Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rap n.1

[ext./fig. uses of SE rap, a blow, a stroke]

1. [mid-18C] the theft of a purse.

2. in senses of speech.

(a) [late 18C+] (orig. US) a rebuke, the blame, thus take a rap at, to attack verbally, to criticise.

(b) [20C+] (US) an official complaint or reprimand; thus rapper, n., one who makes a complaint.

(c) [1910s+] a lecture, a reprimand.

(d) [1920s+] speech or conversation, esp. the spontaneous wise-cracking repartee of street life.

(e) [1930s+] (Aus.) congratulations, a commendation, praise.

(f) [1940s+] (orig. US black) a ‘line’ used for seduction or picking up members of the opposite sex.

(g) [1970s] the received opinion.

(h) [1970s] a partner in conversation.

(i) [1980s+] a set speech, e.g. that used by a street salesman.

(j) [2000s] talk designed to persuade or deceive.

3. in Und. uses.

(a) [mid-19C+] (mainly US) an arrest.

(b) [late 19C–1900s] (US) confinement to an institution, other than a prison.

(c) [20C+] a criminal charge.

(d) [1910s] the identification of somebody as a murder target.

(e) [1910s–60s] (US) an identification by the police.

(f) [1910s+] (US) a jail sentence; also as v.

(g) [1930s] (US prison) a one-year sentence.

(h) [1990s+] (US Und.) a criminal speciality.

4. [1930s+] a situation.

Pertaining to criminal charges

In compounds

rap buddy (n.) [buddy n. (2), lit. a friend with whom one suffers an arrest]

1. [1950s+] (US Und.) a crime partner; sometimes a close friend in prion.

2. [1960s+] (US black) a close friend.

rap-dog (n.) [dog n.2 (2c)]

[2010s] (US black) a close friend, a fellow gang member.

rap partner (n.)

[1950s+] (US Und.) someone who is on the same charge sheet as oneself; someone who is jailed for the same crime.

rap sheet (n.)

[1920s+] (US) a criminal record.

In phrases

bad rap (n.)

1. [1930s+] (US) a serious criminal charge.

2. [1960s+] the state of being criticized unfairly.

3. [1970s+] an unfair criminal charge or sentence.

beat (a) rap (v.)

1. [1920s+] to be found not guilty in a court.

2. [1940s] (US) in non-judicial context, to extricate oneself from difficult circumstances.

beat the rap (v.)

1. [1910s+] (US) to be found innocent of a charge in court.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

get the rap (v.)

[1970s+] to be scolded, to be told off, to be blamed.

give someone the rap (v.) [SE rap, a blow] [1930s+] (US)

1. to murder, to kill.

2. to blame.

hang a rap on (v.) (also hang the rap on)

[1920s–50s] (US Und.) of police or other authorities, to charge a criminal (fairly or otherwise).

lay a rap on (v.) (also lay a rap to) [lay on v. (2)]

1. [1970s+] (orig. US) to persuade.

2. [1970s] (US) to explain.

pin the rap on (v.) (also pin a rap on)

[1930s+] to impute a crime (to a criminal) (whether or not they are actually implicated).

put in the rap (v.)

to inform against.

slip the rap (v.)

[1930s] (Aus. Und.) to escape or be found not guilty of a criminal charge.

square a rap (v.) [square v. (1) ]

[1930s+] to have a criminal charge dropped.

stand the rap (v.)

[1920s–30s] (US Und.) to take the blame, sometimes on behalf of another; to face criminal charges.

take the rap (v.) (also take a rap) [1920s+] (US Und.)

1. to take the blame when one is not the guilty party.

2. to take a punishment, often a prison sentence, that is actually due to someone else.

Pertaining to speech

In compounds

rap attack (n.)

[1980s+] (US black) extended, emotional, aggressive talk.

rap club (n.) (also rap studio)

[1970s] (US) an ostensible club that supposedly provides conversation but actually doubles as a brothel.

rap game (n.) [game n. (6)]

[1990s+] (US black) the ability to talk persuasively in pursuit of sexual conquest.

rap group (n.)

[1960–70s] (US) a discussion or encounter group.

rap parlor (n.) [SAmE rap parlor, ‘any establishment advertising, offering or selling the service of engaging in or listening to conversation, talk or discussion between an employee of the establishment and a customer, regardless of whether those other goods or services are also required to be licensed’]

[1970s+] (US) a euph. for a massage parlour, itself a cover for a store-front organization behind which, while legitimate massage may be available, men pay for a variety of sexual services from ‘relief’ or ‘executive’ massage (masturbation) to full intercourse.

rap session (n.)

1. [1970s] (US) a police interrogation.

2. [1970s+] an intense conversation; by ext., in new therapy use, an encounter group.