More Words To Play With

In Gay News No 15 we printed extracts from The Queen’s Vernacular, a Gay Lexicon compiled by Bruce Rodgers. Since that time the book has acquired a publisher in this country, and for copyright reasons, this will be the last time that selected extracts from the book will appear in GN. The book is to be published in June of this year.

We consider The Queen’s Vernacular to be an extremely well researched work, which is both interesting and amusing. As a result of negotiations with the book’s publishers, Blond & Briggs of 56 Doughty Street, London WC1, we will be inviting you to take advantage of an exclusive pre-publication offer, available to readers of Gay News only. The retail price of the book will be £1.25, but we offer it to you for only 95p (plus 5p post & packing) as long as your orders are received by us before the publication date.

Further announcements on a special cut-out form, will be frequently appearing in the forthcoming editions of GN.

May we remind you that the key for Abbreviations, Sources, Locations and Parts of Speech were printed with the last extracts, and to save space we have not included any of the guides to pronunciation that appear in the original text.

  • beefcake 1. masculine sex appeal. Syn: MQ (=masculine quotient); X-appeal (camp) 2. photographs of nude men in sexy situations “And to Culligan, I leave my entire collection of European beefcake.’ Syn: cheesecake (camp).
    king popular muscle-man in physique magazines and pornographic snapshots “Some fag-mags have more beefcake kings in ’em than chicken.”
  • black widow (kwn SF late ’60s) male homosexual who habitually takes away the love-mates of other homosexuals. Syn: burglar; dragon lady; spider lady
  • blow to suck a penis. “That old queen blew me three times in a row.” Syn: blow the whistle (“If that cute cop doesn’t stop hanging around with gay kids, he’ll find his whistle being blown some dark, foggy night”); brush the teeth (“He finished brushing Harry’s teeth five seconds before Velma waltzed in”); catch it; chew (but chew it = unfriendly command to be still); cop a bird [cock, doodle, hot one, joint]; cuff a carrot (prison sl); do (“Don’t do anybody I would”); drop on it (kwn SF, SM sl ’72); eat (“That one cruises the girlie shows eating horny sailors while they’re watching the flicks”); eat it all up; faire (fr Fr = to do, make “Faire me well dearest!”); fix somebody up; flute (30s: “Fluting doesn’t give you cavities, just syphilitic tonsils”); French (fr WWII sl; the French, having no love lost between the Germans, will sometimes speak of homosexuality as l’amour allemand); gam (Brit: also used is the command give us a gam! = blow me); get a facial; get it off; get punked in the head [mouth] (pej. prison sl = to be forced into sucking cock); give head (late ’60s: “He’s weird, he’ll lay on his belly, but he won’t give head”); give pearls (Kwn SF, black gay sl. ’70; pearls, in this instance refers to teeth); gobble [the goop] (’40s); go down for whomp; go down like white on rice (kwn SF. black gay sl, ’70; to enthusiastically suck a white man’s cock; cf soldier’s simile of a fist fight: “Man I was all over him like stink on shit”), go down on it (“C’mon, go down on it, I haven’t got all day”); grab a hot one (’50s); gunch (“He gunched me a little until he got it hot”); have some cream sauce; hum a tune [on the flute] (’30s); inhale the oyster; kiss it (’40s – late ’50s); kneel at the altar (’40s: “Honey, ain’t no time to be thinkin’ ’bout bathtub water when you kneelin’ at the altar”); mamar (fr Sp = to suck: “Mamar yo quiero!); perform (“When will Mr Magnificent Seven let me perform?”); picnic up on it (mid ’60s); plate somebody (Brit sl); play a tune (50s, connected with piccolo and flute both = cock); play bugle boy (early ’60s, hetero college sl: “I let some fag play bugle boy, but I didn’t do one thing to help him come… I’m not queer!”); play musical arrangements [on the flute]; play the flute [horn, organ] (fr Brit sl: “Why don’t you prove you’re a music lover by playing my horn for me?”); root (prison sl, fr root = to poke or grub about with the nose); scarf [scorf] up on a bod (kwn LV, mid ’60s, fr black sl scarf // hobo sl scoff = eat); service (to be the receptacle for a piece of trade); sit on a face (camp); speak low Genitalese; stoop for it; suck (“He probably sucked his way to the top”); suck a bondini (Dated, mid ’60s); swallow a sword; swing on it (early ’60s); swing on some flivver (late ’60s); take it in the mouth; take somebody on (late ’50s); wean (obs late ’50s: if fr weenie, the word should rightly be spelled ween); whistle (’30s: “It’s not true that gay boys can’t whistle!” “Whistle while you jerk!”); whomp down on it; whomp it up; woof up on it; worship at the altar (’40s: “I’ll be worshipping at the altar when Johnny comes marching home”); wring it dry (to get the last drop); yummy down [up] on it (mid ’60s: extended to food: “You really yummied down on that burger – the poor dear didn’t stand a chance.”)
    • job act of sucking the penis until ejaculation. Syn: ai (Haw gay sl, mid ’60s: “First we honi-honi’ed, then we do ai”); bird (kwn NYC, ’70 fr sl bird = cock: “Hiya, kid, wanna bird?” = want to get sucked off?); BJ (initials for blow job); blue jay (rare, mixture of past tense blew + initial of J in job); French art[s] (“Are you well versed in the French arts?”); French job [love, way]; head job; job (short for blow job, perhaps one of the few euphimisms in Masculinese: “I used to let some queer give me a job whenever things got dull – he would pay me plenty for eatin’ it”); knob job (early ’60s); Kowtow chow; kneeling and sucking; mouth job; quickie (hustler sl: when a buyer does the sucking); shot upstairs (fr pros sl: “It’s five for a shot upstairs”); skull job; snow job (early ’60s: fr blow job); tongue job (rare).
  • blueballs aching in the testes triggered by an inability to copulate [lighten the load] “Know what the sure cure for blueballs is? Scratch them until they’re red!” Syn: love nuts swollen testes; stoneache.
  • bull (’40s) 1. the obvious, aggressive lesbian “My ex-boss was a bull; every time she laughed the windows would crack.” 2. (prison sl. fr bulletin) note, letter “Here’s your bull – what’s it say?” 3. (adj) masculine “Is he bull or cow when it comes to the sack?”
    • dagger 1. the burly lesbian who dresses more like a truck driver than a PTA member; lesbians who assume the male role in lovemaking. 2. girlish homosexual man who will conduct himself in a two-fisted fashion “Why you coming on like a bull-dagger, dear; trying to impress a piece of sweet ass?” Syn: bull bitch [dyke]
    • dicker (fr sl dick = cock) the active lesbian whose extended clitoris enables her to fuck in a face-to-face position imitating heterosexual coitus.
  • bumper-to-bumper 1. tribadism, ie rubbing vulvas in a face-to-face position “Not all gay women do it bumper-to-bumper; some prefer sixty-nining instead” 2. close, intimate dancing or standing close together, vagina to vagina. “Okay, gang, no bumper-to-bumper dancing in this bar — or out you go; we run a clean place here”.
  • bumping pussies the embarrassing of two homosexual men who find themselves too passive, active or in other ways too similar to create a sexual situation “He thought that you and I were carrying on together — what would we do, bump pussies?”
  • butch (fr sl butch cut = man’s severely cut hair style) 1. lesbian with masculine characteristics, see *dyke. 2. (’40s) nonhomosexual man whose virile appearance both draws and repels the homosexual (repels because of the danger of violence if the butch is enraged by a gay proposition) Syn: all man; butch number; hesexual (rare); kane (fr Haw = male: for further secrecy; Haw gays disguise this word with pig-latin anekay); RM (acronym fr real man = virile, skirt-chasing, beerdrinking he-man); *stud. 3. (adj) manly in speech, in fashions and in bed; submission impossible “He’s strictly butch — he wouldn’t roll over for a gay apostle”. Syn: big (“I like ’em big”); boonch; bootch; butz (a lisped butch: “But I am butz; I am I am!”); chesty; masc (short for masculine: “That one’s so masc all the world to him is one big fix-it place”)
    • as Kong (Brit gay sl fr movie ape King Kong) very very masculine, hulking.
    • —er (pej) to *fuck, especially to deflower a young man “If they’re old enough to bleed, they’re old enough to butcher.”
    • —er boy (dated, les sl, ’30s) homosexual who has sexual relations with a lesbian.
    • er shop used in statement “the butcher shop is closed”, denying the requests of a cocksucker “Stop manhandling your sister – the butcher shop is closed for repairs.”
    • fluff (les sl) masculine courtesies performed by an active *dyke; opening car doors for a date; lighting another’s cigarette etc.
    • queen homosexual man whose virile activities and responsibilities make him hard to detect. The only distinction between the gay boy who is butch and the butch queen is that the latter will get fucked. Effeminate men will sometimes say that the butch queen is nothing but a *big woman (“You can’t tell a nooky by its cover.”); Syn: crew-cut queen; hairy mary (kwn LV, mid ’60s); roarer (Brit gay sl).

  • cash-ass (fr cautious) cynically applied to *hustler who feigns coyness until assured of material gain “He’s not shy, he’s cash-ass. Mention money and watch his cheeks light up!”
  • catalogue queen homosexual who collects physique magazines for masturbation purposes.
  • cherry 1. see *anal virgin 2. (kwn SF, teen sl, late ’50s) a conservative, follow-the-crowd personality; an unworthy ‘square.’
  • chicken (fr naut chicken – a young recruit // sl spring chicken, usu in negative context as “You’re no spring chicken”) 1. any boy under the age of consent, heterosexual, fair of face, and unfamiliar with homosexuality “So many chickens were flapping around that I thought we were touring Colonel Sander’s plantation”. 2. juvenile, youthful, young-looking. Syn: chicken-looking (“You’re chicken-looking enough to pose for Maypo cereal boxes”); tender 3. (rare kwn LV, mid ’60s) to fuck a pretty boy;
    • butchered chicken boy who recently lost his anal virginity; “he walks like a butchered chicken” = he walks bowlegged or stiffly with the legs apart.
    • fountain of youth (kwn LV mid 60’s) said of one who is able to reach several orgasms in one day.
    • fried chicken suntanned boy.
    • plucker man who enjoys “deflowering’ young boys.
    • pox (kwn LV, mid 60’s) the urge to have sex with younger men.
    • pretty (mid 60’s; cf fairy tale witch who addresses all children as “my little pretty”: “I shudder to think that I might have to backtrack in the snow to find myself another pretty if you don’t work out”); pumpkin pie kwn LV. mid 60’s, fr prison sl *punk: “Honey, I’m Alabamy bound think of all that pumpkin pie with nuthii t’do but slop hawgs”); piece of hot pumpkin pie a la mode (a boy who gets blown); punkie (40’s-early 50’s fr prison sl *punk + diminutive: “That punkie’s solid spinach – everything he touches turns to rigor mortis”); puppy flesh (kwn LA mid 60’s: generic for pubescent young men just beginning to melt off their puppy fat “Red Wings are tres puppy flesh”); puss (fr sl doll puss); sexteenager (curious about homosexuality); gay chicken a homosexual teenager. Syn. brunster (dated 30’s, hetero brunser = a homosexual+youngster); bud (esp used of young latent homosexuals: “The buds are coming out earlier this spring”); chit (Brit chit = a silly girl // ME chitte = kitten or cub; delicate boy who chits and chats); daffodil [ly] (hetero sl); princess (camp, one who is not mature enough to be a *queen); queer pup (Kwn LA, mid 60’s); poultry dealer man who pimps boys to interested homosexuals; pluck some feathers to make love to a young boy, especially anally. Syn: rip off a drumstick (late 60’s); skin some chicken (rare = to force a boy to come across); quail migratory bird: a delicacy to chicken hawks; student prince sexually congenial college student; token chicken (70) the newspaper boy “Tell the token chicken that I’d like to make a deposit.”; Venus in blue jeans (camp fr song recorded in the early 60’s by Bobbie Vinton) attractive high-schooler.
  • clit (fr L // Gk Kleitoris) clitoris, primary organ of erotic sensation in the female. “I want me a dong, princess, not some exaggerated clit like that thing you’ve got” “I’ve got to pick up a book on clit disorders” Syn: button (push the button = fingering the clitoris until orgasm); dot; jointess (camp fr sl joint = cock; the clitoris becomes erect like a penis when stimulated); little boy in the boat (fr L naviculans = clitoris // navicula = boat)
    • closet (’71) hotel which rents rooms to prostitutes and their *johns. Syn: hot-sheets hotel (pros. sl, ’70).

It Pays To Increase Your Word Power

In the eternal battle for the keys to the executive wash-room that we know as life, it becomes increasingly apparent that the only way to get those all-important keys is to be
smarter than your colleagues.

With that in mind, we present the first part of our serialisation of America’s smartest dictionary, the book that sets you up for anything that might come to pass in the wash-room.

The Queen’s Vernacular is a Gay Lexicon compiled by Bruce Rodgers. It was published last year in the USA, and it may be published in Britain in the autumn.

But, in case the book never gets published in the UK, we’ve decided to bring you some of the tastiest parts. Cut them out and keep them and you’ll be able to read all those books you smuggled through customs, you’ll know what people are saying about you behind your back and you’ll get the reputation for being the dirtiest old man on your street.

That said, here’s section one:


Ans = answer
Ant = antonym
camp = sex reversal, strictly humourous, self-mocking
cent = century
cf = compare
colloq = colloquial, well known regionally
dated = dates the user
dial = dialectical
= = equals
eg = for example
etc = and so forth
fr = from
// = from previous derivation
hetero = heterosexual
ie = that is
kwn = known in
les = lesbian usage
lit = literally
* = look up main entry alphabetically
med = medical terminology
narc = narcotic usage
naut = nautical
obs = obsolete
orig = originally
pej = pejorative
pl = plural
? = perhaps
+ = plus
pros = prostitute
sl = slang
SM = sado-masochism
usu = usually
var = variant
vul = vulgar


Am – American
AS = Anglo Saxon
Aus = Australian dialect
Brit = British
carnival/camy sl = pig-latin whereby syllables are camouflaged by “e(a)za,” eg house = hezouse.
Chin = Chinese
Du = Dutch
E = English
Fr = French
Ger = German
Gk = Greek
Gullah = S Carolina Black dialect formed from English and African Gold Coast languages.
Haw = Hawaiian
Heb = Hebrew
Ir = Irish
It = Italian
Jap = Japanese
L = Latin
La Creole = Louisiana Creole
M = Middle, eg ME = Middle English
Mex = Mexican
O = Old eg OFr = Old French
Pach = pachuco Spanish
Parlyaree cant = largely composed of Italian words salvaged from Lingua Franca
Russ = Russian
Skt = Sanskrit
Sp = Spanish
Yid = Yiddish


Arg = Argentina
Ariz = Arizona
Cape Town = Cape Town, South Africa
Chi = Chicago
Ill = Illinois
LA = Los Angeles, California
LV = Las Vegas, Nevada
NYC = New York City
PR = Puerto Rico
SF = San Fransisco, California
Wis = Wisconsin

Parts of speech

adj = adjective
adv = adverb
exclam = exclamation
imp = imperative
interj = interjection
n = noun
pron = pronoun
v = verb
voc = vocative, name-calling

  • abareskin (camp) embarrassing
  • abdicate to leave a public toilet because of possible interrogation by an attendant or vice squad officer “Time to abdicate the throne; hither cometh the vice-man.”
  • Abigail nickname awarded to a middle-aged homosexual whose approach to life and love is conservative. *Aunties, *closet queens and *piss elegant faggots are also Abigails, but see their entries for the subtle differences in meaning.
  • abort to shit soon after being ass-fucked. Some queens erroneously believe that this is a wise-ass practice to prevent VD; others, however, are more concerned with the practice’s camp value: “Ooh, I’m in love with my abortionist!”
  • accoutrements (Fr accoutrement = bizarre attire) 1. male genitals; see *balls. 2. Any gadget, especially a mechanical devise whose name is unknown, unfamiliar or too technical to remember.
    • Syn: crown jewels (“What’s with all the crown jewels [locks] on your door .. . expecting Raid to drop in?); do-hickies.
  • AC-DC see *bisexual
  • ace gear (mid 60’s, fr black sl ace = first rate, as in ace boon coon = a best friend) sexually talented homosexual, one who is adept at everything
  • acrophobia (fr GK acros = at the top + phobia = fear of) fear of smoking marijuana. The medical term for fear of heights reaches a new high (and meaning) in gay slang.
  • action (late ’50’s-mid ’60’s) 1. one’s ideology, philosophy of living “What’s his action?” 2. sexual preference. In a leather bar, for example, “What sort of action do you dig, man?” is often delivered as a sexy challenge. 3. General term for one who is sexually promising and exciting; also piece of action “There’s always action on Greenwich Avenue, even when it snows.”
  • actress (camp) homosexual character who hogs the limelight – egocentric, but the life-of-the-party as well. Also see *star.
  • ad graffito, usually on a gay frequented washroom wall, stating the sexual desires of the writer. The scrawl often includes the time and place for oral and anal adventures.
  • Adam the first man with whom one has had homosexual relations.
  • Adam’s PJ’s nudity “He was wearing Adam’s PJ’s” = he was nude.
  • a-dollar-an-inch-man (hustler sl) one who claims he’s so large he could charge cock-suckers a dollar an inch and still come out ahead of what his rivals charge.
  • Adonis (fr Gk Adonis = proper name of a beautiful youth) flawless specimen of male physique.
  • advance a storm (kwn SF, black gay sl, ’70) to work up a sweat from dancing or other forms of exertion “I’m advancing a small storm, girl; this Funky Penguin is too much!”
  • adventure (fr Fr aventure) love affair
  • advertise 1. to dress in a sexually provocative manner. A gay maxim runs: “It pays to advertise!” 2. (camp) to pluck and then paint the eyebrows,
  • advertising bar (early ’60’s) bar frequented by male prostitutes and their clients
  • advertising pilgrim (mid ’60’s) sexily dressed straight man, unaware of the rise he’s getting. Also known simply as pilgrim,
  • affair 1. illicit extracurricular relationship. Among gay die-hard romantics, the word carries the strength of three months. To the majority, however, the word often represents five minutes in the bushes. 2. (Brit gay sl) one’s current lover of uncertain duration “Ques: ‘How old did you feel my affair was?’ And: ‘Probably much less.’”
  • afghan (mid’ 60’s fr the implied need of old age for a shawl, a knitted afghan) middle-aged homosexual who sometimes wears the regalia of a woman.
  • Agnes vocative implying that the person addressed is gay “Agnes here was in the army – she was the enemy!”
  • agreeable consenting to a homosexual act, especially used of someone new to the game.
  • amyl amyl nitrite gas inhaled because of its aphrodisiac powers. Generally a nasal inhaler containing a crushed amyl nitrite ampoule or cotton saturated with liquid amyl nitrite sniffed during sex. Amyl nitrite is used medically to revive heart patients, but if inhaled during sex, the experience seems to last longer and feel more intense. It has become, in a manner of speaking the gay drug.
    • Until the late ’60’s, homosexuals as a group religiously avoided pills and other drugs though they would continue to use amyl. Paraphrasing the Bible’s injunction “Gag at a gnat and swallow a camel” prehippy fairies would “gag at a joint and swallow an inhaler.” Syn sniff.
    • queen an inhaler addict “He’s such an amyl queen – he’d go home with the first druggist he met.”
    • Related terms:
      • amies amyl nitrite ampoules. Syn: banana splits (fr the pungent odour of overripe bananas emitted by breaking the ampoule); crackers (’70’s) pearls; poppers; Rice Crispies (’70’s: suggested by the other amyl nitrite sl names’ relation to the “snap crackle and pop” of the cereal) snappers.
      • inhaler 1. a commercially sold nasal inhaler used as the bed-side container for amyl nitrite. 2. a non commercial inhaler usually metal, made solely for the purpose of amyl nitrite inhalation. “That’s not a mezuzah George is wearing around his neck … it’s an inhaler.”
      • joy juice (kwn SF, SM sl, ’72) liquid amyl nitrite.
      • plug in the neon (kwn SF, ’72: fr the effect of sniffing amyl) to inhale amyl nitrite while balling.
  • anal virgin boy or young man who has never experienced passive anal intercourse “Not even the twelve-year-olds in Hank’s neighbourhood are anal virgins any more.”
  • angel any homosexual male. Angel, to some, mends the crumpled wings and pride of the denigrated fairy.
  • Angelina sorority (’40’s) the young homosexual’s world.
  • angel with a dirty face (obs, mid-30’s, fr motion picture Angels With Dirty Faces) homosexual who is too timid to participate in homosexual acts. Also see *closet case
  • Angie (voc) preferred every now and then to the actual baptismal name of the listener “Say, Angie, how do you manage it, considering your age and all?”
  • balls (O Norse bollr = globular object) the testicles “Hit the dude in the balls then you’ll know if he’s S or M”.
    • Syn: bags (“Don’t let that basket fool ya – it looks like he’s got a long schlong, but it’s only big bags”); diamonds (camp) ding-dongs (“No, these levis are too tight – there’s no room for m’ding dongs t’ breathe”); dusters; eggs in the basket (cf other languages where eggs = testes. Heb betism, sp huevos, etc); ‘family jewels; gadgets (“My gadgets itch; maybe my crabs are givin a show down there”); goatees (kwn LV, late ‘60, fr gonads // Gk gone = seed); gongs (obs); nuts (“Ah, Christmas, with the smell of roasted nuts, poppers and A-200 filling the air”); orbs; rocks (“Is it okay if I go out and look at some rock formations?”); scalloped potatoes (=sunburned testes); stones; velvet orbs (’71).
    • y gutsy, forward, possessing chutspah, Syn: bold (Brit gay sl); cheeky (Brit).
  • B&D see *SM
  • bang-bang-bang (interj) quick sexual act with little or no tenderness “I couldn’t, even if I was face to face with the last man on earth have sex – bang-bang-bang – just like that.” Syn: slam [wham] bam, thankee ma’am!
  • bar (kwn SF ’70 fr comparison with sl *gay bar) any public locale, such as a park, crowded with men congregated there for sexual purposes “This beach used to be such a camp until it became well-known – now it’s a bar.”
  • bargain basement any place where it is easy to locate a sex partner,
  • bar handles fleshy sides of the waist; a spare tire “This mad dyke danced off her bar handles.”
    • Syn: fuck handles (kwn NYC, late ’60s); goodyear; love handles.
  • bar hustler male prostitute who solicits his customers in bars.
  • barracuda (kwn LV, mid ’60s) predatory, shrewd individual capable of stooping to devious tactics; a hunter par excellence.

ED: Please remember to keep the key for Abbreviations, Sources, Locations and Parts of Speech, printed at the beginning of this issue’s excerpt from The Gay Lexicon. We will be publishing further extracts soon.

To save space we have not included any of the guides to pronunciation that appear in the original text.