Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fruit n.

[the image is of being ‘ripe’ or ‘soft’ and ‘easy picking’]

1. (US) a dupe, an easy victim, one who is easily influenced.

[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 12: fruit n. 1. One who can be easily deceived. 2. A lenient teacher. 3. An easy course in college.
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 37: fruit, n. 1. A person easily influenced. 2. One easy to defeat. 3. An instructor whose course is not exacting.
[US]F.M. Thrasher Gang 267: Fruit—easy mark.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 81: Fruit.–An ‘easy mark.’.
[US]E. Thompson Caldo Largo (1980) 60: I don’t know what the hell they let them fruits hang out in here for.
[US]S. King It (1987) 50: The guy was a fruit, but he wasn’t hurting anyone.

2. (also fruit-eater) a derog. term for a male homosexual; in general use any homosexual; in gay use esp. one who pays for sex; thus canned fruit, crushed fruit, a homosexual who does not reveal his sexual proclivity; fruitette a school-age homosexual.

[US]DN II 37: Fruit, n. [...] An immoral man.
[US]A.J. Rosanoff Manual of Psychiatry in Katz Gay/Lesbian Almanac (1983) 439: Fruit, fruiter, fairy, a passive homosexual.
[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 71: I thought he must be a bit queer sexually [...] a punk or some kind of fruit.
[US]C. McKay Gingertown 39: Izh’t dat fruit-eater from Cuba you’re after?
[US]‘R. Scully’ Scarlet Pansy 150: Here one heard fruit, banana, meat, fish, tomato, cream, dozens of everyday words used with double meaning.
[US]W. Burroughs letter 15 Mar. in Harris (1993) 43: Two insufferable fruits live in the back house on my new property.
[US]Kerouac On the Road (The Orig. Scroll) (2007) 172: California [...] is a land of fruit and nuts, either you go nuts or you go fruit.
[US]H. Ellison ‘High Dice’ Gentleman Junkie 90: What the hell’s going on in there, you a pair of fruits, or what?
[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases 56: crushed fruit (Sl.) A male Homosexual who insistently denies his condition.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 348: Hell, they’d have figured me for a fruit or something.
[US] (ref. to late 1950s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 48: Homosexual who denies his sexual longings [...] canned fruit (late ’50s); [...] crushed fruit (late ’50s–mid ’60s: because he is crushed by society’s mores).
L. Dawson The Spy Who Came... 105: A fruit of a Spanish waiter [...] minced in [...] He was so queer, he was a lesbian.
[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 307: They might think I’m a fruit or something.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 230: He was as queer as a four-dollar bill, but that didn’t bother me. I’d had three years’ experience dealing with fruits and oddballs.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Stephanie’ Destination: Morgue! (2004) 62: Fruit rollers, fruit teasers, high-school fruitettes.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Bomb in the Garden’ Generation Kill ep. 7 [TV script] This old fruit tries to cruise me.

3. a promiscuous woman.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 37: fruit, n. 4. An immoral woman. [...] 7. A girl whose acquaintance is easy to make [...] 10. An immoral man.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 81: Fruit.– [...] A girl or woman willing to oblige.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

4. something or someone delightful or pleasant; thus old fruit

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 37: fruit, n. A good fellow; a trump.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Third Round 541: You don’t mean to say that you think someone will murder the poor old fruit.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 42: Don’t you think she’s a hell of a fruit?

5. (US teen) an unintelligent, dull person cit. 1932 may be euph./code for sense 2 above.

[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Johns Hopkins Jargon’ in AS VII:5 332: fruit—a ‘no account fellow.’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 125: Then why are you getting a lump in your pants, you little fruit!
[US]D. Clowes Ghost World 15: He’s a fruit.

6. an eccentric person.

[UK](con. 1940s) D. MacCuish Do Not Go Gentle (1962) 76: Then this fruit saysa ta me, ‘How comea ya talk ofa love when I’ma so mad, eh?’[sic].
[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 136: Jeezus, I think, he’s Felix Unger offstage too. Wodda froot.
[US]T. Alibrandi Killshot 50: You sorta look like a book fruit.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 126: Were they like the checker-suit old fruits, only more of them?

In compounds

fruitball (n.) (also fruitbar, ...basket, ...bat, ...head, ...merchant) [-head sfx (1)/merchant n. (1)]

(US) an eccentric.

[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 23: ‘This morning I had a visit from the Major – ’ ‘That fruit merchant!’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Double Whammy (1990) 71: ‘Met a guy named Skink,’ Decker said. Gault whistled [...] ‘A real fruitbar.’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 280: Fine [...] you two fruitballs stay if you want.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 3: fruit head – someone who acts silly, stupid.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 174: ‘He’s really something. You gotta admit.’ ‘Yeah. A fruit basket.’.
[UK]Observer 3 Oct. 22: Too simplistic to think of the word ‘fruitbat’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 203: I’ve never run up against so many card-carryin’ fruitballs in my life.
fruit boots (n.) [in more restrained eras, such shoes were seen as badges of effeminacy] (orig. US gay)

1. white tennis shoes, white suede shoes.

[US]Wash. Post 29 Sept. F1/1–2: Also added to the teen dictionary is ‘fruit boats’ [sic] (the new colored suede shoes).
[US]Lavender Lex. n.p.: fruit boots:–Wellington boots favored by homosexuals; also desert boots; white or green low-cut tennis shoes.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 102: With a digression to honor [...] saddle shoes, fruit boots, straight skirts, ponytails.

2. ‘Beatle boots’ or any Italian-style shoes with pointed toes.

[UK]D. Hamilton Death of a Citizen 31: Light-colored, low-heeled pull-on boots with the rough side of the leather showing that are sometimes known locally as fruit-boots, being the preferred footgear of a few gentlemen whose virility is subject to question.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 86: fruit-boots (dated) throughout the ’50s, fruit boots were white tennies or white suede shoes. Into the ’60s, the term became the Beatle boots or any Italian-made sharp-toed shoes which heightened the so-called effeminization of the American youth.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 342: There’s Bongo. He’s in bikini briefs. He’s in fruit boots.
fruitcake

see separate entries.

fruit-eater (n.)

see sense 2 above.

fruit factory (n.)

(Aus.) a psychiatric institution.

[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxiv 4/5: fruit factory: From nutty, fruit cake, the nut house.
fruit-fly (n.)

1. a homosexual man.

[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 157: In the homosexual world, the term has been elaborated on in various ways, e.g., fruiter, fruit fly (also a heterosexual woman who is attracted to fruits), fruit merchant.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 103: Bobby was a notorious fruitfly with a rap sheet full of homo-pandering beefs.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 540: Fruit Alert — Bayard Rustin — fruit fly at ten o’clock high.

2. (US gay) a heterosexual woman who enjoys the company of homosexual rather than heterosexual men.

[US]Lavender Lex. n.p.: fruit fly:–Some women other than lesbians, who frequent the hangouts of the homosexuals. Altho most of them are young there is still a goodly representation of the matronly and Perle Mesta type. Not ordinarily welcome among the gay.
[US]J.P. Stanley ‘Homosexual Sl.’ in AS XLV:1/2 57: fruit fly n Woman who seeks the company of male homosexuals, usually for sexual reasons.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 157: In the homosexual world, the term has been elaborated on in various ways, e.g., fruiter, fruit fly (also a heterosexual woman who is attracted to fruits), fruit merchant.
[US]Alt. Eng. Dict. [Internet] fruit fly a woman who likes the company of male homosexuals. An alternate form of ‘fag hag’.
[US]R. Scott Rebecca’s Dict. of Queer Sl. [Internet] fruit bat or fruit fly — see fag hag.
[US]Gaymart.com Queer Sl. in the Gay 90s [Internet] Fruit Flies – Another term for Fag Hags. Heterosexual women who socialize extensively with gay men.
[NZ] McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.

3. (US Und.) a heterosexual man who specializes in robbing homosexuals whom he has fooled into believing he is looking for gay sex.

[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 105: Little Mac [...] A straight fruitbat. Lure some shlub who wanted chocolate cake into a dark corner, then turn round, clock him and cop his wallet.
fruit hustler (n.) [hustler n. (3)]

(US) one who pursues passive homosexuals for sex.

[US] J. Rechy in Big Table I (No. 3) 15: Masculine vagrants – ‘fruithustlers’ [HDAS].
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 96: Malehustlers (‘fruithustlers’/‘studhustlers’: the various names for the masculine young vagrants).
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 214: Until I died or some fruit hustler killed me.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 107: He looked more like a rock musician or a high-priced fruit hustler.
J. Irwin Jail 109: And the fruit-hustler had only to take one look at that bad news nigger to know it was time to go pushin.
fruit jockey (n.) [jockey n.2 (3b)]

(US prison) a homosexual.

[US]J. Ellroy Silent Terror (1990) 67: If a ‘fruit jockey’ made a sexual advance toward you, ‘wail on his head’ [...] because if you didn’t ‘put him straight,’ you would acquire a ‘fruit jacket.’.
fruitloop (n.)

see separate entries.

fruit picker (n.)

1. (US gay) an ostensibly heterosexual man who enjoys homosexual encounters.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 17: fruit picker (n.): Term used to describe men who both think of themselves as ‘straight’ and who are so considered by those who know them, but who seek out homosexuals for sexual gratification at the moment.

2. (US gay) one who blackmails or robs homosexuals.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 87: fruit-picker one who blackmails or robs homosexuals.
fruit-plate (n.)

(US) a male homosexual.

P. Kidd ‘Words for Gay Men’ on Buggery.org [Internet] fruit-plate fruitcake fruiter.
fruit roller (n.) [roller n. (5)]

(US) a thug who specializes in mugging or beating up homosexuals; thus fruit-rolling n.

[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 31: Hiram had been in a gay bar trying to expand the family business to include fruit-rolling.
fruit stand (n.) (also fruit corner)

(US gay) a place to find male homosexual prostitutes.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 17: fruitstand (n.): A place where hustlers are likely to be found; originally referred to faggot hangouts, but the meaning has shifted from buyer to seller.
[US] (ref. to 1944) A. Bérubé Coming Out Under Fire 55: Ben Small recalled [...] gay trainees ‘kind of migrated to other gays in the barracks, and sometimes it would be referred to as the “fruit corner” or the “fruit salad”’.
[SA]K. Cage Gayle.

In phrases

fruit for the monkeys (n.)

(US) (derog.) a passive homosexual man.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 75/1: Fruit for the monkeys. (Very contemptuous when not uttered in callous bantering) So loose morally as to be the eager passive subject of anyone’s advances.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 155: If his roomy (cellmate) is overtly aggressive, the boy is said to be fruit for the monkey[s].
fruits in suits (n.)

(N.Z.) homosexual men who frequent smart urban bars.

[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 82: fruits in suits Gay or homosexual bar patrons in urban areas in new millennium.
old fruit (n.) (also old tin of fruit)

a general term of affectionate address.

[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘The Reformed Pub’ Sporting Times 17 July 1/3: That’s the stuff to give ’em, Grits, old fruit.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 24 July [synd. col.] An English actor with his checkered trousers and seal brown vest — the old tin of fruit.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 110: See you to-morrow, ole fruit, ’cos we’re not going home till the morning.
[UK]N. Dunn Up the Junction 79: All right, old fruit?
[Aus]D. O’Grady A Bottle of Sandwiches 198: Well – luck, old fruit. See you.
L. Dawson The Spy Who Came... 74: ‘Well done, old fruit’.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 129: Steady on old fruit. That stuff’s opiated. Take it easy.
[Aus]P. Temple Dead Point (2008) [ebook] Get back to you, old fruit.
[Ire]P. McCabe Emerald Germs of Ireland 315: ’Fraid not, old fruit. Mother is sacred.
over-ripe fruit (n.)

(gay) an ageing male homosexual.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]Maledicta III:2 222: Even the British [despise] everyone (as Auntie Mame put it) ‘somewhere between 40 and death’ as overripe fruit, elderberries, geriatricks (a UK term punning on US trick = short-time sex partner).
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 157: In the homosexual world, the term has been elaborated on in various ways, e.g., [...] overripe fruit (a gay who is past his prime).
passion fruit (n.)

(US gay) a masculine homosexual.

[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 34: passion fruit (n.): A Hollywood term which refers to a particularly masculine but definitely homosexual male; almost a term of praise.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

fruitful vine [it ‘bears flowers’ (menstruation) every month]

the vagina.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: fruitful vine A woman’s private parts, i.e. that has flowers every month, and bears fruit in nine months.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
fruit salad (n.)

see separate entries.

In phrases

fruit for the sideboard (n.) [the implication is of ‘extras’ or luxuries; fruit would normally be placed on the table and soon eaten] (Aus.)

1. ‘easy money’, esp. as won while gambling.

[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 128: The poor dopes who came back week after week to buy the fruit for his sideboard.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxii 7/1: bunce: Fruit for the sideboard, same as pickings.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 98: Few would seriously dispute a person’s right to ‘put a bit of fruit on the sideboard’ by taking advantage of ‘perks’ considered legitimate.

2. (also fruit on the sideboard) a person who is seen as a source of ‘easy money’.

[Aus]A. Buzo Norm and Ahmed (1973) 8: Some of our blokes were easy pickings for those bastards. Fruit on the sideboard.