A Hardboiled Slang Glossary for Something More Than Night

Introduction & Table of Contents
Drinking / Drugs / Drug Use
Weapons / Violence
Greetings / Goodbyes / Get Losts / Generic Addresses
Police Work / Jail / Crime
Money / Valuables / Estimations of Value
Body Parts / Bodies / Health
Sex / Sexuality
Generic Actions & Activities


queer: strange; not on the level; also, homosexual (queer)

"This guy is queer." (TMF, p42.)

chypre: fragrance of sandalwood; perfume made from sandalwood

The fragrance of chypre came with him. (TMF, p42.)

Baumes rush: reference to one-time attorney general (or senator?) Caleb H. Baumes of NY, who sponsored legislation that had many cheap hoods kicked out of the city. (This reference suggests "Baumes law" was not the origin of "bum's rush", which predates passage of the law.)

"New York, aren't you?" ... Spade nodded as if the boy had said yes and asked: "Baumes rush?" (TMF, p94.)

goose-berry lay: stealing clothes from clotheslines; to make ends meet by doing so

"How long have you been on the goose-berry lay, son?" (TMF, p120.)

dingus: object; thing

"Then you think the dingus is worth two million?" (TMF, p129.)

stuss-game: fast-paced card game, a variation of faro (?)

"I don't know howcome he left that shelter, but they got him once in New York for knockin over a rose of stuss-games—his twist turned him up—and he was in a year before Fallon got him sprung." (TMF, p 142.)

excelsior: fine curled wood shavings, for packing fragile objects

When he had put the paper out of the way he had an egg-shaped mass of pale excelsior, wadded tight. (TMF, p158.)

juice: electricity

"The juice is not on." (TMF, p 168.)

flat: the (flat) truth; the way it is, with no trickery or lies

"There hasn't been a first time yet. There isn't going to be. That's flat." (TMF, p176.)

rara avis: a rarity; from Latin, "rare bird"

"And to you, Miss O'Shaughnssy, adieu. I leave you the rara avis on the table as a little momento." (TMF, p204.)

sitting on dynamite: in the cross hairs; in the middle of a (figuratively) explosive situation

"We're sitting on dynamite, and we've only got minutes to get set for the police." (TMF, p 206.)

batty (as hell): weird, loco, crazy, etc.

"He's batty as hell." (TTM, p10.)

(old) fluff: humorless, rigid, old coot

"Don't be such an old fluff. You can sleep all day." (TTM, p18.)

booby-hatch: mental hospital; loony bin; insane asylum

"Thinking of putting him in the booby-hatch?" (TTM, p24.)

swell: good; fine; nice; etc.

"That's a swell town." (TTM, p79.)

chewing-gum: a made-up story; a fabrication, lie, etc.

"Careful," I said. "If it's another piece of chewing-gum, I'll phone Mimi to come get you." (TTM, p40.)

just as lief: gladly; happily

"I'd just as lief ask you." (TTM, p56.)

lousy with: full of, brimming with, etc.

"The place is lousy with people that think they heard things now..." (TTM, p56.)

swell: good; acceptable; fun

"That's a swell town." (TTM, p79.)

off (one's) hip: ???

"Some of the boys and girls was celebrating upstairs and I know for a fact he wasn't off his hip, let alone out of here, all afternoon." (TTM, p80.)

on the make: ???

"There was a rat named Nunheim used to come in here that was on the make for her..." (TTM, p80.)

sore: angry or upset with

"They'd get sore at the Quinns and--" (TTM, p 106.)

dido: prank; mischievous act; something showy or frivolous

"How about letting that dido rest while we get some dinner?" (TTM, p107.)

on the bum: in the poorhouse; made poor; impoverished

"It's fellows like you that put the country on the bum." "And it's fellows like me who don't go on the bum with it." (TTM, p110.)

can: bathroom

"I've got to go to the can." (TTM, p122.)

mean-medicine: tough; hard

"I don't know as I'd want to be mixed up with that dame... She's mean medicine." (TTM, p122.)

bing: crazy; derived from jailhouse slang for solitary confinement (hence, to go crazy)

"She goes for him in a big way -- bing, according to him -- right off the bat..." (TTM, p167.)

pander: ?

And there are ratty hotels where nobody except people named Smith and Jones sign the register and the night clerk is half watchdog and half pander. (THW, p71)

bilious attack: nightmare? hallucination?

This room was painted egg-yolk yellow. All it needed was some fat, black spiders painted on it to be anybody's bilious attack. (THW, p77)

sore: angry; upset (with)

"Don't get me sore with you." (THW, p79)

downy bird: ?

"This Morningstar is a downy bird. That's the kind of language he understands." (THW, p101-2)

white (of you): decent; good of you; quite possibly racist in origin

"That's white of you, Breeze," I said. "And you, too, Spangler. A lot of good things in life to both of you." (THW, p183)

"That's white of you." (TLS, p220)

shop-soiled: shopworn

"Phil Marlowe," he said. "The shop-soiled Galahad." (THW, p209)

dipsy-doodle: ?

I opened the front door, leaving the key in the lock. I wasn't going to work any dipsy-doodle in this place. Whatever was, was. (THW, p211)

ing-bing: hysterical fit; hysteria, etc.

"And just what is an ing-bing, Mr. Marlowe?" ... "A case of the vapours, they used to call it." (THW, p233)

doodad: (doodad)

There were full-length mirrors and crystal doodads all over the place. (TBS, p17)

raffish: ?

Her legs didn't quite have the raffish grace of Mrs. Regan's legs, but they were very nice. (TBS, p36)

ruttishness: lascivious? prurience?

I looked her over without either embarrassment or ruttishness. (TBS, p36)

buttoned: quiet, as in "button your lip" (?) / also possibly calm, not upset (?)

"Okey, keep buttoned, kid. No hard feelings." (TBS, p45)

hotcha: hot; wild; hot to trot; hard to control?

"It seems he run Sternwoods hotcha daughter, the young one, off to Yuma. (TBS, p49)

meat: bread and butter; (means of making) a living

"Cop?" "Private." He grinned. "My meat, Jack." (TBS, p53)

grift: complaint?

"So what? Got a grift, brother -- or just amusing yourself?" (TBS, p77)

sweet (on) : has a crush on; to be affectionate toward; etc.

"He was sweet on a singer named Mona Grant." (TBS, p165)

wingding: seizure; fit; hysteria; drunken fit

"She threw a wingding. Looked like a mild epileptic fit to me." (TBS, p223)

"Hardly. And drunks are cunning. He'd e certain to pick a time when I wasn't around to throw his wingding. I'm not in the market for a job as a male nurse." (TLG, p94)

ducky: cute? feminine? delicate?

...perfumes in little pastel phials tied with ducky satin bows, like the little girls at a dancing class. (TLL, p4)

jam: trouble; a tight spot

"Also she would start yelling for help when she found herself in a jam." (TLL, p14)

"I'm no baby and I'm in a jam." (TMB, p81)

"If you crab this case, you'll be in a jam." (FML, p215)

"Or maybe it was just that she didn't think she'd get enough to pay for the risk of being caught in a jam." (RH, p28)

gag: a trick; joke; dupe; deceit

"That she went away with some other man and the wire is a gag." (TLL, p15)

"No copper ever bought a drink of that stuff. What's the gag, mister?" (FML, p28)

"Listen, this isn't just a bunch of gag lines, Mr. Marlowe." (FML, p94)

I tried some comical stuff, but all I got was a dead pan, so that gag was out. (PRT, p3)

piece of beef: (piece of meat; specimen; eye candy)

He was a nice piece of beef, but to me that was all he was. (TLL, p21)

wisecrack: (joke; jape; smart-assery)

"No time to talk about business, but always time for a wisecrack. If you think we might try to get a hook into you because you crossed a state line with her, forget it." (TLL, p23)

hook (into somebody): leverage


nuts to you: to hell with you

"Nuts to you, pal. And nuts to Kingsley." (TLL, p38)

the weeps: tendency toward crying

"Muriel didn't cry down anybody's neck. They left the weeps out of Muriel." (TLL, p47)

prettied up: (made up; dolled up; etc.)

"I got drunk and stayed with a chippie. Just before the first snow last Deecember. She was gone a week and came back all prettied up." (TLL, p61)

no soap: no luck; no joy; no success; etc.

I tried a knife blade between the two halves of the small window. No soap. The catch refused to budge. (TLL, p75)

light-heavy: ? (possible artillery reference?)

"I think this fellow spoke to her in the lobby, and had dinner with her. A tall good-lookin' jasper, built like a fast light-heavy." (TLL, p97)

rouŽ: rake; lothario

An enormous fish with bulging eyes and a bloated body an scales shining with putrescence swam around leering like an elderly rouŽ. (TLL, p99)

play: column space; reporting; "air time" (so to speak)

"The L.A. papers give it any play?" (TLL, p146)

gummed up: overly complicated; messed up; carried away; ruined

Dobbs pushed between us and said: "We got enough, Charlie. Better not get it all gummed up." (TLL, p173)

wet: wrong; foolish; mistaken

"If you think Degarmo went up there looking for her because he wanted to hurt her, you're as wet as a bar towel." (TLL, p191)

level: straight; on the level

"You're a pretty level guy, Marlowe." "Go on, beat it," I said. "Go away. Go far away." (TLL, p198)

harvest: payoff; return on investment; what's earned in exchanged for trouble

The question was whether a battered private detective could make it, and what the harvest would be. (TLL p215)

scatter: (impromptu?) gathering?

"And don't bother to call your house peeper and send him up to the scatter. I'm allergic to house peepers." (TLL, p231)

smooth-angles: the easy part; cushy job; outside of danger

"I'm in the smooth-angles of the detecting business and I make money without getting my can knocked off." (TMB, p3-4)

angle: and approach, motivation, explanation; also, one's business

"Kid sister in a boarding school in Connecticut. That might make an angle." (TMB, p5)

"I've been pretty patient with you. Now you tell me something. What's your angle?" (PB, p108)

"You look like dick to me, but that's your angle. I hope you swim good." (FML, p241)

racket: caper; approach; angle; job, scheme (crime)

"What's the racket, bum?" (TMB, p15)

"What's your racket?" I asked him. (TLS, p29)

pat: quickly and easily, no complications

"But it happened pretty pat -- just after I had been put on the job and before I had a chance to talk to him." (TMB, p17)

swell: good; fine

I smiled back. Everybody was swell. (TMB, p20)

stash out: to wait; stakeout

"You think those two gunnies were stashed out for Mr. Gerald?" (TMB, p28)

dummy-chucker: confidence trickster who practices "dummy chucking" (early 20th century); one who fakes seizures (or other illness) to gain sympathy or charity

"Used to be a dummy chucker, then found out he could bug his way outta raps." (TMB, p33)

spruce: neat; trim; smart in appearance

Sebold looked as spruce and nasty as ever, but Finlayson looked older, more worn; mousier. (TMB, p57)

beef: complaint; trouble

"Yeah... Wh-what's the beef?" (TMB, p74)

beef: mistake; biff (up)

"Made a beef, shamus. Didn't frisk your skinny pal." (TMB, p155)

hack: taxi; cab

"Not if your boss likes guys with a few guts to run his hacks." (TMB, p105)

caught in the rain: in trouble; facing trouble; in a tough spot

She said slowly: "Lou said if I ever got caught in the rain, you were the boy to see. It's raining hard where I am." (TMB, p78)

heap: car

"Keep your hands down, and quiet. Walk on out to your heap. This is business." (TMB, p85)

"I went up the street and took a plant in the vestibule. I saw Mrs. Willsson's heap standing in the street, but I didn't know then that it was hers or that she was in it." (RH, p54)

crooked: sinister; corrupted; (crooked)

"Was the play at Las Olindas crooked?" I asked (TMB, p90)

mud (on your neck): bad reputation; discredit; cast into question; (variation on "your name is mud")

"Then you'll have to try to beat it, brother. And after you get through beating it, there'll be enough mud on your neck so no jury'll convict Manny on your say-so alone." (TMB, p91)

flossy: stylish; glamorous (esp. upon first impression)

"I wasn't very bright, but I didn't figure on anything so flossy. Who the hell would? Canales had no motive to gun Lou, unless it got back the money he had been gypped out of." (TMB, p110)

You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge. I was getting one at a flossy new place across the street from the apartment house where I lived. (TMB, p162)

haywire: crazy

I said: "I've got an idea. It may be all haywire." (TMB, p125)

noodle: brain; mind; head

"Carol picked him up one night, the little guy. A crazy little number, full of snow [cocaine], but way back in his noodle and idea." (TMB, p129)

She was an outdoorsy type with shiny make-up and a horse tail of medium blond hair sticking out at the back of her noodle. (PB, p16)

foxy: shrewd; clever

"Only he wouldn't say who the old guy was, or where he was. Foxy about that. Holding out. I wouldn't know why." (TMB, p129)

snap: style; stylishness; panache

She wore a blue suit cut with a lot of snap. (TMB, p131)

clammed (up): quiet; silent; uncooperative (clammed up)

"He'll stay clammed," I said. (TMB, p136)

He stood and faced me. "Okay, you're clammed." (PB, p108)

play: the plan; the procedure; the scenario

"I could have shot him easily enough, but it wasn't the play." (TMB, p140)

holding a chisel: a chiseler; ready to become a chiseler; ready to chisel

Some day she'll need me and I'll be the only guy standing around not holding a chisel. (TLG, p24)

on the chisel: acting as a chiseler; scamming money; embezzling; skimming cash

"A five interest you? Or is that against the rules too?" "My old man owns the company. He'd be pretty sore if I was on the chisel. Not that I don't like money." (PB, p39)

pat: slick; easy; over-prepared; overconfident

I told it -- three times. Once for him to get the outline, once for him to get the details, and once for him to see if I had it too pat. (TMB, p167)

make: con; trick; ploy;

on the make: playing somebody; working an angle

"It's not a make," I said. "You're in trouble." (TMB, p170)

"Make your choice. Once again -- I'm not on the make." (TMB, p171)

sore: angry; upset

"Won't he be a bit sore you didn't bring him along on this?" (TMB, p185)

"My old man owns the company. He'd be pretty sore if I was on the chisel." (PB, p39)

nolle prosse: shortened from the Latin, nolle prosequi: "We shall no longer prosecute." Declaration made by judge to prosecutor in a case.

"He turned the gang in later and got a nolle prosse." (TMB, p203)

Dutch: fake (?)

"Don't kid me," I said. "They're Dutch." ... He didn't look up. "And they're not Dutch. They're Bohemian." (TMB, p211)

nuts to that: to hell with that

"Nuts to that," I said. "But it's your business." (TLG, p18)

quotidian/tertian/quartan ague: periodic shaking or seizures associated with malarial fever (quotidian: repeated every 24 hours; tertian: 48 hours; quartan: 72 hours)

"It must be something like tertian ague," he said. "When it hits you it's bad. When you don't have it, it's as though you never did have it." (TLG, p20-1)

on ice: on hold; on the shelf; ready

They had it on ice for when they needed it. (TLG, p61)

jake [also jakeloo]: fine; okay; acceptable; no big deal

"I'm offering you a chance to clear yourself. If you don't want it, that's jake with me too." (TLG, p61)

"Nothing to do then, is there?" I said. "All jake to the angels-- or whatever they say in Manhattan, Kansas." (TLS, p136)

"That's jake with me," I said. "I didn't have any other plans." (TLS, p186)

"'Stickup,' he said. 'Be very quiet and everything will be jake.'" (FML, p132)

pill: cigarette

I leaned back and lit another pill. (TLG, p63)

He smiled faintly, lit another pill himself, and blew smoke. (TLG, p371)

He stuck a pill in his kisser and lit it with a Ronson. (PB, p38)

white night: sleepless night

A white night for me is as rare as a fat postman. (TLG, p86)

bushed: exhausted; tired out; worn out

I had the room to myself. I was too bushed at the moment to care where anybody was. (TLG, p191)

carriage trade: wealthy patrons or customers; business from/with well-heeled part of society

"This one came out of the special bottle. Old private stock. Strictly for the carriage trade." (TLG, p276)

spaghetti: whole cloth; a fiction; made-up; a deceitful yarn; a canard

"Do I have to draw you a picture? Either that foxhole yarn of yours was all spaghetti or it happened somewhere else." (TLG, p285)

brass: the bosses; the higher ups

"I'll call you. I have to check with the brass." (TLG, p329)

jam on one's face: egg on one's face

It asked questions -- the kind a newspaper asks of public officials when they are caught with jam on their faces. (TLG, p336)

lacquered: made up; painted; with a cosmetic sheen

"On account of some lacquered chippie said we used loaded dice. Seems like the bim was one of his sleepy-time girls." (TLG, p346)

snap: photograph (also a verb: "to take a snap" for "to take a photograph")

"One of those cameras with a very fine lens. You can take snaps in almost any kind of light. A Leica." (TLS p13)

snarling match: argument; confrontation that hasn't escalated to violence (yet)

"Strictly speaking we don't have to get into no snarling match," he said. (TLS, p28)

gripe: complaint

"What's the gripe?" he growled at me. (TLS, p46)

smoker: party? gathering? ball

That one was a riot at the police smoker in 1921. What a wit. Like a hummingbird's beak. (TLS, p96)

tuned up: ready; on one's toes

"Jokers like this character here keep us tuned up." (TLS, p169)

green-label: high end; top drawer; expensive; high class

I reached down and put the bottle of Old Forester up on the desk. It was about a third full. Old Forester. Now who gave you that, pal? That's green-label stuff. Out of your class entirely. (TLS, p228)

cellarette: ?

She jumped up and went to the little cellarette. She came back with a couple of huge glasses of Scotch and water. (TLS, p244)

out of the same can: of the same or similar style; possessing similarities

This was right out of the same can, with a coat-of-arms tapestry over the fireplace and a castle tapestry over the sofa. (DI, p5)

dope sheets: (?) (Insurance-related. Actuarial tables?)

...you can pretty near rate an agent by how quick he gets to the family sofa, with his hat on one side of him and his dope sheets on the other. (DI, p4)

in dutch: in trouble; in contempt; to be in low(ered) esteeem; in hot water

If young Norton was the man we had to do business with, then he was the man we had to do business with, and there was no sense letting Keyes get us in dutch with him. (DI, p9)

I'm in dutch all right, but I guess lying about it won't do any good. (PRT, p55)

dead pan: a lack of response; no feedback; a poker face (a poker pan)

I gave Keyes' crack a dead pan. I didn't even know what he was talking about. (DI, p9)

I tried some comical stuff, but all I got was a dead pan, so that gag was out. (PRT, p3)

on the up-and-up: (on the up-and-up)

Neither one of them are on the up-and-up, and if there'd been an insurance angle those people would wind up on the gallows. (DI, p20)

life stretch: life sentence

He'd have had a guilty plea out of her, and already on her way to do a life stretch at Fulsom. (DI, p67)

back of (something): behind the scenes

"My father's death. I can't help thinking there was something back of it." (DI, p72)

whip hand: the upper hand; the right side of things; the initiative or imperative

"We had it out this afternoon. Down at the company. I had the whip hand. There was no two ways about it. I called it long ago, even when Norton was still talking suicide." (DI, p108)

whips and jingles: a case of the nerves (HB)

taxi starter: taxi stand(??), as at a train station

I went out through the arches to where a redcap was waiting by the taxi starter. (PB, p8)

photostat: reproduction ("projection photocopying", predating Xerox/copy machine technology)

I passed him a fin and a 4 x 2" photostat of my license. (PB, p13)

two-way radiophone: period-appropriate analogy for CB, walkie-talkies, radio, etc.

From time to time the hackie talked into his radiophone. (PB, p13)

PBX: "private branch exchange"; a private telephone switchboard for an office or building

I looked from him to the girl at the small PBX against the side wall. (PB, p16)

fast curtain: shortcut (to), in the sense of a transition

"Guns never settle anything," I said. "They are just a fast curtain to a bad second act." (PB, p28)

confetti: wasted effort; meaningless flash or affectation; something of no concern

"Well what do you know," she drawled. "A dick with scruples. Tell it to the seagulls, buster. On me it's just confetti." (PB, p30)

bite: coercion; blackmail; pressure

And that in turn meant that whatever kind of bite he planned to put on Betty Mayfield, financial or amatory or both, would have to be put on fast. (PB, p42)

"I've observed him in action. Last night he put a bite on somebody and got enough to blow town." (PB, p106)

low-down: (low-down)

"With a little practice I might get to like you. You're kind of cute in a low-down sort of way." (PB, p73)

lowdown: the skinny; the details; a complete rundown or an overview

One person in the world that wasn't asking me to sit down to the table a minute, and then telling me to give them the lowdown on that case where they said the Greek was murdered. (PRT, p92)

sparkler: jewelry; necklace?

The girl had a diamond and emerald sparkler and a wedding ring which she kept touching with her fingertips. She looked a little dazed. (PB, p83)

By slow freight: not in any hurry; slowly

Goble said yes and wanted to know where his drink was. The waiter said it was on the way-- by slow freight, his tone suggested. (PB, p96)

dilly: doozy

"You're the most impossible man I ever met. And I've met some dillies." (PB, p124)

rich: (rich) amusing; a scream; funny; entertaining (often used sarcastically)

I heard someone laugh. I heard a voice say, "This guy is really rich. I wonder what he does on his day off." (PB, p146)

johnny-jump-ups: flowers (?)

He spoke almost dreamily, as if was all by himself, out in the woods, picking johnny-jump-ups. (FML, p8)

nifty: prank or prankster? joke? gag?

"Okey, go ahead and ride me. Everybody else does. What's another one matter? Poor old Nulty. Let's go on up and throw a couple of nifties at him. Always good for a laugh, Nulty is." (FML, p17)

confidential lay: a secret job; working in confidence for somebody else

"Cop?" "Private -- on a confidential lay. And I know a man who can keep things confidential when I see one." (FML, p22)

dead soldier: empty bottle

I held up the dead soldier and shook it. Then I threw it to one side and reached back on my hip for the pint of bond bourbon the Negro hotel clerk and I had barely tapped. (FML, p28)

(white night) trap: bar; night club; place to spend the evening (connotation of disreputability, or a place to go as a last resort in the face of sleeplessness) (SEE ALSO "white night")

"This place called Florian's was under the same name when it was a white night trap." (FML, p37)

nerve: (nerve) moxy; courage

I liked the cool quiet of her voice. I liked her nerve. (FML, p74)

fast: (fast) quick; clever; witty; amusing

"Not funny," she said. "Not even fast." (FML, p92)

one in a thousand: (one in a thousand)

"You're one in a thousand, Mrs. Morrison," I said. (FML, p11)

soap: a light touch; easy handling; taking a gentle approach

"Soap now," she said. "Soft stuff. Copper-smart. You guys still think it gets you something." (FML, p114)

phooey: (phooey)

"Ten o'clock at the Belvedere Club," I said. Somebody said: "Phooey." It sounded like my voice. (FML, p140)

high pillow: execution? as in a pillow in heaven?

"There were a couple solved for the record, but they were just rappers. Some punk took it for the high pillow." (FML, p194)

grouch: complaint; beef; reason to grouch; a grudge

"On the other hand any acting-captain with a grouch can break you." (FML, p215)

on the quiet: quietly

"The whole shebang skipped. Men from the D.A.'s office went down there on the quiet." (FML, p216)

pie-eyed: stupefied; also, very drunk

Randall was pie-eyed. His mouth moved, but nothing came out of it. (FML, p217)

scooter: coaster

The gorilla mixed a couple at the little bar. He didn't try to hide the glasses while he did it. He placed one on the side of the desk, on black glass scooters. (FML, p264)

fast wagon: ambulance

He was still on his knees and still trying to get up when the fast wagon got there. It took four more men to get him on the stretcher. (FML, p283)

taped: prepared; set up

"These boys work fast when they feel like it. I think Randall has had this thing taped for days and was afraid I'd step on the tapes." (FML, p287)

rumpus: disturbance; excitement; dust-up(?)

"What's the rumpus?" I asked him. (RH, p6)

off the lode: off base; off target; wrong; mistaken

"I can tell you that that French hussy killed him, and I can tell you that any other damned numbskull notions you've got are way off the lode." (RH p16)

numbskull: (numbskull)


(the) bunk: sarcastically: perfection; "the icing on the cake"; etc.

"So you're a gumshoe." "That's the bunk," I complained. "I come all the way down there to rope you, and you're smarted up." (RH, p29)

kick in the pants: (kick in the pants)

"Think she killed Willsson?" "Sure. It's a kick in the pants." (RH, p30)

hep: wise; clued-in

"Whisper's hep," the burly man told the chief. "He phoned Donohoe that he's going to stay in his joint. If you think you can pull him out, try it, he says." (RH, p49)

one-legged: unconvincing; thing; trumped-up or flimsy

"He ought to know what a swell chance he's got of hanging a one-legged rap like that on me." (RH, p53)

Scotch: cheap [distasteful; possibly offensive today]

"Dinah told me you were a pretty good guy, except kind of Scotch with the roll." (RH, p54)

percentage: advantage; angle

There was no percentage in trying to peep out under those conditions. (RH, p66)

cooked: rigged; arranged; planned; set up; fixed; etc.

"I don't know how far you've got it cooked. Rigged right, you could make it stick in court, maybe, but you'll not get a chance to make your play there." (RH, p54)

rigged: cooked; arranged; planned; set up; fixed; etc.


sewed-up: firmly established; solid; made definite (complementary to cooked, rigged, etc.)

"What kind of an ass are you? Whoever heard of anybody not betting when they had a thing like that sewed up?" (RH, p80)

stack-up (n.): the way in which things stack up

"What do you think of the stack-up?" "Not bad. Maybe I can use it." (RH, p91)

sneak (n.): escape

It had broken a rib for him, but he made the back-door sneak while the rest of us were busy. (RH, p110)

sitting pretty: (sitting pretty)

"Then she makes the play and I know I'm sitting pretty." (RH, p114)

chinch: target; person one is following; assignment; suspect (?)

"My chinch and Dick's are together at your client's joint." (RH, p130)

dope: the facts, as in "the straight dope"

To have sent him the dope he wanted at that time would have been the same as sending in my resignation. (RH, p143)

sour end: short end of the stick

"When the time comes that you sit in with me and Whisper and Pete, I don't expect the sour end of it." (RH, p167)

crazy as a bedbug: (crazy as a bedbug)

"Be careful -- she's crazy as a bedbug." (RH, p185)

burned up: angry; steamed; hot under the collar

About three o'clock a guy came along that was all burned up because somebody had pasted a sticker on his wind wing. (PRT, p6)

(a) peach: something good, swell, of high quality, enjoyable

"That one I had for lunch, it was a peach." (PRT, p6)

to have somebody's number: (to have somebody's number)

She knew what I meant, and she knew I had her number. (PRT, p7)

hash house: cheap restaurant

"I was working in a hash house. You spend two years working in a Los Angeles hash house and you'll take the first guy that's got a gold watch." (PRT, p14)

flop: failure; disappointment

It was the worst flop of a home-coming you ever saw in your life. (PRT, p37)

cock-eyed: crazy; false; loony; preposterous

That was just a cock-eyed story I was going to take back later on, when we got in a place where it really meant something, which this inquest didn't. (PRT, p52)

on the up-and-up: (on the up-and-up)

"A cop sent him to me. I thought he was on the up-and-up." (PRT, p70)

down in the mouth: (down in the mouth) feeling low; feeling sick; under the weather; depressed

While he was backing away, I leaned up against the wall, like I was pretty down in the mouth. (PRT, p100)

grub: food

I think they give you dope in the grub, so you don't think about it. (PRT, p116)

hooey: (hooey) baloney, etc.

I don't believe it. It's just a lot of hooey, that this guy thought up so he could fool the judge. (PRT, p116)

spillikins: jackstraws; a parlor game (also, a splinter or fragment)

The rest is spillikins in the parlor. (SAM, p17)

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