Green’s Dictionary of Slang

raw adj.

[SE raw, in a natural, unadorned and undiluted state]

1. inexperienced, unsophisticated.

[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c 349: A raw Soldier, who had never been on duty before.
[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 84: Upon which he stared in my face, and told me I was excessively raw, or I would not talk in that manner.
[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 207: Those animals who lead raw boys about the world, under the denomination of travelling governors.
[UK]Sporting Mag. May XX 119/1: Like a lubber so raw, and so soft, / Half a george handed out, at the change did not look.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 59: Poor Johnny Raw! what madness could impel / So rum a Flat to face so prime a Swell!
[UK]Dickens Old Curiosity Shop (1999) 160: He wished [...] he could make out whether he (Kit) was ‘precious raw’ or ‘precious deep’.
[US]Eve. Star (Wash., DC) 9 Oct. 1/5: So unlikly did it seem that the raw uncouth, blundering Yorkshire lad should ever rise to be vice-chancellor of his university.
[UK]G.A. Sala Quite Alone I 34: How amazingly raw you are!
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitmann’s Going to Church’ in Hans Breitmann in Church 111: Dere’s a raw, green corps from Michigan, / Mit horses on de loose; / You men ash vants some hoof-irons, / Look out und crip deir shoes.
[UK]J.K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat 248: We [...] took a ‘raw ’un’ up with us once last season, and we plied him with the customary stretchers about the wonderful things we had done.
[Aus]H. Nisbet Bushranger’s Sweetheart 31: What! Do you think, Tony, my son, that I’d be raw enough to drop one [i.e. a shoe]?
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 93: I was workin’ mates with a raw new-chum feller las’ winter, ringin’ on the Yanko.
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 120: He was fresher than Green Paint and his Work was Raw, but he was so Resilient that no one could pin him to the Mat and keep him there.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 148: A raw jade like yourself ought to learn a little more before she butts into America.
[UK] ‘A Note On Drumming And Bugling’ in M. Page Kiss Me Goodnight, Sgt.-Major (1973) 57: Stand to attention, you raw-arsed recruit.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 110: Whereas you are raw to this business, Sam Yudenow wants you should work your way up.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 22 3: Some raw kid hustler in a bar, I had to bust in his mouth.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 11: He was [...] as raw as a greyhound’s dinner.

2. angry, upset.

[UK]Kipling ‘The Story of the Gadsbys’ in Soldiers Three (1907) 148: I wonder if smashes of this kind are always so raw.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 115: Winnie is, to say the least, dreadfully ‘raw’ over the business.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure Ch. xi: ‘I told him you were my servant. I hope you aren’t offended.’ ‘Nit. What’s dere to be raw about, boss?’.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 99: Jest daring me to turn raw and loose.
[UK]E. Mordaunt Mrs. Van Kleek (1949) 23: It’s this beastly business [...] that’s got me raw.
[US]L. Rosten Dear ‘Herm’ 252: I was all rawed up [...] so I started to dictate a pretty nasty straight-from-the-shoulder reply.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 117: It dawns on me, belatedly, that she’s raw with me about something.
[US](con. 1960s) J. Ellroy Blood’s a Rover 16: ‘You sound a little raw, kid.’ ‘I’m strecthed a bit thin, yeah’.

3. unfair.

[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 59: I don’t blame you a bit [...] I know I’ve stood for things here that is raw work.
[UK]Wodehouse ‘Crowned Heads’ in Man with Two Left Feet 101: I guess it was raw work pulling a tale like that on the old man.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 22: He only remained in the ring when the main event was on or when a fight became either too raw or too slow for the liking of the fans.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 182: There’s some raw work pulled at the font from time to time.
[Aus](con. 1964-65) B. Thorpe Sex and Thugs and Rock ’n’ Roll 153: ‘Not two fuckin’ Pommies in the same band! That’s a bit bloody raw’.

4. (US) honest, candid, unadorned.

[US]Ade Forty Modern Fables 28: The Campaign Committee gave it to him Raw two or three times a Week.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Stroke of Genius’ in Top-Notch 1 Apr. 🌐 ‘It’s a little raw, Jeff, isn’t it?’ I said. ‘Raw your grandmother! I’d put a bomb into each one if I could.’.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 22: Strong like a bull, yet just knocked off in the dark through raw cracker cussedness.
[US]Source Aug. 56: You know where I get the drums from: Tupac’s ‘How Do You Want It.’ Keep it raw.

5. (US) harsh, inhospitable.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 29 Dec. 10/2: From all 1 can learu Denver has stood for some pretty raw things in the fighting line .
[US]H. Green Mr. Jackson 88: Now you might say I’m doin’ raw work to pass you this talk [...] but it’s like this.
[US](con. 1905–25) E.H. Sutherland Professional Thief (1956) 130: The detective made a raw speech, slapped the thief, and was about to slug her.
[US] ‘The Old Black Steer’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 126: When Windy took his maguey down, he suspicioned something raw.

6. suggestive, smutty.

[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) I 20: ‘Whoa, Mary! Backup!’ Bert checked her peremptorily. [...] ‘Billy never makes mistakes like that.’ ‘But he needn’t be so raw,’ she persisted. [Ibid.] Ch. xxiii: ‘What d’ye want another bed for?’ asked Bert. ‘Ain’t one bed enough for the two of you?’ ‘You shut up, Bert!’ Mary cried. ‘Don’t get raw.’.
E. Wilson Show Business Laid Bare 22: The most vulgar comedy spoken today is heard at the Friars Club stag luncheons [...] Most of this is much too raw for the daily newspapers.

7. (US) uncouth, bold, brazen; also as adv. (see cit. 1930).

[US]Van Loan ‘The Pitch-Out’ in Lucky Seventh (2004) 289: I’ve seen him a couple of times getting fresh with you [...] You don’t have to stand for any raw work around here.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Haircut’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 32: I said it had been a kind of a raw thing, but Jim just couldn’t resist no kind of a joke, no matter how raw.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 325: He loved to indulge in naked man-stuff talk, which would be too raw even for Felice’s ears.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 104: That girl—I sure ain’t her mouthpiece or nothin’ like that—but that’s ridin’ raw.
[US]C. Odets Golden Boy I v: He said something funny. It was raw, so I can’t say it.
[US]C. McCullers Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1986) 15: Once he had got on the subject of cat-houses, and afterwards his jokes got so raw he had to be hushed up with beer.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 23: He was quick to turn [the room] into his clubhouse, decorating the walls with raw centerfolds, smoking blunts and downing forties with the other C.M.B. boys.

8. naked.

implied in raw ’uns below.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Battle of Life’ in Punch 21 Sept. in P. Marks (2006) 137: In the great Ring of Life you must fight with the raw ’uns.
[US]Salt Lake Herald Repub. (UT) 19 Dec. 52/2: ‘You’ll have to wear one of little Emily’s nighties.’ ‘I’d rather sleep raw’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Brain Goes Home’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 222: He puts her in the ‘Vanities’ and lets her walk around raw.
[Aus]Northern Times (Carnarvon, WA) 14 July 6/1: Cliff and I had a never-to-be-frogotten swim ‘in the raw’.
[US]F. Brown Dead Ringer 10: A lot of carneys sleep raw in hot weather.
[US]Randolph & Wilson Down in the Holler 277: It got so hot the kids just sprinkled the bed, an’ slept plumb raw.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 175: I’m raw. I’ll have to slip on something.
[US]L. Sanders Pleasures of Helen 130: Fred wanted to sleep in the raw, but I wouldn’t let him.
[Aus]T. Winton That Eye, The Sky 43: Here I am in the nick, raw as a prawn, me shorts back in the bush.

9. (US black) excellent, powerful, impressive.

[US]H. Rhodes Chosen Few (1966) 184: To Blood’s way of thinking, women liked goodness and gentleness, but preferred a periodic asskicking raw man with that goodness and gentleness.
[US]Ice-T ‘Six in the Morning’ 🎵 Solid gold the ride was raw.
[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 t70: That move was raw!
[US]R. Jacobs in San Jose Mercury News 11 May n.p.: Raw (adj) – Wonderful, awesome, great. (syn. cool, tight, dope, fly, phat). The special effects in the movie were raw.
[US]C. Eble (ed.) UNC-CH Campus Sl. Spring 2014.

10. (US) used of sexual intercourse without a condom.

[US]G. Indiana Rent Boy 34: The only real intelligent part of Chip is his penis, getting it up there raw is unbelievable [...] I said, You asshole, what about AIDS.
[US]in POZ June 🌐 I’ve only gone raw with a positive guy that one time. This has mostly to do with the fact that I’m in a monogamous relationship with a negative guy. If I weren’t, I think I’d actively pursue barebacking [...] and feel OK about it.

11. (W.I.) hungry.

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 43: Raw hungry: u. me raw/I’m very hungry.

12. (UK black) very bad.

[UK]Dizzee Rascal ‘I Luv U’ 🎵 Fifteen. She’s under-age, that’s raw.

In compounds

raw deal (n.) (also rough deal) [sense 3 above + deal n.1 (3)]

(orig. US) unfair, harsh treatment, particularly poor luck; usu. from the point of view of the victim.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 June 6/4: The clever owner of the blue and yellow is said to have had rather a ‘rough deal’.
Dly Astorian (Astoria, OR) 14 Dec. 1/2: What a terrible punishment tarring and feathering really is [...] I had no idea [...] what a rough deal the process is.
[US]San Antonio Light (TX) 9 Aug. 3/2: [headline] The Anglo-Texan Correspondent to a British Paper Gives the Negro of Texas a Very Rough Deal.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 58: Was n’t that a raw deal, huh?
[US]Eve. Herald (Shenandoah, PA) 25 May 1/5: Mr Titman’s horse received rather a rough deal.
[US]Guthrie Dly Leader (OK) 8 July 1/6: Jessie Morrison Gets Rough Deal [...] her sentence is increased to 25 years.
[US]Hopkinsville Kentuckian (KY) 8 May 1/5: Man of them are fairminded even in politics and would not stand for such a raw deal.
[UK]Wodehouse Gentleman of Leisure Ch. vii: Boss, I’ve had a raw deal. On de level, I has.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 27 May 136/3: He was a good sport, too, and I think he got a rough deal.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Champion’ in Coll. Short Stories (1941) 117: His mother canned him out o’ the house for bein’ no good. She gave him a raw deal, I guess.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 1 Sept. 3/5: [headline] Cripple Gets Rough Deal.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 285: I know a lot of old fellers even, thinks the boys are gettin a raw deal.
[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 8 Apr. [synd. col.] Ilka Chase is burning over the ‘raw deal’ she alleges M.G.M. handed her.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 151: You gave Crazy a raw deal.
[US]Mad mag. May–June 33: We have unanimously concluded that you got a raw deal.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 88: That’s a pretty rough deal finding someone like that.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 13: Raw deal. I oughta—.
[US]J. Hersey Algiers Motel Incident 136: I think I’m getting a raw deal.
[US]D. Goines Daddy Cool (1997) 92: They believed that he was getting a raw deal. It wasn’t his fault that his stepsister started selling pussy.
[UK]A-Team Storybook 16: Some of the boys feel we’re getting a raw deal, that people don’t take enough notice of us.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 26 July 4: Patients get a raw deal from private health care.
[UK]Daily Express 20 May 105: Randi is getting a raw deal.
[US] N. Flexner Disassembled Man [ebook] You’ve been handed a raw deal, Frankie, and you deserve better.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

raw lobster (n.) (also blue lobster) [SE raw + lobster n.1 (1b); i.e. the blue uniform, which resembles an unboiled or raw lobster]

a policeman; thus raw lobster house, a police station.

[UK] ‘The Scenes of Manchester’ in Roy Palmer A Touch of the Times 62: The raw lobster pops you in the Bailey.
[UK]Berks Chron. 4 Dec. 4/5: ‘You be d—d,’ says he, ‘you Irish raw lobster.’ [...] and off I dragged him to the station-house.
[UK]Cruikshank & Wight Sun. in London 21: A Sporting paper is published only on Sunday [...] denounces all police officers as public nuisances and raw lobsters.
[UK]Morn. Chron. (London) 2 Oct. 4/4: This would be the time for the Raw Lobsters to gather evidence against them.
[UK] ‘Poll Newry, The Dainty Flag-Hopper’ Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 34: The raw lobsters she sets at defiance, / She tips ’em a bit of her science; / Like a boxer she floors, the blue devils by scores, / And then in a crack she will fly hence.
[UK]Bradford Obs. 13 Apr. 2/4: There was some ugly work last night. My body-guard chucked a raw lobster (a policeman) into the canal.
[UK]H. Christmas in Pegge Anecdotes of the Eng. Lang. 298: The guardians of the public peace, who walk about in blue coats and white trimmings, are called ‘raw lobsters’.
[UK]Leeds Times 22 June 6/2: The raw lobster house, foot of Park Row.
[UK] ‘Wakefield Gaol’ in R. Palmer Touch of the Times 252: Don’t let your passions act to free, And keep from each blue lobster’s claw.
[UK]Worcs. Chron. 16 June 7/4: [heading] Assault by a ‘Raw Lobster,’ Not a Policeman.
[UK] ‘Betty and Joe’ in Rakish Rhymer (1917) 27: When you wear the coat of blue, and the slap-up shiney tile, / You’ll be just like a raw lobster that has not had a bite — / With your truncheon in your pocket.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 320: A policeman ... A fly, [...] body-snatcher, raw lobster, tin ribs, stalk, danger signal, terror etc.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 7 Apr. 3/3: Among other slang terms for police-men are rozzers, cossacks, frog; raw lobster, M.P. (member of police) nam.
raw meat (n.)

1. (also raw sausage) the penis [meat n. (2)/sausage n. (3)].

[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1927) 120: I’ll warrant your poor cuckolds are hovering about the change to hear what news from Flanders, whilst you, like a couple of hollow-bellied wh---s, are sailing up to Spring Gardens to cram one end with roasted fowls, and other with raw sausages.
[UK] ‘The Butcher’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) II 216: Take care that her mag with raw meat is well fed, / Lest the horns of an ox should adorn your calve’s head.
[UK]‘Mr Pluck, The Leadenhall Butcher’ in Funny Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 43: Take care that her maw with raw meat is well fed / Lest the horns of an ox should adorn your calve’s-head.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 50: the penis [...] raw meat (poised before the fellator’s lips: ‘All your analisp will deliver is a diagnosis that you return to your diet of raw meat’).

2. a woman who partakes, naked, in sex shows.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 963/2: C.19–early 19; ob.

3. a prostitute caught in flagrante; thus raw-meat business, prostitution.

[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 241: When bar-loafer meets pimp, at £1 a side, then comes the raw-meat business.
raw meat man (n.)

(Aus.) a bare-knuckle boxer.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 July 15/1: You are a Queensberry boxer. I am a raw-meat man. I claim to be a champion bare-fist bruiser of the world, the lineal descendant of the old-time fist-fighters, under the rules of the London prize ring.
raw prawn (n.)

see separate entry.

raw ’uns (n.) (also raws) [one’s bare skin]

the fists, esp. as used in a fight.

[UK]London Dly News 29 July 4/8: This was to be ‘an out and out affair with the raw ’uns’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 17 Nov. 10/1: There is still the average [...] mill with, as the English pugs say, the ‘raw uns’.
[UK]Manchester Eve. News 4 Oct. 2/3: When they were called upon to fight with their naked fists — technically termed the ‘raw ’uns’ — they made [...] a very poor show.
[US]Witchita Eagle (KS) 13 Mar. 3/5: Few fighters have the courage to fight with the ‘raw ’uns’.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 10 Jan. 5/1: The two champions doffed the brown gloves, shook what they call their ‘raw’uns,’ and retired amid a Niagra [sic] of applause.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 21 Sept. 7/3: A young man was punched worse than the knocked out victim of a finish fight with the raw ’uns.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 July 18/1: The writer has seen Dooley, in a fight with the raw ’uns, and show that he could take a pasting with the best of them, but he is of so nervous a temperament that he is usually beaten before he steps into the ring.
[UK]Mirror of Life 9 June 14/2: [A] certain fighter [...] had a habit of securing a mug to back him for an occasional scrap in private with the raw ’uns.
[US]Ravalli Republican (Stevensville, MT) 20 Jan. 3/4: Gloves [...] were not considered deadly enough by the ‘kids’ [...] so ‘raw ’uns’ were substituted.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 17: He is better with the raws, and is very bad to tackle in a street row.
[UK]Illus. Police News 23 Sept. 4/1: Fight with the Raw ’Uns. Jim Fox Beats Jack Lee.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 28 Aug. 3/3: The ring was formed (as they say when describing a Sunday morning mill on the grass with the raw ’uns).
[UK]Marvel 1 Dec. 523: ‘Gloves or the raw ’uns?’ asked the soldier.
Hastings & St Leonard’s Obs. 3 Sept. 5/5: It is a fight in the ‘buff’ with ‘raw ’uns’.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 4 Sept. 8/7: He knows the fist game from every angle, both with the gloves and the ‘raw ’uns’.
[UK]Marvel 24 July 15: In the ring, with the ‘raw ’uns,’ as they used to call the naked fists, he was a terror to his opponents.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 93: He offered me a guinea to mill him with the gloves, but I’ve done it with the raw ’uns for love.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 9: He could just remember the old boys who had fought with the raw ’uns on Wormwood Scrubs Common.