[The Rustbelt] slang collection project

I’m collecting slang terms for an appendix for my game The Rustbelt. I’m looking for slang that is colorful, rough, earthy, gritty. Probable good sources include early 20th century hipster slang, sailor slang, army slang, cop slang, criminal and underground argot, etc. If you know any good ones, post ‘em. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Beater: a car in really bad shape
Bilk: to cheat
Black Maria(h): a police wagon
Bone orchard: a cemetery
Bulldoze: to threaten, bully, coerce
Bunko artist: a con-man
Burned down: played out, run into the ground, used until useless
C, Charge, or Charly: cocaine
Cool: the opposite of Hot (below)
the Chucks: the munchies
Croaker: a doctor, esp. one that will write prescriptions for illicit drugs
Go left: to go suddenly crazy, or to fly into a sudden rage
Gospel mill: a church
H, Horse, or Henry: heroin
the Heat: the police
Heater, Gat, Rod, or Piece: a gun
Heeled: carrying a gun
Hot or Uncool: describes a person, thing, or activity that is likely to attract the attention of the police, or a place that is frequented by the police
Hot shot: poison (usually strychnine) passed off as drugs (esp. junk) to a user, in an attempt to kill him
Joy bang: an occasional use of a drug by someone who does not have a habit (or claims they don’t)
Junk: any drug derived from opium
Light a shuck: to get the hell out of here
Make: to recognize someone and/or their intentions; as in, “Shit, they’ve made us; run!”
Mark: a target or victim, esp. for a con
Mud: opium
Oil burner: describes a habit (esp. a drug habit) that requires a lot to satisfy, constantly; from “oil burner” as applied to a car that leaks oil such that it burns off, and you have to replace it a lot
Packed: carrying a weapon
Put down a routine or hype or con: to persuade someone through a story, esp. a mendacious one
Rumble or Shake or Shake-down: search & seizure, esp. by the police
Shove the queer: to pass counterfeit money
the Simon pure: the real thing, the genuine article
Smash: spare money or change
Speedball: a mixture of cocaine and junk, taken intravenously
Spike: a hypodermic needle
Tea, Gage, or Greefa: marijuana
Touch: the act of asking someone for money; as in, “Joe, is this a touch?” or “He touched me for ten dollars”
Walking Spanish: being made to walk somewhere you don’t want to go, as at gunpoint
Wooden overcoat or coat or kimono: a coffin
Working the hole: robbing passed-out drunks
Wrong: describes someone who is a known collaborator with the cops, as in “he’s wrong” or “he went wrong”
Yen or Jones: an intense desire, esp. for sex or drugs; also a verb: yenning, jonesing


  • Whole towns can be Wrong, too. David W. Maurer's The Big Con is a gold mine.

    I'm hip deep in Civil War slang:

    Popskull (cheap whiskey)
    “Go boil your shirt” (take a hike)
    To knock into a cocked hat (beat senseless)
    Pie eater (bumpkin)
    Wallpapered (drunk)
    Somebody’s darling (dead soldier)
  • These are common Army slang, and as such may not be common, but it's good slang, I think. Some may not be appropriate as I've noticed a lack of any curse words in your list, but you didn't specifically prohibit them, so...

    Ratfuck: To ransack, take everything useful out of something, making it worthless
    Ate Up: Jacked up, not right. "You're ate up, you need to fix yourself!"
    Soup Sandwich: synonymous with ate up. Sometimes used in conjunction: Ate up like a soup sandwich.
    Man up: Be tough, be a man about it
    Suck it up: Quit complaining, can be used as a synonym of man up.
    Crunchy: Armor-slang for ground troops; Can be generalized to be anyone you run over with a vehicle
    Pop Smoke: Get the hell out of there; Referencing using smoke to disguise your movement
    Exfiltrate/Exfil: The opposite of infiltrate; get out in a covert manner

    I'm sure there's more but I'm drawing a blank.

  • More about Rustbelt or a link please?
  • Here is the link you have requested: The Rustbelt
  • Here you go, Marshall:

    Slim Galliard's Vout-O-Reenee Dictionary.

    Someone posted it on this forum before, so I shouldn't take the credit for finding it.
  • edited March 2009
    Thanks, guys, these are great!

    Yeah, swear words are fine 'n dandy!

    The Rustbelt is, to boil it down as far as I can, about what hardship and desperation do to people. To be more colorful about it, it's set in a near-future world in the throes of a slow apocalypse, as a cosmic force of corruption and dissolution (the Rust) slowly eats everything away. Structurally, the game is in the same family as Sorcerer and Over the Edge.

    The link that Stephen gave above is an older version of the game, but I guess it can give you some idea of what the game is about. The ashcan version is available at the UnStore here, and I'm currently working on the final edition.
Sign In or Register to comment.