Green’s Dictionary of Slang

straight adj.2


1. unadulterated, of liquor; or subseq. of a powdered narcotic.

[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune 201: The watchman [...] has as great an aversion to street minstrels at night as a toper has to water straight.
[US]‘Q.K. Philander Doesticks’ Doesticks Letters 59: My glass of brandy, [...] [which] should have been ‘straight,’ was also surreptitiously diluted.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 20 Nov. 3/3: ‘Proposals for a New Slang Dictionary’ [...] DRINKS, STRAIGHT.-Straight drinks are so called after the mathematical definition of a straight or right line, which is always the shortest: straight drinks frequently consisting of summut short.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents Abroad 148: Our general said, ‘We will take a whiskey straight.’.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Innocents at Home 447: Absorbing nine gallons of ‘straight’ whiskey.
[US]F.H. Hart Sazerac Lying Club 52: Mr. Truefact took the ‘usual thing,’ and the other members likewise took theirs ‘straight’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Feb. 6/4: The others fled / When they twigged the spread, / With their noses skyward slewed; / There were seven or eight / Went for whiskey straight, / And lord! how they grunted and phewed!
[UK]Fortnightly Rev. N.S. xxxix 76: Dissipating their rare and precious cash on whiskey straight in the ever-recurring bar-rooms [F&H].
[UK]G.A. Sala Things I Have Seen I 260: Imbibing too much whisky ‘straight’.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘Proof of the Pudding’ in Strictly Business (1915) 249: Could you get me a drink from the sideboard, Tommy? No; straight; nothing on the side.
[US]D. Parker ‘Big Blonde’ in Penguin Dorothy Parker (1982) 196: ‘You need a little snifter. How about it?’ ‘Yeah,’ she said. ‘Just straight.’.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 13: Straight Scotch. Make it fast, will you?
[US]J.M. Cain Mildred Pierce (1985) 521: ‘I’m out of ice and seltzer, but —’ ‘I prefer it straight.’.
[UK]K. Howard Small Time Crooks 22: ‘What’ll ya take, Mick?’ ‘Rye straight fer me, boss.’.
[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 75: Just put a little baking soda into that heroin, and don’t give it to them straight. [Ibid.] 109: Dulcy [...] drank two fingers of brandy straight.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 63: Nobody drinks a straight shot any more.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 283: Lunch: Fritos, straight vodka.
[US]UGK ‘Cocaine’ [lyrics] Cause after the deal, we would all celebrate / Happy cause it wasn’t no jacking, and the product was straight.

2. sober; emotionally stable.

[US] ‘Root Hog or Die’ Bob Smith’s Clown Song and Joke Bk 37: My wife to me did say / ‘Dear Bob, try if you can keep all straight to-day, / Don’t go drinkin’ nasty liquor or into your head ’twill fly’.
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 147: He’s the duke of them all when he lays off the liquor. He’s gave me his word [...] and he’s kept straight so far.
[US]Babs Gonzales ‘The Be-Bop Santa Claus’ [lyrics] Pops was wigged behind this crazy scene / And, before he was straight, / Down came the cat.
[US]Current Sl. V:4 20: Straight, adj. Abstaining from [...] alcohol.
[US]H. Selby Jr Song of the Silent Snow (1988) 76: He looks pretty straight, maybe he slept it off.

3. not currently using drugs; orig. of narcotics but extended to any drug.

[US]Kerouac letter 7 Aug. in Charters I (1995) 505: Bill G. is straight.
[US]N. von Hoffman We are the People Our Parents Warned Us Against 246: During the day he was pretty straight. He’d only shoot enough to maintain his habit.
[US]Rolling Stone 22 Sept. 42: The press immediately pounced on the drug references, especially since Elvis had maintained a straight image throughout his career.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 344: straight: 1. Not high at the moment. 2. Off drugs. 3. Never using or having used drugs.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 74: He couldn’t deal with it [i.e. confusion], high or straight.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 148: ‘She was high when she told me what happened.’ [...] ‘And she wouldn’t admit this when she was straight?’.

4. of an addict, having had the first dose of the day.

[US]Lannoy & Masterson ‘Teen-age Hophead Jargon’ AS XXVII:1 24: are you holding? phr. Have you any drugs for sale? Usually prefaced by: ‘Man, set me straight.’.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 11–12: This is his ‘wake-up,’ a morning shot to hold off the anxiety and sickness of withdrawal and get him ‘straight’ enough to start the day.

5. in possession of drugs.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 100: I want to cop [...] Can I? Are you straight?
[US]Sepe & Telano Cop Team 177: He told me he’ll be straight for later on [...] He’s got to go and re-up.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 69: Smoke? Smoke? Red top. Jumbo. Double Up. You straight, man?

6. (US) under the influence of drugs, the underlying sense is of escaping the pain of withdrawal symptoms.

[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 103: You straight man, just straighten me.
[US]E. Gilbert Vice Trap 42: I didn’t want to get straight. But it was too late now. [Ibid.] 55: Graemie [...] his pop-eyes half closed, smiling to himelf. He was straight all right. Not on grass either.
[US]J. Mills Panic in Needle Park (1971) 12: He hopes that the shot will be at least strong enough to make him straight for a few hours.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 176: Enough [heroin] to keep us straight so we won’t have to worry bout coppin’ for a while.
[US]H. Selby Jr Requiem for a Dream (1987) 9: Just a taste once in a while [...] just enough to stay straight.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Johnnie I’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 116: Somehow maintaining a junk habit – just managing to keep straight enough not to collapse completely.

7. of marijuana, of average quality.

[US]G. Scott-Heron Vulture (1996) 13: ‘Red [i.e. extra-strong Panamanian red marijuana] all you got?’ ‘Naw. I got some straight smoke too. It’s Cuban.’.

In compounds

straight stuff (n.)

alcohol that has not been weakened with water.

[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 17: Gimme the siphon, Doc. I’m off the straight stuff.

In phrases

get straight (v.) (also get oneself straight, get things straight)

1. (US campus) to sober up, from either drink or drugs, esp. when overcoming an addiction; also in fig. use.

[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 80: We pitied him for going tangent and we hoped he’d get himself straight soon. [Ibid.] 217: Ow, I know I’m gonna get straight now, I know you gonna put me on.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 50–1: ‘My wife kicked my ass out and locked the door / and I been lookin’ around for a good-lookin’ whore.’ / She looked at her watch, it was half-past eight. / She said, ‘Come on up my place, daddy, we’ll get things straight.’.
[US](con. 1969) M. Herr Dispatches 164: It was a place where they could [...] get drunk, get stoned, get straight, groove in the scivvie houses.

2. (drugs) of a heroin addict, to inject the drug, thus relieving the pain of withdrawal symptoms.

[US]Larner & Tefferteller Addict in the Street (1966) 180: You don’t care about nobody but yourself, you just want to get straight.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 71: I can tell you’re starting to hurt. This might take a little longer. Why don’t you go into the can and get straight?
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 220: Please lemme get straight . . . I’ll do ya.

3. (drugs) to consume a narcotic, whether or not one is addicted/suffering withdrawal.

[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 115: You get straight, man. Here, you take some first.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 29: You know someplace where we can score for some gangster—and then you talk about getting straight for real, oooooweeee!
[US]C. Black ‘Topless Vampire Bitches’ in C. Rhatigan and N. Bird (eds) Pulp Ink 2 [ebook] I just need a little something to get my head straight.