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


iron: bullets

"Keep on riding me and you're going to be picking iron out of your navel." (TMF, p120.)

slug: bullet

"That Webley was his, and the slug in Miles came out of it." (TMF, p 141.)

heater [also: heat]: gun

"You bastard, get on your feet and go for your heater!" (TMF, p180.)

fog: shoot; riddle with bullets

"Make him lay off me then. I'm going to fog him if he keeps it up and there won't be anything that'll stop me from doing it." (TMF, p181.)

heeled: packing; carrying a gun

"You better watch your step," I said. "The guy's heeled. Or pretends to be." (THW, p50)

gat: gun

"You're the second guy I've met within hours who seems to think that a gat in the hand means a world by the tail." (TBS, p79)

"Gimme my gat," Frisky yelped. (TMB, p22)

"Just before he gets back in his car he takes a big gat out and spins the chamber." (FML, p43)

pop: shoot

"Put some light on so I can pop this guy, if it turns out this way." (TBS, p80)

rubbing: killing

"I'd hate to have to help send him to the deathhouse for rubbing that skunk." (TBS, p104)

bump off: kill

"He'd bump a guy off between drinks. " (TBS, p166)

sock: (sock) hit

"You didn't ever get socked in the kisser, did you?" the gaunt man asked me briefly. (TBS, p185)

"So you get out and walk down into the hollow, see and hear nothing, wait a few minutes, come back to the car and then somebody in the car socks you on the back of the head." (FML, p80-81).

"Come here, before I sock you." (PRT, p28)

Chicago overcoat: ?

"Go ahead and blast and see what it gets you." "A Chicago overcoat is what it would get you." (TBS, p174)

bust up (the) furniture: have a fight

If that didn't produce for me -- and I didn't think it would -- nature could take its course and we could bust up the furniture. (TLL, p105)

slug: hit

"You say you were slugged. You mean knocked unconscious?" (TLL, p235)

So I kissed her. It was either that or slug her. (TLS, p40)

slug: bullet; round

"Quit cold, with a slug in his head." (TMB, p33)

smack: punch

"How would you care for a smack in the kisser?" (TMB, p33)

"I thought you were going to say something else," he said. "And if you said it, I was going to smack you on the button." (FML, p192)

rodded: carrying a gun (rod)

"See if he's rodded, beef." (TMB, p38)

pinked: shot; killed; knocked off; (possible reference to Pinkertons?)

"Too bad he got pinked. I'd like to wrastle him a bit." (TMB, p58)

rod: gun (heater, etc.)

"Uh-huh. I think I'm going to be lucky -- and I'd like to have a guy with a rod." (TMB, p63)

"I can prove I'm a dick. You're an ex-con and it's a felony just having that rod." (TMB, p154)

"I was there and saw, didn't I? Don't you pack no rod?" (FML, p17)

scratch: kill; knock over

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

iron: gun

"But you're all washed up now, you and your big smile. Hoist the mitts while I get your iron. Up, mister." (TMB, p155)

slugs: bullets

"Get the slugs out of Waldo?" (TMB, p185)

rolled: mugged

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)

mauler: brass knuckles

He looked surprisingly down at his hand. He slipped the mauler off and threw it casually in the corner. (TLG, p144)

skiv: shiv; knife; blade; instrument for shanking

"Never mind about the heater," he said. "The town's full of old iron. But you could leave the skiv with Clausen. I've done quite a bit of work on it to get it in shape." (TLS, p20)

typewriter: machine-gun (HB)

(swift) poke: punch, etc.

"Did anybody ever give you a swift poke in the nose?" (PB, p124)

twist (one's) neck: choke; strangle; murder

"All the time this Malloy was twisting the neck of this smoke." (FML, p17)

(to carve) Harlem sunsets: racist term for stabbing or slicing somebody

"One time there was five smokes carved Harlem sunsets on each other down on East Eighty-four." (FML, p19)

conk: (conk, as on the head) hit; knock somebody out; hit over the head

"I'm getting a hundred dollars for doing nothing. If anybody gets conked, it ought to be me." (FML, p56)

sap (n.) / to sap (v.) : (sap)

Whoever it was had a nice easy shot at the back of my head. Afterwards I thought I might have heard the swish of a sap. Maybe you always think that -- afterwards. (FML, p62)

drill: shoot; fill with bulletholes

"Move and I'll drill you!" she snapped. (FML, p70)

dry-gulch: ambush; surprise; sneak attck or attack from behind (as with a sap)

"So I went down there on foot and while I was down there they must have stuck him up. Then one of them got into the car and dry-gulched me." (FML, p75)

brass knuckles: (brass knuckles)

It was a nice face, a face you get to like. Pretty, but not so pretty that you would have to wear brass knuckles every time you took it out. (FML, p87)

push in the face: shoot? stick a gun in one's face?

"Chauffeurs are not getting themselves pushed in the face with lead bullets by holdup men -- for ninety a month." (FML, p197)

bat: hit; bash; smash; conk; smack; etc.

"Everybody bats you over the head and chokes you and smacks your jaw and fills you with morphine, but you just keep right on hitting between tackle and end until they're all worn out." (FML, p288)

smack: hit; bash; bat; smash; conk; etc.


smacked down: knocked out; KO'd

"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)

gun-play: (gunplay) shootout; gunfire; violence with firearms

"We could crash the place, but that'd mean gun-play, and it's just as well to take it easy." (RH, p48)

stretch: (somebody's neck) hang somebody, or hang the pinch on them; execute somebody

"If what the Willsson dame give us ain't enough to stretch him I'm a pickpocket." (RH, p48)

drop: kill; possibly also knock down, put out for the count, etc.

"You dropped Big Nick," he said. (RH, p54)

mill: a (big) fight; a boxing match

"He flops at the Maxwell on Union Street. I guess maybe he's there now, resting up for the mill." (RH, p72)

croak: kill; murder

"He was in on the Keystone Trust knock-over in Philly two years ago, when Scissors Haggerty's mob croaked two messengers." (RH, p72)

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)

And, as much as Noonan hated the gambler, here was a prisoner he didn't give the works, didn't turn over to the wrecking crew. (RH, p109)

throw lead: shoot

A load of coppers buzzed past, throwing lead at the first car. (RH, p111)

plug: shoot

"Stop, or I'll plug you, MacSwain." (RH, p111)

put a knife in: stab, or throw a knife at (into) somebody

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

pot: shoot

"We just had the three of them, except Buck Wallace, the fellow you potted." (RH, p119)

mill: machine gun

"Tell him to set up his mill and start grinding." (RH, p122)

ice / put on ice: kill

"Reno seems to have had the right dope, because I notice that right now he's holding down a chair that would have been Lew Yard's if Lew hadn't been put on ice." (RH, p 149)

pills: bullets

"You never saw anybody that was deader. Must have had thirty pills pumped in him." (RH, p153)

poke: punch

"I poked his jaw, leaning my hundred and ninety pounds on the poke." (RH, p175)

crack (v.): break

"You after getting your kneecap cracked?" (RH, p200)

tangle: fight; dust-up; etc.

"Reno and Pete the Finn tangled tonight. Hear anything about it?" (RH, p205)

blackjack: (blackjack)

She was to wait till she heard him in the tub, go in for a towel, and clip him from behind with a blackjack I had made for her out of a sugar bag with ball bearings wadded down in the end. (PRT, p18)

clip: hit; conk; smash; wallop; etc.


slungshot: blackjack (possibly w/ connotation of being improvised); cosh

"What did you do with that slungshot?" "I still got it here, in the pocket of my dress." "God Almighty, if they had arrested you back there, and searched you, we'd have been sunk." (PRT, p23)

rap: hit (to); injury; knock (to)

That rap on the conk cost him $322, believe it or not. (PRT, p35)

crown: hit on the head; smash somebody over the head; crack somebody's skull, etc

"And while you were stopped, you crowned the Greek with one of the wine bottles." (PRT, p61)

hang (one) (on somebody's jaw, etc.): hit somebody; punch somebody (e.g. on the jaw)

"Next time I try to act smart, will you hang one on my jaw?" (PRT, p103)

artillery: guns; weaponry

"All right, boys. I'll show you out. We'll keep the artillery here." (PRT, p104)

Nevada gas: cyanide

(title of a Raymond Chandler short story reprinted in SAM, p329)

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