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


gunsel: hired gun, with possible connotation of a cheap thug (NB: the original meaning was "passive pederast" or "male oral sodomist." The meaning of this word changed specifically owing to Hammett's usage in TMF, which was copied by subsequent writers. See "Getting Away with Murder," by Earle Stanley Gardner, The Atlantic, Vol. 215 No. 1 (1965), which is excerpted here. See also the World Wide Words entry for gunsel.)

"Another thing," Spade repeated, glaring at the boy: "Keep that gunsel away from me while you're making up your mind." (TMF, p110.)

bull: cop

"With every bull in town working overtime to pile up grief for me a little more won't hurt." (TMF, p 141.)

twist: woman, with possible connotation of girlfriend, or somebody seen on the side (play on "screw"?)

"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.)

"He walked up to him and stuck him with the same skewer that Whisper had used on the twist." (RH, p175)

lollipop: person without backbone, or lacking experience; weak; naive

"Jesus God! Is this the first thing you guys ever stole? You're a fine lot of lollipops! What are you going to do next—get down and pray?" (TMF, p188.)

sap: fool; fall-guy; love-struck sucker

"I'm not Thursby. I'm not Jacobi. I won't play the sap for you." (TMF, p?)

dope: a fool; foolish person; silly fool

"Don't be a dope." (TTM, p13)

cuckoo: crazy; nuts; touched in the head; eccentric

"She's cute, but she's cuckoo." (TTM, p16)

"You were cuckoo over the girl." (RH, p59)

nut: (nut) crazy person; wild person

"Aren't we talking like a couple of nuts?" (TLS, p196)

"You're wonderful," she said softly. "But you're nuts." (FML, p97)

bird: person, either male or female, but frequently female

"This bird a friend of yours?" (TTM, p33)

dope-addict: a drug addict;

"Can you tell dope-addicts by looking at them?" (TTM, p48.)

dame: woman; lady

"We ain't been able to find out for sure yet, but we have found out she wasn't the kind of dame you'd expect him to be trusting to handle all that dough..." (TTM, p58.)

"I heard the dame call him Terry." (TLG, p5)

gum-shoe: detective (gum-shoeing: being a detective)

"You didn't tell him you'd quit gum-shoeing." (TTM, p81.)

mugg: guy, man, person; possible connotation of not being entirely on the up-and-up

"To a mugg like him, once a sleuth, always a sleuth." (TTM, p81.)

wise head: smart person

"She's a wise-head: plenty smart." (TTM, p120.)

cluck: chick; girl; dame; broad

"Maybe I'm wrong," he said as he sat down, "but I think somebody could do something with that cluck if they took hold of her right." Morelli said: "By the throat." (TTM, p124.)

That meant even a dumb cluck of a woman reporter could see there was something funny out there. (DI, p103)

sourpuss: (sourpuss)

After a while a middle-aged sourpuss in a maid's costume opened the front door about eight inches and gave me the beady eye. (THW, p4)

A man named Nulty got the case, a lean-jawed sourpuss with long yellow hands which he kept folded over his kneecaps most of the time he talked to me. (FML, p16)

busted flush: somebody who got nabbed; down on his luck; a sad sack?

Gertie says Morny took is over from a busted flush named Arthur Blake Popham who got caught in a mail fraud rap. (THW, p38)

screwball: nut, etc.

Another screwball. That made three in one day, not counting Mrs. Murdock, who might turn out to be a screwball, too. (THW, p55)

cokie: coke-head; cocaine addict

...cokies and coke peddlers... (THW, p 71)

crooner: singer

The girl said: "Nice voice. If you like female crooners." (THW, p139)

twerp: (twerp)

"...or that twerp of a son you have..." (THW, p169)

chippy / chippie: dame/broad/connotation is possibly "piece of ass"; woman; girlfriend; lay

"My God! Why did I ever think to put in with a chippy like you?" (THW, p217)

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

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

chiseler: low-life; hanger-on; somebody chiseling (money from) others; somebody who nickel-and-dimes

"And it would take an awful lot of chiselers an awful lot of time to rob you of enough so that you'd notice it." (TBS, p 14)

"But you can't wear the chiselers down," I said. "They'll never lay off." (TMB, p153)

Ybarra said: "If the woman is brought out into the open, you'll be a liar on a police report and a chiseler on your own partner." (TMB, p209)

motorman: driver; motorist?

I woke up with a motorman's glove in my mouth, drank two cups of coffee, and went through the morning papers. (TBS, p43)

rubbernecks: (rubberneckers)

The uniformed man pointed up at the rubbernecks at the end of the pier. (TBS, p46)

pug: heavy/tough/thug

The pug slipped a hand into my breast pocket and pulled out my wallet. (TBS, p74)

sucker: stool/stooge/fool/fall guy/dupe/etc.

"The sucker list I mentioned is in code." (TBS, p80.)

"That she is a sucker for the men and might take up with a stranger who might turn out to be a crook." (TLL, p15)

crook: (crook)


shamus: detective/private dick/PI/etc.

"We're glad to stooge for a shamus of his standing." (TBS, p112)

"You'll get paid, shamus-- if you do your job. Not otherwise. Is that clear?" (PB, p12)

gum-shoe: detective/private dick/PI/etc.

"Who told you I was a gum-shoe?" (TLS, p75)

sharper: detectives; private operators

"We got to have you," he repeated. "We got to have sharpers with private licenses hiding information and dodging around corners and stirring up dust for us to breathe in." (TLS, p212)

keyhole peeper: detective/private dick/PI/etc.

"You wouldn't mind me calling you a goddamn cheap double-crossing keyhole-peeper, would you?" (TLS, p212)

grifter: low-life; con man; etc.

"I hoped that the next grifter who dropped the hook on her would play her a little more smoothly, a little more for the long haul rather than the quick touch." (TBS, p128.)

loogan: a guy with a gun

"What's a loogan?" "A guy with a gun." (TBS, p147)

lush: (lush; drunk)

"Can I go on being a son of a bitch, or do I have to become a gentleman, like that lush passed out in his car the other night?" (TBS, p228)

moll: gangster's girlfriend / woman / partner

"What a lot of different girls you are. Now you're making like a moll. When I first saw you, you were a quiet well-bred little lady." (PB, p55)

tomcat: giglo; player

"I know these tomcats and I know this one too well." (TLL, p13)

private dick: (PI; detective, etc.)

"It would take more than a private dick to bother me," he said. (TLL, p21)

roundheels: easy woman; slut

"But little roundheels over there ain't even that." (TLL, p41-2)

jasper: man; handsome fellow?

"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)

chaser: skirt chaser

"He's dead. I knew him a little. He's a chaser." (TLL, p149)

boob: fool;

"The big boob would tear your head off right now, if you said anything against her." (TLL, p190)

happy ladies: prostitutes; easy women

There would be a few happy ladies in any apartment house. (TLL, p202.)

drip: runt; inconsequential person; sad sack?

"That frozen-faced little drip-- what is she to me?" (TLL, p206)

(house) peeper: (hotel/in-house) detective

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

house man: hotel/in-house detective; house peeper

"Would it be convenient for me to see your house man? If you have one." (PB, p105)

bim: (bimbo)

Degarmo said: "Usually the bim tries to give her boyfriend a bit more alibi than that. But it takes all kinds, don't it?" (TLL, p235)

darb: a person with money, who can be relied upon to pay a check

"A friend of Harry's we met there was the darbs, and after that we drifted to a couple of the clubs, and both the boys got beautifully shellacked." "Shellacked! I don't understand." "Jammed, both of them." (WWW1)

crook: (crook; criminal)

"I don't like crooks. If I did like crooks, I wouldn't like crooks that are stool pigeons. And if I did like crooks who were stool pigeons, I still wouldn't like you!" (TTM-F)

stool-pigeon: rat; fink; an informant; criminal who talks to the cops


"I don't like crooks, and even if I did, I wouldn't like crooks that are stool-pigeons." (TTM, p90.)

"You want to stool-pigeon for me?" (RH, p95)

fink: rat; stool pigeon; traitor

"Now he's looking for the fink that turned him up eight years ago." (FML, p34)

rat: (rat) fink; no-good

"She was a killer," I said. "But so was Malloy. And he was a long way from being all rat." (FML, p291)

"That fellow's a rat if there ever was one." (RH, p98)

flatfoot: detective; shamus; etc.

"I've been doing a little detecting on my own. That flatfoot I married thinks he's smart." (TTM-F)

a lulu: a looker, a knockout, a doozy, etc.

"Have you got a nice evening gown?" "Yes, I've got a lulu." (TTM-F)

steady: boyfriend/girlfriend

"That Gladys," I said, "does she have a steady?" (TMB, p5)

bum: bub; guy; jack; also: (bum)

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

"No, you want to go away just because you're a bum, that's all." (PRT, p90)

dick: detective (not necessarily private; e.g., "private dick", "railroad dick", "hotel dick")

"You're some kind of dick, aren't you?" (TMB, p15)

hard number: tough guy;

"I love to see these hard numbers bend at the knees." (TMB, p18)

gunny: hired gun; thug

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

hard guy: hard number; tough guy

"I was stuck up by a couple of hard guys with guns who told me to lay off the Jeeter case." (TMB, p30)

deadpan: bodyguard; tough guy; gunny with a sheen of respectability(?)

...and the door opened and I was looking at a deadpan in a derby hat and dinner coat. (TMB, p36)

mugg: guy; jack; bub; or, man, with connotation of being a thug or tough guy

"Listen, mugg--" (TMB, p37)

"Couple other muggs was askin' for it a while back." (TMB, p99)

iron man: bodyguard; tough guy; hired gun;

"...and he has just collected ten from your iron man for slipping me the nasty." (TMB, p38)

tail: somebody following (as in shadowing, stalking, watching)

"But there was a tail on you when you went there and you didn't give it to the law." (TMB, p40)

hard boy: tough guy; bodyguard; hired thug

"But Marty Estel and his hard boy can." (TMB, p43)

"That's why Quest left. Respectable type. Like me. I think a couple of hard boys threw a scare into him." (TLS, p29)

"The hard boys will take care of you, buster." (TLG, 338)

buster: (buster)


"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)

"Don't get funny with me, buster. I get annoyed rather easy." (PB, p35)

"Mister Umney to you, buster." (PB, p67)

looker: attractive woman

"She's a tall redhead, a swell looker." (TMB, p65)

flame-top: redhead

"The flame-top gal must be pickin' them," he said. (TMB, p67)

broad: woman, with connotation of coarse, unmannered

"I'm not wised up on roulette, Lou. . . I saw plenty wrong with your broad's manners." "She's not a broad," Lou said. (TMB, p70)

jane: woman; dame; etc.

"A guy and a jane come up alongside me in the Buick and the guy offers me a hundred bucks to let him wear my cap and drive my hack into town. (TMB, p75)

"Twenty-two grand, and the jane passed it over to you to keep," Dorr said. "Ain't that just like a jane?" (TMB, p90)

gunny: thug; hired gun; hard boy; etc.

"Tell us about the two gunnies." (TMB, p104)

heel: jerk; low life; scumbag; etc.

"Which one of you heels scratched the guy at West Cimmaron last night?" (TMB, p105)

"Poor Lin. He was rather a heel. Most of one's friends are. But to die like that is awful." (FML, p127)

"Sometimes I think you're a world-beater," she said, "and sometimes I think you're the worst heel I ever met." (FML, p189)

world-beater: somebody better than the rest; capable of taking on the world; a person in high esteem


wren: girl; bird; cluck; etc.

"Who was the wren?" I asked. "Hub? What wren?" He still didn't look at me. "The one that phoned me." (TMB, p128)

lug: guy; generic address for a man; connotation of thick-headedness or limited ability/usefulness; not necessarily connoting goon, thug, hard boy, etc.

The girl snapped at me: "Is this lug your partner?" (TMB, p141)

frill: girl; connotation of cheap and/or easy -- low-price and low-class

Her voice lacked the edgy twang of a beer-parlor frill. It had a soft light sound, like spring rain. (TMB, p170)

sheik: lothario;

He looked like a dance-hall sheik making up his mind whether to take the blonde or the redhead. (TMB, p186)

fluff: arm candy; hired girl

He hadn't mentioned the girl again. Also, he hadn't mentioned that he had no job and no prospects and that almost his last dollar had gone into paying the check at The Dancers for a bit of high class fluff that couldn't stick around long enough to make sure he didn't get tossed in the sneezer by some prowl car boys or rolled by a tough hackie and dumped out in a vacant lot. (TLG, p7)

hackie: taxi (hack) driver


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

dish: attractive woman; hottie

"Lots of men, huh? But you went back and married her again. I realize that she's quite a dish, but all the same--" (TLG, p31)

This was really a dish. Seen up close she was almost paralyzing. (TLG, p95)

"Cut the doodads and get back to Mitchell," he said briskly. "And to the dish you was trying to fumble up on the hill." (PB, p96)

swifty: quick person; somebody with fast reflexes

"He's a swifty. He moves fast. Good reflexes." (TLG, p45)

cream puff: weakling; softie; pushover

"Whatcha waiting for, cream puff? And ice cream cone, maybe?" (TLG, p49)

wise guy: smartass; know it all; cocky tough guy

"You're the kind of wise guy I like to work over. This rap will be hanging over you for a long time, cutie." (TLG, p64)

fall guy: patsy; sacrificial lamb

A dead man is the best fall guy in the world. He never talks back. (TLG, p71)

piker: amateur; small time operator

"You're a piker, Marlowe. You're a peanut grifter. You're so little it takes a magnifying glass to see you." (TLG, p75)

card sharp: grifter; sleight of hand expert; expert card player

"I could have got him out of the country faster than a card sharp can stack a deck." (TLG, p78)

joy girl: hooker; prostitute; hired companion

I knew a good deal about Idle Valley, and I knew it had changed a great deal since the days when they had the gatehouse at the entrance and the private police force, and the gambling casino on the lake, and the fifty-dollar joy girls. (TLG, p98)

grifter: huckster; (grifter)

"Get out of here, you cheap grifter." (TLG, p130)

nickel grabber: cheapie; penny pincher; low-rent hire; inexpensive/low skill

"It's run by a former colonel of military police. No nickel grabber, Doctor. He rates way up." (TLG, p134)

horse players: people who gamble on horse races

"But a lot of them are drifters and horse players." (TLG, p156)

pick-up: an escort, as one who would pick up men in a bar; hooker; prostitute;

But she didn't look like a pickup and there was no trace of come-on in her voice. (TLG, p161)

Mentally I put Miss Vermilyea beside her. She didn't look soft or prissy or prudish, but she made the Vermilyea look like a pick-up. (PB, p6)

bad job: someone written off; a lost cause

"You don't care who murdered your daughter, Mr. Potter. You wrote her off as a bad job a long time ago" (TLG, p235)

wrong gee: bad job; somebody not to be trusted

"To some people you're a wrong gee. I never knew you to do anything too crooked." (TLG, p277)

"They are wrong gees in a way -- I should say in almost every way -- but they still have room for personal pride and so on." (TLG, p369)

gee: man; fellow

"Just off the highway there's a small garage and paintshop run by a gee named Art Huck." (TBS, p181)

tramp: loose woman; easy woman

"So did Linda Loring, who is a bit of a tramp herself, but not completely so." (TLG, p306)

"Yeah, I remember her. Song and dance. Nice legs and generous with 'em. She went off somewheres. How would I know what them tramps do?" (FML, p30)

tramp: drifter; hobo; bum; low-class or income

"Isn't that what we want? Just to be a pair of tramps, like we really are?" (PRT, p15)

frail: woman; girl; twist; dame; etc.

"The Lennox frail had taken both her men from her." (TLG, p323)

"If you had connected up Wade and the Lennox frail for me the time Wade got dead I'd have made out." (TLG, p337)

fall guy: patsy (fall guy)

"And if she needed a fall guy, you were it. You might say she was collecting fall guys." (TLG, p323)

patsy: fall guy (patsy)

I went out of the door and got out of the building fast. Once a patsy, always a patsy. (TLG, p327)

bim: bimbo

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

sleepy-time girl: hooker; prostitute; possible connotation of girlfriend, however

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

peeper: private detective; dick; shamus; etc.

"A two-bit peeper," Menendez said slowly, "thinks he can make a monkey out of Mendy Menendez." (TLG, p347)

"Shove it, Mac. When I want to get told how to talk English I won't go to no beat-up California peeper." (PB, p95)

shyster: lawyer

"What a talkative lad he is," Ohls said, "when he doesn't have three shysters with him to button his lip." (TLG, p348)

palooka: ? (connotation of chump or loser; somebody not respected?)

"I said, 'I ain't got all night to be sittin' here gassing, so go polish your buttons and let me be on my way, you fat palooka,' I said." (ATM-F)

"If you were smacked down in the sixth or any other round by a palooka like Kid Cooper, it'd make me peevish." (RH, p 74)

loose woman: slut; easy woman

"If you think a bottle of champagne will make a loose woman out of me, I can assure you that you are very much mistaken." (TLG, p358)

son of a gun: piece of work, etc.

"You're a son of a gun, Sammy," he said. (TMF, p116.)

smart little egg: a fool; dupe; idiot

"The first guess is always right. I had myself talked out of it. Boy, did I open up to you... Boy, am I a smart little egg!" (TLL p45)

dumb onion: a fool; dupe; idiot; etc.

"If I'd been going to kill him I'd have done it in here where nobody could have seen it, or waited until he got out of sight of the house. What kind of dumb onion do you take me for?" (RH, p34)

boob: a fool; idiot; etc.

"If a girl's got something that's worth something to somebody, she's a boob if she doesn't collect." (RH, p35)

trick: (akin to "dish"?) a girl; or the girl and her personality together, i.e. her act

"Anybody ever tell you you're a cute little trick?" The eyes behind the rimless cheaters flashed. "I should hope not." (TLS, p7)

item: girl (akin to "dish"?)

I'm sitting in that office, playing with a dead fly and in pops this dowdy little item from Manhattan, Kansas and chisels me down to a shopworn twenty to find her brother. (TLS, p80)

floozy: woman, with connotation of being cheap or easy; a low-class woman

"He got himself all jammed up with a floozy and a bottle of hooch and what he's done looks to him as if he's stolen the bishop's pants." (TLS, p14)

rooster: man who picks a fight, or somebody who carries himself like a rooster; confrontational

His hand fumbled at the back of his collar and light winked on metal as his arm swept toward me. He was a game little rooster. (TLS, p19)

fast girl: easy or loose women; painted women; party girls

"I suppose you really prefer fast girls," she said, looking up at me sideways. "At least you won't have to wipe off any lip rouge." (TLS, p41)

gunman: thug; killer; one who carries a gun

"At least," the Gonzales said smoothly as she pulled the door open again, "I haven't been sleeping with any gumen lately." (TLS, p73)

redhot: gangster; one wanted by the cops

"The day a character named Steelegrave was in jail because the cops got a tip he was a Cleveland redhot named Weepy Moyer." (TLS, p119)

joker: wise guy; smartass

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

big money: a high roller; somebody with money to burn

"We've got the big money, the sharp shooters, the percentage workers, the fast-dollar boys, the hoodlums out of New York, Chicago, and Detroit-- and Cleveland." (TLS, p183)

sharp shooter: a high roller; somebody with money to burn


percentage worker: somebody angling for a take; somebody with a piece of the action


fast-dollar boy: somebody out to make a quick buck; connotation of illicitly


ham: actor

"No, I got to see a picture. There's a ham by the name of Jack Christolf I've got to talk to tomorrow night, and I've got to see his picture." (DI, p92)

...like a ham blacking himself all over to play Othello. (SAM, p6)

croaker: physician (HB)

fish: prisoner (HB)

foreign talent: crooks from other cities (HB)

noble: boss strike-breaker (HB)

yegg: tough character (HB)

"These racketeers are a new type. We think about them the way we think about old time yeggs or needled-up punks." (FML, p253)

redcap: porter at a railway station

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

pigeon: prey; person being tailed; person of interest

"Cab No. 423," I said. "That check?" "That's your pigeon. What now?" (PB, p14)

hoofer: dancer? recent escapee from prison? Somebody on the run?

"The walls here are as thin as a hoofer's wallet." (PB, p27)

goof: (goof)

"Get on with it, you goof. I've heard all about you." (PB, p5)

hunk of beef: handsome man (sometimes derogatory); male specimen

"And who is this hunk of beef, baby?" (PB, p31)

mudhead: ??

"Breeze off. You bore me. Mudheads always bore me." (PB, p35)

smart cookie: (smart cookie)

"I just knew I'd picked a smart cookie," he said unpleasantly. (PB, p40)

butter and egg man: sugar daddy; implication is one fairly free with his money

"Then you tore your blouse at me, ha, ha, ha, cynical as a Park Avenue pet after her butter and egg man goes home." (PB, p55)

"…A newspaper report only a year later said sugar daddy had been replaced by big butter and egg man, a prosperous farmer or rich small-town citizen who came to New York and tried embarrassingly to be a playboy.  It was created in 1924…" (see WWW2)

pet: mistress


gumshoe: detective; dick; shamus; peeper; etc.

"Don't call me 'sister,' you cheap gumshoe!" (PB, p67)

moocher: (moocher); one who mooches

"He throws big parties, but the guests come from out of town unless they're moochers, no-goods, the usual trash you always find hopping about where there's money." (PB, p97)

no-good: somebody who is no good; low class; etc.


hood: hoodlum; crook; etc.

"You don't know these hoods that have made theirs and gone respectable." (PB, p97)

skipout: freeloader; one who leaves without paying the check

"We have our organization to take care of skipouts," he said. "They happen-- in any hotel." (PB, p107)

smooth operator: (smooth operator)

He nodded briefly and strolled away through the arch, back straight, shoulders back, chin in, a hard lean well set-up piece of man. A smooth operator. (PB, p108)

smooth article: sharp; said of somebody as a form of praise or approval

I decided Mr. Henry Clarendon IV was a pretty smooth article. (PB, p116)

rough customer: tough; violent; (tough customer)

"He drank a couple bottles of hooch a day and I heard he was a pretty rough customer. He had one daughter, Miss Patricia Hellwig. She was the real cream and still is." (PB, p128)

real cream: a good person; of a good nature


lifetaker: murderer

"I walked into it. No complaints. This guy's a lifetaker. I'm lucky. I'm still breathing." (PB, p138)

punks: people, generically, or low-lifes

"Well so long, punks. I gotta catch a street car." (FML, p14)

"We're just two punks, Frank." (PRT, p86)

torcher / torch singer: singer who specializes in singing torch songs (songs of unrequited love)

"What did the girl do before she married Eddie Mars?" "Torcher." (TBS, p125)

The big new handsome radio in the corner whispered of dancing and love with a deep soft throbbing note like the catch in a torch singer's voice. (FML, p30)

dimwit: (dimwit)

"Shut up, you dimwit," I said, and stopped talking to myself. (FML, p63)

half-wit: (half-wit)

His ears stood out like red wings, and his round red face usually wore the meaningless smirk of a half-wit. (RH, p116)

he-man: (he-man) a macho guy; toughness/machismo

"I get it. You ask the answers. He-man stuff. I was looking at a man." (FML, p69)

steeplejack: person who works on smokestacks, towers, or steeples (climbing them for painting, repairs, construction, etc.)

"I think it was Walter Bagehot. He was talking about a steeplejack." (TLG, p93)

sandhog: digger; miner

"This bird is named Stoyanoffsky and he lives in Hemet and he just got through working as a sandhog on the San Jack tunnel." (FML, p86)

pansy: (pansy) weakling; pushover

"I hardly knew him. I thought he was a bit of a pansy. I didn't like him very well." (FML, p95)

run: person? runt? thug?

"What must have happened is that some gowed-up run they took along for a gun-holder lost his head." (FML, p96)

fakeloo artist: con man; faker; liar; pretender; deceiver

A fakeloo artist, a hoopla spreader, and a lad who had his card rolled up inside sticks of tea, found on a dead man. (FML, p104)

hoopla spreader: con man; faker; liar; pretender; deceiver


hot boy: somebody on the run; somebody wanted by the law; somebody in hiding

"A man named Sonderborg has been running a hideout there. He has been running reefers and stickups and hiding hot boys." (FML, p266)

toughie: tough guy

"I forgot the first time. Then I knew that toughie in the mess jacket would never let me on." (FML, p267)

torpedo: tough guy; "nice-tough" guy

The door at the back opened and one of the nice-tough guys came in... The torpedo sat down and smiled at me calmly. (FML, p269)

bad hat: criminal; bad actor; con man

"As for Amthor, he's a bad hat. They picked him up in a New York hotel and they say he's an international con man." (FML, p287)

newshawk: reporter

So every cop and newshawk in the country looked in all the places where money might be hiding her. (FML, p289)

lady of the night: prostitute

There were men from mines and smelters still in their working clothes, gaudy boys from pool rooms and dance halls, sleek men with slick pale faces, men with the dull look of respectable husbands, a few just as respectable and dull women, and a few ladies of the night. (RH, p6)

wobbly: laborer; worker (connotation of hard labor/blue collar) (??)

The strike lasted eight months. Both sides bled plenty. The wobblies had to do their own bleeding. Old Elihu hired gunmen, strike-breakers, national guardsmen and even parts of the regular army, to do his. (RH, p9)

chump: (chump)

"Don't be a chump," I interrupted his bawling. "Why should she kill him?" "Because she's a French hussy!" (RH, p14)

hussy: (hussy)


rowdy (n.): troublemaker; a belligerent person [noun derived from adjective?]

"A fine old rowdy," I growled. "A remarkably vital personality," he murmured. (RH, p17)

gold digger: (gold digger)

"A soiled dove, as the fellow says, a de luxe hustler, a big-league gold-digger." (RH, p22)

down-and-outer: sad sack; hard luck case; somebody on their way out (as with illness) (?)

"He's a down-and-outer -- t.b. He lives with her. She keeps him." (RH, p28)

lunger: somebody with t.b. or respiratory problems

This, I thought, is the lunger Dan Rolff. (RH, p31)

husky: (husky)

The secretary came in with the chauffeur, a tall sunburned young husky. (RH, p48)

wrecking crew: gang or group of heavies, specifically with the purpose of beating somebody up

The chief jerked a thumb at MacSwain and said: "Take this baby down cellar and let the wrecking crew work on him before you lock him up." (RH, p 99)

hanky-panky: a woman easily used and tossed aside; cheap thrill; somebody easy

"Now he was giving her the air for this Myrtle. I wasn't going to stand for that. Helen wasn't no hanky-panky." (RH, p113)

bozo: (bozo)

"He's the bozo that put the knife in Ike Bush the night of the fight." (RH, p119)

plug: thug; pug; toughie; palooka; etc.

"Who were the uninvited guests?" "Some plugs that don't know enough to leave me alone." (RH, p136)

croaker: doctor or nurse

"Your Dan Rolff pulled a sneak from the hospital sometime after midnight last night. The croakers are kind of steamed up about it." (RH, p172)

flunky: (flunky)

"Send the flunky away so we can talk. You won't need him. I'm not going to hurt you." (RH, p201)

hop-head: doper; drug addict; one who takes drugs (one who gets hopped up)

"I got an idea maybe it wasn't straight dreaming so much as hop-head nightmares stirred up by the things that were happening around me." (RH, p213)

trollop: (trollop)

"And when I began to talk, up there on the screen, they knew me for what I was, and so did I. A cheap Des Moines trollop, that has as much chance in the pictures as a monkey has." (PRT, p14)

hell cat: wild woman

"God, do I look like a little white bird?" "To me, you look more like a hell cat." ... "Oh, all right, I'm a hell cat, then. But I don't think I would be so bad. With somebody that wasn't greasy." (PRT, p15)

finger man: one who fingers, as for the mob, such as an informant; alternatively, one who identifies others, such as unreliable people who must be murdered

...in which a screen star can be the finger man for a mob. (SAM, p17)

(heavy) sugar daddy: sugar daddy

"A daddy is a good thing, and when the daddy is a very good thing indeed, he becomes a sugar-coated daddy, as vide recent stories in which unfortunate vamps of Broadway appeared as the victims of murder.  When a vamp gets a sugar-coated daddy she puts him on the merry-go-round until his money has spilled.  Some say he goes through the separator.  But Broadway slang is of the day only." (WWW2)

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