Green’s Dictionary of Slang

black adj.

1. depressed, sullen, irritable; thus ext. as black-looking; note adv. use in cit. 1966 [SE in 18C; a black mood].

[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Tales of College Life 19: He looks uncommonly black at seeing me. By Jove! I have done it now.
[US]A.C. Gunter Miss Nobody of Nowhere 15: What are you so black about, Phil?
[US]A. Bierce letter 2 Oct. in Pope Letters of Ambrose Bierce (1922) 33: I am pretty black myself.
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 145: Look at the lifers. You’d think they’d be black as night.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘The Making of Mac’s’ Man with Two Left Feet 130: But no, he just hung round looking black at all of them.
[UK]‘Henry Green’ Living (1978) 257: I get black looks from him every time I come in after being out with you.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Romance in the Roaring Forties’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 33: Dave turns and walks out of the joint looking very black and mad.
[UK]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 36: I’m sitting in my flowery arter a No Grounds. Black! Black as a lifer on his first Sunday.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 101: Brandy Bottle Bates is a big, black-looking guy.
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘On Saturday Afternoon’ Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 102: I’ve never known a family to look as black as our family when they’re fed-up.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 4 Aug. in Proud Highway (1997) 347: It is driving me into a black rage.
[UK](con. 1954) J. McGrath Events While Guarding the Bofors Gun I iii: He got black drunk.

2. illegal, from the black market.

[Aus]Eve. Post (Aus.) 17 Feb. 6/2: We have [...] the full cooperation of kindred unions that no ‘black’ cargo will be worked.
[UK]N. Streatfeild Grass in Piccadilly 21: A friend sent in six bottles as a house warming. Black, of course.

3. (Irish) crowded [‘black with people’].

[Ire]H. Leonard A Life (1981) Act II: The town is black.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Black (a): very crowded, busy – as in ‘town was black!’.

In compounds

black boogaloo (n.) [name of a dance popular in 1960s]

(US black) a feeling of depression.

[US]Maledicta III:2 167: Black Boogaloo n 1: A rhythm 2: Dance 3: Feeling of blackness.
black Monday (n.)

1. the first day back at school after the holidays.

[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 273: She now hated my sight, and made home so disagreeable to me, that what is called by schoolboys black Monday, was to me the whitest in the whole year.
[UK]J. Caldwell Debates Relative to the Affairs of Ireland 166: He did not know any Reason why Monday should be a Holiday, except that some Gentlemen might, perhaps, think themselves still at School, and so imagine it to be black Monday.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Household Words 18 293/2: The eve of Black Monday used to be kept on Saturday, when the school box was packed. We then used to get out our books with solemn faces.
[UK]Wells Jrnl 5 Nov. 6/4: Tempus fugit, alas! [...] Black Monday has come, my vacation is ended.
[UK]‘F. Anstey’ Vice Versa (1931) 9: [Ch. ‘Black Monday’] There comes a time when the days are grudgingly counted to a blacker Monday than ever makes a school-boy’s heart quake within him.

2. the day on which a death sentence is carried out.

[UK]A. Boyer Royal Dict. II n.p.: Black Monday, Jour de punition, jour d'execution.
[UK]J. Strype Ecclesiastical Memorials 143: Thus this black Monday began with the execution of Punishment this most noble and virtuous lady and her husband.
[UK]Punch I 131/2: They need not wait for the Recorder's black cap and a black Monday morning — the Sadler's Wells people hang every night with great success.
[UK]Sl. Dict. Black Monday [...] a low term for the Monday on which an execution took place.

In phrases

in black with (adj.)

(US) in trouble (with).

[US]W.T. Vollmann Royal Family 654: I don’t wanna be in black with the Queen.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

blackers (n.) [black velvet + -er sfx]

1. blackberries.

[Ire](con. 1930s–50s) E. Mac Thomáis Janey Mack, Me Shirt is Black 136: He wanted me to take him out to Dalkey Hill to pick ‘blackers’.
[Ire](con. 1930s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 145: It did not take us long to fill our cans [...] and being full up with ‘blackers’ – one for me, one for the can – we decided to explore the house.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. [Internet] Blackers (n): blackberries.

2. champagne and Guinness, mixed.

[UK]E. Waugh Put Out More Flags n.p.: He opened bottles and begun mixing stout and champagne in a deep jug. ‘Blackers?’ They had always drunk this our and invigorating draught.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 128: We gave him blackers — which is a mixture of champagne and Guinness, commonly know as black velvet.
blackie (n.) [SE black + sfx -ie, -y; the sfx ensures the term’s negative, patronizing implication]

1. (also blackee, blackey, blacky) a black person; usu. African but also Indian, Aboriginal.

[UK]Delightful Adventures of Honest John Cole 31: [written by a Collanantee Negro] If you dis pafh do walkee / Tan here, and tankee, tankee, / About dis Whitee Blackee / Jackee Cole. / Dis Whitee, goodee Goodee, / So lof de Blackee body.
[UK]J. Townley High Life Below Stairs I iii: [Dramatis Personae. kingston, a Black] lov.: What Blackey, Blackey. (Pulls him by the Nose.) kingst.: Oh! oh!—What now! Curse you! Oh!—Cot tam you.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Dead Alive (1783) 6: Enter a Black crying.Coachman What, and Blacky goes too?
[UK]Sporting Mag. Feb. III 289/1: The wife of a gentleman at Sheerness [...] eloped with a black servant. They were pursued to the Nag’s Head in the Borough [...] where Blackey fired a pistol at his pursuers.
[WI] diary 21 May in M. Nugent Journal of Voyage and Residence in Jamaica I 4: I should have greatly preferred remaining, instead of playing the Governor’s lady to the blackies.
[UK]Tom Hazel ‘Multum in Parvo’ in Egan Boxiana I 480: Fair play to the parties was shewn, you’ll admit, / Though Blackee was strong, with Crib could not hit.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 18 Nov. 3/5: I will make him know that Blackey is the Don, barring one — tom crib, the Champion of England.
[WI]M. Lewis 20 Jan. in Journal of a West India Proprietor (1834) 121: Poor Blacky Peter what him do?
[UK]J. Burrowes Life in St George’s Fields 21: A blackie, with a pair of wooden legs, filled the office [of chairman].
[US]Public Ledger 28 Oct. 4/2: Blackee won’t come back; he is gone to prison.
[Aus]P. Cunningham New South Wales II 21: The instant blacky perceives whity beating a retreat, he vociferates after him.
[UK]Hamel, Obeah Man II 285: ‘Hearkye, blackee!’ shouted the captain.
[US]J.K. Paulding Westward Ho! I 23: The blackeys loved Massa Leetlejohn.
[UK]‘Black Pudding’ in Randy Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) I 203: She quickly had her belly full, / Of blackey’s nice black pudding.
[UK]Westmorland Gaz. 2 Jan. 1/4: Now then, blackee, what do you say?
[UK]C. Dance Bengal Tiger 7: [ref. to Indians] Here’s your uncle is one – his two Blackies are three – (and they eat rice enough in a day).
[US]C. Gilman Recollections of a Southern Matron 107: A little regiment of blackies came marching towards me.
[UK]W.J. Neale Paul Periwinkle 476: I say, blackee, what do you mean by that rigmarole of yours, about niggers’ heads?
[Ind]Bellew Memoirs of a Griffin I 197: ‘After a good many poor devils have been carried off, blacky’s apathy is a little disturbed’.
[Aus]J.P. Townsend Rambles in New South Wales 24: He pitched headlong into the stream, upsetting with the surge both blackey and his canoe.
[Aus]G.C. Mundy Our Antipodes I 235: The best we can hope for the poor blackeys is, that [...] they may become voluntary labourers for hire.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 32: Do you think it is true about their knocking down blackee in one lot, and his wife in another. [Ibid.] 171: A mosquito flew into one of blackee’s nostrils [...] The aboriginal sneezed.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) VIII 1594: I’ll just have a look at blackie’s cunt again.
[UK]‘F. Anstey’ Voces Populi 319: They are cures, those blackies!
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 19 Feb. 3/8: Jackey — ‘Dora Dora’ Jackey, / ‘Half-starved broken-hearted’ blacky.
[US]J. London ‘A Thousand Deaths’ Complete Short Stories (1993) I 77: Leaving me to the care of the blackies, he fell to revising the notes he had made on my resuscitation.
[US]T. Gordon Born to Be (1975) 97: What would they say??? Emanuel Taylor Gordon – Mannie – Snowball – Old Zip – Blacky – in New York City – the biggest city in the USA!
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Down and Out in Complete Works I (1986) 165: I’ve even had sixpences off Japs, and blackies, and that.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 124: ‘You got that blackie!’ [...] ‘In the last round.’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 25: blacky A negro.
[US]A. Anderson ‘Comrade’ in Lover Man 138: Fix the damn dog up, Blackie.
[UK]A. Burgess Right to an Answer (1978) 113: They’ll be in all our houses [...] blackies of all colours.
[UK]A. Baron Lowlife (2001) 62: The blackies rolling dice in side alleys.
[US]C. Himes Blind Man with a Pistol (1971) 188: ‘What happened?’ Coffin Ed asked. ‘Just that fat blacky showing off all that blood,’ Grave Digger said.
[UK]N. Smith Gumshoe (1998) 121: I swear I knew nothing about the black lad. Other than I told the girl he was okay [...] They wanted her, Eddie. Not the blackie.
[UK]S. Berkoff Decadence in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 30: Kick out the Pakis, blackies, paddys and kikes.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 112: ‘You never know with blackies,’ she said.
[UK]H. Kureishi Buddha of Suburbia 40: We don’t want you blackies coming to this house.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 72: Bill, a blacktracker, never got along with his constable. He resented being called Abo, blackie or nigger.
[US]N. Green Shooting Dr. Jack (2002) 143: I sent the blackie with him.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]S. Gee Never in My Lifetime in Best Radio Play (1984) 71: Nearest I got, I did some street lining for some old Blackie nabob and her car went by.

3. (US gang) a blackjack.

[US]W. Brown Monkey On My Back (1954) 257: He’d never used a gun, only the blackie.

Pertaining to race

In compounds


see also separate entries.

black belly (n.)

1. (US) a derog. term for a black person.

[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 358: Harry Sticks, a lousy blackbelly.

2. (W.I.) a policeman.

[WI]Seneca Rev. 4-5 2: The man doesn't have to show a blackbelly (cop) credentials to buy a drink.
black belt (n.) (also Belt, the) [SE belt, a zone or district]

(US) that part of a larger urban area in which the black community lives, the black ghetto; also used in larger scale of a geographical area.

[US]Rock Is. Argus (IL) 29 Dec. 1/2: In the ‘black belt’ of Alabama [...] there are three or four negroes to every white man.
[US]Mineral Resources of the United States 794: Locally [i.e. in Alabama] it is known as the ‘black belt,’ formerly so called because of its prevailing black lands, so productive of corn and cotton. Latterly it is referred to politically as the ‘black belt’ on account of the predominance in numbers of the negro race.
[US]H.M. Field Bright Skies and Dark Shadows 107: As I came up from the Gulf States, I had crossed the Black Belt — the portion of the South most densely populated by the black race.
[US]W.E. DuBois [bk title] The Negro in the Black Belt.
[[US]Booker T. Washington Up From Slavery (1901) 108: I have often been asked to define the term ‘Black Belt.’ [...] The term was first used to designate a part of the country which was distinguished by the colour of the soil. The part of the country possessing this thick, dark, and naturally rich soil was, of course, the part of the South where slaves were most profitable, and consequently they were taken there in large numbers. Later, and especially since the war, the term seems to be used wholly in a political sense – that is, to designate the counties where the black people outnumber the white].
[US]W.E.B. Du Bois ‘Of the Quest of the Golden Fleece’ in Souls of Black Folks (1994) 89: The merchant of the Black Belt is a curious institution,—part banker, part landlord, part contractor, and part depot. His store, which used most frequently to stand at cross-roads and became the centre of the weekly village, has now moved to town; and thither the Negro tenant follows him.
[US]Commoner (Lincoln, NE) 15 July 5/2: New York — One negro beaten to death and scores injured in half hundred race riots in ‘black belt’ [...] Pittsburgh, PA — scores of race riots in ‘black belt’.
[UK]A.N. Depew Gunner Depew 293: I supposed that negroes were scarce in Switzerland. What a treat it would be for a Swiss to visit the ‘black belt’ down South!
[US]A. Gonzales Black Border 64: Under the trying days of Reconstruction in South Carolina, the white men and boys living in the so-called ‘black belt’, comprising the coastal counties of the State, were constantly seeking to lure the black voters into the fold of Democracy.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 63: You might live your life in many black belts and arrive at the conclusion that there is no such thing as a typical Negro.
[US]C. McKay Gingertown 1: The young joy-lovers of the Belt hurried past.
[US]L. Hughes Mulatto in Three Negro Plays (1969) Act I: Everything turns on niggers, niggers, niggers! No wonder Yankees call this the Black Belt!
[UK]C. Beaton Cecil Beaton’s N.Y. 167: At the corner of Lennox Avenue and 144th Street, the heart of the ‘Black Belt’.
[US]Drake & Cayton Black Metropolis 577: The dilapidated houses on the margins of the Black Belt.
[UK]I, Mobster 75: Up to then policy had always been strictly a dinge operation, something for no place but the black belt.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 24: The black belt had spread ten miles in each direction in the last twenty years.
[US]C. Himes Pinktoes (1989) 21: Most Negroes live together [...] in their own communities, such being known as black-belts, dark-towns, nigger-slums, fly-burgs, smoke-villes or simply colored districts.
[US]Maledicta IX 52: Black Belt [...] n [C] Black community within an urban area.
[US] H. Huncke ‘Oral History of Benzedrine’ in Huncke Reader (1998) 340: To end up over into the Black Belt in the South Side of Chicago – there wasn’t anything that knocked me out more.
black bottom (n.) (also bottom) [such areas were often on low-lying land, near a river]

that part of a larger urban area in which the black community lives.

[US]W.E.B. DuBois Some Efforts of Amer. Negroes 29: When I think of the hundreds that swarm in ‘Black Bottom,’ ‘Hell's Half Acre,’ ‘Smoky Row,’ ‘Tin Cup Alley,’ ‘Crappy Chute,’ ‘Wood Maney’s Bottom,’ and many other low wards of the city, my soul staggers.
[US]A.H. Shannon Racial Integrity 107: A number of policemen were detailed to raid the dives located in ‘Black Bottom.’ All negroes found in these were given their choice between working on the boats or arrest for vagrancy,.
[US]Red Cloud Chief (Lincoln, NE) 2 Sept. 6/5: Uncle Mose aspired to the elective office of justice of the peace in the ‘black bottom’ part of town.
[US]St John’s Rev. (OR) 17 Mar. 2/3: Uncle Ike aspired to the elective office of justice of the peace in the ‘black bottom’ part of town.
[US]J. Evans ‘Down in Black Bottom’ [lyrics] You go down Black Bottom / Put your money in your shoe, / ’cause the black Bottom women down tger / Ain’t gonna do nothing but take it away from you.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 52: Some would-be detectives picked us up down in the bottom. [Ibid.] 60: Send two cars down to black bottom.
[US]Maledicta IX 52: Black Bottom [...] n [C] Black community within an urban area.
[US]D. Pinckney High Cotton (1993) 30: Avenue A continued downhill, unpaved as it entered the Bottom. We didn’t have to be told who lived there.
blackbutt (n.)

(Aus.) a native Australian.

[Aus]Healesville Guardian (Vic.) 25 Feb. 2/2: Go ’ome to yer holler log, Blackbutt, and get educated.
black cloud (n.)

(US) a group of black people.

[US]T.J. Farr ‘The Language of the Tennessee Mountain Regions’ in AS XIV:2 89/1: Black Cloud, a crowd of negroes.
black head (n.)

(UK black) a black person.

[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 195: Hey, Brenton – beast [...] They’re probably bored and wanna jail up a blackhead for the night.
black ivory (n.) [their value]

black slaves.

[UK]W.W. Reade Savage Africa 237: The Slave-trade. — Its Results. — Its present State. — Its future Suppression. When the early Portuguese voyagers first commenced to trade on the Libyan coast, sealskins, gold dust, and ‘black ivory’ were the articles offered for sale.
[UK]R.M. Ballantyne [bk title] Black Ivory: a tale of adventure among the slavers of East Africa.
[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 9 Mar. 2/3: In pressing the ‘black ivory’ business against the Boers we don’t, for a moment, imply that Dutchmen are naturally more cruel than Englishmen.
[UK]Daily News 5 Nov. in Ware (1909) 32/2: Mr. Steyn [...] complained that ‘loads of black ivory’ were being constantly hawked about the country.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Admiral Guinea II vi: Did you never hear of Guinea-land and the black ivory business? (sings)— ‘A quick run to the south we had [...] Six hundred niggers in the hold and seventy we did stow.’.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.
[US]I.L. Allen Lang. of Ethnic Conflict 45: ‘Black’ and Terms Modified by It: [...] black-ivory [the term for blacks sold in the lucrative African slave trade. Also black-cattle. 1819].
black plate (n.) [a pun on the US restaurant dish, the ‘blue plate special’]

soul food.

[US]Maledicta III:2 167: blackplate n Food eaten by Negroes; soul food.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 153: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Blackplate. Chitlins. Soul food. Greens. Grits. Gravy.
blacktime (n.) [negative stereotyping]

(UK/US black) unpunctuality.

[UK]C. Newland Scholar 28: You have to get that poster done quicktime, not blacktime.
black town (n.)

that part of a larger urban area in which the black community lives.

[UK]Monthly Mag. Jan. 1 538/1: Madras, both in the Fort and Blacktown, where the houses osten put one in mind of so many Portuguese, 'with flaming swords and sacked hats over shabby coats and dirty linen [...] The great body of the native or Blacktown stretches farther up the river.
[Ind]Yule & Burnell Hobson-Jobson (1994) 99: black town, n.p. Still the popular name of the native city of Madras, as distinguished from the Fort and southern suburbs occupied by the English residents, and the bazaars which supply their wants. The term is also used at Bombay.
[US]Chanute Times (KS) 22 Sept. 3/5: The rioters are stubbornly continuing their attacks and the tartars and Kurds are plundering in the ‘black town’ district.
[US]W. Fisher Waiters 234: Rufus [...] often acting as an ambassador for the people of ‘Blacktown’ in their relations with ‘Whitetown’.
[US]J. Baldwin Blues for Mister Charlie 13: blacktown: The church. A sound of mourning begins.
[US]Maledicta IX 52: Black Town n [C] Black community within an urban area.
black trash (n.)

(Aus./UK) a racist term for black people.

[US]W.E. Suter Dred 18: POLL. Very pretty. Cripps, didn't you tell me this old nigger was to be my property, to do as I liked with? CRIPPS. (L.) Yes, my love—to be sure I did. POLL. (striking TIFF.) Then—there, you black trash, take that.
[US]E.A. Pollard Black Diamonds 103: Well, you see de man talked French, and tain't while to tell dat to poor ignorant black trash like you.
[US]Atlantic Mthly Oct. 424/1: The former are becoming what the Southerners term ‘decent niggers,’ and the latter are turning into poor black trash.
[US]Harper’s New Mthly Mag. 57 491/1: I dessay you’ve heern tell of white trash! Well, Sir, dar’s black trash jis same as dar’s white trash.
[Aus]Western Mail (Perth, WA) 19 Dec. 39/5: [heading] In Company with a Cape Farmer. Prowling kaffirs or other ‘black trash’ steal his sheep and cattle.
[Aus]Gippsland Times (Vic.) 20 Sept. 3/6: In the plantation scene [...] he entered into the spirit of his part [...] as a sentimental nigger in his interview with the black trash.
[UK]W.S. Walker In the Blood 247: This example sent Joe and Jimmie Governor out through the bush districts to wreak their vengeance upon those who had spoken of them as ‘black trash,’ because the murderers thought they were just as good as the ‘white trash’ who taught them by example.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) Supp. 19 Dec. 25/6: The fine black specimen from Never Never stalked past [...] A blackfellow - a common nigger! One of the ‘black trash’.
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 15 Feb. 12/1: All we want is for the islands to be White Australian, and for them to be cleared out of there. It’s all a question of the survival of the fittest and thinkin’ bein’s like us is a mile ahead of ‘black trash’.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 28 Oct. 14/8: He flies from the ‘black trash’ who have risen in revolution against him.
[Aus]Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, Aus.) 24 Oct. 5/3: [Jack] Johnson was out to show the world that if they thought he was ‘black trash’, then to him they were nothing but ‘white trash’.
[Aus]W. Australian (Perth, WA) 18 Nov. 18/4: ‘Poor black trash,’ commented Echo.
[UK]A. Bleasdale No More Sitting on the Old School Bench (1979) 67: Look at you, y’only provin’ our point, black trash an’ gutter scum.
[Aus]P. Temple Broken Shore (2007) [ebook] Typical Daunt black trash [...] They’ve got some minor form.
black velvet (n.) [fig. use of SE, based on the smoothness, whether of skin or the drink]

1. (Aus./N.Z.) any dark-skinned woman; thus a bit of black velvet; occas. of men; by ext., sexual intercourse with someone black.

[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 1 June 4/5: Charley J. down East hooked an allright piece of black velvet.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 8 Apr. 438: [i.e. male slaves] I mean to trade in black velvet and coffee till I’ve made a good pile.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Ballad of the Rouseabout’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 360: Where falls the half-caste to the strong, ‘black velvet’ to the weak.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 13: He began to take an interest in native women, or Black Velvet as they were called collectively.
[NZ]D. Ballantyne Cunninghams (1986) 214: I’d like a nice piece of black velvet [...] One of those quarter-castes.
[Aus]G. Casey Snowball 17: Juicy, sergeant [...] The sort of black velvet that makes me sometimes wish I wasn’t a policeman.
[UK]D. Bee Children of Yesterday 163: He was asked, half jokingly, if he had ever had ‘black velvet’, and said ‘No, damn you! I’m South African’.
[Aus]K. Gilbert Cherry Pickers III ii: It’s just another one of them white blokes [...] lookin’ for black velvet!
[Aus]B. Humphries Traveller’s Tool 92: 100 pounds of stark-naked black velvet snoring her head off.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 23: black velvet Vulgar name for sex with a coloured woman.

2. (US) a black woman’s genitals.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases 27: black velvet (Vulg.) [...] 2. The vagina or Pubes of a Negro female or other brunette.

General uses

In compounds


see also separate entries.

black ape (n.)

see under ape n.

black annie (n.) [the colour + generic use of proper name]

1. a police or prison van.

[US]in DARE 253/2: (The car or wagon that takes arrested people to the police station or to jail) Black Annie.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 198: Black Annie, n. – prison transfer truck (1940s).
[US](ref. to 1920s) in B. Jackson Wake Up Dead Man (1999) 8: The truck that Bud Russel drove [...] was called Black Annie.

2. (US prison, also black aunty) a whip, used for punishments.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 8/2: Black aunty, a whip (prison).
[US]California Legislature Cttee on Crime & Corrections 25: Your committee notes in passing that the Mississippi Senate has just passed a bill to control the use of the dreaded ‘black annie’ official whip at the State Penitentiary.
[US]W. Blassingame Halo of Spears 203: You get a quarter crop from Black Annie for every day you’ve missed work [...] You’ve never seen a man whipped, Allen. The working is easier.
[US]C.B. Hopper Sex in Prison 34: Inmates and staff members alike refer to the strap as ‘Black Annie’ or ‘Bull Hide’. [Ibid.] 116: He can even take ‘Black Annie,’ the whip, without begging for mercy.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 158: If a fight is witnessed by the authorities, the participants are [...] given a taste of black Annie (a whip).
[US](con. 1930s) David M. Oshinsky Worse Than Slavery 149: The true symbol of authority and discipline at Parchman [Prison Farm] was a leather strap, three feet long and six inches wide, known as ‘Black Annie,’ which hung from the driver’s belt.
black army (n.) [? their chosen clothing, their sinister image; note Aus. black army, a flock of crows]

the female underworld.

[UK]J. Manchon Le Slang.
black arse (n.) [arse n.; the kettle and the pot have both been discoloured by the flame; this is the same phr. as the modern one; but these days the final vulgarism has been quietly dropped]

a kettle, esp. in phr. the pot calls the kettle black arse.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: The Pot calls the kettle Black A—, when one accuses another of what he is Deep in himself.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Black-Arse, a Copper or Kettle.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 11: Black-Arse, a Copper or Kettle.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: The Pot calls the Kettle Black-Arse, when one accuses another of what he is as deep in himself.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Black Arse a Copper or Kettle. Cant.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: Black A-se. A copper or kettle. The pot calls the kettle black a—se. Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
black art (n.) (also black act) [SE black art, magic or necromancy; thus extended to a criminal activity that required ‘devilish ability’]

1. (UK Und.) lock-picking.

[UK]Greene Second Part of Conny-Catching in Grosart (1881–3) X 76: [They] are skilfull in the blacke Art, for picking open the tramels or lockes.
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 5: They [...] hauing excellent skill in the Black-art, thats to say in picking of locks, makes the dore suddenly fly open.
[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 12: Here to finde out a Knaue picking open a locke by the helpe of his black Arte.
[UK]Fielding Don Quixote III vii: Do you mean to rob me, hey? [...] Let me tell you, Sirrah, you may be try’d on the Black Act, for going about disguis’d in this Manner.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 6: Black act – act of picking locks.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. the profession of undertaking.

[UK]G.A. Sala Seven Sons of Mammon I 102: Rich men’s funerals in the first style of black art.
black beauty (n.) [the colour of the capsules]

1. (US drugs) biphetamine, a strong amphetamine.

US Congress: Competitive Problems in the Drug Industry 15257: The pep pills [i.e. Biphetamines] acquired such street names as Black Beauties, Black Mollies and Black Widows.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 46: black beauties [...] biphetamine capsules.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 40: The implications of which were staggering and not a little bit frightening to a man who had been doing Black Beauties for thirty hours.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 53: You want a black beauty, there, sleepyhead?
[UK]R. Rendell Keys to the Street 288: He wanted something with which to wash down two black beauties and a crystal methedrine. He needed pepping up.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 279: We would eat Black Beauties (amphetamines) and pick up fares without a break for hours.
[US]J. Stahl Bad Sex on Speed 30: My husband had a thing where he’d drop black beauties and touch himself. He wouldn’t eat dinner.

2. a depressant.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Black beauties — [...] depressants.
black bess (n.)

1. a firelock or musket.

[UK]Vindicator 18 Apr. 4/1: Playfully, but signifantly twirling Black bess.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Harpers Wkly 1 Feb. 78/1: "If ye don't put up that leetle shootin’-iron, I'll put the contents o’ old Black Bess through yer noddle quicker’n greased lightnin’’.
[UK]Western Dly Press 1 Sept. 3/3: The skeleton key has superseded the Black Bess.

2. the vagina.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

3. (Aus. Und.) a prison van.

[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. 9/2: Black Bess lumbered Mother Shooter to the Nick yesterday. She got a dream for chovy bouncing. The prison van took Mother Shooter to Darlinghurst jail yesterday. She got six months for shoplifting.
black betty (n.) [SE betty, a pear-shaped bottle, covered with straw and often used to contain olive oil; properly known as a Florence flask]

1. (US) liquor, esp. a bottle that is circulated among the guests at a wedding party; tradition demands that everyone, irrespective of age, must kiss black betty, take a swig from the bottle.

[US]B. Franklin ‘Drinkers Dictionary’ in Pennsylvania Gazette 6 Jan. in AS XII:2 90: They come to be well understood to signify plainly that A MAN IS DRUNK. [...] He’s kiss’d black Betty.
[US]J. Doddridge Backwoodsman and Dandy 47: Every boy and girl, old and young [...] must kiss black betty; that is to take a good slug of dram .
[US]Mass. Spy 31 Oct. n.p.: They become enamoured of blue ruin itelf. They hug the black Betty that contains it, to their bosoms.
[US]N. Ames ‘Morton’ An Old Sailor’s Yarns 277: If you’ve got any white-eye in that black betty [...] I don’t much care if a take a drop.
[US] in Greve Century Hist. of Cincinnati (1904) I 463: They didn’t forget to pass the ‘old black betty,’ filled with good old peach brandy .
[US]W. Hanna History of Greene Co., PA 160: About twelve o'clock the dancers are [...] permitted once more to kiss old black Betty’s lips (take a dram).

2. (US black) a whip used for punishment in southern US prisons.

[US]Leadbelly ‘Black Betty’ [lyrics] Oh black Betty, bam de lam, / Black Betty, black Betty , bam de lam.
[US]Now 1-9 54: Black Betty is the bitter nickname given by Negro convicts to the whip which was, and still is, used in some Southern prisons.
[US]Phylon 14 59: They reenact with graphic realism the lashing of a fellow-prisoner [...] and the power of Black Betty, the ugly bull-whip.

3. (also black betsy) a police or prison van.

[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 155: One day on Main she caught a convict chain / and rode Black Betty [prison transfer bus] to her new pad.
[US]in DARE 253/2: (The car or wagon that takes arrested people to the police station or to jail) Black Betsy.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 197: Betty, n. – a prison bus. [Ibid.] 198: Black Betty, n. – the bus bringing inmates to the penitentiary.
[US](ref. to 1940s) in B. Jackson Wake Up Dead Man (1999) 8: The truck that goes to the farms from the Walls is called Black Betty [...] Instead of having a bus like they have now, they had just a barred truck [...] They called that Black Betty.
black bottle (n.) [SE, the use of black carries overtones of death, but presumably the term is also a descendant of 19C ‘black drop’, a dark-coloured medicine, mainly composed of opium, plus vinegar and spices. It was widely believed by 20C tramps that such a drink was administered to men in charity wards whose resulting death saved the administration the trouble of caring for them]

(US) any poisonous drink, esp. knockout drops.

[US]Docs of the Assembly of the State of N.Y. 17 2705: Q. Is the black bottle supposed to be the effect of giving you a black bottle — what does it do ? A.I take it to be something to injure you. By Mr. Whittet: Q. Poison ? A. Poison, yes.
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 328: The head nurse (he’s in for murder, and he’s rotten) taunted me with the ‘black bottle’.
[UK]Sunderland Dly Echo 18 July 3/3: A Lancashire lad told me [...] when patients reached a certain stage of sickness, they were ‘given the black bottle’ to kill them off quickly.
[US]J. Tully Beggars of Life 117: Boys at the Orphanage had even told me how doctors and nurses had given the mysterious Black Bottle to sick people. And that was the last you ever heard of them. The Black Bottle contained some deadly poison.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 76: Sometimes we find a hobo who dreads going to a hospital because he fears the ‘black bottle’.
[US]T. Minehan Boy and Girl Tramps of America (1976) 152: They feed him on the black bottle because he ain’t got no friends.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Prostitutes and Criminal Argots’ in Lang. Und. (1981) 116/1: black bottle. Poison, often used as a means of suicide.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 791: black bottle – Knock-out drops (chloral hydrate) or poison.
black bottom (n.)

the female genitals and pubic hair.

[UK]D. Gunston (ed.) Jemmy Twitcher’s Jests 39: She fell over [...] arse over head and her black bottom was discovered; you may all guess what the beholder saw, beloved a black sight you may be sure .
black box (n.) (also black boy, black knob) [the black-painted deed boxes]

1. (UK Und.) a lawyer.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Flash Dict. n.p.: black boy a lawyer.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 6: Black box or knob, a lawyer.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 11 Oct. 58/4: We’ll send this to Redmond’s ‘black-box’ (lawyer) and write on it some questions to be put to Ware that will turn him up.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[UK]Northern Whig 12 Sept. 8/6: I was fullied, and a black-box asked a couple of foont and ten deaner to be my mouthpiece.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

2. (Aus. prison) a punishment of 500 lashes [the ‘black box’ being a coffin].

[Aus](ref. to 1803-05) Sun (Sydney) 25 Nov. 6/6: In the convicts’ slang 500 lashes was ‘black box’, since it meant death.
black cap (n.)

(UK Und.) a thief who befriends a servant girl in order to gain her trust and access to her master’s house.

[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 133: Burglaries are often committed on the information given away by servants [...] The young man who walks out with her [i.e. a servant girl], and takes a sympathetic interest in her employers’ affairs, rarely takes a hand in the actual work. He is known as a ‘black cap’ or ‘white sheep’, and is usually looked upon as useful in his way, but a bit too soft for the hard grind of the business.
black cattle (n.) [the colour, either of the vestments or of the insects]

1. clergymen as a group; thus black cattle show, a gathering of clergymen.

[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy I 90: There’s no one minds now what those black Cattle say.
[UK]W. Scott letter 6 Aug. in Lockhart Life (1896) 46/1: Yesterday was St. James’s Fair [...] There was a great show of black cattle – I mean of ministers.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Nov. XI 95/2: A Provincial paper mentions, that at the last fair at Oxford, there was a prime shew of fat beasts mostly black cattle!
[US]F. M’Donogh Hermit in London V 25: ‘These black cattle eat up the fruits of the earth, sip the sweets unperceived, cut the grass under our feet, and’ — Here I stopped him. ‘You are too severe towards the clergy,’ said I.
Tales & Allegories 17: ‘Parson!’ he exclaimed, ‘who’s talking about parsons? We don't want any parsons here. What’s the use of them ? I don’t like such black cattle!’.
Heart-stone 56: ‘So then I know’d that one of them black cattle was near his end.’ ‘What our parson, Parson Roades! You don’t say so?’.

2. lice.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
black coat (n.) [the trad. clothing]

1. a clergyman, a parson.

[UK]R. Perrot Jacob’s Vow 52: Let us take heed how these black-coates get the day of us.
[UK]J. Earle Micro-Cosmographie (5th) No. 50: A Profane Man. One that nicknames Clergymen with all the terms of reproach, as Rat, Blackcoat, and the like.
[UK]Merry Mercurie 28 July 16: I call all parsons black coat quoth Cit.
[UK]A. Brome ‘The Contented’ in Ebsworth Merry Drollery Compleat (1875) 271: ’Tis not the black coat, but the red, / Has power to make, or be the head.
[UK]J. Eachard Observations 176: Suppose we should bestow upon a poor low thinking black-coat, one of our best forms, such as follows; it is five to one he would commit some ecclesiastical blunder or other, in setting his name too near [N].
[UK]E. Hickeringill Reflections on Late Libel etc. 5: ’Tis some sneaking, peevish, envious, and spiteful Black-coat [...] Tell me of any Mischief, Tumults, or Rebellion, that some of these same Black-coats have not had a great hand in.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]N. Ward Compleat and Humorous Account of Remarkable Clubs (1756) 269: May he that on the Rump so doats, / Be damn’d as deep as Doctor Oates, / That Scandal unto all black Coats.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy II 207: Gospel Fermentation, banters all our Souls; And to Fire the Nation, / Blackcoats blow the Coals.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 135: My means, alas! are only worth the black coat I wear. [Ibid.] 507: You are the black-coat’s son of Knocktarlite.
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 81: †black-coat. This term became applied to a clergyman at a rather early period.
[UK]Sussex Advertiser 14 Apr. 4/3: The only beaks who opposed it were the ‘black coats’.
[US]C. Mathews Career of Puffer Hopkins 295: We have a wonderful run of blackcoats to this prison. They come here to get moral texts for their sermons.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 18 July 2/6: Another ‘black coat’ appeared, with similar dire intent.
[US]R.W. Emerson Society and Solitude 219: The black-coats are good company only for black-coats.
[UK]Soldiers’ Stories and Sailors’ Yarns 190: The parson [...] said to the sergeant, ‘What! are you afraid, man? Why, then I suppose a black coat must show you red coats the way.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Nov. 12/2: At the Presbyterian ‘Festival’ only sacred songs were listed [...]. The black-coats on the platform were worth watching during the interlude.

2. (Aus.) a waiter.

[[UK]Port Macquarie News (NSW) 16 July 2/6: [from New Statesman, London] Do you ever wonder, as you sit in a restaurant ordering your meal from the pale-faced black-coated figure at your side, what he thinks of you?].
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. (2nd edn).

3. (US) an undertaker.

[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
black cove (n.)

1. a prison turnkey; a warder.

Andrewes Dict. of the Sl. and Cant Languages.

2. a chimney sweep.

[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: The chats was clinching it into us [...] specially the black cove (sweep) cause they tickled his ribs with scraping the soot of [sic] before they shot their ivories into his carcass.
black diamond (n.) [SE black diamond, geological – ‘a stone of dubious origin, known for more for its porosity than any endearing quality’ (Johannesburg Mail & Guardian 23/12/07)]

1. a person whose tough exterior hides a ‘heart of gold’.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 220: Nan has nearly knocked the coffee out of the black diamond’s hand.
[UK] ‘Sparring Exhibitions’ in Fancy I XVII 408: The principal novelty of the day was the introduction of a new Black Diamond : and although a little bit in the rough, yet now and then some parts of his shining qualities so far peeped out, that several persons asked who he was?
[UK]W. Clarke Every Night Book 59: Some time after our adventure with this black diamond, who seemed to have a taste for the pains of Pandemonium [etc.].
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 75: BLACK DIAMONDS [...] talented persons of dingy or unpolished exterior.

2. (S.Afr.) an affluent, salaried black person.

[SA]Mail and Guardian (S. Afr.) 21 Dec.–3 Jan. 20: The term ‘black diamonds’ was coined by marketers to describe well-educated, salaried African folk [...] there are 2.6 million black people in this country who qualify as ‘black diamonds’.
black diamonds (n.) [the value of the mineral, if only to the mine-owners]

1. (also dusty diamonds) coal.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 30 Oct. 4/1: The learned Dr Lushington [...] a Knight of the Thimble; a Black Diamond coal-shed keeper from Mount-street.
[Ire]Tom And Jerry; Musical Extravaganza 52: Black diamonds, coals, and coal heavers.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 175: He left throwing about the black diamonds for those persons who were compelled to stick to the duty of a coalheaver.
[UK]‘Cock-Eyed Sukey’ in Cove in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 219: Thy eyes I see in diamond’s black, / Thy breath is Smithfield’s dungy gale.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 111/1: Black diamonds, coals, or coal heavers.
[UK]T. Miller Gabarni in London 43: Were he even trusted with the favourite horse and gig to fetch a sack of black diamonds from the wharf [F&H].
[UK]Durham Co. Advertiser 10 Mar. 10/4: The knowing ones in ‘black diamonds’ at the new Coal Exchange laugh at public credulity.
[UK]Western Times 25 Jan. 5/3: At what a price [...] are those ‘black diamonds’, our invaluable coal, furnished to us!
[UK]Derbyshire Times 8 Jan.3/1: ‘Black Diamonds’ The Coal-Owners Song [...] Cry, Hurrah! for black diamonds at ‘Twenty per ton’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 July 9/3: [of a coal wholesaler] The ‘Black Diamond King’ of Sydney.
[US]Scribner’s Mag. ‘The Everyday Life of Railroad Men’ IV Jul.–Dec. 546: The fireman’s prosaic labors are lightened by being poetically mentioned as the handling of black diamonds.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 192: The Prowler was as hard as a stale roll, and stuck to the black diamonds.
[US]C. M’Govern By Bolo and Krag 25: Being short of coal-passers on the trip, the K.O. ordered enlisted men to scramble down the hold and shovel dusty diamonds.
[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 7 Sept. 12/3: ‘Shot me down inter this cellar as if I was half a hundred of black diamonds’.
[US]Wash. Post 10 Dec. 4/5: The fireman is a ‘tallow pot’ and it is duty to ‘crack the diamonds’ and throw them by the ton into the firebox.
[US]W. Edge Main Stem 49: It was amazing how far a shovelful of black diamonds (coal) would be made to go by an expert.
[UK]Sunderland Dly Echo 12 Jan. 3/3: [photo caption] Searching for ‘black diamonds’ at Dawdon. Coal gatherers on beach .
[US]L. Beebe High Iron 219: Black Diamond: Company coal.
[US]F.H. Hubbard Railroad Avenue 333: Black Diamonds – Company coal.

2. a coal heaver.

[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
black dress man (n.) [the uniform of ‘parti-coloured black and drab; one side one colour, one the other; the front of one sleeve black and the back drab, and the reverse with the other sleeve. The same with the breeches...’ (Five Years Penal Servitude p.167)]

(UK prison) a prisoner found guilty of assaulting a warder.

Five Years' Penal Servitude 166: My neighbour was a black dress man and wore fetters, heavy chain [...] held up to his waist by a strap.
Courier & Argus (Dundee) 1 Dec. 7/4: A ‘black dress’ man is one who has been guilty of assaulting a warder.
black drop (n.)

(Anglo-Irish) port wine.

[Ire]‘A Real Paddy’ Real Life in Ireland 45: My master kapes the best materials for making port wine, than any manufacturer of black drop in Dublin.
black fly (n.) (also black slug) [see cit. 1788]

a parson.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Black Fly. The Greatest draw back on the Farmer is the black Fly, i.e. the Parson who takes a Tythe of the Harvest.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. XXV 159/1: Forbearance to the black slug, that devours one tenth of the husbandman’s labour.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict. n.p.: Black fly or slug (the greatest evil to the farmer) the parson.
black hat (n.)

1. (Aus.) a newly arrived immigrant [he would still wear his black, citified hat in the bush].

[Aus]C. & R. Praed Policy and Passion 277: Lord! if I were Mr Dyson Maddox I’d never let it be said that a black hat had cut me out.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer I 34: A ‘black hat’ in Australian parlance means a new arrival.

2. (US) a villain, a ‘baddie’ [the traditional means of identifying a villain in films].

[US]J. Crumley One to Count Cadence (1987) 170: There are no bad guys, no black or white hats, just misguided gray ones.
[WI]F. Collymore Notes for Gloss. of Barbadian Dial. 16: Black hat. Occurs in the expression to behave, or get on like a black hat, i.e. to conduct one-self in an ungentlemanly or uncouth manner.
[US]Playboy June 216: The big shoot-out with the black-hats from CBS produces a numbing series of conferences but no...canceling of the film [HDAS].
[US]W.C. Anderson Bat-21 135: Well, from where this peace monger sits, I’d say the black hats are succeeding.
black hole (n.) [orig. UK milit.]

1. (prison) the (underground) punishment cells in a prison.

[[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 8 Sept. n.p.: ‘She [i.e. a street prostitute] pulled up her Coats, and bid me look at it [i.e her genital area] - and told me it was as black as my Face’].
[UK]Cuthbertson Management [of] a Battalion of Infantry 126: The prisoners in the black-hole and guard house, should be taken out of confinement every fair day, under the care of a Non-commission-officer [...] The straw in the black hole should be changed once a week.
[UK]J. Howard State of Prisons 240: There are, besides, the black hole, the condemn’d hold, the cock pit, and several other parts of this irregular building, which I pass over.
[US]N.Y. American 10 Jan. 2/6: Come, come, said the watch, none of your play acting airs — into the black hole with you.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 25 Jan. 2/5: Immediate incarceration in the black hole was the lot of the hapless and still ‘obstropolous’ Mr M’Gillies.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 236: She was locked up in the black-hole during the night.
[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 3 Feb. 112: Ben had been deposited in the black-hole of the guard house.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend 1 159: You will gain as you won’t be put in the black hole for refractory conduct, No. 19.
[UK]Dickens Great Expectations (1992) 333: The black hole of that [prison] ship warn’t a strong one [...] I escaped to the shore.
[Aus]S. James Vagabond Papers (3rd series) 195: The visiting justices have powers of an ordinary magistrate [...] and they can sentence to the ‘black hole,’ and to any amount of ‘solitary’.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 1 Dec. 2/1: Sullivan was taken below and thrust into the Black Hole of Scotland-yard [...] The cries of men [...] bludgeoned in the Black Hole were horrible.
[UK]Lancs. Eve. Post 5 Dec. 3/6: It is a penal settlement of the most horrible kind. A child was sent to the black hole for some small offence, and allowed to die there of hunger.
[UK]Marvel XIV:344 June 6: The cat and triangle – a flogging until a man is at death’s door – the black hole – solitary confinement – days and days of bread and water.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 657: It is very hard to communicate with anyone in the Black Hole, which is called Solitary Confinement officially. ‘Black Hole’ is only a descriptive slang term created by prisoners.

2. a police or prison cell.

[UK]Times 28 Oct. 3/2: When taken to the watch house he did not know that the defendant was put into the black-hole.
[Ire]Tom And Jerry; Musical Extravaganza II iv: Seize upon that man, and confine him in the black-hole.
[SA] ‘Kaatje Kekkelbek or Life Among the Hottentots’ in D.C.F. Moodie (1888) II 557: Next morn they put me in Blackhole / For one rix-dollar stealing.
[UK]London Mag. Mar. 90/2: The unfortunate pair were rudely thrust forward [...] and locked up in a ‘black hole’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 12 Jan. 3/4: The black-hole should be his particular dormitory for the remainder nf the night.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 June 3/1: When he arrived there [i.e. at the lock-up], O'Keeffe shoved him into a black hole.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 274: They will think you have stolen it, and so lock you up all night in the black hole.
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Old Regime 202: All the male prisoners were locked up till six the next day, so that the women and children, who had been immured in their ‘black hole’ all the livelong day, could take a brief two hours of exercise.
[UK]J. McNicoll [perf. Marie Lloyd] And she lisped when she said, ‘Yes!’ [lyrics] And they put her in the black-hole / Where the wicked people go!

3. any room set aside for punishment, e.g. in a workhouse or orphanage.

[UK]Gloucester Jrnl 20 Jan. n.p.: The Birmingham ‘Black Hole’ [...] a filthy and horrid cell [in] the Birmingham Workhouse.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 9 Nov. 4/7: The master of the Ennistymon Workhouse has been committed to Ennis gaol for having confined two little boys in the balck-hole, or refractory ward, and that having forgotten he had left them there, he found them dead.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin What with the walloping, and the skilly, and the blackhole, it’s [i.e. an orphanage] an awful place.
[UK]Manchester Courier 8 Jan. 9/1: The ‘Black Hole’ at the Leicester Workhouse is a dark room [...] designed for punishment or refractory women.

4. the vagina; one of a number of terms that equate the vagina with hell or any similar dark, threatening place.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 214: The conjugal orgy in the Black Hole of Calcutta.

5. (S.Afr. gay) in a bar, a darkened room where anonymous sex may take place .

[SA]K. Cage Gayle 58/1: black hole n. a dark room provided in bars and clubs for anonymous and gratuitous sex.
black house (n.) [SE black, evil + house]

1. a prison.

[Ind]Asiatic Jrnl June 603/2: Geesdorp, without looking at him, caused the poor stolen Amboineese to be conducted to the prison, or black-house.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 6: Black houses – prisons.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Chinese Recorder Apr. 126: The low wall that surrounded the ‘black-house,’ as the prison is called.

2. any place of business where the employees are exploited by long hours and low wages.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 224/2: I have mentioned that the black houses, or linendrapers at the west end of London, were principally supplied from the east end.
black job (n.)

1. a funeral; thus black job master, an undertaker.

[UK]R. Cumberland Natural Son in Inchbald (ed.) Modern Theatre V (1811) 248: We should have had a terrible journey of it, if we had not luckily fallen in with a black job by the way, and kept company with the corpse to Exeter cathedral.
[UK]London Lit. Gaz. 12 Feb. 97/2: They might get men to be sure, who know nothing about the business: and a pretty higgledy piggledy concern they’d make of a decent black job like this. I should like to see a set of these new ones lifting a coffin.
[UK]Edinburgh Annual Register for 1823 112/1: Sometimes he asked if there was ever a black job — meaning a funeral.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 18 June 4/2: I’ll be spiflicated if I wern’t laughing like an undertaker in a black job, till my bread basket ached.
[Ire]C.J. Lever Harry Lorrequer 91: They could not have exhibited a greater taste for a ‘black job’.
[UK]Thackeray Letters (2004) 91: An expatriated parson [...] who gets his living by black jobs entirely and attends all the funerals of our country-men.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 12 Apr. 1/3: [advert] To Black Job Masters — Several English and foreign Balck Geldings [...] in good working condition.
[UK]G.A. Sala Twice Round the Clock 167: Eccentrics who, like the crazy Earl of Portsmouth, have an invincible penchant for funerals — ‘black jobs,’ as the mad lord used to call them.
[UK]Southern Reporter (Selkirk) 17 June 3/3: [advert] Funeral Car [...] Black job masters should lose no time in securing one of these handsome carriages.
[UK]W.P. Lennox Celebrities I 313: A little perhaps, too much suggestive of the ‘black job’ business.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. a black child born to a white couple; the assumpion being that the actual father was a black servant.

[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 20 Apr. 128/3: The medical men [...] say these sort of ‘black jobs’ are very common in great families, where African footmen stand behind the master’s chair staring [at] the mistress .
black lock (n.) (also black lockup) [the blackness of ‘the hole’]

(US prison) solitary confinement for disciplinary reasons; often as behind the black lock(up).

[US]K. Burkhart Women in Prison 443: Black lock Solitary confinement either in an isolation cell or your own cell for a period of three days or more.
[UK] in R. de Sola Crime Dict.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 9: An inmate in solitary confinement for disciplinary purposes is said to be behind the black lock or in the black lockup.
[US]J. Robert Nash Dict. Crime 31/2: black lock Solitary confinement.
black machine (n.)

(UK Und.) the gallows.

[UK]Sporting Mag. July X 230/2: While on the black machine I fearful stand, / The clean white nightcap in my trembling hand.
black mamba (n.)

(UK drugs) a form of synthetic cannabis.

[UK]Guardian 2 May 1/1: Synthetic cannabis is having a ‘devastating impact’ in British prisons [...] Sold as ‘spice’ and ‘black mamba’.
black man (n.) (also black gentleman) [the Devil, personifying evil, is naturally black]

the Devil.

[UK]Jonson Masque of the Gipsies in Q. Horatius Flaccus (1640) 48: ’Tis thought fit he marche in the Infants Equipage With the Convoy, Cheats, and peckage / Out of the clutch of Harman-beckage, / To the Libkens at the Crackmans / Or some skipper of the Black-mans.
[UK]Vanbrugh & Cibber Provoked Husband IV i: c. bas.: Well, the Devil fetch me, if I shall not be heartily glad to see thee well settled, child. myr.: And may the Black Gentleman tuck me under his Arm at the same time, if I shall not think myself obliged to you as long as I live.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Highland Reel 59: I believe the black gentleman has been at work in earnest.
[UK]G. Meredith Evan Harrington I 37: It was her money, of course. ‘Rich as Croesus, and as wicked as the black man below!’ as dear papa used to say.
[UK]Chelmsford Chron. 18 Mar. 5/3: The Black Arts and the Black Gentleman. Our former colleague [...] has been lecturing [...] on the ‘Black Arts’, with esp[ecially reference to [...] ‘raising the devil’.
[US]L.R. Dingus ‘A Word-List From Virginia’ in DN IV:iii 180: bad-man, n. The devil. Also, black-man, buggar-man.
[US]P.G. Brewster ‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in AS XIV:4 268: The following terms referring to the Devil: ‘the Old Boy,’ ‘old Hairy,’ ‘the Old Scratch,’ ‘old Nick,’ ‘the booger (bogie) man,’ ‘the Bad Man,’ ‘the Black Man,’ and ‘old Ned’.
black pot (n.) [SE black pot, a beer mug]

a drunkard.

[UK]Greene Frier Bacon and Frier Bungay C4: I’ll be Prince of Wales ouer all the blacke pots in Oxford.
[UK]T. Heywood Love’s Mistress Act II: Jugg, what’s she but sister to a black-pot.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 22 25 Oct–1 Nov. 187: Of running Bawds, Black-potts, and Canns.
[[UK] ‘Wades Reformation’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) I 6: Too long have I been a drunken Sot, / And spent my means on the Black Pot].
black Protestant (n.) (also black Prod) [SE black as generic for Protestant, on model of ‘scarlet’ for Catholicism] (US)

1. a derog. term used by Catholics to describe a violently anti-Catholic Protestant.

[US]in DARE.
[Ire]E. Lenihan Long Ago by Shannon Side 72: In that townland there was a family of Baylees who were black Protestants.
[Ire]Sun. Trib. (Dublin) 27 Sept. n.p.: I’m what they call a black Prod [BS].

2. a non-practising Protestant.

[US]in DARE.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 165: She was supposed to turn when she married poor Paddy Kerrigan, but anyone can see she’s still a black bloody Protestant at heart.
black rot, the (n.) [it ‘rots one’s brain’]

1. (UK Und.) a death warrant.

[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.

2. (US) a fit of intense depression.

[US]Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly (1943) 162: We have enough to do here to keep us from dying with the black rot [HDAS].
black sal (n.) (also black sukey) [SE black + sal, abbr. Sarah/sukey, abbr. Susan; poss. ref. to the nursery rhyme ‘Polly Put the Kettle On’ (‘Sukey take it off again’); but note DSUE suggestion Welsh Gipsy sukar, to hum, to whisper]

a kettle.

[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
black shark (n.)

a lawyer.

[UK]W. Perry London Guide 74: He is sometimes brought in indebted to the Crimp [...] by what is called a long-shore attorney, or more appropriately, a black shark, and thrown into jail!!!
black-shoe (adj.) [the formality of such footwear]

(US campus) formal, sober.

[US]A.J. Cox Delinquent, The Hipster and The Square (1962) 19: girl: Barbados is black shoe. hipster: Not where I’m staying. girl: Tourists and creeps [...] narrator: [...] Black shoe is formal and sober.
blacksock (v.) [the stereotypical cheap pornographic movie, in which the male actors, otherwise naked, often keep on their socks]

(US) to perform in a pornographic movie.

[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 118: A highyaller jazz musician named Horatio who blacksocked parttime for Climax productions.
black spy (n.)

1. constr. with the, the Devil; ext. as a derog. term of address.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 202: Black Spy, the Devil.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 266: Cuss you for a lobb-mouth. Call me mother you black spy.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[US]L. Cornford Captain Jacobus 37: For drinking, roaring drunk, hand-to-fist, and raising the Black Spy in general, commend me to the Mul-Sack’s crew.

2. a constable; an informer.

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: black spy a constable, an informer.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 6: Black spy – an informer.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 11 Oct. 57/4: ‘You’d “peach” and turn “black spy”’.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].

3. a blacksmith.

[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
black stick (n.)

(orig. US black) a clarinet; also attrib.

[US]B. Goodman This Thing Called Swing 9: black stick: clarinet.
[US]Billboard 9 Jan. 20/1: The black-stick artist fairly radiated. Not only did he blow superb clarinet, he bounced and weaved and kicked in slow, jazz-drenched movements delightfully his own.
[US]Billboard 1 Feb. 168/3: For his Black Stick Boogie, a lively eight-beat blues, Smith fingers his clarinet stick eight to the bar.
[US]Gautier & Panassie Guide to Jazz n.p.: blackstick: old-time slang for clarinet.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad 13: Blackstick Clarinet.
black strap (n.) [SE black strap, molasses, and thus referring to its excessive sweetness]

1. poor quality liquor, esp. port wine.

[US]W. Falconer Marine Dict. in Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (1849) 33: Blackstrap. The English sailors call the common wines of the Mediterranean blackstrap .
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Black strap, bene carlo wine, also port.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe World in a Village (1794) 27: serv.: He desires you’ll send him in a dozen of your best old port. grig.: Ha! – what, my black strap?
[UK]Sporting Mag. Apr. XVI 26/1: Having drunk rather too freely of black strap the night before.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]J. Burrowes Life in St George’s Fields 6: His absorbent vessels had drained off three bottles of black strap.
[UK]Berkshire Chron. 17 Nov. 2/1: The Turks are very sensible people. I like their name for black-strap wonderfully, ‘Sublime Port’.
[UK] ‘Gallery of 140 Comicalities’ Bell’s Life in London 24 June 1/2: A Bottle of Black Strap – And a Pot of Heavy.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 126: Two bottles of undeniable black strap.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville Digby Grand (1890) 155: An extremely abrupt conclusion [...] empties every bumper of ‘black strap’ like a shot.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 97: BLACK-STRAP, port wine.
[UK]W.H. Smyth Sailor’s Word-Bk (1991) 105: Black-Strap. The dark country wines of the Mediterranean. Also bad port.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 85: Black Strap port wine, especially that which is thick and sweet.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[UK]‘William Juniper’ True Drunkard’s Delight 230: Black-strap is, in America, gin mixed with molasses.
[UK]J. Cary Horse’s Mouth (1948) 102: There was some gin in it as well as lime-juice and lager, black-strap and wallop.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]A. Garcia Tough Trip Through Paradise (1977) 56: The only delicacy we had was some black-strap molasses.
[UK]Chelmsford Chron. 9 Nov. 7/4: With a cigarette [...] between their lips, a bottle of second-rate military ‘blackstrap’ port [...] with feet under the mahogany.
[US] ‘Wet Words in Kansas’ AS IV:5 386: Black-strap alky or pack is made from New Orleans molasses.
[US]A. Hardin ‘Volstead English’ in AS VII:2 86: Terms used for intoxicating liquor: Black-strap alchy.

3. a variety of chewing tobacco.

[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 217: All prisoners got a plug of ‘black strap’ chewing tobacco every week.

4. (US) very strong black coffee.

[US]Sun (NY) 21 Oct. 2/4: ‘Blackstrap’ is army for hot coffee. [...] Sometimes the lads get ‘sowbelly’ or bacon for breakfast.
[US]C.E. Mulford Hopalong Cassidy Returns 83: Nothin’ but corn pone, bacon, an’ black strap.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 30: Black Strap.— Coffee, so called from the black-strap molasses with which the beverage is sweetened in logging camps and on tramp ships in lieu of [...] sugar.
[UK]Shields Dly News 4 Sept. 4/6: He [i.e. a G.I.] may say [...] that our beer is four O [...] and far better than our black strap (coffee).
[US]P. Kendall Dict. Service Sl. n.p.: General issue coffee [...] blackstrap.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
black taxi (n.)

(Aus.) an official limousine that ferries government members etc to and from houses, appointments and the like.

[Aus]Sun-Herald (Sydney) 25 Nov. 112: Fred Daly [...] has ordered a crackdown on the official use of ‘black taxis’. He has warned MPs that the long black official limousines will not wait outside flats and hotels if those who ordered them aren’t ready [GAW4].
Free China Rev. 46 35: I quit and applied to be a black taxi [VIP limousine] chauffeur at a nearby company.
black thing (n.) [euph.]

the vagina.

[UK] ‘The Black Thing’ in Bold (1979) 24: Young Colin as brisk as a bird in the spring / He wanted to play with my little black thing.
blacktop (n.)

1. (US tramp) a tent used for the projection of films.

[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 301: Black-top – moving-picture tent.

2. (US) a minor road, a back road.

[US]Arkansas (Supreme Court) Reports 289: He testified that the Sneed boy ’s car was lying or sitting about three feet from the edge of the blacktop on the south side of the highway and that the truck was over on the north side off the blacktop.
[US]Missouri WPA Guide xix: Farmers have relocated their new air-conditioned modern houses and mobile homes right up to the blacktop.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 6: He let the door swing open. The drunk promptly slid off the seat and landed on the blacktop on the seat of his pants.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 13: Madrid’s Plymouth was out there on the blacktop.
[US]D. Pendleton Executioner (1973) 79: Pick up the wagon down at the blacktop.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 150: They were back in the country God forgot, two-lane blacktop running through sagebrush and sand.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 143: I’ll drop ’em in the middle of the road just before the blacktop starts.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 247: She willed herself to concentrate on the slick two-lane blacktop.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 197: Off 301 somewhere and down a couple of two-lane blacktops, near a place called Nanjemoy.

3. an asphalt playground.

[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 411: The two are standing eye-to-eye on the blacktop, leaning into each other, grimacing.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 176: Was a time when you would not leave the blacktop. You even used to drag me to those ABA games.
black velvet (n.) (also velvet) [based on the smoothness of the drink]

a mixture of stout and champagne.

[US]Ade Old-Time Saloon 60: ‘Velvet’. It consisted, half and half, of champagne and porter.
[UK]Aberdeen Jrnl 7 Mar. 2/4: I heard of people drinking a ‘black velvet’ [...] to cheer themselves up, of war workers having a ‘oncer’ (a good time) when they can.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 205: Top-drawer judies who curse like stable-boys and breakfast off black velvet.
black water (n.)

(US, Western) weak black coffee.

[J.A. von Mandelso Oriental Trip [trans.] n.p.: The black water of the Persians called Kahwe [...] must be drunk hot].
[US]L.W. Garrard Wah-to-yah and the Taos Trail 144: Though coffee, sugar, tobacco, and other luxuries are high-priced [...] the ‘black water’ is offered with genuine free-heartedness.
[US]R.F. Adams Western Words (2nd edn) 22/2: black water A freighter’s term for weak coffee.
[US]L. Dills CB Slanguage.
black widow (n.)

1. (US teen) an unpopular female.

[US]Chicago Trib. Graphic Section 26 Dec. 7/1: Jive Talk [...] Drips. Sad Sam (or Sal). Cold potatoes. Junior jerk. Junior mess. Jerk of all trades. Dracula’s daughter. Sad specimen. Zombie. Black widow. Lead pipe. Light operator.

2. (drugs) any black capsule that contains amphetamine [the packaging].

[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 56: black widow n Amphetamine plus buffering agents in a black capsule.
black wings (n.) [the initiate is then given a patch of the appropriate colour and design]

usu. of Hell’s Angels for whom it is an alleged initiation rite, performing cunnilingus on a black woman.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972) 35: black wings. [...] Symbol worn on jackets of white motorcycle gangs to signify having had sexual relations with a Black person.
black work (n.) [the pre-eminent role of black in funerary arrangements]

working as an undertaker.

[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 302: A florid man who officiates as a waiter at the London Tavern o’nights, and sometimes takes a spell in the black work, or undertaking line of business.
[UK]Liverpool Dly Post 15 July 1/5: George Brumby [...] has made very considerable additions to the Black Work and Funeral Department of his establishment.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 85: Blackwork undertaking. The waiters met at public dinners are often employed during the day as mutes, etc. Omnibus and cab drivers regard blackwork as a dernier ressort.

In phrases

black cat (with its throat cut) (n.)

see under cat n.1

black-on-black (adj.)

(US black) referring to a car with black paintwork and all-black interior upholstery and fittings.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 85: It’s black on black [...] an’ don’t give no slack!
black-pepper brain (n.) (also black-pepper grains, [resemblance to black peppercorns]

(W.I.) very short hair, growing close to the scalp in small balls of fluff; by. ext. a derog. term .

[UK]A. Salkey Quality of Violence (1978) 23: I saw certain things that would cause your black-pepper hair to curl even tighter.
[WI]in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980) 50/1: When a boy has very short hair which grows close to the scalp, or little balls of fluff (very negroid) it or he is called ‘black-pepper brain’.
[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage 105/2: black pepper grains [...] picky-head [i.e. ‘A Black person’s hair (often a boy’s) that is naturally sparse and tightly curled into tiny balls’].
black 360 degrees (adj.) [360º describes a complete circle; thus totality]

(US black) intensely and specifically black in personality and consciousness.

[US] (ref. to 1960s, 1980s) C. Major Juba to Jive 40: Black three-hundred-and-sixty degrees [...] to describe a black person, profoundly black in a psychological sense. The concept was popular in the sixties, fell out of favor during the seventies, and reemerged in the eighties.