Glossary of Harlem Slang by Zora Neale Hurston

Air out: leave,flee, stroll
Astorperious: haughty, biggity
Aunt Hagar: Negro race (also Aunt Hager's children)
Bad Hair: Negro-type hair
Bailing: having fun
Bam & down in Bam: down South
Battle-hammed: badly fomed about the lips
Beating up your gums: talking to no purpose
Beluthahatchie: next station beyond Hell
Big boy: stout fellow, in South it means fool
Blowing your top: getting very angry; occasionally used to mean, He's doing fine
Boogie-woogie: type of dancing and rhythm, in South it meant secondary syphilis
Bull-skating: bragging
Butt sprung: a suit or a skirt out of shape in the rear
Coal scuttle blonde: black woman
Cold: exceeding, well, etc
Collar a nod: sleep
Collor a hot: eat a meal
Colorscale: high yaller, yaller, high brown, vaseline brown, seal brown, low brown, dark brown
Conk buster: cheap liquor; also an intellectual Negro
Cruising: parading down the avenue
Cut: doing something well
Dark black: a casually black person
Dat thing: sex of either sex
Dat's your mammy: same as, "So is your old man"
Diddy-Wah-Diddy: a far place, a measure of distance
Dig: understand
Draped down: dressed in the height of Harlem fashion
Dumb to the fact: you don't know what you are talking about
Dusty butt: cheap prostitute
Eight-rock: very black person
Every postman on his beat: kinky hair
First thing smoking: a train
Frail eel: a pretty girl
Free school: free schools, pretty yellow teachers and dumb Negroes
Function: a small, unventilated dance
Gator-faced: long, black face with big mouth
Getting on some stiff time: really doing well with your racket
Get you to go: to force the opponent to run
Ginny Gall: a suburb of Helll
Gif up off of me: quit talking about me
Go when the wagon comes: You may be acting biggity now, but you'll cool down when enough power gets behind you
Good hair: Caucasian-type hair
Granny Grunt: a mythical character to whom most questions may be referred
Ground rations: sex, also under rations
Gum beater: a blowhard, a braggart
Gut-bucket: low dive, type of music
Gut-foot: bad case of fallen arches
Handkerchief-head: sycophant type of Negro; also an Uncle Tom
Hauling: fleeing on foot
I don't deal in coal: I don't keep company with black women
I'm cracking but I'm facking: I'm wisecracking, but I'm telling the truth
Inky dink: very black person
I shot him lightly and he died politely: I completely outdid him
Jar head: Negro man
Jelly: sex
Jig: Negro, a corrupted shortening of Zigaboo
Jook: a pleasure house, in the class of gut-bucket
Jooking: playing a musical instrument or dancing in the manner of the jooks
Juice: liquor
July jam: something very hot
Jump salty: get angry
Kitchen mechanic: a domestic
Knock yourself out: have a good time
Lightly, slightly, and politely: doing things perfectly
Little sister: measures of hotness
Liver-lip: pendulous, thick purple lips
Made hair: hair that has been straightened
Mammy: a term of insult
Miss Anne: a white woman
Mister Charlie: a white man
Monkey chaser: a West Indian
Mug Man: a small time thug
My people!: sad and satiric expression in the Negro language
Naps: kinky hair
Nearer my God to Thee: good hair
Nothing to the bear but his curly hair: I call your bluff
Now you cookin' with gas: now your talking
Ofay: white person
Old cuffee: Negro
Palmer House: walking flat-footed
Pancake: a humble type of Negro
Park ape: an ugly, underprivileged Negro
Peckerwood: poor and unloved class of Southern whites
Peeping through my likkers: carrying on even though drunk
Pe-ola: a very white Negro girl
Piano: spare ribs
Pig meat: young girl
Pilch: house or apartment
Pitch toes: yellow girl
Playing the dozens: low-rating the ancestors of your opponent
Red neck: poor Southern white man
Reefer: marijuana cigarette, also a drag
Righteous mass or grass: good hair
Righteous rags: the components of a Harlem-style suit
Rug-cutter: originally a person frequenting house-rent parties, became a good dancer
Russian: a Southern Negro up north, "Rushed up here"
Scrap iron: cheap liquor
Sell out: run in fear
Sender: he or she who can get you to go, i.e., has what it takes
Smoking: looking someone over
Solid: perfect
Sooner: anything cheap and mongrel
Stanch: to begin
Stomp: low dance
Stormbuzzard: shiftless, homeless character
Stroll: doing something well
Sugar Hill: northwest sector of Harlem, near Washington Heights, many professionals
The bear: confession of poverty
The big apple: New York City
The man: the law or powerful boss
Thousand on a plate: beans
Tight head: one with kinky hair
Trucking: strolling
V and X: five-and-ten-cent store
West Hell: another suburb of Hell, worse than the original
What's on the rail for the lizard?: suggestion for moral turpitude
Whip it to the red: beat your head until it is bloody
Woofing: aimless talk
Young suit: ill-fitting, too small
Your likker told you: misguided behavior
Zigaboo: a Negro
Zoot suit with the reet pleat: Harlem style suit, padded shoulders, 43-inch trousers at the knee with small cuffs, high waistline  

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