Green’s Dictionary of Slang

put down v.1

1. to eat, to drink.

[US]‘Johnny Cross’ ‘Fulton Market’ in Orig. Pontoon Songster 11: By Jove! this steak is awful tough, just like a side of leather. / A piece of it I couldn’t put down, it nearly stopped my breath.
[US]M.D. Landon Eli Perkins 57: I preyed ’round 96 rumsellers and into 180 saloons – puttin’ down whiskey and beer.
[US]J.S. Wood Yale Yarns 9: He was a hummer, and put down in one evening [...] five whiskey cocktails, six beers, three Manhattans, and a bottle of fizz.
[UK]Regiment 23 May 123: [cartoon caption] ‘Sir Wilfrid Lawson says, “I’m ter the putting down of drink.” So am I, says I, and I’ll guarantee to put down more in one day than you’d care to stand in a month, says I!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Sept. 14/2: He gurgled out (unconsciously) the nasal and necessary curses [...] during intervals of ‘putting down’ his two long beers – then went out and found the wagon half-a-mile down the road.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[UK]P. MacGill Moleskin Joe 80: I’ve been a lag, a crook [...] a joint as can keep puttin’ down tipple in the four-ale when my butties are on the sawdust.
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 124: He put his down in two swallows, saying ‘First today.’.
Dan Burley ‘Back Door Stuff’ 30 Apr. [synd. col.] We put down that yat-go-mein and fried rice.
[US]R. Buehler Annotated Collection of Obscene Humor 6: They’re in a bar, putting them down.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 192: ‘Well, we’re putting down anything that’s halfway legal this morning’ [...] She handed Russel the nearly empty bottle.

2. in senses implying aggression, hostility.

(a) to deride, to slander, to attack verbally, to tease.

[[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Mar. 10/1: Where’er you are, just ‘give it lip,’ / Smack Clootie on the crown, / And you will find, sir – take our tip – / They cannot put you down].
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 345: Mr. Knightley was a man that always had the first word in everything, and generally the best of an argument — putting down anybody who differed from him in a quiet, superior sort of way].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Nov. 35/2: You’re one of those toffy blankers as wants to put down us blokes who’s tryin’ to earn a’ ’onest livin’.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 13: All my New York friends were in the negative, nightmare position of putting down society.
[US]Mad mag. Sept. 41: They can’t ever put down what these studs did here.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 139: You tried to put me down in front of my friends.
[US]R. Price Ladies’ Man (1985) 227: Embarrassment over putting down faggots.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 64: Vic puts you down?
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 230: I hate the way you’re always puttin’ down ya old man.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 149: [He] and sees no harm or intent to chiack or put-down in us .
[US]K. Huff A Steady Rain I i: ’Cause people, friend or foe, they do this all the time consistently. They put down what you got ’Cause they don’t got it.

(b) to imprison.

H. Ellson ‘Pretty Boy’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 126: We know you shot someone. We’re going to put you down for a long time.

(c) to attack physically, to kill (cite 2001 suggests in solitary confiinement).

[US]H. Ellison Web of the City (1983) 79: ‘And if they do [appear],’ he patted his jacket pocket, ‘we [...] put ’em down for good.’.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 245: Oh shit, I thought, you poor m.f. One way or another, some bastard puts us down.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 44: Then you got the faggots [...] Once a guy starts on that you got to put him down.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 158: Marvin Shuffler, the man who took responsibility for his own safety, and put down those hoods who tried to hold up that diner in Torrance.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 148/2: put down v. to lock an inmate away.
[US]W.D. Myers Lockdown 154: [H]e was still trying to look hard even though I had put him down good.

3. (US) in lit. and fig. senses of SE put down, to set down.

(a) of an activity, to abandon.

[UK]Sporting Times 5 May 2/1: Put it down twice, sir. Copping the brewer is bad enough, but what about the Brewer copping you?
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘When The Cranks Have Had Their Way’ Sporting Times 16 May 1/3: [He] asked, cheerily, ‘Can I get half of bitter anywhere?’ / And received the sour reply, ‘They’ve put down drink!’.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Look Me in the Eye, Boy!’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 159: I ain’t on it [i.e. heroin] any more. I put down months ago.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 161: If you got your ass torn up every time you shot craps, after a while you’d put craps down and maybe try low ball.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972) 156: put down [...] Stop taking drugs.
[US]W.D. Myers Motown and Didi 25: He [i.e. a heroin addict] had thought about kicking out cold, putting it all down at once.

(b) (UK Und.) to successfully cash a forged cheque at a bank; to pass counterfeit money; thus putter-down n., one who passes counterfeit cheques.

[US] ‘Und. and Its Vernacular’ in Clues mag. 158—62: putter-down Party who passes forged checks for the real forger.
[UK](con. 1910) C.G. Gordon Crooks of the Und. 223: Why, ’e’s the one wot’s been making ’em all the time while me an’ my poor ole man ’as been putting ’em dahn.
[US](con. 1910–20s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 120: Putting them down ... distributing bad coins.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 8: Putting them down: Tendering base coin.
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Banker Tells All 44: She would wait for the rush hour when the cashiers were busy, and plant a cheque here and a cheque there [...] She was Bonzo at putting down.
[UK](con. c.1910) A. Harding in Samuel East End Und. 82: We were putting down 4s pieces.

(c) to act, to do, to say.

[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 12 Apr. 9/6: Miss Holloway puts down a sending style.
[US]W.G. Smith South Street 117: ‘Well, let’s grab a seat, see what these folks is puttin’ down’.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 72: Remi was trying to put a story down that he’d lost his wallet.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 84: What’s she tryin’ to put down? I wondered.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 182: You hep to what I’m puttin’ down?
[US]W.D. Myers Hoops 40: I didn’t give him [i.e. a basketball coach] a lot of static [...] even if he was wrong in some of the things he was putting down.
[US]W.D. Myers Scorpions 208: You on the street, you got to take what the street put down.
[US]B. Coleman Rakim Told Me 96: ‘I wanted to put down a positive message with a reggae twist. It was a statement’.

(d) of a person, to reject, to give up.

[US]T. Alexander ‘Long Lonesome Day Blues’ 🎵 Don’t a woman act funny, she’s gonna put you down? / Don’t a woman act funny, she’s gonna put you down? / She jumps in the bed with her face all full of frowns.
[US]C. Himes ‘Let Me at the Enemy—An’ George Brown’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 47: ‘You the kind of a man let a little money go to his head. But that dont worry me none cause I done put you down first. Me and George Brown is getting married’.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 2: I am no parts lame and I am strictly not putting on a ‘clown’ but I do believe it is time for cupid to put our love down.
[US]Sonny Boy Williamson ‘Nine Below Zero’ 🎵 It done got nine below zero and she done put me down for another man.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 181: You think he’ll put me down for her if he can git her away from you?
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 68: ‘I lied to you when I told you I was in real estate because I knew you’d put me down for my past record’.
D.H. Edwards The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing 160: ‘You crazy about that guitar player and now he’s leavin'. He’s goin' to put you down’.

(e) of a place, to leave.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 146: I’ve got the creepies, Can’t we please put this place down soon?

(f) (US black) to forbid, prohibit.

[US]W.D. Myers Autobiog. of My Dead Brother 139: [H]is moms had put down him playing with our little Cuban band.

4. in senses of SE put down for.

(a) to involve someone, i.e. in a crime.

[US]M. McAlary Crack War (1991) 35: I’m not getting involved with that bullshit [i.e. a murder]. Don’t put me down with that shit.

(b) (US black) to enlist a candidate in a gang or similar group.

[US]P. Beatty Tuff 126: Spencer now understood why little boys ran to Tuff in the streets [...] begging to be ‘put down’ on some invisible ghetto roster of the terminally bad.

In phrases

put down shoe leather (v.)

to run fast.

[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 119: Finally I got out and started putting down shoe leather. But the paddies were hot on doing me up real nice. One of them got so close to me I saw his face over my shoulder. I stopped short and he ran right into a slap with all my weight behind it.

In exclamations

put it down!

(US) a toast that precedes drinking.

[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: After all have ‘nominated,’ such remarks pass as ‘spiel,’ ‘put it down,’ ‘here’s looking at you,’ ‘tip,’ ‘here’s a go.’.