Over the last 25 years, in numerous works – including the ‘Cassell Contemporary Dictionary of Slang’, ‘Slang Down The Ages’, ‘Talking Dirty’ and the ‘Slang Thesaurus’ - he has documented this underworld of language with an appetite that equals if not surpasses his illustrious historical predecessors in this field.
Their story forms part of Green’s ‘Chasing the Sun: Dictionary Makers and the Dictionaries They Made.’ [
He is currently into the editing stage of the final volume of his as-yet-untitled meisterwork – a 3-volume slang dictionary which will be the most detailed book of its kind ever published.
It will contain some 100,000 headwords; these are accompanied and underpinned by more than half a million citations. Green is hopeful it will be released in 2009. The dictionary will also be available on-line and will be kept constantly updated.
Below is an exclusive preview of the dictionary:
c.1386 Chaucer Wife’s Prol. 729: How Xantippa caste pisse vp-on his heed [OED]. 1440 Promp. Parv. 402/1: Pysse, or pysche, urina, minctura. 1596 ‘Misdiaboles’ Ulysses upon
2 an act of urination.
1837-8 ‘Toasts And Sentiments’ in The Cuckold’s Nest 48: How very convenient are those corner places, / Which beside every gin shop one sees, / Wherein men may walk to the wall, turn their faces, / And have a good p--s at their ease. 1842 Anon ‘Sally May’ in Nancy Dawson’s Cabinet of Songs 8: At p-ss one day I saw the lass. 1922 Joyce Ulysses 546: Was he insulting you while me and him was having a piss? 1934 H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 247: I godda take a piss. 1946 K. Amis letter 15 May in Leader (ed.) (2000) 66: To put a lump of sugar in his mouth or go for a piss. 1952 J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 613: Every time I took a piss I thought I had the clap for sure. 1966 T. Keyes All Night Stand 58: [I] tried to amuse myself by having a piss. 1974 P. Larkin ‘Sad Steps’ in High Windows Groping back to bed after a piss / I part thick curtains. 1989 (con. 1950s-60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 99: I told him to stop the car [...] while I have a piss. 1997 Barlay Curvy Lovebox 166: That was that most to-tahly smashing piss I evah have. 2000 Niall Griffiths Grits 170: When wih get back t’mih car ih gors off fer a piss.
3 vaginal fluid.
1865 ‘The Love Feast’ in T.P. Lowry The Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) 58: When quite undressed, the bower of bliss / Dissolved in one warm rush of piss / Whose briny jet bedewed the nick. 1973 (con. 1940s-60s) ed. Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Heigh Ho Says Rowley’ in Snatches & Lays 31: C is for cunt all slimy with piss.
4 as drink.
a. any sort of weak or otherwise unpalatable drink, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
1933 ‘George Orwell’ Down and Out in Davison (ed.) Complete Works (1987) I 153: Dat tay in de spike ain’t tay, it’s piss. 1968 K. Amis letter 11 Mar in Leader (ed.) (2000) 694: Food excellent, wine awful piss. 1974 (con. 1960s) R. Price The Wanderers 30: I ain’t drinkin’ any a that orange piss. 1989 D. Waters Heathers [film script] What did you do, put a phlegm globber in it or something? I’m not gonna drink that piss. 1999 K. Sampson Powder 115: He took a gingerly sip of Mâcon Blanc and declared it piss. 2001
b. (also pish) an alcoholic drink.
1925 (con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier & Sailor Words 224: Pish: Whiskey. Any spirits. 1958 A. Sillitoe Saturday Night 90: You can’t stand up to ’em with all that piss inside you. 1981 J. Wambaugh The Glitter Dome (1982) 15: It’s this Glitter Dome piss you’re drinkin. Irish whiskey, my dick. 1993
1945 P. Larkin letter 31 Oct. in Thwaite (ed.) Sel. Letters (1992) 110: Your letter found me last night when I came in off the piss: in point of fact I had spewed out of a train window and farted in the presence of ladies. 1977 K. Gilbert (ed.) Living Black 220: Got forty-four gallon drums of bloody metho ‘n all the piss they want. 1999 A. O’Hagan Our Fathers 140: We’ll have two pints of yer best piss. 2004 P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 204: The local piss we’re drinking is called Toohey’s.
5 constr by the, a general intensifier; the essence, the ‘daylights’.
1934 H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 73: That boss of mine, he bawls the piss out of me if I miss a semicolon. 1942 H. Miller Roofs of
6 (also pish) rubbish, nonsense, anything or anyone unappealling, worthless.
1947 K. Amis letter 24 Mar. in Leader (ed.) (2000) 123: They show us their pictures, which are UNRELIEVED BAD NINETEENTH CENTURY ANECDOTAL ACADEMY PISS. 1950 K. Amis letter 27 Nov. in Leader (ed.) (2000) 249: Have you read Eliz.
7 in fig. use, high spirits.
1964 Jim Thomson Pop. 1280 in Four Novels by Jim Thompson (1983) 381: ‘Fellas would get all full of piss an’ high spirits and take right off after them.’ 1994 T. Willocks Green River Rising 161: His time in the infirmary had taken all the piss out of him.
piss-burned discoloured, esp. of a grey wig which has turned yellow.
1686 A. Behn The Lucky Chance II i: A cloak to skulk in a-night, and a pair of piss-burned shammy breeches. 1691 N. Ward ‘The Authors Lamentation’ in Writings (1704) (2 edn) 23: My coat it is turn’d, with the Lappets Piss-Burn’d. 1742 H. Fielding Joseph Andrews (1954) III 274: A long piss-burnt beard served to retain the liquor of the stone-pot. 1788 Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2 edn) n.p.: Piss-burned. Discoloured: commonly applied to a discoloured grey wig. 1796 in Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3 edn). 1811 in Lex. Balatronicum [as Grose 1796]. 1823 in Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
piss-easy (orig. N.Z.) very easy.
1988 Viz Oct./Nov. 2: Oh, fuck that Tom! It’s piss easy. 2000 J. Connolly Layer Cake 9: I reckon it [i.e. drug dealing] must look very inviting, like piss-easy money, which it is when all goes well. 2003 in McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Slang.
piss-in-the-wind pointless, time-wasting.
1997 Simon & Burns The Corner (1998) 474: The politicians and profesionals are still offering up the kind of piss-in-the-wind optimism that compels any rational mind to recall another, comparable disaster.
piss over teakettle head-over-heels.
1998 in Guardian Sport 2 Oct. 16: A nice sharp right-hander on the chin, sent him piss over teakettles, spark out on the greensward.