Green’s Dictionary of Slang

book v.1

1. to write in a book.

(a) to take a private bet, which is written down in one’s betting book.

[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville General Bounce (1891) 155: It was no doubt esteemed a ‘sporting offer,’ not that Oberson seems to have been man enough to ‘book it.’.
[US]A. Vachss Hard Candy (1990) 162: We’d booked twenty cartons of cigarettes against a hundred that Dayton wouldn’t outlive Wesley.

(b) to wager outside a sporting context.

[UK]J. Labern ‘Fairlop Fair’ Comic Songs 21: All at once the tail fell down / And spilt us in the road [...] We book’d ourselves for dead.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 90: I’m booking it that he’ll collect it on his way to work.
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 212: Maybe your not as smart as I booked you to be. You must think I’m a bit simple. I was pulling your sort of strokes when I was a TDC, and getting away with them.

(c) to pay out bets.

[UK]H. Smart Post to Finish I 16: I got twenty-eight pound to two from one of those ready-money men, and he booked up like a gentleman as soon as the race was over.

(d) to work as a bookmaker; to take bets; thus booking n.

[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 86: ‘Y’see the punk in [sic] bookin’ fer a bankroll guy that’s all right, but the Wise Cracker tells him to hold out the bet himself, fer the horse ain’t got no chance’.
[US]Van Loan ‘By a Hair’ in Old Man Curry 88: Regulator, 8 to 5 – Holy Moses! What kind of booking is this, anyway?
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Snatching of Bookie Bob’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 127: If you gentlemen wish to bet on these races I will gladly book to you.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 246: We do shylocking, and a little booking there – horses and numbers.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 85: Chilly was beginning to take a few bets. He was currently booking football.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 9: Jakie used to book out of a candy store on 108th Street.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 104: Your daddy used to book bets for me, Detective.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 161: Say the financial district — sports bookin’, loan-sharkin’, some fencin’.

(e) to arrest, to write down in a police charge book.

[UK]‘Nocturnal Sports’ in Universal Songster II 180/2: The vatch [...] booked us for a night’s lodging in the nab crib.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 4 Aug. 4/5: Take my advice quit the Voil [...] you are to a dead certainty Book’d.
[UK]J. Archbold Magistrate’s Assistant (3rd edn) 446: Booked, caught, taken, or disposed of.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 158/1: Where under the sun ’ave you all been this last hunder years. Perish me, if I didn’t think you were all ‘boked’ [sic] by this time.
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 250: It’s a red ’ot trail this time an’ I’m booked.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 16: The big, red-faced Irish cop [...] ‘booked’ me (put down my name and address).
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Bloodhounds of Broadway’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 102: Regret is being booked in the jailhouse.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 33: We were booked at the police station house.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Golden Spike 239: At the precinct station, they were booked, fingerprinted, and questioned again.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 149: Or maybe the narco can get them cut loose before they’re booked.
[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 22: Us’ll not book you for having worn tyres, zur.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 42: They didn’t book you on drunk driving?
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 173: Soon as I finished booking you, I had these compared with slips seized around town by Vice.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 215: All right, Hank, book ’er.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 112: We’re still booking his wife when she gets out.

2. to look at a book.

(a) to look at, to examine.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 276: A large kettle, boiling at the spout, was speedily introduced, but, instead of water, read boiling Daffy. The assumed gravity of Bob’s mug upon playing off this trick was quite a treat; but I am happy to say Crooky booked it.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) II 239: You twitch up the cuff of your coat, quite accidentally, and then you book your king.
[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2 11: Book, v. To look at.

(b) (US campus, also book ass, book it, book tits, book up) to study assiduously; thus booking n., studying.

[US]Dundes & Schonhorn ‘Kansas University Sl.: A New Generation’ in AS XXXVIII:3 167: To study extremely diligently for an examination: book it.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 86: Book ass [...] Book tits Work (study) hard and concentratedly.
[US]Current Sl. V:1 19: Book it, v. To study.
[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 56: book up vi Study.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 1: book – to study for classes: Did you book last night? [...] book it – to study a great deal.
[US]W. Safire What’s The Good Word? 301: New terms for ‘cramming’ are ‘shedding’ (from ‘woodshed’), ‘speeding,’ and ‘heavy booking’ or ‘mega-booking.’.
[US]R. Price Breaks 75: I’ll be bookin’ all day. I’ll show you the law school.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Oct. 2: book it – study.

In phrases

SE in slang uses

In phrases

booked by the Gravesend bus (adj.) [pun on placename/SE grave + end = death]


[UK]R.S. Surtees Jorrocks Jaunts (1874) 240: But you’re looking fresh. Time lays a light hand on your bearing-reins! I hope it will be long ere you are booked by the Gravesend Buss.