Green’s Dictionary of Slang

brown n.

1. as the colour of drinks.

(a) porter, stout.

[UK]Foote Mayor of Garrat in Works (1799) I 184: I’ll go to the club when I please [...] and help myself to what vittles I like, and I’ll have a bit of the brown.
[UK]‘Peter Corcoran’ ‘Stanzas to Kate’ in Fancy [Gloss.] n.p.: Brown, porter; heavy brown, stout.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 416: Gulping down his emotion and a liberal dose of the best brown British.

(b) attrib. use of sense 1a.

[UK]‘Peter Corcoran’ ‘Stanzas to Kate’ in Fancy 84: Oh, never again, / I’ll cultivate light blue, or brown inebriety.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 20: Their glasses filled with the ‘London brown S,’ it’s saffron-colored foam o’ermantling the dark clear essence of the malt beneath.

(c) brandy.

[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 256: ‘Hop in there and get a pint of best brown.’ [...] I was served with my pint of brown brandy.

(d) two pennyworth of whisky, esp. as sold in Mooney’s Tavern in the Strand, London.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

(e) (US Und.) whisky.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 34/2: Brown, n. 1. (Prohibition era trade term) Whiskey. [Note: ‘Brown plaid’ was in occasional use to distinguish Scotch from rye.].

(f) brown ale.

[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 293: In a public house [...] a request for a pint of ‘brown’ or of ‘wallop’ will be made.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 42: Let’s go and have a brown in the NAAFI. Billy came with him to drink in the NAFFI.
[UK]A. Bleasdale No Surrender 53: I’ll have a brown over mild an’ a double Jamesons.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 20: They poured beer in with the hams. ‘A bit of brown for flavour, eh?’ said the old man.

(g) (Aus.) spec. Tooth’s Kent Old Brown Ale.

Aussie Home Brewer 29 Nov. [Internet] No, sorry, I was a southerner when I was drinking Reschs. Loved them all from DA through to Real. Tooths was such a great brewer, even their brown was a great drop.
RateBeer 15 May [Internet] Schooner of brown! Tooheys Old’s elusive rival. On tap at Penshurst hotel.

2. as the colour of coins or notes.

(a) (UK Und.) counterfeit halfpennies.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Nov. 1/4: Q. What is the national currency? A. [...] Hanover Jacks, snide white ’uns, duffing browns, flash flimsies, stumers, bits of stiff, kites, tombstones.

(b) (also brown broad, browny) a halfpenny; a penny; thus browns, copper coins.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry III iii: My tanners are like young colts; I’m obliged to hunt ’em into a corner, afore I can get hold on ’em – there! hand us over three browns out o’ that ’ere tizzy, and tip us the heavy.
[UK]Annals of Sporting 1 Mar. 206: He got floored thrice, hard; got hooted ‘off, off!’ got his claret tapped, and got a few brownies.
[UK]W. Clarke Every Night Book 34: A small assortment of tizzies and browns.
[UK]Duncombe Dens of London 52: Have you got any browns (pence) about you, Paddy?
[UK]R. Barham ‘Black Mousquetaire’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 24: With the magic effect of a handful of crowns / Upon people whose pockets boast nothing but ‘browns’.
[UK]New Sprees of London 20: The passport dimmock, is a brown broad, which goes to the concert cad, or conductor, the piano-torturer being tipped by the great boss of the concern.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 13 Sept. 3/1: To amuse the bystanders and collect a few browns, Bobby rolled over the same distance in five minutes.
[UK]Sinks of London Laid Open 46: Have you got any browns (pence) about you, Paddy?
[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: Vat sort of a place is this for copping the browns?
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor 29: Brown broad, A penny.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 20 Nov. 4/1: ‘Proposals for a New Slang Dictionary’ [...] PEWTER.—Noun. Brads, rhino, blunt, dibbs, mopusses, browns, tin, brass, stumpy, &c.
[US]S.F. Call 26 Mar. n.p.: [He] Went to fight the furious tiger, / Went to fight the beast at faro, / And was cleaned out so completely / That he lost his every mopus, / Every single speck of pewter, / Every solitary shiner, / Every brad and every dollar [...] All the tin he did inherit, / All the dibs he did discover, / All the browns his uncle lent him.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 49/2: They gets sovereigns where we has only browns.
[UK]G.R. Sims Dagonet Ballads 83: Past work is old Polly, God bless her! but while / I’ve a roof and a brown / There’s a meal for the mare as has served me.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Oct. 8/1: The wretched unemployed of London town / Are wondering where to ‘turn an honest brown,’ / For winter chill / Is bringing destitution in his track.
[UK]A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 116: ’Ere’s two ’arf-crowns an’ some tanners. Seven an’ thrippence altogether, with the browns.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 17 Feb. 6/1: It is just the same in buying the ‘Telegraph’. One buys it with the expectation of getting some return for his ‘brown’.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 101: I got me ’ooks on to a tanner an’ a couple of browns.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Jan. 14/2: ‘Ha’penny currint starver.’ I gave him the roll and took the coin. He shared his loaf with No. 2, who, filling his mouth, grabbed the rest from No. 1 and levanted. No. 1 then came back crying, and said ‘Yer’s a brown; giv us another, and put it down me back.’.
[Aus]‘G.B. Lancaster’ Jim of the Ranges 31: You know I never saved a brown on the wallaby.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 11 Nov. 7/1: The kids went on the cadge for browns.
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 3: Though to-day I’m stony broke / Without a single brown.
[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 19 July 2/4: [A] halfpenny is a ‘brown’ or a ‘madzer (pronounced ‘medzer’), ‘saltee’ [...] ‘mag,’ ‘posh,’ ‘bawbee,’ or ‘rap’.
[Aus]Narromine News (NSW) 25 Oct. 9/5: Sing a song o’ three ‘browns,’ / Think of what it means, / ‘Busted up’ on ice creams / Or on limousines.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 332: ‘I’ll take a couple of browns off you, if you don’t mind.’ Henry dropped the two pennies in his hand.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 13 June 4s/3: 3 Browns = 1 tray (treybit).
[UK] (ref. to 1930s–70s) R. Barnes Coronation Cups and Jam Jars 206: Brown – 1d.

(c) (UK black) a £10 note.

[UK](con. 1981) A. Wheatle East of Acre Lane 186: ‘How much corn you gonna sell dese speakers for?’ [...] ‘T’re browns each.’.

3. pertaining to the anus.

(a) (also round brown) the anus.

[UK]‘The Amiable Family’ in Fal-Lal Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 8: On our door you’ll see wrote, / Those names I here quote — / ‘Mr Balls’ — ‘Mrs Mary Brown’ — ‘Rogers!’.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) VI 1152: His prick stands after I have worked it up and down in the brown for a while.
[US]H.N. Cary Sl. of Venery I 24: Brown – The fundament.
[US]J.T. Farrell Gas-House McGinty 180: Jesus, every one of us get it rammed up our brown before we’re through.
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 95: A Phi Delt known as Carruthers / Will never make little girls mothers. / Around the old brown / He is covered with down / To wipe off the dongs of his brothers.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 5: Goober’s so busy kissin’ Anderson’s tail he don’t see nothin’ but brown.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 212: When the grocery man seen what this little fly had done, / he went and got a flyspray gun. / And he chased this little fly up and down, / and tried to shoot him up his brown.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) ‘Alice Blue Gown’ in Hogbotel & ffuckes Snatches and Lays 15: When he said to me ‘Please turn around,’ / And he shoved that big thing up my brown.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 63: Bend over and show me that round brown.
[US]Maledicta 1 (Summer) 15: Up your brown with a Roto-Rooter—and spin it!

(b) sodomy, anal intercourse.

[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) VI 1151: ‘Are you fond of a bit of brown?’ – he asked – I did not understand and he explained. – ‘We always say a bit of brown among ourselves, and a cunt’s a bit of red.’.
[US]J. Hersey Algiers Motel Incident 111: No, your honour, this is what they call it. They usually refer to it either as a fuck or a brown.
[US]Maledicta III:2 231: He also may or may not know the following words and expressions: [...] bottom man (opposite: top man), brown and brownie.

(c) an act of defecation.

[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 184: Nobody wants to pester a man who’s having a brown.

4. the colour of drugs, also in pl. browns.

(a) (drugs) opium.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 128: Men and women sprawled on straw bunks cooking fragrant, satisfying pills of bubbling brown.

(b) tobacco.

[US] ‘West Point Sl.’ in Howitzer (US Milit. Academy) 292–5: Brown – The filthy weed.

(c) (drugs, also B, brown boy, ...dope, …lady) heroin.

[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[US]Smith & Gay Heroin in Perspective 198: Brown. Heroin from Mexico.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 325: Also H, big H, blanks, boy, brother, brown, brown sugar, caballo, [...].
[US]S.L. Hills Tragic Magic 53: He had a lot of brown dope [...] People were under the false impression that the brown was more pure.
[US]T. Willocks Green River Rising 70: They’re good customers. Crystal, weed, crack, brown.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] Give me uncut Colombian brown any day of the week.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 4: Good gear like? Not cut with too much shite, no? Pure bleedin brown boy. D’yew think Iain ud sell me anythin less.
[UK]Dizzee Rascal in Vice Mag. at Hyperdub.com [Internet] Crack’s bad. I’ve seen heroin fuck up lives: it’s the devil’s drug. To be honest I don’t know which one’s worse. Some people buy both, two brown, one white.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 139: A few more lines of the sweet brown lady and I no longer cared.
[UK]Camden New Journal (London) 13 Mar. 2: Undercover police described how they bought wraps of ‘white and brown’.
[UK]K. Richards Life 417: I bought some Persian brown from a woman named Cathy Smith.
[UK]Observer 9 Oct. [Internet] ‘He wants four 10-bags of dubs and four 10-bags of B.’ Dubs? B? ‘Dubs are white drugs [...] B is brown, obviously, heroin’.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 290: The older O’Malleys were all mad alcoholics while the younger ones were lost to the brown and the white.
M. Dargg ‘Upsuh’ [lyrics] Back to the dark and the light / Man moves brown when it's bright.

(d) attrib. use of sense 4c.

[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 36: Greta and I had arranged one of our brown sessions, where we got loads of brown and got smashed out of our faces.

(e) (US drugs) usu. in pl., amphetamines.

[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 240: The most popular word is ups. Brain ticklers, browns, cartwheels [...] are words of the sixties and are out of use now.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 337: browns: Amphetamine.

(f) (also brown bob) a cigarette or cigar.

[UK]C. Newland Scholar 254: ‘I was jus’ gettin’ some ciggies,’ he lied [...] ‘I got browns,’ she told him.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Brown Bob (noun) A blunt without the weed.

5. (US) hot cakes.

[US]L.A. Times 9 Apr. 5: ‘A stack of browns’ – hot cakes.

6. the colour of one’s skin.

(a) (US black) a young, brown-skinned person, esp. as a boy- or girlfriend.

in W.C. Handy Treasury of the Blues 71: You ought to see dat stovepipe brown of mine.
[US]W.C. Handy ‘Hesitating Blues’ [lyrics] What you say, can’t talk to my Brown! A storm last night blowed the wires all down.
[US]Rev. Charlie Jackson & Ma Rainey ‘Big Feeling Blues’ [lyrics] Unlucky with my yellow, unlucky with my brown, / the black bitches keep on throwin’ me down.
[US]Robert Johnson ‘Little Queen of Spades’ [lyrics] Ev’ry time she makes a spread, hoo, fair brown, cold chills just run all over me.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 219: I know they’re briny ’cause they dug me with a brace of browns the other fish-black.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 383: A sealskin brown will make a preacher lay his bible down.
[US]UGK ‘Life Is 2009’ [lyrics] Keep a bad yella bitch and a thick young brown.

(b) (S.Afr.) a black South African.

[SA]A. La Guma Walk in the Night (1968) 44: Jesus, and he was a white man, too. Well, what’s he want to come and live here among us browns for?

(c) a Mexican; also attrib.

ElChulo.net [Internet] homepage: This is a drawing board for El Chulo, himself, to show the world his Chuloizm. A little bit of Brown Pride, a little visual stimulation for those mind orgasmz. A grip of flicks, the homies, and life images of this Chulo.

Pertaining to money

In phrases

brown paper men (n.)

see separate entry.

Pertaining to the anus

In compounds

brown-dirt cowboy (n.) [SE dirt, cowboy]

a male homosexual.

[UK]Elton John ‘Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy’ [lyrics] Brown Dirt Cowboy, still green and growing / City slick Captain / Fantastic the feedback / The honey the hive could be holding.
J. King England Away 18: The brown dirt cowboy at the controls puts his foot down and speeds off.
brown-diver (n.) [SE diver]

(US black) a male homosexual.

[US]Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] brown diver Definition: a gay man. Example: Dayum...nigga dem pink shoes make yo ass look like a brown diver.
brown job (n.)

see separate entries.

In phrases

brown out (v.)

see separate entry.

do it up brown (v.)

(gay) to have anal intercourse.

[US]Maledicta III:2 231: He also may or may not know the following words and expressions: [...] daub of the (tar) brush, Dead-Eye Dick, do it up brown, double-barrelled ghee [guy], drive.
go in the brown (v.)

(US Und.) to sodomize.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Prostitutes and Criminal Argots’ in Lang. Und. (1981).
in one’s brown

(Irish) a phr. of dismissal or general negation, e.g. ‘I mean it, I really do’, ‘Bollocks! you do in your brown!’.

[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 367: Do none of yis go up to the Hikers at all? – I do, said Kenny. – Yeh do in your brown, said Anto.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] I will in me brown (phr): I won’t!
when the red is over the pink, go for the brown [snooker imagery]

when a woman is menstruating, opt for anal intercourse.

[[UK]P. Meditzy ‘A Day In The Life Of...’ 29 Apr. [Internet] I was then faced with a decision, should I go for the ‘easy pink or the tight brown’? – I decided to play safe on this occasion].
Urban Dict. [Internet] when the red is over the pink, go for the brown: When a woman is menstruating, opt for anal intercourse with her.

In exclamations

up your brown! (also up your rusty!)

a general excl. of abuse, dismissal; var. on up your arse! excl.

[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 65: ‘Up your brown!’ sneered Weary.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 623: He [...] didn’t give a damn what she thought of him, and silently exclaimed, Up your brown Lizzie.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 457: ‘Up your rusty, bitch!’ he snarled back after her.

Pertaining to drugs

In compounds