Green’s Dictionary of Slang

night n.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

nightbird (n.) (also bird of the night, night dove, night fowl) [they ‘fly at night’; note SE night bird, one who goes about at night, esp. a thief]

1. a prostitute.

[UK]Jonson Alchemist V ii: My bird o’ the night! we’ll tickle it at the Pigeons.
[UK]H. Mill Nights Search letter by Collett: A knot of Night-fowles. [Ibid.] 39: There are such nests of night-birds in all places.
[UK]Rochester A Letter from Artemiza to Chloe in Works (1999) 67: Woman, who is an Arrant Bird of Night / (Bold in the Duske, before a Fooles dull sight).
[UK]J. Dunton Night-Walker Jan. 28: Your conversation is so very scandalous and hateful that you are all Night-Birds, and are ashamed to follow your Imployment in the Streets at noon day.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 36: Many of the finest of the Oxford-street birds flutter in here [...] nightbirds, but very few green ones among them.
[UK]Dundee Courier 21 Nov. 3/4: It was stated that she was a habitual night-bird [...] She got a sharp admonition on the evil of her conduct, and got off with a fine of 5s.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 12 Oct. 8/7: Maud Faning’s Amurkon song, ‘I guess t want ma money in advance,’ is a very popular tune with the night doves, who flit round the block, in search of buyers.
[UK]L.C. Cornford Canker at the Heart 149: A little further on, another night-bird is propped against the wall.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 209: night-bird, -cap, -hawk, -hunter, -walker, a thief or harlot.
[US]O.O. McIntyre Bits of New York Life 26 Dec. [synd. col.] The night birds are in gay plumage. They beckon with artful twists of the head and flashes of smiles.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 37: Similar terms for women who ply their trade after the sun goes down include nightbird, nighthawk, and owl.

2. a wandering vagabond.

[UK] ‘The Song of the Young Prig’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 172: A night-bird, oft I’m in the cage.
[US]Wash. Times (DC) 14 Jan. 42/1: They come from the gutters and the slums [...] the night-birds of the city’s population.
nightcap (n.)

see separate entries.

night crawler (n.)

1. (US) someone who socializes or works late at night.

[US]L. Kramer Faggots 345: In what he hoped would be a secluded-enough glade, Wyatt hadn’t told him there’d be so many nightcrawlers in the distance.

2. (US Und.) a prisoner who steals from other inmates.

[US]J. Blake letter 15 April in Joint (1972) 19: We also have a group of prisoners called ‘creeps’ or ‘nightcrawlers,’ who prowl the dormitory at night and steal from the other sleeping prisoners.

3. (US gay) a homophobic thug.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 77: Hostile heterosexual man whose anti-homosexuality is sometimes violently expressed [...] night crawler (kwn LA, late ‘60s).

4. (US) the penis.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 320: Hot dog, joy stick, kidney wiper, knitting needle, lance!, lollipop, longfellow, muscle, nightcrawler.

5. (US) a criminal who works at night.

[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] ‘Jesus,’ Tomás said. ‘You look like crap.’ ‘Yeah [...] It’s been a crappy couple days. Any other night crawlers?
night crib (n.)

a public house or place (of entertainment) that stays open late.

[UK]New Sprees of London 3: I’ll introduce you to the [...] Lushing, Chanting, and Night-cribs, Bawdikens, Hells, Boosing, and Lightning-cribs, Mum- ming Caseys where you may doss, lush, or feed.
night fighter (n.) [SE night fighter planes are painted black]

(US) a black person.

[US] ‘Air Force Sl.’ AS XX:3 227/1: Night fighters. Maori girls.
[UK] (ref. to 1944) W. White A Man Called White 279: [in Guam] Stones, empty beer bottles, and other missiles were thrown from the trucks into the Negro camp accompnied by such epithets as ‘niggers,’ ‘night-fighters,’ and ‘black sons-of-bitches’.
[US]S. King It (1987) 442: That ain’t a bunch of dirt, you stupid coontail night-fighter!
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 55: Night Fighter A black person.
nightgown lady (n.) [euph.]

a prostitute.

[UK]Buckingham Chances III vi: Bid her make haste, we come to see no curious Wench, a Night-Gown will serve turn.
[UK]J. Dunton Night-Walker Dec. 18: We were unexpectedly accosted by a Night-Gown-Lady.
night hack (n.) [hack n.3 (1)]

(US Und.) a night watchman.

[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice 82: There’s only one night hack (cop) in the burg.
[US]Liberty 5 July 24: When we flash on the lights we see a night hack asleep on a cot [HDAS].

see separate entries.

night hunter (n.)

1. (also night-rogue) a thief who prefers to work at night.

[UK]J. Howell Familiar Letters (1737) I 1 May 39: We were suddenly surpriz’d by a Crew of Filous of [? or] Night-Rogues, who drew upon us [...] There is never a Night passes, but some Robbing or Murder is committed in this Town [i.e. Paris].
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 209: night-hunter, a thief.

2. a prostitute.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 236: Night-hunter [...] a London prostitute. Sometimes [...] varied to night-hawk.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 209: night-hunter, a [...] harlot.
nightman (n.)

1. a collector of nightsoil, i.e. the contents of cesspools, removed at night.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Night-men, Gold-finders, Tom-turd-men.
[UK]N. Ward Compleat and Humorous Account of Remarkable Clubs (1756) 26: Night-Men, who with Tubs and Pails, / Carry off the Drippings of our Tails.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 5 Dec. 10/2: The Child was wrapt up in an old Curtain, and laid in among some Horse-litter in Tom Turd’s-Hole (a Place where the Nightmen lay their Soil).
[UK]Flash Mirror 20: Cards and Circulars [...] For a Nightman.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 13 Apr. 150/1: Robert Hobbins is the Night-Man.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: nightman one whose business is to empty necessary houses in London, which is always done in the night, the operation is called a wedding.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Farewell Odes’ Works (1794) I 156: Farriers should write on farcys [...] Nightmen alone, on aromatic ordures.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘The Rights of Kings’ Works (1794) III 55: What an honour to have been appointed, Your very Nightman, by the Lord’s Anointed.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Leeeds Mercury 15 Feb. 3/4: George Huck, the nightman, is [...] receiving a weekly allowance from the parish [...] and he is always ready to do any dirty job.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK] ‘Chapter of T--d’s’ in Comic Songster and Gentleman’s Private Cabinet 43: The world’s but a dunyken – mankind are only t--ds! [...] The rake he is a nightman, both in deed and heart.
[UK]Flash Mirror 20: .
[UK]N. Devon Jrnl 10 Nov. 7/4: A true Gentleman is honest, brave, sincere, and courteous. A chimney-sweep or night-man may be one.
[Aus]B. Oakley Salute to the Great McCarthy 42: Old Favoloro, the accursed nightman, the despised, fly-by-night, ogre of the kids. ‘I won’t have that, no—you’re trying to get me out of my job!’ Raising a gleaming rubberised sleeve. ‘You get your can emptied regular, where is the justice?’.

2. a thief who prefers to work at night, rather than in the daytime.

[US]Amer. Mercury May 78/1: Rowdy-dowdy...was borrowed from the more aristocratic night-men, who use it in this manner: ‘Charge on a town, make as many clouts on the kiester (safe) as necessary, and then battle the irate citizens in a rowdy-dowdy get-a-way.’ .
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 79: A night man is what the boys called a thief who would rather knock off a safe or vault after dark than take the chance of heisting the joint in the daytime.

see separate entries.

night physic (n.)

sexual intercourse.

[UK]Massinger Maid of Honour (1632) II ii: Which of your groomes, Your coach-man, foole, or foot-man, ministers Night-physicque to you?
night sneak (n.) [sneak n.1 (1b)]

robbery by night (cf. evening sneak under evening n.).

[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 166: Going upon the Night-Sneak, she found a Door half open.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c 365: Going upon the Night-Sneak, (as the Phrase of these People is) she found a Door half open, in Downing Street.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 36: The Night Sneak. That is, three or more Persons go together when ’tis dark, searching of Gentleman’s Houses, and try the Glass if it will jump.
night stick (n.)

1. (US) the penis [play on SE nightstick/stick n. (1a)].

[US]H.N. Cary Sl. of Venery.
‘Edouard de Verb’ Book of the Thousand Sacred Names n.p.: One plied his Night-stick up a girl’s Dark Alley.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 194: We also find the policeman represented with his truncheon, billie, nightstick or copper stick (which is also a housewife’s tool of the last century).
[UK] 12 May [Internet] the boys when thay said in the Braintree years a knight stick or a wiily of a dick or cock.

2. (US black) anyone who lives their life in clubs and bars and generally indulges themselves as a ‘night person’.

[UK]P. Theroux Picture Palace 309: Nightsticks in Hyannis.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
night trader (n.)

a prostitute.

[UK]Massinger Picture I ii: All kinds of females, from the night-trader, in the street.
night walker (n.)

see separate entry.

night work (n.)

sexual intercourse.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry IV Pt 2 III ii: She was then a bona-roba [...] and had Robin Nightwork by old Nightwork before I came to Clement’s Inn.
[UK]Massinger Guardian IV v: Yet now I think on’t, I had ever a lucky hand in such smock night-work.
[UK] ‘Smutty Chimney Sweeper’ in Regular Thing, And No Mistake 83: And if any maid is moneyless and feels the times’ hard pressure, / If she has any night-work, he will do it for the pleasure.
[US]C. Himes Blind Man with a Pistol (1971) 122: You been doing too much night work [...] Yo’ old lady taken yo’ strength.
[UK]M. Thelwell Harder They Come 201: A face man who [...] earned his money by ‘doing night work’ by the inches.

In phrases

night on the rainbow (n.)

(drugs) a night spent under the influence of drugs.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 145/1: Night on the rainbow. (Near West) A period of indulgence in narcotics. ‘Yeah, Clipper, I feel low, like a hop-head (drug addict) after a night on the rainbow.’.