Green’s Dictionary of Slang

smoking adj.

[orig. jazz use smoking, technically skilled]

1. first-rate, excellent.

[US]R.S. Gold Jazz Lex. xxii: Currently, in response to an inspired musical performance, a jazz devotee draws from a large storehouse of terms: crazy, nutty, insane, swinging, groovy, cooking, wailing, burning, smoking, boss, something else, out of sight, etc.
[US]P. Hamill Flesh and Blood (1978) 61: Shouting ‘Right on,’ and ‘Your’re beautiful,’ and ‘You’re smokin, baby’.
[US](con. 1930s) C.E. Lincoln The Avenue, Clayton City (1996) 61: Coley knew he had a hand, and his hand was smoking.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] Two-thirty on that sheep’s paddock is hot stuff. Add a few seconds, it’s still smokin’.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 26: Smokin’: I. Really good.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 1: bangin’ – great, awesome [...] Also fine, hot, slammin’, smokin’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Star Island (2011) 46: Kid Rock [...] he is so smokin’.

2. of a place, tense, expectant.

in J. Olsen Black is Best 24: ‘Chicago gonna be red hot. [...] The whole country gonna be smoking that night’ [i.e. of a Muhammad Ali fight].
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 50: Like the joint’s smoking. Like there’s eighty per cent attendance.

3. (US black) very urgent, very excited, esp. in a sexual context.

[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 173: ‘Wonder what shes’ on?’ ‘I don’t know [...] but, man, she’s smokin’.’.
[US]S. King Christine 12: Arnie threw me such a smoking look of pain and anger that I backed off a step.
[US]J. Wambaugh Finnegan’s Week 124: Another smoking bimbo in a spaghetti-strap.
[US]G.V. Higgins At End of Day (2001) 80: And if he hasn’t seen it — which he may not’ve yet because this information’s smokin’.

4. (US campus) difficult, intense.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 5: smoking – very intense; with high energy and concentration level.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 45: To smoke a test means ‘to do well’ and a test that is itself smokin,’ or is a smoker, is ‘a difficult one’.
[US] N. Flexner Disassembled Man [ebook] The line was just smoking. Every other steer was arriving at my station alive and kicking.

5. (US black) attractive, well-dressed, elegant.

[US](con. 1982–6) T. Williams Cocaine Kids (1990) 138: smokin elegantly dressed.
[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 50: She’s smokin’!; She’s attractive!
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr.
[US]W.D. Myers ‘the life you need to have’ in What They Found 42: [of a male] Malcolm was, in a word, smoking. Every girl at Baldwin High had checked him out.
[US]W.D. Myers Game 90: ‘But show me one Irish girl in this school who’s really smoking!’.
E. Hagelstein ‘Neighbor’s Dog’ in ThugLit Aug. [ebook] [W]ondering what I ever saw in her, besides the smoking body.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] The girls in the video were smokin’.