Green’s Dictionary of Slang

boot n.2

[SE boot, the orig. ref. was to the leggings worn by recruits to the US Navy during training]

1. (US milit.) any new recruit in the US armed forces; also attrib.

[US]Recruiter’s Bulletin (U.S.) Apr. 11/1: One of the ‘boots’ transferred to the Recruit Depot recently [OED].
[US]Burlington Wkly Free Press (VT) 16 Jan. 14/5: Before the ‘boot’, as a rookie is called in Marine parlance, has had skirmish drill.
[US](con. 1917) J. Stevens Mattock 114: A chance to train mobs of boots into soldiers in a month! And the front lousy with war babies!
[US]Time 11 Nov. 22: To mold ‘boots’ (Navy lingo for recruits) into the indefinable likeness of a Marine takes hard work.
[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 12: We’ll be in isolation for a couple of weeks [...] Boot camp, they call it. [Ibid.] 46: The platoons of boots gawked in amusement.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 20: Captain, I am. But a boot. Unaware. Inexperienced.
[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 24: Saluting all personnel out of boot training is mandatory for boots. Is that clear?
[US]M. Braly False Starts 44: We wore the same haircut as Marine boots, a chopped off stubble.
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 261: He wanted no part of a clutch of boot Marines.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 129: Some unthinking boot in back panics and hollers.
[US]J.E. Lawson Last Burn in Hell 15: Some new guard— or new boot, if you’re upon on prison lingo.

2. (US/UK black) a fellow black (usu. derog.) [black boots].

[US](con. 1950s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 201: Yeh man a boot running around claiming he’s beat is about as far off base as a gray boy running around talking ’bout he’s got the blues.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 47: ‘He even tried to make out like he’s not a boot himself, but he’s just as much nigger as I am’.

3. (US) a derog. term for a black person; also attrib. [black boots].

[US]W.G. Smith South Street 98: ‘Boy, if them officers on the ship that brought Suzette over had known that she was coming to marry a boot, they’d have thrown her overboard!’.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 101: Never seen a boot neighborhood yet wasn’t a mess.
[UK]C. MacInnes City of Spades (1964) 22: My Dad has taught me that in England some foolish man may call me sambo, darkie, boot or munt or nigger, even.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 35: Them some crazy niggers, damn! [...] They dont even be making sense to one another much less to other boots and some of these simple-ass grays.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 35: He’d run through his whole repertoire on the ‘boots and the pineapples’, the current precinct names for blacks and Puerto Ricans.

4. a woman, the implication is an unattractive one; thus often as old boot.

[UK]C. Wood ‘Prisoner and Escort’ in Cockade (1965) I iii: Yes corporal – no corporal ... kiss my old boot’s fat arse corporal – is that it?
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene iii: Gunged-up ol’ boot.
[UK]Viz June/July 35: I’m dying, you old boot!
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 16: As we go the old boot screeches miserably.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 38: A didunt fancy er [...] fuck no, scraggy old boot, witchy, sour-face. [Ibid.] 91: That slag a pulled in-a Ship, an she wuz a fuckin boot if trewth be teld.
[Scot]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 229: Jeremy laughed indulgently [...] ‘Very funny, you silly old boot’.

5. (US campus) an automobile tyre.

[US]Mansell & Hall ‘Hot Rod Terms’ AS XXIX:2 94: Boots, n. Tires.
[US]Current Sl. I:2 1/2: Boots, n. Tires.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

6. (US/W.I.) a condom.

[US]Dahlskog Dict. Contemp. and Colloq. Usage.
[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 6: Boots condoms: u. man mus’ always ride wid ’im boots.

7. (US prison) a new inmate.

[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] DuPont is a new boot [...] a do-rag cotton picker who probably fucks his own sister in the ass as a form of birth control.

In compounds

boothead (n.) [sense 3 + -head sfx (2)]

(US) a derog. ref. to a black person.

[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 252: You could bury a few bootheads real easy with twenty-five rounds.

In phrases

In exclamations

in your boot!

(Aus.) an excl. of dismissal, rejection.

[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/2: inya boot: An expression used instead of ‘I do not concur with you.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 94:3 70: [It] leads not to knowledge, but to the ‘in yer boot’ syndrome, and complete social paralysis.
Orange Coast Mag. Sept. 133/3: In Yer Boot: expression of disagreement.
[NZ] McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

boot boy (n.) [the heavy boots that make up part of their ‘uniform’]

a skinhead.

[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 194: We had these mates. We called ourselves ‘the Penge boys’ – boot-boys, like.
[UK]K. Hudson Dict. of the Teenage Revolution 24: Bootboy. A member of an aggressive, usually skinhead street gang.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 96: We squat on the curb, surrounded by boot boys.
[UK](con. 1980) N. ‘Razor’ Smith A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 238: I recognized some of them as the boot-boys from the front bar.
[Aus](con. 1960s-70s) T. Taylor Top Fellas 54/2: Skinhead was [...] first replaced by the suedehead, then the smooth/bootboy.
[US]T. Pluck Boy from County Hell 309: [T]he HB boot boys talked among themselves.
boot-eater (n.)

a juror who would rather ‘eat their boots’ than find anyone guilty.

[Ire]Waterford Mail 2 Aug. 4/4: The one boot-eater who pertinaceously held out, is praised in proportion to the abuse heaped upon his fellows.
[Ire]Freeman’s Jrnl (Dublin) 10 Dec. 3/2: He was unrivalled as a Protestant juror, and could always be relied on as a ‘boot-eater’ in the cause.
[UK]London Eve. Standard 27 July 2/6: The boot-eater’s power of endurance was not equal to the trial it was likely to undergo and he submited to the honest verdict of his brother jurors.
[Ire]Dublin Eve. Mail 16 Feb. 2/5: A good boot-eater, who impedes the course of justice, has his reward.
[UK]G.A. Sala Twice Round the Clock 89: An Irish gentleman whose presence on the panel was considered invaluable at state trials, he having the reputation of an indomitable ‘boot-eater.’.
Saunders News-Letter (Dublin) 30 Sept. 3/2: It is not improbable that there may sometimes creep into the jury-box what is known as a ‘boot-eater’ [...] There ought always to be allowance made for at least one ‘boot-eater’ or crotchetty person in every jury.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 17 Mar. 3/3: The celebrated species of jury-man known as the boot-eater [...] One boot-eater , feeling [...] that his religion and love of country depended on his holding out [...] could baffle the most elaborate attempt to bring a criminal to punishment.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 30 Dec. 11/1: Rumour says there are at least nine boot-eaters in the Parnell jury.
[UK]Yorks. Eve. Post 14 Jan. 4/3: The verdict of ‘Not Guilty’ rendered by an eleven of the vaunted Palladium starved into acquiescence by one determined boot-eater.
bootfaced (adj.) [naut. jargon have a sea-boot face, to look unhappy]

gloomy, miserable-looking.

Dly Mirror 30 Aug. 10/3: I rather like the epithet, ‘a boot-faced gloom,’ with which to wither your dearest foe.
[UK]Western Morn. News 14 Nov. 5/3: A lot of pressure is brought to bear with that motive, and it is pressure we are quite boot-faced about.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 304: Another boot-faced zombie.
[UK]Guardian G2 1 Mar. 16: The usherette was boot-faced.
[UK]Sun. Times 6 Feb. 11/3: The PC lobby [...] wants the commission to be a strident, boot-faced, politically correct thought police.
boot hill (n.)

see separate entry.


see separate entries.


see separate entries.


see separate entries.

bootstrap (v.) [phr. pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps. Note computer jargon boot(strap), to start the machine]

(orig. US) to improve one’s lot in life by one’s own efforts; thus bootstrapper n., bootstrapping adj.

[US]Press & Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) 25 July 6/1: All the effort expended in such boot-strappings and such raindow chasings [etc].
[US]Dly American (Somerset, PA) 20 July 4/2: The cotton textile industry, whose bootstraping code went into effect Monday.
[Can]Edmonton Jrnl (Alberta) 20 July 11/6: It sounded to him like ‘boot-strapping de luxe’.
[US]Time 27 Aug. 91: For its bootstrapping job, the [petroleum] industry is earning its merited reward [HDAS].
[US]Business Week 2 Nov. 103: Sullivan’s idea of Negroes bootstrapping themselves has solidified his business support [HDAS].
Everett (WA) Herald 27 Sept. 5b: The tribe has been ‘bootstrapping’ itself for the past 40 years as it struggled to develop the land of the reservation [HDAS].
Beckwith & Knox Delta Force 90: The Army gave me the year to bootstrap. I found I loved school and I graduated with a 3.5 grade average.
Amer. Politics Journal 30 Dec. n.p.: Could this be Newt’s plan to bootstrap himself into the Senate?
[UK]J. Entine Taboo 281: Although any one athlete may bootstrap himself to stardom, the pattern of athletic success is circumscribed by the biology of human evolution.
old boot (n.)

Aus. a term of (affectionate) address.

P. Temple ‘High Art’ in The Red Hand 17: ‘Steady on, old boot [...] You may have gone troppo’.

In phrases

are your boots laced?

(US black) a general query as to the state of affairs; is everything in order? are you ready? do you understand?

[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl.
[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 10: Are [one’s] boots laced (1930s–1940s) inquiry as to whether or not things are in their proper order, or, more vaguely, [...] as to whether or not one understands whatever is in question.
boot and shoe (n.) (also boot and shoe fiend, boot-and-shoer, boots and shoes) [such an addict has pawned even his shoes in order to buy narcotics]

(US drugs) the lowest class of narcotics user.

[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 119/1: boots-and-shoes. A down-and-out addict who has literally sold or pawned all his clothes to buy dope. All underworld addicts eventually ‘go boots-and-shoes.’.
[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Murtagh & Harris Who Live In Shadow (1960) 17: He is what is known around Junktown as a birdcage hype, a flophouse type, a boot-and-shoer.
boot in (v.) [SE boot, to kick]

(US) to urge, to force.

[US] D. Runyon in Breslin Damon Runyon (1992) 220: Never a handy / Guy like Sande / Bootin’ them babies in.
boots (and all) (adv.)

(Aus./N.Z.) absolutely, completely, with no reservations.

[Aus]Maitland Mercury (NSW) 6 Apr. 2/5: It became celebrated lately for the famous parish of Hastings [...] when many an expectant, cocksure of jumping into a fortune, boots and all, was bamboozled out of cash certain for prizes improbable.
[US] ‘How Sally Hooter Got Snake-Bit’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 72: He was [...] er slobberin’ at the mouth, an’ er cuttin up shines worse nor er bob-tail bull in fly time! I tell you what, ef he didn’t go it boots that time, I don’t know!
[Aus]Brisbane Courier 5 Feb. 3/3: If he passes the Rubicon safely, and makes a fair profit on his crop, we all mean to gird up our loins, and rush head first, head and tail, boots and all, into sugar.
[UK]W.B. Churchward Blackbirding In The South Pacific 134: I mean to live, if I have to eat you, boots and all. Understand?
[Aus]Courier Mail (Brisbane) 5 Mar. 11/3: ‘Boots and all’ means on your toes, and applies to the whole team.
Canbera Times 7 June 2/4: Mr. Taylor said there was only one way to fight an influence such as Mr. Lang had no the Labour Party, and that was ‘boots and all.’ .
[NZ]D. Davin For Rest of our Lives 96: The next thing he’ll do is counter-attack, boots and all.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 86: It’d have been boots and all then for Jimmy Brockett.
[Aus]G.W. Turner Eng. Lang. in Aus. and N.Z. 107: The list of items valid in both countries is a long one and would include [...] boots and all ‘without reservation’ (especially in the phrase ‘be in boots and all’).
[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 113: He jumped in, boots an’ all, and Davo racked off with the capital.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 18/2: boots and all no holds barred, complete or enthusiastic commitment.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
die in one’s boots (v.) (also die with one’s boots on)

see under die v.

give it the boot (v.) [one pushes down on the accelerator with a boot or shoe]

to accelerate.

Mario posting 12 Aug. at 🌐 It’s hardly a ‘quiet’ BOV when he gave it the boot as I could hear the thing sitting behind him in traffic.
give someone boots (v.)

to dismiss, to eject, to ‘kick out’.

[UK]Sportsman (London) 9 July 4/1: Give him boots! There is great virtue in leather, and especially the sole of a boot when properly applied to skunking fellows who bring disrepute on an honourable profession.
have one’s boots on (v.) (also …boots laced, lace up one’s boots) [one is thus ready to confront the world]

(US black) to be wise, sophisticated, intelligent.

[US] ‘Hectic Harlem’ in N.Y. Amsterdam News 8 Feb. sect. 2: GOT YOUR BOOTS LACED. – To inquire whether or not a person completely understands, or is prepared.
Duckett & Staples ‘Double Feature’ in N.Y. Age 27 Feb. 7/1: You really should lace up your Boots and get hep to yourself.
[US] ‘Sl. among Nebraska Negroes’ in AS XIII:4 Dec. 317/1: Hip me to the jive! and lace my boots! mean ‘put me wise!’ Thus to be hipped or to have one’s boots laced is to be aware of a situation.
[US]Herbert & Spencer Jitterbug Jamboree Song Book 32: got your boots on: know what it’s all about.
[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 256: got your boots on: you know what it is all about, you are a hep cat, you are wise.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 6: A fine frame moves on in most frantic with her boots laced laying much tracks. It’s that lil old ice cream cone D, and You can believe the cats scream murder when she goes into her canary act.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) Décharné Straight from the Fridge Dad 17: Boots laced up tight Hep, righteous, in the know, a suave customer.
lace someone’s boots (v.)

(US black) to inform, to explain to.

[US]A.E. Duckett ‘Truckin ’round Brooklyn’ in N.Y. Age 17 Apr. 7/1: In case you’re not hipped [...] we’re lacin’ your boots for ya.
like old boots (adv.)

a general intensifier, e.g. fight like old boots, to fight enthusiastically.

[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 122: I hooked it; and, calling in the Charlies, why we fetched ’em on like old boots, sir, at the very fact.
[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 223: He [...] drove his heels into ‘Tom Trot’ – that’s the new grey horse, sir, if you please – and was out of sight like old boots.
M.E. Braddon Sir Jasper xxvii, 282: I’ll stick to you like old boots [F&H].
[UK]Sl. Dict. 241: Old boots a simile as general in its application as it is irrelevant. ‘Like old boots’ means like anything. ‘As cheeky as old boots;’ ‘As quick as old boots,’ seem a little more reasonable, new boots being somewhat unfavourable to speedy locomotion.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 22 Mar. 5/1: He’ll guzzle down milk like old boots.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Derby Day’ in Punch 1 June 258/1: He lectured me, too, like old boots.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 186/2: Old boots, To fight like. Fight like Marlborough – the first English general to wear immense jack boots. [...] ‘My dawg can fet like old boots, and shoon too.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 July 9/3: Scorbutic youths – absurd galoots – / And aged baldheads go / And are uplifted, like Old Boots, / By sitting through our show.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 590: He could spin those yarns for hours on end all night long and lie like old boots.
[Aus]Advertiser (Adelaide) 20 Jan. 11/7: An early nickname for his Satanic Majesty, ‘Old Boots’ survives in the expression ‘It’s raining like Old Boots’.
not in these boots

(US) phr. of rejection, disavowal.

[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter I 29: ‘[W]e [...] told him we would have him on board in a brace of shakes. “Not in these boots,” he said’.
out of one’s boots (adv.) [one has been ‘blown’ or ‘knocked’ out of one’s boots]

(US) comprehensively, convincingly, totally.

[US]Omaha Dly Bee (NE) 19 Jan. 4/1: Policeman Byrne [...] on the streets again, ready to shake the disorderly ones out of their boots if they don’t come along with him.
[US]Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ) 24 May 2/1: [He] predicts that the Democratic party will be whipped out of its boots in November.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Jan. 24/3: First hand I picked up on my return was a heart-flush, and I rose the board out of its boots, and had them all working for me for a fortnight.
pull up one’s boot (v.) [the adoption of smart boots as a sign of affluence]

(costermonger) to prosper, to make money.

[UK]J. Diprose London Life 42: These knights of the barrow – in the language of the fraternity – often boast that if one ‘pulls up his boot,’ he can ‘make up his leg’ by going to market early and ‘knock in’ his ‘ten or twelve hog afore breakfast’.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 202/2: Pull up my boot (Costermongers’). To make money. When a man prepares for his day’s work, be pulls on and strings up his boots.
put the boot on (v.) (also …boots on) [one puts on one’s boots before leaving the house]

(Irish) to bring to a close.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 362: But Dignam’s put the boots on it.
[Ire]Joyce Stephen Hero 247: ‘The first day I came here I saw some bills up about a concert.’ ‘O, that’s off. Father Lohan put the boots on that’ .