Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jaw n.

[SE jaw]

1. talk, conversation, a speech; thus hold one’s jaw /stop your jaw, stop talking.

[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 17: None of your jaw, you swab none of your jaw, replied my uncle.
[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 176: Desiring him to do his duty without further jaw.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 151: grave nestor [...] A queer old tike, and full of jaw.
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 140: Then, with some civil jaw, / Part squatted, to drink bohea, / And part swig’d barley swipes.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (4th edn) I 78: Jove and his queen have had their quantum / Of jaw.
[UK] ‘Jonny Raw and Polly Clark’ in Batchelar’s Jovial Fellows Coll. of Songs 4: Thus she would bore him with her jaw, / Ri tol de rol. / And call him spooney Jonny Raw.
[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 29: ‘No jaw, I say,’ he muttered.
N.-Y. Flagellator 6 Sept. 31/3: ‘Give me none of your jaw’.
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) III 87: Come, come, not so much jaw; pay me, or I’ll fetch the guard.
[UK]Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 14: The judges they deal out the oddest of law, / Mix’d up wid queer blarney, boderation and jaw.
[UK] ‘Uncle Sam’s Peculiarities’ in Bentley’s Misc. 271: You’ll be splitting your tongues some of these days with your eternal jaw.
[UK]Thackeray Diary of C. Jeames de la Pluche in Works III (1898) 420: I wasn’t to be ad with that sort of chaugh.
[Ire]D.O. Madden Revelations of Ireland 115: Stop your jaw, you pug-nosed badger.
[Ind]G.F. Atkinson Curry & Rice (3 edn) n.p.: [T]he wants of coming visitors, who drop in to ‘have a jaw’ with the Colonel,.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 297: ‘Hoot toot,’ sneered the fat youth, ‘let’s have none of your jaw.’.
Nashville Daily Union 26 June 2/4: ‘Blast ye,’ cried the irishman, ‘stick that in your haversack and stop yer jaw!’.
[UK]De Trouble Begins at Nine in Darkey Drama 1 I: Anybody oughter be able to tell de women from de men from deir habin’ de most jaw!
Wallaroo Times (SA) 2 June 6/1: They consulted together in slang jaw; which I did not understand.
[US]F. Dumont Africanus Blue Beard 7: Have the kindness to keep your jaw to yourself.
[UK]T.B. Reed Fifth Form at St Dominic’s (1890) 148: [H]e had asked about twenty of his friends [...] whether that wouldn’t be ‘a showy lead-off for his cricket feast jaw?’.
[UK] ‘Penal Servitude for Mrs. Maybrick’ in Henderson Victorian Street Ballads (1937) 48: The Maybrick trial is over now, there’s been a lot of jaw.
[UK]G. Gissing ‘Lou and Liz’ in Keating Working Class Stories of the 1890s (1971) 80: Stop yer jaw, Lou! What a chatter-mag you are!
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 12 Aug. 1/8: ‘Chin music? [...] what is chin music?’ ‘Jaw, your honor,’ replied the witness.
[UK]Marvel 12 Dec. 4: He imagined she talked from pure love of a jaw.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 13 Nov. 4/7: More points, more jaw, less graft, less law .
[UK]Magnet 3 Sept. 6: We had better have a jaw in the study about it.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Crusaders’ in Chisholm (1951) 80: ‘’Old on,’ I sez. ‘’Ere comes the Law: / ’Ere’s Brannigan, the cop. Pos’pone the jaw.’.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 280: Sit down, champ. Let’s have a session. We ain’t had a good jaw together since you left Chicago.
[US]E. De Roo Big Rumble 54: His parents and Mike were having too good a jaw to pay any attention.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 15 June 4: All this jaw about Prince Charles.

2. (also jaw-wag) a telling-off, ridicule thus, v. jaw-wag, to scold, tpo nag.

in F.W. Howay New Hazard 16: Captain at Iverson – a severe jaw [HDAS].
[UK]‘Alfred Crowquill’ Seymour’s Humourous Sketches (1866) 134: A cadger sweeping a crossing fell out with a dustman. Wasn’t there some spicy jaw betwixt them!
[Ind]Bombay Gaz. 8 July 5/7: For good downright hearty abuse — for unscrupulous allegation, extravagant exaggeration, and colonial lying [...] in the realm of ‘jaw,’ the Department has an undisputed prerogative.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 277: He always replied to their chaff, ‘I never sold nuffin’, and I never sold nuffin’, so hold your jaw!’.
[UK]Kipling ‘In Ambush’ in Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 53: That sight compensated them amply for the Imperial Jaw with which they were favored by the two.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 30 Nov. 3/5: ‘They think a bloke that kerlects bottles ain’t up to much [...] but I won’t take any of their jaw’.
[UK]Gem 16 Sept. 20: I’d give him a good jaw – ahem! – I mean a talking-to!
[UK]A. Brazil Luckiest Girl in School 105: ‘You promised mother you wouldn’t bet again, after what happened last Easter.’ ‘Now don’t you go jaw-wagging!’.
[UK]A. Brazil Madcap of the School 132: ‘I thought Gibbie’d treat me to jaw-wag if I left out my pyjamas’.

3. verbal facility.

[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall I 49: You’ve a quick apprehension and a ready tongue — lots of jaw.

4. a lecture, a speech.

[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers (1880) 110: ’T would save holl haycartloads o’ fuss an’ three four months o’ jaw.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick’s Wise Saws II 23: ‘No jaw,’ sais I. ‘Just begin now, and tell it short, for I don’t approbate long yarns.’.
[UK] ‘’Arry in the Witness-Box’ in Punch 5 Feb. 61/2: The old mivvy called Law / Is a sawdusty kind of a sell, with no soul above parchment and jaw.
[UK]Sporting Times 4 Mar. 1/2: One of these ’ere wheezes tells as how a bloke oughter wash ’is dirty linen at ’ome. Wot’s the good of all that rotten jaw to me? I ain’t got no linen, an’ I ain’t got no ’ome!
[Scot]‘Ian Hay’ Lighter Side of School Life 51: Do you remember the jaw he gave us when the news came about Macpherson’s V.C.?
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Hitched’ in Songs of a Sentimental Bloke 79: An’ yet, fer orl ’is ’igh-falutin’ jor, / Ole Snowy wus a reel good-meanin’ bloke.

5. braggadocio.

[US]J. Mitchell McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (2001) 129: People that really knew him, like me, we considered him ninety-nine per cent jaw.

In derivatives

jawfest (n.) [sense 1 + -fest sfx]

(US) a long chat or talking session.

Cape Girardeu Democrat (MO) 6 Mar. 6/5: This action of the senate caued a general ‘jawfest’ after adjournment.
[US]Ranch (Seattle, WA) 15 Dec. 3/2: This week it is a three-cornered jaw-fest [...] and a renewed outbreak of a long-standing feud.
[US]Palestine Daily Herald (TX) 3 Feb. 4/1: There will be music and jaw-festing and picnics.
[US]DN IV 353: The citizens of ‘Little Russia’ got together for a jawfest .
[US]Arizona Sentinel (Yuma, AZ) 6 Sept. n.p.: The governor refused to sanction their jawfest.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 451: Jaw fest, Telling stories about the jungle fire.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 108: Jaw Fest. – A long talk; conversation.
[US](con. 1820s) W.E. Wilson Wabash 225: I ain’t heared a real, honest-to-God, knock-down-an’-drag-out, repytation-blastin’ jaw-fest among good friends in a coon’s age.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 805: jaw fest – A long talk; conversation.
E.P. Butler ‘Kilo’ Black Mask Online Ch. 5 🌐 ‘Is the jawfest concluded?’ ‘It is,’ says the maternal ancestor of that girl, weak but happy. ‘We talked seven miles and six furloughs, but I won.’.
jawsome (adj.)

talkative, verbose.

[UK] ‘’Arry and the New Woman’ in Punch 18 May 230/3: The jawsome old guffin wos right [...] leastways she wosn’t fur out.

In compounds

jawsmith (n.)

1. (US) a talkative person, a demagogue.

[US]Century Dict. 3222/3: jawsmith [...] One who works with his jaw; especially a loud-mouthed demagogue; originally applied to an official ‘orator’ or ‘instructor’ of the Knights of Labor.
Insurance Times 29 65/2: A jawsmith [...] has recently been working his gab factory in Chicago to its fullest capacity, upon the self-proposed topic:.
[US]L.A. Daily Times 22 Jan. 🌐 The jawsmiths took possession of a dirt wagon, from which they harangued the crowd, or such part of the gathering as would listen to their windy palaver.
[US]Sat. Eve. Post 2 July 13/3: ‘Hot-air artists’ was a phrase uncoined; the farmer called them ‘jawsmiths’ [DA].
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 147: The jawsmith turned to a stoned drunk. ‘You in for a buck?’.
‘In conversation with: Lizz Brown’ St Louis Today (MO) 4 Sept. 🌐 STL today talks with the radio jawsmith to find out what makes her tick.

2. see also SE compounds below.

In phrases

all jaw (like a sheep’s head) (also all jaw like a sheep’s jimmy)

overly talkative, a chatterbox.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: Like a sheep’s head, all jaw; saying of a talkative man or woman.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 41: Look at that man! hear him: why, he’s all jaw like a sheep’s head.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie IV tab.VII i: You’re all jaw like a sheep’s jimmy.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[Aus]Worker (Brisbane) 7 Sept. 14/3: ‘Woman’s all jaw,’ said Stampy.
hold one’s jaw (v.) (also haul up one’s jaw, keep one’s jaw)

to be quiet; often as imper. hold your jaw!

[UK]Foote Englishman in Paris in Works (1799) I 37: Hold your jaw.
[UK]B. Weatherby Great News from Hell 42: Hold your Jaw, replied I, you Fool, make none of your Resolutions.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. VII 141/1: Mr. Courtenay being asked [...] what the Sedition Bill really meant, pleasantly replied – Hold your jaw.
[UK]G.S. Carey ‘Hold Your Jaw’ in One Thousand Eight Hundred 20: A Cit much distress’d / A statesman address’d, / Respecting the silencing law, / The statesman reply’d [...] The meaning is — hold your Jaw.
[UK]J. Poole Hamlet Travestie I iii: You’d better hold your jaw, — be quiet, will you?
[UK] ‘Humours of Saturday Night’ Universal Songster I 233: Hold your jaw.
[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds ‘The House Breaker’s Song’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 122: Let nobs in the fur trade hold their jaw, / And let the jug be free.
[US]J.J. Hooper Adventures of Captain Simon Suggs (1851) 88: Next time keep your jaw, you slink.
[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds Mysteries of London II (2nd Ser.) 277: Hold your cursed jaw, you fool!
[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 4 July 3/3: ‘Prick up both your ears [...] you young howdayshus varmint, and hold your jaw’.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick’s Wise Saws I 266: ‘Hold your jaw,’ said he, ‘will you?’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 18 June 2/7: They told her to ‘hold your jaw and go away’.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 41/2: Several songs were named by the costers, but the ‘funny gentleman’ merely requested them ‘to hold their jaws’.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Dead Men’s Shoes III 286: Hold your jaw!
[UK]W.C. Russell Jack’s Courtship II 297: I had worked a look into her face that was like asking me to hold my jaw.
[Aus]H. Nisbet ‘Bail Up!’ 217: Hold your jaw! [...] We don’t allow speaking here.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 Feb. 8/3: ‘Cabby,’ sez she, ‘hold yer jaw’.
[UK]B. Pain De Omnibus 62: Ike ’ull plye orf a bit o’ kid on ’im so as ter teach ’im ’is plice and encourage ’im ter ’old ’is jaw.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 25 May 11/3: For the land’s sake hold yer jaw / Do not go on talkin’ rubbish.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Introduction’ in Moods of Ginger Mick xii: But we could smoke, an’ ’old our jor, an’ be reel company.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 327: The citizen bawling and Alf and Joe at him to whisht and he on his high horse about the jews and the loafers calling for a speech and Jack Power trying to get him to sit down in the car and hold his bloody jaw.
[US]W.D. Edmonds Rome Haul 199: Hold your jaw, old man.
[US]B. Traven Treasure of the Sierra Madre 77: ‘Hold your jaw!’ Dobbs shouted angrily.
[US]N. Nye Breed of the Chaparral (1949) 31: Better haul up yo’ jaw an’ do a little thinkin’.
run one’s jaws (v.)

to brag, to boast, to fantasize.

[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 145: A bona fide killer or just another schmuck running his jaws.
Dapharoah69 King of Erotica 2 276: Her man was in the background running his jaws. I saw him now, barking over her shoulder.
stow one’s jaw (v.)

to stop talking; usu. as imper.

[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 317: If he don’t stow his jaw and behave himself I’ll split upon him!
[UK]Fortnightly Rev. 40 590: A man’s voice shouted: ‘Stow your jaw and let a man sleep!’.
C. Martin Silent Sea 219: ‘Stow your jaw! what are you giving me such impudence for?’ broke out Trevaskis savagely.
E. Nesbit Railway Children (2008) 20: Stow your jaw, you young rip, and come along to the station.
H. Rider Haggard Queen Sheba’s Ring 199: Stow your jaw if you don’t want to follow him, you swine.
G.A. England Cursed 14: That’ll do. Stow your jaw, now!
[US]‘Max Brand’ Rustlers of Beacon Creek (1935) 2: ‘Stow your jaw,’ answered the sheriff.
tie up one’s jaw (v.)

(Aus.) to stop talking.

[Aus](con. 1940s) ‘David Forrest’ Last Blue Sea 171: Fisher had told Lincoln to tie his jaw up.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

jaw-bags (n.)

the cheeks.

[UK]‘Margate Hoy’ in Universal Songster I 5/2: Clew up the plaints in your jaw-bags, and give your tongue leave of absence.
jawblock (v.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

jaw-flapping (n.)

(US) empty chatter; thus jawflaps n., a talkative person, flap one’s jawsto talk aggressively, excessively.

Foreign Service 35-6 3/1: We have heard a lot of jaw-flapping, pro and con, on the subject of the billions involved in the Marshall Plan.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 83: First thing you know, that Steerman be back gettin us busy with one of those Village jawflaps.
[US]G. Metalious Peyton Place (1959) 157: ‘Goddamn it!’ roared the Doc. ‘Stop your jaw-flapping and do as I say!’.
[UK](con. late 19C) J.T. Edson Gentle Giant 56: All that fancy jaw-flapping.
T. Dekker Heaven’s Wager 302: I have no intention of standing here in some jaw-flapping contest with you.
A. Scholl After ‘I Do’ 61: It was a motherly-type woman who worked a few yards away from me who had the courage to tell me what all of the jaw-flapping was about.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] [T]he manager grabbed my vest and flapped his jaws at me a little too aggressively.
jaw music (n.)

conversation, chatter, esp. when verbose or tedious.

‘A.O.S.’ Ups and Downs of a Blue Coat Boy 136: There was plenty of jaw music of a very low class from Marsden and his chums.
Hocking Sentinel(Logan, OH) 14 Nov. 3/5: The song was a very effective strain of jaw music.
[US]NY Tribune 25 Apr. 5/3: I was [...] playing at heroics and lambasting Philistines with jawbones or jaw music.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 71: Gosh, Clif, you cer’nly got a swell line of jaw-music.
jaw-work (n.)

talk, conversation; thus jaw-workern., a talker.

Rabelais ed. Ozell Works III xiii: When the Jaw-work’s over, by the Sound of my small Pipe, I’ll measure the Muzzle of the Musing Dotards.
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans III 166: Come, come, cried the captain, avast, no more of your jaw work here.
[[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Jaw work; a cry used in fairs by the sellers of nuts].
[UK]J. Burrowes Life in St George’s Fields 10: As he is very full of glib, you must let him have all the jaw-work to himself.
[UK]R. Barham ‘Dead Drummer’ in Ingoldsby Legends II (1866) 317: His jaw-work would never, I’m sure, s’elp me Bob, / Have come for to go for to do sich a job!
[US]J.G. Baldwin Flush Times of Alabama and Mississippi 193: Jonas was prodigal in the jaw-work.
[US]J.W. Davis Gawktown Revival Club 23: His co-jaw workers [...] were kept in a constant state of hectic terror.
[Aus]J. Hibberd White with Wire Wheels (1973) 228: simon: Can’t you talk about anything else? mal: Why should I? simon: Because it just isn’t worth all the jaw-work.

In phrases

flap one’s jaw(s) (v.)

(US) to talk idly, to gossip.

[US]J. Evans Halo For Satan (1949) 199: I sat down again and lighted another cigarette, just for something to do, and went on flapping my jaw.
Time & Tide 39 883/2: Who has not sat in itching misery in drawing rooms, flapping his jaws mechanically in the simulated art of conversation.
[US](con. 1940s) G. Mandel Wax Boom 77: I just flap my jaw too much.
[US]O. Hawkins Ghetto Sketches 219: Rappin’ Rudi [...] flappin’ his jaws off about Lubertha and Kwendi.
[US]S. King Dead Zone (1980) 338: That isn’t a thing I’d ever flap my jaw about freely.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 95: My brain is already calling him names [...] Fortunately, I can’t flap my jaws.
Postcards from Nerd Island 12 Apr. [blog] When I’m not on the phone, I’m flapping my jaw all over the office, at dinner with friends, at the bar [...] I flap my jaw about 300 times more than is actually necessary in a given day.
tighten someone’s jaw(s) (v.) (also grind someone’s jaw)

(US black) to make someone angry.

[US]Current Sl. V:1 16: Jaws!, n. Anger or frustration (derived from It really tightens my jaws that . . .).
All in the Family [CBS-TV] This chump tightens my jaws [HDAS].
C.T. Westcott Half a Klick 154: Hey, you are grindin’ my jaw [HDAS].