Ring slang list from 1926 RING magazine
Barry A. Popik
Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed May 19 05:34:00 UTC 1999
I was searching for a ring slang list in THE RING magazine and found
this. It has an overlong intro and is, perhaps, only moderately helpful.
It's from THE RING, November 1926, pg. 10:
_Ring Slang as Old as the HIlls_
By NAT FLEISCHER (Publisher--ed.)
RING slang is probably the oldest slang in the English language. All slang
terms not strictly technical, that is, belonging to a distinct sport as
baseball, golf, tennis, and football, trace their origin to the prize ring.
Historic ring data proves the above assertion to be correct, for there is
scarcely a slang word in the present generation that cannot be found
somewhere in the descriptions of fights dating back a century or more.
This statement may surprise those who think that slang in sports has had
its origin in this country with the introduction of boxing and baseball, but
a peep through John Bee's "Sportsman's Slang," printed in 1825; Pierce Egan's
Mirror of Life, Bell's Life, or the Sportsman's Dictionary and Gentleman's
Companion, printed in 1785, will convince RING readers that the slang
expressions used in almost every branch of sports to-day date back beyond the
century mark and had their origin among the sporting folk of England.
For example, who among the modern fight fans would believe that the
expression, "kissed the canvas," had its origin in the expression, "kissed
the dust," and that this was first used in describing a fall in the battle
between Jack Slack and Bill Stevens, the Nailer, in 1760?
In the bout between Tom Smallwood and Richard Harris, which lasted an
hour and was fought in 1741, we find Harris using his "bunch of fives,"
meaning his fists, to good advantage, and Smallwood being as "game as a
In the days of Gentleman Jackson, 1790, the gentry wore "toppers" while
viewing the combat, and the "dudes" wagered heavily on their man. Both of
these quoted expressions are used to this day. ("Dudes" in 1790? No way,
A fighter a century ago, according to Pierce Egan, if he failed to
"deliver the goods," was termed a "yokel." To-day he not alone is a "yokel,"
but a "palooka." A shellacking or a pasting or a severe beating or licking
today is just another expression for a "snoozing," which the oldtimers got.
Here is a list of slang expressions used more than a century ago and
still in use to-day, and some of the new slang terms which have found their
way into the field of fistiana during modern times:
HIT THE DUST--Floored or thrown.
SMOKING UP A BATTLE--Exciting public interest in a bout.
KNOCKED COLD--Knocked out.
KNOCKED SILLY--Punished badly.
DEAD AS A DOORNAIL--Knocked out--unable to arise.
TAKING THE NOD--Unconscious.
WALLOP THE BIRD--Hit the opponent.
ZIP IT INTO HIM--Strike him hard.
SLAM HIM--Hit him hard.
YOKEL--Fighter lacking ability.
PALOOKA--A tenth rater--a boxer without ability--a "nobody."
BUNCH OF FIVES--Fists.
(?)BBER--A blow on the head.
DUMB DORA--A stupid fellow.
A CROSS--A fake.
HAS NO GUTS--Faint hearted.
CLEANED OUT BROKE--Without funds.
WILD CHOPPER--A wild blow.
HAYMAKER--A knockout punch.
A LALLAPALOOZA--A crashing punch.
A HUM-DINGER--A telling blow.
CONK, SMELLER, NOZZLE--The nose.
BEEZER, MUG, PHIZ--The face.
USING THE NOODLE--Using the brains.
THE BEAKS--The judges.
CHOPPING BLOCK--An easy mark to hit.
FULL OF PEPPER OR PEP--Full of action.
THE LUG--The heart.
A TEAZER--A light punch.
THE FLATS--The suckers.
ON THE FRITZ OR ON THE BUM--Very poor.
LIKE A WASHER WOMAN--Slow.
A SOCK--A punch.
USE THE NOODLE--Use the brains.
FLATTEN HIM--Knock him out.
GO, MILL, BOUT--Prize fight.
JACK, DOUGH, SUGAR--Money.
GOOF, GOOFER, SAP, TRAMP, DUMBELL--Stupid fellow.
APPEARANCE FORFEIT--Money put up by fighters to guarantee appearance.
FLATTENED PANCAKE--Knocked out.
FRAME--One round in a prize fight.
GIVING THE AIR--Throwing out.
HIT THE MAT, KISS THE CANVAS--Knocked down.
HICK--Low brow, ignorant.
HORIZONTAL FIGHTER--One frequently knocked out.
IN THE KNOW--Let in on a secret.
ON THE ROCKS--Stranded.
SOCK PEDDLER--Prize fighter.
SET UP--Certain loser--an easy mark.
SOCK PEDDLER'S PILO--Prize fighter's manager.
SOFT JACK--Easy money.
STALL--Wait, kill time.
SUCKER--One easily taken in.
WISE DUCK--Wise fellow.
LAID OUT STIFF--Knocked unconscious.
JIBONEY, JIBRONI, GIBONEY, et al.--No one (not even Jesse Sheidlower)
remembers my postings here on this term? No one remembers that I mentioned
pro wrestling's "The Rock" many months ago?
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