A Glossary of HardBoiled Slang
April 27, 2002 1:18 PM   Subscribe

A Glossary of HardBoiled Slang will allow you to understand such wonderful, alliterative phrases as:

"You dumb mug, get your mitts off the marbles before I stuff that mud-pipe down your mush - and tell your moll to hand over the mazuma."

Welcome to the world of HardBoiled Fiction. Take some time to brush up on the classics.
posted by vacapinta (18 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Love it! thanksvacapinta....but nothing there on Arab-Israeli mess. Oh, well.....
posted by Postroad at 3:16 PM on April 27, 2002

hey cool, i've only ever been able to read a few jim thompson books. maybe with this i'll be able to tackle some others! (i like the long goodbye :)

now if they could only explicate the double entendres ...
posted by kliuless at 3:32 PM on April 27, 2002

"My cigarette smoke mixed with the smoke of my .38. If business was as good as my aim, I'd be on Easy Street. Instead, I've got an office on 49th Street and a nasty relationship with a string of collection agents.

"Yeah, that's me, Tracer Bullet. I've got eight slugs in me. One's lead, and the rest are bourbon. The drink packs a wallop, and I pack a revolver. I'm a private eye.

"Suddenly my door swung open, and in walked trouble. Brunette, as usual."
posted by yhbc at 3:42 PM on April 27, 2002

"Listen up, rummy! Where'd you pinch the hooch? Is some Blind Tiger jerking suds on the side?"
posted by GriffX at 4:13 PM on April 27, 2002

Self link to my hardnboiled crime fiction site, a genre I quite enjoy.
posted by owillis at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2002

Miller's Crossing has some great hard-boiled slang, and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid has some good parody dialogue.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:47 PM on April 27, 2002

Just saw Double Endemnity last night:

"And this trolley was riding all the way down to the end of the line. That's right baby, the cemetary, and you know what they have at the cemetary? That's right. Dead people."
posted by xammerboy at 5:23 PM on April 27, 2002

I'm in heaven. this is MeFi gold. and owillis' site...well, i just got yelled at...ya know, 'how long are you going to be on that computer' I'm pawing still, dash from room to room, doing a dish, peeking back, take the dog out, peek some more. thank you, thank you.

'Millers Crossing' .best.gangster.film.ever. (modern)

fav lines-
"bump the Smada"
"give the kid a penny boyz"
posted by clavdivs at 6:41 PM on April 27, 2002

er, 'Schmada'
posted by clavdivs at 6:42 PM on April 27, 2002

I'm glad to see that they included my fave James Ellroy among the classics. The guy is one of the 10 best writers working in any genre today. You wanna talk hard-boiled? Ellroy's a 12-minute egg.
I had the good fortune of meeting him back in my bookstore days when he still lived in CT and I can assure you the man is just as sick and twisted* in person as he is on the page.

*...in case you hadn't guessed coming from me that's a compliment.
posted by jonmc at 6:52 PM on April 27, 2002

I just discovered Raymond Chandler about a month and a half ago, and I've been stealing a few hundred pages guiltily here and there. In the midst of two English Lit classes it is a true pleasure.

Best line is "It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window."
posted by Hildago at 6:58 PM on April 27, 2002

This is great. I once did a lame page on how to speak hardboiled slang, the quickie version, which involved: (a) adding SAY at the beginning of some sentences; and/or (b) adding SEE? or WOULDJA? at the end of some sentences (e.g., "Say, you wouldn't rat on me now, wouldja?"). It might have helped if I had actually read any hardboiled fiction or watched the appropriate movies within the previous few years, instead of blowing it all directly out of my ass. So I really appreciate this as a resource. Thanks.
posted by mcwetboy at 7:02 PM on April 27, 2002

Thanks, vacapinta. I've liked the site for a while, but never had the balls to post it.

Best living (way better than Ellroy)...humane tough...lyrical modern west... hardest boiled because there's a small soft centre... James Crumley:

"Son," he said without preamble, "never trust a man who doesn't drink because he's probably a self-righteous sort, a man who thinks he knows right from wrong all the time. Some of them are good men, but in the name of goodness, they cause most of the suffering in the world. They're the judges, the meddlers. And, son, never trust a man who drinks but refuses to get drunk. They're usually afraid of something deep down inside, either that they're a coward or a fool or mean and violent. You can't trust a man who's afraid of himself. But sometimes, son, you can trust a man who occasionally kneels before a toilet. The chances are that he is learning something about humility and his natural human foolishness, about how how to survive himself. It's damned hard for a man to take himself too seriously when he's heaving his guts into a dirty toilet bowl."
Then he paused for a long minute and added, "And, son, never trust a drunk except when he's on his knees."

- The Last Good Kiss.
posted by liam at 12:29 AM on April 28, 2002

No, that quote was from "The Wrong Case".
posted by liam at 12:35 AM on April 28, 2002


Always wanted to get into this sort of thing, but stopped at sam and max and Dick Tracy!

< ...legs it to bookshop>
posted by monkeyJuice at 2:40 AM on April 28, 2002

I agree about Crumley, liam... for the first two or three books. The Mexican Tree Duck started stinking of death halfway through, and when he put Sughrue and Milo in the same book, I lost all affection and respect for him. But Dancing Bear and The Last Good Kiss are ones to treasure.

Quibble: I thought bindlestiffs were hobos who robbed other hobos.
posted by y2karl at 8:26 AM on April 28, 2002

I'm also a big fan of Ellroy and just ate up the Cold Six Thousand.

But I must hereby assert that Dashiell Hammett was the absolute master of HB, and that Red Harvest was his masterpiece. Ah, Poisonville...
posted by D at 10:40 AM on April 28, 2002

er, 'Schmada'

Er, schmatta. Apparently it's Yiddish slang for "rag." And for some reason, Schmatta.com.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:48 AM on April 28, 2002

« Older Bush weak and ineffectual   |   Nevada license tags depict atomic blast Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments