Green’s Dictionary of Slang

max n.

also all max, maxamus, maximus, maxy, old max
[all abbr. of SE maximum]

1. gin, esp. high-quality gin.

[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 10: In Compassion to the old Woman, [they] gave her the Three-Half-Pence back again, bidding her buy a Quartern of Max with it to cheer her Spirits.
[UK]Life and Character of Moll King 11: Let me see, [...] a Double Gage of Rum Slobber, is Thrums; and a Quartern of Max, is three Megs.
[UK]Reading Mercury 3 May 4/2: A glass of as good maxamus as ever tipp’d over an exciseman’s tongue.
[UK] ‘A Scene in the Election’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 69: A glass of as good maximus as e’er tip’t over an exciseman’s tongue.
[UK] ‘Jonny Raw and Polly Clark’ in Batchelar’s Jovial Fellows Collection of Songs 4: She got no max, so blow’d up well.
[UK] ‘Widow Waddle, of Chickabiddy Lane’ in Merry Melodist 6: Mrs. Tick, one day, inflam’d with max and muggy weather, / She with a joint-stool broke the peace, and Tommy’s head together.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 268: When the fast-setting sun of our life’s dimly shining — / Oh, brighten his beams with ‘Old Max’.
[UK] ‘A Crowing Death’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 15: Close to a gin-shop Fish-Meg stood [...] And every hour to warm her blood, / Cried, ‘Landlord bring some max!’.
[Ire] ‘A Week’s Matrimony’ Dublin Comic Songster 293: Ten goes of max put out of sight.
[Aus]Australasian Chron. (Sydney) 19 July 2/1: On all max, lush, and lightning’s flash, the many wax too prolix.
[UK]New Swell’s Night Guide to the Bowers of Venus 8: Song and joke swim amid the inspiring max.
[UK]Dickens ‘Slang’ in Household Words 24 Sept. 75/2: For one article of drink, gin, we have [...] max, juniper, gatter, duke, jackey, tape, blue-ruin, cream of the valley, white satin, old Tom.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 19 June 3/2: He (the indigo) tasted it and discovered it to be ‘max’.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 160/1: A ‘go of rum,’ or a ‘glass of max,’ – for so a dram of neat spirit was called then.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]W. Besant Fifty Years Ago 163: The Royal Saloon, Piccadilly, where one looked in for a ‘few goes of the max’.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 21 Dec. 11/2: [He] took a long pnll at his maxy-bottle — maxy means Presbyterian cardial, you know, a beverage which the great man was very partial to.

2. (UK Und.) any form of alcohol.

[UK]W.N. Glascock Land Sharks and Sea Gulls II 110: Now, my covey [...] You don’t seem to be over well off in regard o’ licker. Come, come, an’ take a drop o’ max with us.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 51/2: We’re all ‘lushing’ like blazes on Port, Madeira and every other ‘max’ in the ‘drum’.

3. (US campus) the maximum score or achievement in an examination, the student who achieves this.

[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 310: max. [...] At Union College, he who receives the highest possible number of marks, which is one hundred, in each study, for a term, is said to take Max (or maximum); to be a Max scholar.
[US]G.C. Strong Cadet Life W. Point 64: [He was] working out an unmistakable ‘max’ in the mathematical section-room [DA].
[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 45: max, n. Maximum mark.
[US]K. Banning West Point Today 296: Max, n. A complete success in recitation; a maximum mark of 3.0 [DA].
[UK]Chillicothe (MO) Constitution-Trib. 11 Aug. 2/3: He was neither a ‘max’ (top rank in studies) nor a ‘goat’ (in lower sections of his class).

4. (US Und.) the maximum sentence for an offence.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 137/1: Max. (P) The maximum limit of an indeterminate prison sentence; the maximum penalty, other than capital punishment, provided by law for any specific crime.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 249: The rest of me was in Sing Sing, for a max of fifteen years.
[US]M. Braly False Starts 354: They could keep me until I had served my max. And my max was life.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

5. (Can./US) a maximum security jail; thus max rat, an inmate of such an institution.

[US] in ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 279: Normally in a ‘max’ there would be a dozen badmouthing creeps doing the same job.
[US]S.L. Hills Tragic Magic 138: When you get to the max joints, you get guys that are doing life.
[US]T. Fontana ‘A Cock and Balls Story’ Oz ser. 4 ep. 1 [TV script] In a lot of other maxes they give the dinks in solitary one hour a day rec time.
[US]S.M. Jones Lives Laid Away [ebook] ‘The kind of precise planning and tactical execution that your average max rat is nowhere near capable of’.

6. (US campus) the highest level or degree.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 4: the max – greatest degree.

7. (drugs) gamma hydroxy butyrate, GBH, dissolved in water and mixed with amphetamines.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 14: Max — Gamma hydroxybutyrate dissolved in water and mixed with amphetamines.

In derivatives

In compounds

max-ken (n.) [ken n.1 (2)]

(UK Und.) a tavern specializing in gin.

[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 31 July [Internet] We went to a little Max-Ken, near Fleet-Lane, where we drank so long we could scarce see one another.

In phrases

to the max (adv.) (also to the maxi) [SE maximum, orig. in the California youth cultures]

to the greatest extent, to the most extreme degree.

[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 84: to the max adv. to the greatest extent; to the ultimate degree.
[US]H. Feldman et al. Angel Dust 171: I really digged that, you know, getting ozoned to the max.
[US]N. Stephenson Big U (2001) 231: Dex spazzed out to the max.
[US]Ice-T ‘High Rollers’ [lyrics] Gangsters to the max, all marks will be taxed.
[UK]G. Small Ruthless 229: Such hallowed figures are given ‘respect to the max. Anybody try fi hurt him, fi hurt we,’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mud Crab Boogie (2013) [ebook] One-upmanship to the max.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 9 July 10: Our trio [...] are bummed to the max.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 29 Aug. 10: Yanks do sentimentality to the max. Sometimes, of course they over do it.
[US]T. Piccirilli Fever Kill 143: These people, jazzed up, jonesing, and jinxed to the max.
[UK]K. Richards Life 228: The whole place [i.e. prison]is supposed to intimidate you to the max.
A$AP Rocky ‘Fashion Killa’ [lyrics] Rockin’, rollin’, swaggin’ to the max.
[UK]A. Wheatle Crongton Knights 29: Obviously Venetia was stressed to the max.