Green’s Dictionary of Slang

belt n.

[lit. and fig. uses of belt v. (1)]

1. a blow, a hit, a punch; also fig.

[US]J.W. Haley Rebel Yell and The Yankee Hurrah (1985) 210: Some of our men have been treated to ‘a clout in the head’ or a ‘belt in the gob’.
[US] ‘Tim Finigan’s Wake’ in I. Beadle Comic and Sentimental Song Bk 60: But Judy then gave her a belt on the gob.
[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 8 Apr. 4/3: A young man [...] hit him a belt back of the ear, fetched him another on the nose [etc.].
[US]S. Crane Red Badge of Courage (1964) 91: It’s jest a damn good belt on th’ head, an’ nothin’ more.
[US] ‘Central Connecticut Word-List’ in DN III:i 3: belt, n. A blow.
[UK]J. Masefield Everlasting Mercy 33: A madness took me then. I felt / I’d like to hit the world a belt.
[US]H.G. Van Campen ‘Life on Broadway’ in McClure’s Mag. June 80/1: A girl alone gets many a bitter belt like that, but self-respect makes her hide her sorrow.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 31: Coke met him and hit him a belt to the body that sent him spinning.
[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 2 Jan. [synd. col.] The American Mercury takes another belt at Karl Marx.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 87: He could take a good stiff belt without quitting.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Lead With Your Left (1958) 37: An unexpected belt in the gut is rugged.
[UK]P. Terson Apprentices (1970) I i: I might be injured. I’ve had a belt on the knee.
[US]Fidel LaBarba in Heller In This Corner (1974) 104: I was nailing him some pretty good belts, left hooks.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 61: Before the cops arrived I gave Steve a few more belts.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 67: It gets its name from the belt on the jaw that the mark gets when the con men have him clipped.
[Ire]R. Doyle Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 162: He’d only got a few belts.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 269: A complete wanker; needser fuckin belt, ee does.
[UK]T. Black Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] You want a belt, want reminding who you’re dealing with?

2. a drink of, a swig or swallow of, e.g. a belt of coffee.

[UK]Sketch (London) 22 Feb. 18: ‘I paid the pots (beer) all roun’ an’ gort me belt as one of the “Brums”’.
[US]DN V 326: Belt, n. [...] Drink.
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 257: The Old Man takes his belt of gin at the end of the day.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Dream Street Rose’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 45: Some of the G-guys may be tempted to take a belt or two at the merchandise they confiscate.
[US]H.A. Smith Life in a Putty Knife Factory (1948) 78: Mr. Thomson joined us and was assigned to a bottle of scotch, at which he began taking heroic belts.
[US]Kramer & Karr Teen-Age Gangs 184: I had me a few belts early in the evening.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Lead With Your Left (1958) 59: What kind of belt would you like, Dave, rye, scotch, gin, vodka, or tequila?
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 46: A couple of belts lift me out of the dumps.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 128: Terror would growl but admire Perry’s class. Maybe offer him a belt of Tango.
[Aus]D. Maitland Breaking Out 58: Most blokes go into terminal lunacy on the first swig, and he says try another belt.
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 97: After a couple of belts of Hoffmeister, Renate came into focus.
[UK]C. McPherson Weir 49: I took a good belt of the bottle, like.
[UK]N. Griffiths Sheepshagger 184: They both leave the shop and open the whisky and take alternate belts at it.

3. (drugs) the immediate effect of a drug, usu. one that has been injected.

[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago 196: Belt. The sensation derived from the use of drugs.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 99/1: belt. 1. The exhilaration experienced when narcotics are taken; euphoria [...] 2. More specifically, the terrific ‘jolt’ which follows a vein-shot when the mass of injected narcotics reaches the heart.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Anslinger & Tompkins Traffic In Narcotics 303: belt. The exhilaration produced by drugs. Also the effect of drugs on their user.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Belt — Effects of drugs.

4. a thrill.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Baseball Hattie’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 650: It is really quite remarkable what a belt Hattie gets out of the idea of having this baby.
[Can]O.D. Brooks Legs 27: You’d a got a belt out of the look on the old geezer’s kisser when I walked into his store.

5. (US) the immediate effect of a drink of alcohol.

H.B. Darrach Jr. ‘Sticktown Nocturne’ in Baltimore Sun (MD) 12 Aug. A-1/1: He had whiskey with a side of gin [...] the only thing besides smoke that gave him a belt .

6. a measure of marijuana or any other drug.

[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 21: Why don’t you take a good belt of cocaine and jump out of a twenty-story window?
[US]A. Ginsberg ‘Howl’ Howl and Other Poems 9: Who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

7. an act of sexual intercourse.

[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘The Pyb with no Beer’ in Snatches and Lays 75: He’s looking with lust at the barmaid’s big bum. / He’s waiting to give her a belt up the back / But without a french letter he might get the jack.

8. (Aus.) a prostitute.

[Aus]Baker Drum.

9. a sexually appealing woman.

[Aus]Baker Drum.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 69/1: Any woman regarded purely as a sex-object.

In phrases

belt of the crozier (n.)

(Irish) a reprimand from the Church, spec. from a bishop.

[Ire]Studies 253-60 191: The ‘belt of the crozier’ was less feared and both Church and Ireland were changing.
[Ire]J.P. McEvoy Robert Grosseteste 24: He felt bound once or twice on the way through to give the old pagan a belt of the crozier.
[Ire]T.P. Coogan Dev: Long Fellow, Long Shadow n.p.: The backlash created by this [...] was summed up in another notable ‘belt of the crozier’ directed at the Irish Parliamentary Party by the Bishop of Derry [BS].
[Ire]T.P. Coogan Ireland in 20th Century 372: This was no mere belt of the crozier. It was an episcopal salvo which would have the ultimate effect of destroying Browne's political career.
[Ire]A. Emery Death at Christy Burke’s 20: ‘Word went round about the planned speech, and they got a belt of the crozier.’ ‘I take it that means the bishop disapproved,’ Monty interjected. ‘The bishop indeed. The Cardinal Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of All Ireland’.
give someone the belt (v.) (also give someone the Lonsdale) [the Lonsdale belt; thus a pun on belt v. (1); the belt itself, given to a boxing champion, is named for Hugh Cecil Lowther (1857–1944), 5th earl of Lonsdale]

(orig. Aus.) to get rid of, to throw out, to dismiss, to reject, to jilt.

[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 48: Perhaps his girl had given him the belt.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 117: There were so many geezers getting the belt all the time. [...] There was one geezer who’s old woman gave him the belt so often that he never knew where he was. [Ibid.] 167: I can always give her the Lonsdale after a week or two.
[UK]F. Norman Stand on Me 52: She would have to give her job the belt.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

below the belt (adj.) [boxing use, which declares such blows as foul; 20C+ use is SE]

underhand, illegal, cheating.

[Ire]Dublin Monitor 7 Feb. 2/4: Mr Fitzgibbon said this prosecution was unfairly conducted — his phrase was, that it was ‘a blow below the belt’.
[UK]Punch 16 95/1: Punch commenced his attack on the Alderman's smeller, on which he planted several scientific hits, but to no purpose [...] The Alderman retorted by a blow aimed below the belt, which, however, did not tell home.
U.S. Review (NY) Aug. 156: If a man is down, [the editor] kicks him. He is never ‘game,’ but always strikes ‘below the belt’.
G. Meredith Ordeal of Richard Feverel 297: In the prize-fight of fife, my dear Austin, our Uncle Hippias has been unfairly hit below the belt.
Household Jrnl (NY) 1 June 136/2: Though wo cannot now avoid the battle [i.e. the US Civil War], we can agree in making it a fair stand-up fight, with no striking below the belt, or hitting a man after he is down.
[Ire]Dublin Eve. Mail 17 May 2/4: ‘ Liberal Conservative’ strikes below the belt in his strictures upon the ‘the Attorney General and his votes’.
[UK]G.W.H. Griffin Hamlet the Dainty Act III: ham.: Another hit, Laertes, in the stomach (Laertes down) laer.: Then it’s below the belt, you great big lummox.
[UK]Bath Chron. 12 Aug. 5/2: Mr Cossham complained [...] that the Tory press in their criticisms of him [...] were given to ‘hitting below the belt’.
[UK]Hants. Teleg. 15 May 6/3: As a politician he rather glories in hitting below the belt.
[UK]Lichfield Mercury 20 Nov. 5/1: The example set by Sir John Swinburne of hitting his rival [...] ‘below the belt’ — in other words of maligning Mr Mosley’s father — has been copied with a vengeance.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues I 175/1: To strike a man below the belt [...] is akin with ‘To stab a man in the back’.
[UK]Sheffield Indep. 16 July 4/6: To insinuate that such a man would be swayed in his principles by a few shillings difference [...] is, on the face of it, hitting below the belt.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 20 Dec. 48/1: I felt it would be like hitting him below the belt to ask him to the house.
belt up (v.) [one wraps a fig. ‘belt’ around one’s mouth]

(orig. RAF) to be quiet; esp. in excl. belt up! shut up!

[US]Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH) 5 Nov. 21/6: ‘Belt up’ has nothing to do with aviation but is a polite and stern admonition to be quiet.
[UK]H.E. Bates Oh! To be in England (1985) 426: Keep your big mouth shut [...] Belt up.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 163: Jacko tells her to belt up.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 153: Oh, belt up.
[UK]J. Hoskison Inside 146: At my golf club I could tell a friend to belt up if he started to drone on.
hold the belt (v.) [boxing imagery]

(Aus.) to be the outstanding example, the ‘champion’.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Oct. 12/4: As a sarcastic cuss, Alderman Bowmer, of West Botony, holds the belt.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Oct. 16/3: One Joe Hallam, otherwise unknown to fame, holds the belt as pilot of the biggest load ever stacked on a waggon.
lower one’s belt (v.)

(US gay) to be a promiscuous ‘feminine’ lesbian.

[US]K. Worthy Homosexual Generation Ch. xvi: To Lower Your Belt: A female homosexual who will go with anyone who asks her as opposed to the ones who try to ‘go steady’ even in prison.
take the belt (v.) [boxing imagery: the belt awarded to a champion]

(US teen) to be exceptional, to ‘take the biscuit’ .

[US]Argosy 3 326: Uncle Sam has done pretty well with trees, but when it comes to height the British lion takes the belt.
[US] ‘High School Sl.’ in N.Y. Dispatch 31 May 7: ‘My, though, don’t he think he’s an awful swell?’ ‘Well, I should smile — he takes the belt.’.
[US]Caldwell Trib. (ID) 10 Dec. 6/3: Take the Belt. Walter Cleavage has his radish on exhibition [...] The radish measures fifteen and one-half inches.
[US]Oasis (Arizola, AZ) 9 Mar. 11/1: Of all the blood suckers that drain the ready money out of a community the mail order houses take the belt.
unbelt (v.) [SE unbelt, to remove a sword]

(US) to hand over money.

[US]H. Blossom Checkers 236: He’s likely to ‘unbelt’ right away.
[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 114: I will go to my Wife’s Brother and make a Quick Touch. If he refuses to unbelt I will threaten to tell his Wife of the bracelet he bought in Louisville.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure Ch. xxvii: My advice, if asked, would be to unbelt before the shooting begins.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 294: [She] unbelts reckless for the sterling decoration.
[US]Van Loan ‘A Morning Workout’ in Old Man Curry 217: It ain’t like him to unbelt for a chunk.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 63: I unbelted the fiver.
under one’s belt (also below one’s belt)

1. in one’s stomach, swallowed.

[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) I 76: He was carried home with six good bottles of claret under his belt.
[Ire]S. Lover Handy Andy 291: The lord chief justice always goes to bed, they say, with six tumblers o’ potteen under his belt.
[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair I 177: Colonel Heavytop took off three bottles of that you sent me down, under his belt the other day.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown’s School-Days (1896) 73: A capital spinner of a yarn when he had broken the neck of his day’s work, and got plenty of ale under his belt.
[US]A. Garcia Tough Trip Through Paradise (1977) 20: There is nothing that will warm the cockles of an Indian’s heart [...] like a couple of shots of good old red-eye whiskey under his belt.
[US]W. De Vere ‘Jim Marshall’s New Pianner’ Tramp Poems 9: He landed one beneath his belt.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 34: Mebbe that’s because he had a few under his belt, but anyway it went with me.
[US]A. Adams Log of a Cowboy 380: Then with a few drinks under my belt and a rim-fire cigar in my mouth.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 366: Tonopah [...] had acquired a fair amount of the demon rum under his belt.
[US]H.L. Wilson Ruggles of Red Gap (1917) 99: Looked like it would help a lot for them to [...] get a few shots of hooch under their belts.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 154: After their feed with a good lot of fat soup under their belts.
[US]T. Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel (1930) 190: He ain’t worth a damn until he’s got a quart of corn liquor under his belt.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 62: I had to have something under my belt to carry on, and I wanted something nourishing.
[Ire]G.A. Little Malachi Horan Remembers 118: Every man in form with a drink below his belt to keep out the fog.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 104: It was an effort for him to make polite conversation until he had the first couple under his belt.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 12: With two of Jeeves’ specials under my belt.
[UK](con. 1930s) D. Behan Teems of Times and Happy Returns 172: Not yet, sundown, wait’ll I get somethin’ under me belt before I help yeh.
[NZ]B. Crump Hang On a Minute, Mate (1963) 45: A man working as hard as they were couldn’t be expected to keep going without a feed under his belt.
[UK]F. Norman Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 60: I already had threequarters of a bottle under my belt.
[UK]Daily Express 20 May 21: He had quite a few beers under his belt.
[Aus]S. Maloney Sucked In 237: Margot had a glass in her hand and several under her belt.

2. (also under one’s vest) personally achieved or experienced.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 251: I may have a few balls under my belt, y’know [...] but I’m allus a gen’leman, see?
[US]D. Hammett ‘The Tenth Clew’ in Continental Op (1975) 14: Brisk and fresh with five hours’ sleep under my belt.
[UK]Portsmouth Eve. News 10 Dec. 9/4: Hal O’Neil [...] has some meritorious victories under his belt.
[US]R. Chandler High Window 208: Then Mr Vannier breezed on home, still rather annoyed [...] but with the satisfaction of a good afternoon’s work under his vest.
[US]Green & Laurie Show Biz from Vaude to Video 8: Any American actor with a foreign tour under his belt found his stock boosted at home.
[US]M. Richler Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1964) 221: Three productions under his belt.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 61: With this under her belt, she’ll be able to forbid the banns in no uncertain manner.
[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 57: I had six arrests under my belt.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 42: He may have a few million under his belt. But he is no snob.
[UK]Guardian Editor 18 June 14: Six Wimbledons, several Davis Cups and a few Olympics under her belt.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 21 Apr. 17: With that under his belt he might easily have faded away.
[UK]J. Hawes Dead Long Enough 285: With these forty winters under my widening belt.