1. generic uses of the proper name.
(a) (Scot.) a friend.
|Hollander V i: You shall dance at my wedding, and be drunke too, my Joe, you shall.|
|Cheats II iv: As merry as thou wilt, my joe.|
|Tea-table Misc. (1733) IV 452: Jo, sweet-heart.|
|Works (1842) 110/1: And och! o’ er aft thy joes hae starv’ d Mid a’ thy favours!Poem on Pastoral Poetry in|
|Wool-Gatherer 124: She’s a hinny and joe.|
|‘Humours of Glasgow Fair’ [broadsheet ballad] Now Willock and Tam, gay and bouzy, / By this time had met with their joes.|
|‘John Chinaman, My Jo’ in Songs of the Amer. West (1968) 301: John Chinaman, my jo, John [...] Here’s blessings on your head, John, / And more power to your tail.et al.|
|Weir of Hermiston 289: Jo, sweetheart.|
(b) a generic name for a person, e.g. joe average, joe citizen, the average man in the street; also one who has a job or position, e.g. joe plainclothes, a plain-clothes police officer, working joe one who is employed etc; see also combs. below.
|Modern Flash Dict. 19: Joe, an imaginary person, nobody; as Who do those things belong to? Joe.|
|Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].|
|Fact’ry ’Ands 92: Why, man, it’s meat ’n’ beer t’ them Joes what go in fer bringin’ ther wanderers ’ome.|
|Two & Three 20 Jan. [synd. col.] Joe Moofus bamms his wife in the eye with a ham omlet.|
|Banjo 90: I don’t play no Black Joe Hymns.|
|AS VII:5 333: Joe—term used to designate anyone whose real name is unknown. When used with a place or profession ‘Joe’ indicates a perfect example of the type connected with that place or profession. Thus ‘Joe College’ is a perfect specimen of the college man. Often used with ‘himself’ as ‘Joe College himself’; ’Joe Artist himself.’.‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in|
|Horse’s Mouth (1948) 245: ‘Just how you say sah,’ said the poor old Joe.|
|Catcher in the Rye (1958) 90: On my right there was this very Joe Yale-looking guy, in a grey flannel suit and one of those flitty-looking tattersall vests.|
|One Lonely Night 89: His first order would be to sign warrants of arrest for certain political joes who are draining the state dry.|
|Big Rumble 95: He’s got grocery connections, relief connections—a good joe.|
|One Night Stands (2008) 22: The average joe would have pegged him for a successful young businessman.‘Badger Game’ in|
|Hell’s Angels (1967) 167: They were ‘joe citizens’.|
|Gumshoe (1998) 39: I’m just an ordinary Joe, says 31-today Eddie Ginley.|
|Chopper Mag. Jan. 60/2: You can’t fight the man, City Hall, and Johnny Joe Citizen. [Ibid.] 10/3: Joe Goodguy, sound citizen, that was me.|
|Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 107: I was an honest joe.West in|
|(con. 1967) Welcome to Vietnam (1989) 218: Chattering away like Joe Dork.|
|After The Ball 204: The average Joe or Jane will quickly get used to seeing the reassuring statement and the name of its sponsor.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Joe Citizen. A non-prisoner. Sometimes Joe Blow.|
|(con. 1920s) Legs 218: He was a good Joe.|
|Rivethead (1992) 117: He had his own designs on what he wanted to do with the budget and they surely didn’t include funneling any of it into the frayed pocket lining of Joe Lunchpail.|
|(con. 1949) Big Blowdown (1999) 148: Karras had told Boyle that this veteran was a good Joe.|
|Guardian Editor 25 June 8: So much for Edward as an ‘ordinary Joe’.|
|Guardian G2 28 June 8: Depressing news for Joe and Jane Average.|
|Guardian Weekend 29 Jan. 18: A lot of them are ‘average Joes’.|
|Eddie’s World 13: Two office Joes had a late night, brought their work home for the weekend.|
|(con. 1964–8) Cold Six Thousand 4: A man walked up – Joe Redneck – tall and fat. He wore a Stetson. He wore big boots.|
|Portable Promised Land (ms.) 175: With a few hundred channels at his disposal, Joe remote splays out on his couch like a King, demanding constant wish fulfillment.|
|Jake’s Long Shadow 64: The booze did this, to a lot of guys, turned them into Mike Tyson, from Joe-nobody to self-deluded heroes.|
|Ringer [ebook] n.p.: I know these things, but your average Joe is in the fucking dark.|
(c) (US) a (likeable) person, often used in direct address.
|N.Y. Eve. Journal 16 Jan. 12: ‘Look at that Joe.’ ‘Oh, it’s a pipe that I can skate if he can.’.in|
|Handful of Ausseys 163: Could you lend us ’alf adollar [...] I ain’t ’ad a feed since yisterdee, dinkum, Joe!|
|(con. 1943–5) To Hell and Back (1950) 77: Hey, Joe, you gotta ceegarette?|
|(con. 1950) Band of Brothers 266: We’re gonna have us a party tonight, and you’ll meet ’em. They’s good joes.|
|Cast the First Stone 113: Keep it yourself, Joe [...] you’re too much of a square guy for me.|
|Burn, Killer, Burn! 93: Okay, Joe, this round is yours.|
|Green River Rising 212: Hank Crawford, a middle-class Joe from Fort Worth.|
|(con. 1949) Big Blowdown (1999) 296: Su was a good Joe.|
|College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Joe (noun & vocative) A friend.|
(d) (Can.) a French Canadian.
|Globe and Mail (Toronto) 19 Apr. 6/6: Their waspish counterparts in Quebec always refer to ‘pea-soupers’ or ‘Joes’. The word ‘Frog’ in that connection went out of fashion 50 years ago [OED].|
2. (also joey) in Aus. uses [orig. on the goldfields a trooper enforcing the regulations laid down by Gov. Charles Joseph LaTrobe (1801–75) (but note cit. 1859) and the cry Joe!/Joe-Joe!, issued by a miner at the approach of police].
(a) a policeman; spec. on the minefields.
|Life in Victoria I 191: I heard the swelling uproar and the loud chorus of ‘Joes!*’ (*Joe is a term of opprobrium hurled after the police ever since the diggings commenced, but the derivation is still a mystery. Some commentators trace it to the Christian name of Mr Latrobe; but this is an error; the ex-governor was never personally unpopular, except with the editor of the Argus).|
|Leeds Times 5 Feb. 6/1: He [...] heard many inflammatory speeches against the Government and the Joes and witnessed a row, wherein the Joes were worsted’.|
|Boy in the Bush 219: Policemen lounged about, striving to look unconscious of the ‘Joey!’ which the miners found time to shout after them in scorn.|
|In Roaring Fifties 119: The air resounded with the yells of the miners, raised in warning and derision. ‘Jo! – Jo! – Jo!’.|
|AND].From Rossiville to Victorian Goldfields 82: It had become the usual practice among the miners to shout joe, Joe, Joe, when a blue-coat appeared on the creek [|
|Aus. Felix (1971) 9: A woman [...] crying at the top of her voice: ‘Joe, boys! – Joe, Joe Joey!’ [Ibid.] 10: A line of foot police, backed by a detachment of light infantry, shot out [...] There were groans and cat-calls. Along with the derisive ‘Joeys!’ the rebel diggers hurled any term of abuse that came to their lips.|
(b) in generic terms, a policeman, a trooper.
|Two Years in Victoria (1855) I 400: The well-known cry of ‘Joe! Joe!’—a cry which means one of the myrmidons of Charley Joe, as they familiarly style Mr. La Trobe.|
|Illus. Sydney News 28 Oct. 234/3: Some of the police [...] were now ordered to fall back on the hotel for its protection if necessary. The Joe!, Joe! soon began and some boys threw stones at the windows [AND].|
|Wallaroo Times (Kadina) 4 Nov. 3/4: The stupid and formerly incessant cry of ‘joe’ is seldom heard [AND].|
|Last of Bushrangers 11: Whenever a policeman or any other Government servant was seen they raised a cry of ‘Joe-Joe’.|
|Book of the Bush 108: At last I threatened to denounce him as a ‘Joey’ – he was in plain clothes – and have him killed by the crowd.|
|In Roaring Fifties 108: Jo! was the favourite epithet hurled at the troopers and all representatives of constituted authority.|
|AND].Affair at Eureka 6: The Police Commissioner and his troopers (‘joes’ in digger parlance) [etc.] [|
|Aus. Lang. 95: It was a natural development that police troopers should come to be called joes.|
|Australian 26 Feb. R11: The cops were called ‘joes’, Moore notes, probably a derisive salute to their boss, the Victorian lieutenant governor, Charles Joseph La Trobe, commonly known as ‘Charley Joe’.|
(c) by ext. of sense 2a, a term of abuse hurled at anyone who was not a miner.
|Illustr. Journal Australasia III. 65: ‘Did you go down dressed as you are now?’ ‘I did.’ [...] ‘Then I’ll be bound that you are annoyed because they called “Joe” after you’ [AND].|
|(J.H. Kerr) Glimpses of Life in Victoria 137: A friend [...] lately arrived [...] ventured one day among the diggings, wearing the conspicuous tall hat, which he had always been used to wear at home. He was instantly assailed by cries of ‘Joe, Joe.’.|
|Lantern (Adelaide) 11 Dec. 6: ‘Yes, I ain’t got no blank objection to be interviewed, Joe.’ (The familiar term joe , I may mention, is a diggings fashion—my name is not Joseph.) [AND].|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Nov. 20/2: My dad who ‘followed the diggings’ tells me that to call a man ‘joe’ on the Vic rushes was the surest way of buying a fight.|
3. (US campus, also joe house) a privy; thus as v., meaning to use a lavatory; joe-wad, toilet paper; also attrib. [supposedly f. the burning of the privies at Hamilton College on one Nov. 5, following the refusal of the President, Joseph Penney, to have them cleaned].
|in N&Q VI (1946) 61/2: Feeling quite lively after my return, disguised myself, and went down and nailed up all the South College joe-doors [DA].|
|College Words (rev. edn) 272: joe. A name given at several American colleges to a privy.|
|Four Years at Yale 45: Joe, the college privy.|
|DN II:i 43: joe, n. Water-closet [...] joe, v. To use the joe [...] joe-wad, n. Toilet-paper.‘College Words and Phrases’ in|
|letter 27? Jan. in Eliot Letters of T.S. Eliot 505: I enclose further tracings of the inscription discovered recently in the [...] city hall jo-house at Charleston, S.C.|
|Amer. Thes. Sl. §84.11: toilet, Joe.|
4. (US campus) beer [the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. of Milwaukee].
|Campus Sl. Mar. 4: joe – Schlitz beer: Gimme a Joe.|
|Sl. and Sociability 36: The most frequent pattern of clipping is the loss of sounds from the ends of words: [...] joe, from Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company ‘beer’.|
As a generic name
a generic name used for any otherwise unnamed man.
|Guardian Saturday Rev. 12 June 2: Does it mean that our old friend Joe Bloggs has treated himself to a sex change?|
1. (Aus./N.Z./US) any man.
|in Our Navy 15 Mar. 30: Joe Blow [...] lets you look at this one [HDAS].|
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|
|Four-Legged Lottery 174: Its price gradually increases. It gets the ‘Joe Blows’ as the punters put it.|
|Bunch of Ratbags 226: See yuh around, Joe Blow.|
|Black Players 258: I can find a better way of spending my life than behind Joe Blow’s desk for twenty-five, thirty dollars a day.|
|G’DAY 93: Joe Blow doesn’t give a stuff about the flag or the Royals.|
|Misery (1988) 62: He is not just good old Joe Blow from Kokomo.|
|From Bondage 163: Joe Blow who comes in off the street to buy the Loft’s ninety-nine-cent special.|
|Stalker (2001) 528: If it were just Joe Blow, she would have taken out her gun to meet him.|
2. (US Und.) a drugs carrier [blow n.3 (4)].
|(con. 1930s) Schnozzola 107: An English gentleman, known as a Joe Blow, was commissioned to accompany the trunks to New York as their dummy owner. A Joe Blow is an intermediary who undertakes the delivery of something without having had actual contact with goods consigned to interested parties.|
1. a generic term for the Chinese.
|(con. 1950s) Ikon 59: Joe Chink’s on the other side of the hill.|
2. (US drugs) a heroin addiction.
|Crime Partners 8: A drug addict has to have that shit at certain times. It ain’t like a drunk, when Joe Chink says it’s time to fix it’s time to fix, with no shit about it [HDAS].|
(US) an average person.
|Appleton Post-Crescent (WI) 26 Mar. 7/3: Mister Joe Citizen, the kind of gent most of us are.|
|Breaks 289: They should be out arresting Communists [...] not Joe Citizens like me.|
|Angel of Montague Street (2004) 15: You’re too mean-looking to be Joe Citizen.|
1. a college boy, esp. one who is self-satisfied and self-indulgent.
|Judge (NY) 91 July-Dec. 31: 'Joe' College - Very collegiate.|
|AS VII:5 333: ‘Joe College’ is a perfect specimen of the college man. Often used with ‘himself’.‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 354: You’re all dressed up like Joe College.Young Manhood in|
|‘Campus Lingo’ in Reading (PA) Eagle 20 Mar. 7/2: Strange indeed is the campus lingo these days of Joe College and Betty Co-ed.|
|W&F].Word Ways 154: We do not know [...] who was the first Joe College, or apple-polisher [|
|letter 25 Aug. in Charters (1995) I 27: The G.A. with its orgiastic Joe Colleges.|
|Blackboard Jungle 23: The crew-cut Kid College had not interested him.|
|Young and Violent 60: I’m going to teach a bunch of joe colleges a course in juvenile delinquency.|
|Listening to America 100: I started out at KU in ’66 as a real gung-ho Joe College.|
|If I Die in a Combat Zone (1980) 30: ‘Protect the college Joe,’ Barney said.|
|Double Bang 110: He was wearing khaki pants and black loafers with a ratty old tweed jacket. ‘Joe College,’ Edmund said.|
|Homeboy 136: Ringing up drinks for the latecoming Joe Colleges.|
|Chicken (2003) 64: Kristy’s dancing with some Joe College guy.|
2. attrib. use of sense 1.
|Really the Blues 77: He was a student at Notre Dame, a robust Joe-College kind of kid, husky and tall.|
|Rumble on the Docks (1955) 62: The new Joe College cops said there was nothing sadder than an ageing detective.|
|Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1964) 169: I’d heard he’d picked up with the Joe-college bunch.|
|One Hundred Dollar Misunderstanding 124: I can’ stan t’think o’all them mothahless Joe College one-eyes I’ gonna haff t’work on.|
one who is, or more likely sees themselves, as sophisticated, wordly, etc.
|Delinquency, Crime, and Social Process 810: I got a sort of reputation around school. Everybody used to call me Mr. Cool and stuff.|
|Digger’s Game (1981) 97: I just thought Mr Cool’d stay clear.|
|Fields of Fire (1980) 47: The angle is to put Kersey on the spot, and let the Colonel play Joe Cool and save us.|
|Trainspotting 115: He’s aw ready tae steam in now, aw Joe-fuckin-Cool.|
|Vinnie Got Blown Away 7: ‘Mr Burkett wishes to make a statement on the murder case.’ ‘What murder case is that then?’ Mr Cool.|
see Joe Shit (the rag man)
(US campus/teen) a menial, low-paid task.
|DSUE (8th edn) 623: Joe boy, Joe job. One who is detailed for an unpleasant job (a ‘Joe job’): Can. army: since ca. 1940.|
|Wayne’s World [film script] I’ve had plenty of jo-jobs; nothing I’d call a career. Let me put it this way: I have an extensive collection of nametags and hairnets.et al.|
(US) an ordinary working man.
|Coronet XLV 116: We’ve always tried to appeal to both Joe Lunch Pail and Sam Champagne Bucket [...] But we never patronize or condescend.|
|Mass Media in Canada 155: He cannot be seduced into spending his disposable income foolishly. The case history of Joseph Champagne-Bucket parallels that of Joe Lunch-pail.|
|Chicago Trib. 15 Sept. n.p.: Some of them are even being sent to school to learn how to talk to ‘Joe Lunch Pail,’ as one PR executive puts it [HDAS].|
|et al. GuyRules 132: We have decided to forgo any hero worship here and instead concentrate on ‘Joe Lunch Pail’.|
|Ready, Set, Talk! 104: Does it mean something to Tina Teenager or Joe Lunch Pail or Sally Soccer Mom or Glenda Gardener?|
(orig. US) the general public, thus fem. Josephine Public.
|Arizona Dly Star (Tuscon, AZ) 23 July 8/3: ‘With old John Public getting wise on this prohibition [...] the racket’s going to be plenty tough’’.|
|(ref. to 1920s) Over the Wall 58: I had read and heard about his exploits, but in my mind had pictured him more on the lines of John Public’s popular conception of a tough criminal.|
|Really the Blues 103: The hard-cutting broadsides that two foxy studs named Mencken and Nathan were beginning to shoot at Joe Public in the pages of The Amer. Mercury.|
|Spike Island (1981) 229: D-and-Ds are a different matter, because you’ve got Joe Public involved here.|
|Fixx 256: Joe Public would doubtless wake up and join the party five or six years hence.|
|Indep. Rev. 9 July 15: But Joe Public has yet to rally round.|
|Guardian 14 Jan. 20: Say you, Joe or Josephine Public, smell something rotten around the Commons.|
|Observer 2 Jan. 7: Once it was middle-aged Joe Public senior who wielded the power.|
|Viva La Madness 282: Going to [...] follow him till we’re safely away from Joe Pub.|
|Trinidad Express N'papers 6 Mar. [Internet] We have to send a much more stern message to the officers who think they can treat john and Jane Public as they please.|
(US black) a miserable or unpopular person.
|AS IX:4 288: joe sad Name applied to anyone unpopular or undesirable.‘Negro Sl. in Lincoln University’ in|
(orig. US) anyone, ‘Mr. Average’.
|Traverse City (MI) Record Eagle 23 May 1/3: Joe Schmo, who shares an office with six other guys in a Broadway loft, is in the business of publicizing such pillars of the American scene as second-rate movie, radio and flea circus stars and unpopular potmaine parlors.|
|Pottstown (PA) Mercury 18 Aug. 7/1: Time was running short for Joe Schmoe.|
|Panic in Needle Park (1971) 58: Like I might find old Joe Schmo today and buy three bags from him and find that one bag straightens me out.|
|New Society in DSUE (1984) n.p.: Every Jo Shmo on the street will say ...|
|Dict. of Invective (1991) 280: Other generics include: [...] Joe, an average guy, as in Joe Blow, Joe Schmo, Joe Six-pack and G.I. Joe.|
|Guardian Guide 13–19 Nov. 24: They don’t look too hot on Joe Shmoe from Vermont.|
|My Fractured Life 19: It’s on your second series that you become rich — where you go from being Joe Schmo on a show to it being The Joe Schmo Show.|
(US) an extremely contemptible person, a nobody.
|Advertisements for Myself (1961) 39: Listen, bud, you ain’t talkin’ to Joe Crap, see.‘A Calculus at Heaven’ in|
|Sel. Letters (1981) 680: They could not lick Joe Shit let alone Mr. Tolstoi.letter 4 Oct. in Baker|
|Muscle for the Wing 96: I’ll be dogged if it ain’t Joe Shit the ragman, live and in person.|
|inGhost Dancing on the Cracker Circuit xxii: You tell ’em you want to bring an alligator into their store and they look at you like you’re Joe Shit the Ragman.|
|Vitamin Wow 126: ‘Damn, they look like Joe-shit-the-rag-man.’ [...] Saudis did not wear a western-style uniform well.|
(US) an ordinary, beer-drinking man.
|Deam On, America 479: To Mary Martini as well as to Joe Six-Pack, what the artist said was "Mother and Child, #3" looked more like a drunken monkey regurgitating on a combination pizza.|
|N.Y. Mag. 5 Oct. 64: John Updike's imaginary basketball player from a drab burg in eastern Pennsylvania: Joe Six-Pack as a Durer drawing.|
|Texas Mthly Sept. 96: Mike Meatball and Joe Six- pack. Put a couple of extra pleats on a basic pair of pants, and these guys were suddenly living in the fast lane.|
|How to Talk American 395: Joe Sixpack: the average guy ‘I don’t think that gay rights measure is going to fly with Joe Sixpack.’.|
|Observer Business 23 Sept. 1: Economists had hoped consumer confidence –symbolised by the stereotypical American shopper ‘Joe Sixpack’ — would be resilient after the attacks.|
|Intelligent Life Nov./Dec. 116/1: Fewer ordinary retailers are stocking the basic Shaeffers and Parker Vectors that Joe Sixpack used once.|
see snuffy n.2
(US) the average, otherwise unnamed man; also attrib.
|in Literary Digest 14 Mar. 65: ‘Joe Zilsch’ corresponds to ‘John Doe’ in the college world and is used indiscriminately to designate anyone, usually with a humorous intention [HDAS].|
|AS VII:5 333: Joe Zilsch—John Doe.‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in|
|Social Relations and Structures 146: If we turn back to the old distinction between Joe Zilch as man and Joe Zilch as worker, then, assuredly, we shall come again on evil times.|
|US Congress House Committee on Appropriations Department of State Appropriations hearings 243: Are you part of that mysterious, ephemeral, unknown king-making group who decide that Joe Zilch will have the last job at point X?|
|et al. Theory and Management of Systems 477: It is simply able to work faster and more tirelessly than you or I or Joe Zilch.|
|US Congress Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency hearings 333: The coaches get worked up to the point that it is a life or death matter whether Joe Zilch is ready for a Tuesday practice.|
|Life of Lorena Hickok 306: I could put ‘Joe Zilch’ down for it [i.e. a job application] and it would not be questioned.|
|Monitoring Government 45: I passed the new Joe Zilch piece of handicapped elephant legislation.|
|(ref. to 1920s) ABC Classic FM (Aus.) [Internet] Robert Hendrickson says zilch goes back to the 1920s when the name ‘Joe Zilch’ was used to mean ‘a good for nothing college boy’ – someone who was a waste of space, and who was wasting his time.|
by no means, not on any account.
|London by Night II i: jack: Who’s to pay? ned: Whichever you please. jack: Oh! in that case you may as well settle it. ned: Not for Joseph! you asked me to tea.|
|’Not for Joe.’ [broadside ballad] Not for Joe... Not for Joseph, if he knows it [F&H].|
|Places and People 106: There’s a vulgar song you may ’ave heard about the streets, ‘Not for Joseph;’ and I say, ‘Not for Joseph, never no more, at the savin’ game’.|
|Atlanta Constitution 12 Mar. 1/3: When her sister asked her assistance at some work, she answered, ‘not for Joe’.|
|‘The Magistrate’ [lyrics] And then we’ve the brat not higher than so— / He won’t go to school, he says ‘Not for Joe’.|
|Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.|
(US drugs) a non-addict.
|Narcotics Lingo and Lore 154: Quality folks [...] non addicts [...] Quality Joe – Person not addicted.|
|Drug Lang. and Lore.|
see under random adj.
a conventional, conservative person; as such seen as honest and dependable.
|Naked and Dead 463: He starts worrying whether you think he’s a right Joe or not.|
|letter 22 April in Harris (1993) 119: T. E. Lawrence and all manner of right Joes [...] was queer.|
|(con. 1966) Lords of Discipline 311: It’s kind of normal when I hear about regular Joes from the Corps getting zapped.|
|Breaks 384: I hated Regular Joes.|
|Scholar 23: She knew he wasn’t exactly a regular working Joe.|
|I, Fatty 112: A party gal who lures a regular Joe to Hades with an opium pipe.|
|Jamaica Star 18 May [Internet] If some regular Joe like me gets caught up, our names are splashed across the headlines.|