Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fruit n.

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

1. [late 19C–1930s] (US) a dupe, an easy victim, one who is easily influenced.

2. [20C+] (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.

3. [1900s–40s] a promiscuous woman.

4. [1900s–50s] something or someone delightful or pleasant; thus old fruit

5. [1930s; 1980s+] (US teen) an unintelligent, dull person .

6. [1940s+] an eccentric person.

In compounds

fruit boots (n.) [in more restrained eras, such shoes were seen as badges of effeminacy] [1950s–70s] (orig. US gay)

1. white tennis shoes, white suede shoes.

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


see separate entries.

fruit-eater (n.)

see sense 2 above.

fruit factory (n.)

[1960s] (Aus.) a psychiatric institution.

fruit-fly (n.)

1. [1950s+] a homosexual man.

2. [1960s+] (US gay) a heterosexual woman who enjoys the company of homosexual rather than heterosexual men.

3. [2000s] (US Und.) a heterosexual man who specializes in robbing homosexuals whom he has fooled into believing he is looking for gay sex.

fruit hustler (n.) [hustler n. (3)]

[1950s+] (US) one who pursues passive homosexuals for sex.

fruitloop (n.)

see separate entries.

fruit picker (n.)

1. [1960s] (US gay) an ostensibly heterosexual man who enjoys homosexual encounters.

2. [1970s+] (US gay) one who blackmails or robs homosexuals.

fruit-plate (n.)

[1930s+] (US) a male homosexual.

fruit roller (n.) [roller n. (5)]

[1980s+] (US) a thug who specializes in mugging or beating up homosexuals; thus fruit-rolling n.

fruit stand (n.) (also fruit corner)

[1960s] (US gay) a place to find male homosexual prostitutes.

In phrases

fruit for the monkeys (n.)

[1930s–70s] (US) (derog.) a passive homosexual man.

fruits in suits (n.)

[2000s] (N.Z.) homosexual men who frequent smart urban bars.

old fruit (n.) (also old tin of fruit)

[1920s+] a general term of affectionate address.

over-ripe fruit (n.)

[1950s+] (gay) an ageing male homosexual.

passion fruit (n.)

[1960s] (US gay) a masculine homosexual.

ripe fruit (n.)

[1970s+] (US gay) someone who is just discovering their homosexuality.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

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

[19C] the vagina.

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] [1950s+] (Aus.)

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

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