Green’s Dictionary of Slang

joe n.1

also jo
[proper name Joe, abbr. of Joseph]

1. generic uses of the proper name.

(a) [18C–early 19C] (Scot.) a friend.

(b) [mid-19C+] 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.

(c) [1910s+] (US) a (likeable) person, often used in direct address.

(d) [1960s+] (Can.) a French Canadian.

2. (also joey) in Aus. uses [orig. on the goldfields a trooper enforcing the regulations laid down by Gov. Charles Joseph LaTrobe (1801–75) and the cry Joe!/Joe-Joe!, issued by a miner at the approach of police].

(a) a policeman; spec. on the minefields.

(b) [mid-19C] in generic terms, a policeman, a trooper.

(c) [mid–late 19C] by ext. of sense 2a, a term of abuse hurled at anyone who was not a miner.

3. [mid-19C–1940s] (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].

4. [1970s+] (US campus) beer [the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. of Milwaukee].

As a generic name

In compounds

Joe Bloggs (n.)

[1940s+] a generic name used for any otherwise unnamed man.

Joe Blow (n.) [orig. the horn player in a band, who ‘blows’]

1. [1920s+] (Aus./N.Z./US) any man.

2. [1930s] (US Und.) a drugs carrier [blow n.3 (4)].

Joe Chink (n.) [Chink n. (1); the link of heroin (or properly opium) to the Orient]

1. [1960s] a generic term for the Chinese.

2. [1970s] (US drugs) a heroin addiction.

Joe Citizen (n.)

[1930s+] (US) an average person.

Joe College (n.) (also college joe, Kid College) [SE college] [1920s+] (US)

1. a college boy, esp. one who is self-satisfied and self-indulgent.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

Joe Cool (n.) (also Mr Cool) [cool adj. (3); note character ‘Joe Cool’ in Burnett Asphalt Jungle (1949)]

[1960s+] one who is, or more likely sees themselves, as sophisticated, wordly, etc.

joe job (n.) (also jo-job) [SE job]

[1980s+] (US campus/teen) a menial, low-paid task.

Joe lunchpail (n.) [SE lunchpail]

[1950s+] (US) an ordinary working man.

Joe Public (n.) (also Joe Pub, John Public) [SE public]

[1930s+] (orig. US) the general public, thus fem. Josephine Public.

joe sad (n.) [SE sad/sad adj. (2)]

[1920s+] (US black) a miserable or unpopular person.

Joe Schmo (n.) (also Joe Schmoe, Joe Shmo, Joe Shmoe) [schmo n.]

[1940s+] (orig. US) anyone, ‘Mr. Average’.

Joe Shit (the rag man) (n.) (also Joe Crap) [shit n. (2)/crap n.1 (8)]

[1940s+] (US) an extremely contemptible person, a nobody.

Joe Six-pack (n.) [SE six-pack]

[1970s+] (US) an ordinary, beer-drinking man.

Joe Zilch (n.) (also joe zilsch) [zilch n.1 (2)]

[1920s+] (US) the average, otherwise unnamed man; also attrib.

In phrases

not for Joe (also not for Joseph) [ety. unknown; ? anecdotal; ? sense 1b above]

[mid-19C–1920s] by no means, not on any account.

quality joe (n.) (also quality folks) [ironic use of SE the quality, the upper classes + Joe Public (above)/SE folks]

[1950s] (US drugs) a non-addict.