How to sell wolf tickets.
January 2, 2008 3:50 PM   Subscribe

A guide to prison slang. Texas prison guards' guide to prison slang. Jim Goad's guide to prison slang.(He should know). More prison slang.

Yet another guide to prison slang. Gang slang collected by police. Even more prison slang. Barely readable tripod page with more.
posted by Bookhouse (22 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
vocabulary spills i'm ill
posted by jcruelty at 4:19 PM on January 2, 2008


Hmm. They forgot "fresh fish", "sloppy seconds", and "bloody thirds".
posted by cytherea at 4:22 PM on January 2, 2008


Reading Louis Berg's 1934 Revelations of a Prison Doctor, I was surprised at how consistant some of the slang has stayed across decades and geographic lines. Berg has "wolf", "jocker", "punk" and "fag" in common use the 1920s south.
posted by Phlogiston at 4:53 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


from "gang slang collected by police":

OPP - Other Peoples Property

not sure how much I trust the street cred of people who can't decipher the rather obvious double meaning(s) behind a Naughty By Nature lyric from 1992- particularly when the song consists of basically nothing but explaining the joke for 3 minutes.

I wonder if they have an entry for "it's Hammertime?"
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:00 PM on January 2, 2008


I like the clinical tone.

"Buster"
Fraudulent gang member

posted by BlackLeotardFront at 5:25 PM on January 2, 2008


Yeah, I wonder how up to date some of this stuff is?

The last link above the fold I liked a lot, thanks!
posted by Camofrog at 5:28 PM on January 2, 2008


Yeah, I wonder how up to date some of this stuff is?

Well, it's prison. People there don't get out much.
posted by jonmc at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Have you ever looked at a list of drug slang? Most of the stuff in those hasn't been used since the 1920's.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:45 PM on January 2, 2008


Have you ever looked at a list of drug slang? Most of the stuff in those hasn't been used since the 1920's.

Are you hopped up on goofballs? High on the Maryjane?
posted by bondcliff at 6:06 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


No, just zooted on life.
posted by jonmc at 6:14 PM on January 2, 2008


Once on the bus ride to the local Junior College I was then attending, a day or so after my roommate and I had decided to buzz our locks almost all the way off, tennis ball style, for no good reason except that the doggie clippers were sitting RIGHT THERE on the edge of the table and we had been drinking beer and losing at SNES Tennis to the neighbor kid and so we chopped it all off college-boy style, once on the bus when my hair was cropped close and while I worked at solving the Long Beach Press-Telegram's daily crossword, two frightening looking young men climbed aboard and took the only two seats available, which were the ones directly across the aisle from mine.

The young men were my age or so, which was 23 or 24, and they looked frightening because they looked like they had recently spent a good deal of time in prison. One was white and one was Mexican. They wore sharply pressed flannel shirts and chinos and low-rise Chuck Taylor All Stars, kind of like mine. They had tattoos, dark and wriggly, reaching up from under their white tee-shirt collars and crawling up their necks into their hairlines. The Mexican also wore a teardrop tattoo. The white guy was thin and wiry and institutionally pale. Flourescently pale. The Mexican was denser than his partner, more obviously a workout fanatic even through his flannel shirt and he wore a wool watch cap with the excess rolled up tight over his ears rather than folded, just like mine.

Both wore their hair close to their skulls. Just like mine.

So, after a stop or two, I saw them, over the top of my folded up newspaper, turn away from their conservation and look across the aisle at me.

"Wood?" the white guy said.

I didn't want him to be talking to me, but I knew he meant 'Wood?' for me and not for anyone else, whatever 'Wood?' meant. As did the other nearby passengers, who looked at me and waited, too. I felt everybody looking and waiting. I looked up from the puzzle and looked back at him.

"Yeah," he said, "You. Wood?"

"Pardon me?"

"You know," he said, "wood. A peckerwood. You one?"

"A what? A peckerwood?"

Then he laughed and his partner laughed and he said, "No, I guess you aren't then."

"No I guess I'm not."

"Told you," said the Mexican.

"That's cool, too. Just thought I'd ask." Then he and the Mexican went back to their conversation and I went back to my crossword puzzle. What's a nine letter word for what the hell did he just ask me?

I asked around and eventually I figured out what a Peckerwood was. It's a lot easier to figure it out today by asking around the Internet.
posted by notyou at 6:14 PM on January 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


And in case you're thirsty... yummy yum yum.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:16 PM on January 2, 2008


Just seeing Jim Goad's name is enough to give me the willies - yet also intrigue me.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:34 PM on January 2, 2008


Near the beginning of his incarceration, Goad had a strange encounter with another author of "underground" literature, Jim Hogshire. Hogshire was the author of You Are Going To Prison.
posted by Tube at 6:52 PM on January 2, 2008


This is the strange encounter...
posted by Tube at 6:53 PM on January 2, 2008


From miss lynnster's links:

Not a good sign, to be sure, but the rest of us were made of sterner stuff. It smelled like rotten underwear and looked like Satan’s venereal urine, but this was for drunkard science, by God.

posted by jason's_planet at 7:35 PM on January 2, 2008


I get to do volunteer work with some guys who are in prison. Most of them are getting ready to get out and I'm fortunate enough to be able to spend some time with them and take them out on six hour passes. I've gotten to know some of these guys pretty well and still hang out with some of them after they get out. The only thing I'd call slang I've picked up, and I'm not sure if it is slang since they seem pretty obvious, are:

sleep: just means where you stay or stayed. "I slept at that camp." (They refer to the different prisons as "camps"). Also: "I slept under him" as he had the bunk above you, and "I slept with him" meaning you slept in the same dorm.

down: prison sentence. As in "How long are you down for?"

case: to stick something up your ass to sneak it in the prison.

date: when you're getting released. "I got my date today!"

That's really all I've picked up. The different levels of security camps are described by the color clothes they wear. Green clothes - minimum security and brown clothes - medium.

I've been able to help these guys some, and they in turn have explained to me how to make a tattoo gun using staples and the motor from a CD or tape player. Although a vibrator motor works best.

These guys describe prison as "High school without girls."
posted by marxchivist at 7:35 PM on January 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


My dad works in a prison and my god, the stories I've heard. I totally want to try some of this slang out on him and see how he reacts, so thanks for this post!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:16 PM on January 2, 2008


No "Rock Spider" ?

For some reason I thought that would be ubiquitous.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:07 AM on January 3, 2008


They forgot toss my salad.
posted by bwg at 12:38 AM on January 3, 2008


Yeah, I'm sure if they showed that Toss My Salad clip to everyone just as they leave school the crime rate would plummet overnight.

Oh and in case you ever find yourself banged up in Blighty (scrowl down)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:27 AM on January 3, 2008


In prison, beauty is just a skittle away.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:28 PM on January 4, 2008


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