
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 35: Victoria, I know, is called the Cabbage Garden.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 31 Jan. 4/6: Both these erudite prelates are agreed that what one calls a ‘scourge’ [...] came upon the land of the cabbage gardeners .
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Blanky Papers’ in Roderick (1972) 786: You can blanky well secesh and go in with the blanky Cabbage-gardeners. We won’t blanky well miss you.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 12 June 2nd sect. 12/5: It’s all very well to denounce land monopoly in the Cabbage Garden and the Fly-speck, but why [...] run a ring-fence around the Commonwealth.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Sept. 36/2: When Jumbuck and Horny whisper to him that this meddlesome cabbage-gardener is talking through his neck, he will consider that J. and H. know more about the matter than does.
[Aus]Sun. Herald (Sydney) 30 Jan. 65/2: There is an Australian who comes from the city, and an Australian who comes from the bush but there is not [...] a recognisable Bananalander or Crow-eater, a Cabbage-gardener or Ma-stater.
[Aus]Chron. (Adelaide) 24 Mar. 43/3: Queenslanders, Bananalanders, banana men and sugarlanders: Victorians, Yarrasiders, cabbage gardeners, cabbagelanders.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 231/2: Cabbage Patch – Victoria. Cabbage Patcher – a person from Victoria. The terms are said to have originated in Sydney.
[Aus]A. Chipper Aussie Swearers Guide 64: Cabbage-Laner. Resident of Victoria.
[Aus]T. Davies More Aus. Nicknames 2: Cabbage Patchers hail from Victoria.
[Aus]D. Andrew Aussie Sl. 10: Cabbage Patchers Residents of Victoria.

2. pertaining to Ireland.

cabbage-garden patriot (n.) [‘William Smith O'Brien (1803-64) led, in the summer of 1848, a pitiable insurrection in Ireland; his followers having fled, he successfully hid for several days in a cabbage garden’ (Partridge 1984) ]

(mid-late 19C) a coward.

[Ire]Sligo Jrnl 31 Dec. 2/: The wild anticipations of excited cabbage-garden patriots, however, subsided with the deeneee famine fever.
[UK]Stonehaven Jrnl 29 Dec. 2/2: John Mitchell—the cabbage garden patriot, and now an American slaveholder—writes to say that he has abjured his allegiance to all kings and queens.
[Ire]Dublin Eve. Mail 21 Sept. 3/4: After the ‘insurrection’ of 1848, a number of disaffected individuals left the country, and went to America, in the belief that they were there safe from capture. These were mainly the ‘Cabbage Garden’ patriots.
[UK]Sportsman (London) 2/1: Notes on News [...] You most neither take the trousers from Fenian nor the ‘O’ from his patronymic [...] the sad fate of the sedition-monger O’Sullivan —who was cruelly forced to sleep without his trousers —should a salutary warning to cabbagegarden patriots.
[UK]S. Wales Dly News 16 Jan. 2/6: [T]he cabbage-garden patriots, who shout so fiercely, but who succumb so easily to the hated Saxon.
Boston Guardian 25 June 3/2: [T]hese ‘frothy orators and cabbage garden patriots’ must be in the pay of Ireland's enemies.
cabbage-head (n.)

1. (US) a Dutch or German person.

[US]Maledicta VII 25: Cabbage head after 1854 was applied to both the Dutch and Germans in America.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 13: The French have long been reviled as frogs, the Germans as the Boche (cabbageheads) and as krauts (from sauerkraut).

2. see also separate entry.

cabbage town (n.) [racial stereotyping: the German taste for Sauerkraut or pickled cabbage] (US)

1. the German immigrant section of a town.

[US]in DARE.

2. the poor area of a town.

[UK]Bouthillette ‘Gentrification by Gay Male Communities’ in Whittle Margins of the City 70: Cabbagetown is a rather large inner city neighbourhood east of downtown Toronto.
M. Guthro at Bodies ’n’ Motion 🌐 For me the 52-year journey from the poverty stricken backstreets of the Cabbage Town section of Toronto to the serenity of White Rock has been a wild journey.
[US]N. McCall Them (2008) 12: The poor white trash in Cabbagetown despised chi-chi yuppies a tad less than they hated niggers.

General uses

cabbage-gelder (n.) [joc. image of one who gelds or ‘castrates’, i.e. cuts, the stalks of cabbages]

a gardener, a greengrocer.

[UK] in A.B.C. of a New Dict. of Flash, Cant and Sl.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 171/1: late C.19–early 20.
cabbageheaded (adj.)

see separate entry.

cabbage John (n.)

(Aus.) a Chinese vegetable seller.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Jan. 15/1: Recently my cabbage-John has had a weird and wandering eye.
cabbage patch (n.)

see separate entries.

In phrases

boil one’s cabbage twice (v.) (also chew one’s cabbage twice, sell...)

(US) to repeat oneself.

[US]Overland Monthly (CA) Apr. 317/2: ‘It’s no use to sell your cabbages twice,’ says I, and I never repeats.
[US] Amer. N&Q 1 6/2: ‘I Don’t Boil my Cabbage Twice.’ In the country, especially in the country towns of Pennsylvania, tis is a very common expression [...] It signifies that the person uttering it does not intend to repeat an observation.
[US]S. Clapin New Dict. Americanisms.
[US]C. Odets Rocket to the Moon Act I: I don’t chew my cabbage twice, Miss Cleo.
[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 508: Now [...] listen attentively. I don’t like to chew my cabbage twice.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 23: ‘What’s that?’ ‘I never chew my cabbage twice.’.
[US](con. 1915) in DARE 1 609/1: ‘I don’t chew my cabbage twice’ means ‘I am not going to repeat myself.’.
[US]Northern Virginia Folklore Archive n.p.: Proverb: ‘I Never Chew My Cabbage Twice.’.
Paris News (TX) 30 May 6/2: When it came to expressing his sentiments about the British, Jackson ‘nmver had to boil his cabbage twice,’ as the old Irish saying goes.
Mike’s World 99 🌐 Look. buddy! Don’t boil my cabbage twice.
Curtain Up mag. 22 June 🌐 According to Coward’s friend and biographer Graham Payn, unless finances so dictated, Coward studiously avoided revivals on the theory of ‘never boil your cabbage twice.’.
‘Ask Emerson’ Oregon Outdoor Recreation Guide 🌐 I hate to chew my cabbage twice, so check out the link below. It’s my answer to a similar question about bass fishing in the Portland area.
News Star (Monroe, LA) 14 Sept. 21/5: He sounded like my uncle Dick. And he didn’t chew his cabbage twice.
summer cabbage (n.) [the spread of its leaves]

an umbrella.

[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 309: To my out and-out friend and companion, Corinthian Tom, I give my spread, my summer-cabbage, my water-plant, but more generally understood as my umbrella.