Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dark n.

1. (Aus.) Australian-distilled, dark, very strong brandy [the dark red colour].

[Aus]W. Kelly Life in Victoria I 166: Fill us a nobbler – dark; what’s yours, mate?
[UK]Leeds Times 5 Feb. 6/1: It was not thought polite the refuse [...] the ‘brandy spider’ or the ’nobbler dark’.
W. Thomson-Gregg Desperate Character I 39–40: ‘Two dark, my dear’ [...] The liquor was brandy – colonial brandy – of the darkest hue and most excruciating strength.

2. (US) a derog. term for a black person [abbr. darkie n. (1)/SE dark].

[US]N.-Y. Trib. 4 Mar. n.p.: They [slaves] were assisted by two venerable old darks who were sitting cross-legged on the floor [DA].
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 15 Nov. 14/3: They [business men] play on a regular system, and it does not become with them a fever as it is with the ‘darks’.
[US]J.S. Wood Yale Yarns 46: You darks are just as safe under a democratic regime as a republican.
[US]S. Hale letter from Jamaica, 27 Mar. in Atkinson Letters of Susan Hale (1919) 384: Two darks are lying on their back on the sunny curbstone.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 235: To take up with a girl whose folk travel, and not only that . . . dark into the bargain! It’s just the limit!
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 178: I watched a self-chosen white man make it from a dark scene.
[Aus] K. Gilbert Living Black 127: Some of the darks are not too happy.

3. (Aus./US prison) solitary confinement in a dark cell.

[US]J. Hawthorne Confessions of Convict 258: ‘It’s so dull here, I’m sure to break out.’ ‘And then you’ll go to the “dark”.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Sept. 33/1: I have known a man get seven days ‘dark’ for putting his initials on a whitewashed wall.

4. (Aus.) a nickname for those with dark hair or complexion.

[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: dark. Mode of addressing especially those with dark hair or complexion.

5. (US campus) a fool, a dullard [dark adj. (1)].

[US]Current Sl. I:3 2/1: Dark, n. A sluggish, stupid person.
[US]Current Sl. IV:1.

6. (Aus. prison) tobacco [the dark red colour].

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Dark. 1. Tobacco.

7. (UK drugs) heroin.

1011 ‘The Truth’ [lyrics] The bud is green, the dark is brown and the crack look yellow.

In compounds

darktown (n.) (also darkeytown, darkytown) [darkie n. (1)]

(US) the black area of a town or city; also attrib.

[US]R.A. Campbell Campbell’s Gazeteer of Missouri 430: Lincolnville, adjacent to Sedalia, sometimes called St. Eyre, and popularly known as ‘Darkeytown,’ has a population of about 1,000, all of whom are colored.
[US]Staunton Spectator (VA) 22 Apr. 1/8: Old Aunt Susan Taylor, as she was called by all who knew her, died last night at her residence in Darkytown.
[US]F.W. Palmer ‘Gleanings for the “DAE” Supplement’ in AS XXII:3 202/1: The Darktown Fire Brigade—Saved!
[US]Bismarck Wkly Trib. (ND) 8 Feb. 8/2: The whole of Darktown danced [...] ’Liza Jane was whooped up as only Darktown knows how.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 24 Feb. 4/8: The Darktown Debating Club once chose as a matter for deep discussion the following somehwat simple subject [etc.].
[US]Times (Richmond, VA) 15 Dec. 15/7: The undertaker [...] is the most unpopular man in Darkytown.
[US]Duffee & Belli [song title] Make No Mistake: A Darktown Suggestion.
Rock Is. Argus 6 Apr. 8/2: The old time exponents of black face comedy, in their funny sketch, ‘Dark-town Doings’.
[US]Falls City Trib. (NE) 12 Aug. 13/1: The most interesting fire is always a blaze in Darktown [...] The negroes begin to empty houses of the content for blocks around.
[US]Rock Is. Argus (IL) 21 Mar. 2/1: Night Captain Packy Phelan and Detective George Shanley made a raid in darkytown invading the colored precinct on Fifth Street.
[US]Shipp & Rogers [song title] The Sheathgown in Darktown.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 22 May 2nd sect. 10/4: It is feared that if [Jack] Johnson is getting the better of Jeff a stray shot from the ringside will, plunge Darktown into mourning.
[US]East Oregonian 17 Mar. 2/6: Bill Bailey, one of the darkeytown merrymakers, started [...] ‘All Aboard for Monkey Town’.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 31 Jan. 2/8: The arrangement is [...] more on the lines of a Darktown fire brigade than [...] of a sensible body of men.
[US]Watchman & Southron (Sumter, SC) 15 July 8/6: Lucious [sic] Fruit Given Away and Provide a Feast in Darkeytown [...] when six box cars loaded with watermelons were derailed.
[US]Noble Sissle ‘Mirandy’ [lyrics] The dark-town duke of Jacksonville was a Jackson nicknamed Sandy, / This dusky duke from Jacksonville had a gal they called Mirandy.
Hunter-Trader-Trapper 39 54: Brother Smith owned the best coon dog in the ebony community of Darkytown [...] In Darkytown it is a tradition that left handed razor' manipulators are not to be held lightly.
[US]Odum & Johnson Negro Workaday Songs 69: I’m de rough stuff of dark-town alley, / I’m de man dey hates to see.
M.H. Farnham Rebellion 97: Parson Alderson of Darkeytown was caught calling once too often on the fascinating Mrs. Pansy Blue.
[US]Don Redmond ‘How Ya Feelin’?’ [lyrics] Say, Mandy Green, that Darktown queen, / Never seems to hold her man.
C. Wood Deep River 209: They want the white women to skulk at home, frightened to death, while they have their good time in darkeytown.
[US]Sat. Eve. Post 217 53: All his life the dapper little Beau Krummell of Birmingham’s Darktown had lived by his wits.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 259: A high police official, a power in Darktown, owns and operates several colored whore-houses.
[US]P. Crump Burn, Killer, Burn! 10: Darkytown, the dingy, tattered side of life.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 23 March in Proud Highway (1997) 564: Negro gangs on darktown streetcorners.
J. Arnold Prettybelle 69: I used to dream that Johnny was hiding out in Darkytown, in blackface or something.
[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 206: Here’s one standing right on my own front porch [...] lippin me just like I strayed into Jackson darktown.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Jungletown Jihad’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 327: Darktown dipped by. Shit shacks, shine stands.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

In phrases

in the dark (adj.) [the colour of the coffee]

(US) of coffee, black.

[US] ‘Dict. of Diningroom Sl.’ in Brooklyn Daily Eagle 3 July 13: ‘Coffee in the dark’ and ‘slope in a cup with the light out’ signify coffee without milk.
[US]Boston Globe 24 Feb. 18: The next order was for raw on the side, coffee in the dark and plenty of pogie. In response to this came rare roast beef, black coffee and a double allowance of bread.
Commercial (Union City, TN) 22 May 5/1: The woman ordered a cup of coffee with cream, two lumps of sugar [...] The man wanted a cup of coffee without cream [...] the waiter ordered, ‘Cup of mud, two chunks of ballast, milk the Jersey [...] Draw another in the dark’.
[US]H.W. Bentley ‘Linguistic Concoctions of the Soda Jerker’ in AS XI:1 43: DRAW ONE. Cup of coffee. [...] DRAW ONE IN THE DARK. Black coffee.
[US]J. Smiley Hash House Lingo 7: Black coffee is ordered with [...] draw one in the dark.