If you’re currently serving time in prison, there are slangs you will eventually get used to because they’re the  common means of communication between inmates.


ABORIGINE: (n) This word originally refers to a person, plant, or animal that has been in a country for a long time, however, in prison it is sometimes a derogatory slang used to refer to a Native American. 

AGENT: (n) Just as the word “agent,” is commonly used by the police, for instance “undercover agent.” In the prison agent is used to describe a snitch, usually sent as a spy by the prison staff.

e.g. “Be careful when talking to your homies bro, you’ve got Agent snooping around you.”

ANKLE-GRABBER: (n) This is used to refer to a homosexual.

e.g. “While picking some mushroom for dinner, I saw Kenny making out an ankle-grabber in cotton fields.

APARTMENT: (n) Used to describe a prison’s cell.

e.g. “I would rather stay back at my apartment to watch the game live, than go to the stadium.”

prison languages


BABY-STOMPERS: (n) A slang for shower-shoes.

e.g. “Did my leg just grow because my baby-stompers can’t fit in no more.”

BAM-BAM ROOM: (n) Suicide watch room in the Hole.

BAM-BAM SUIT or BOOTY SUIT: This usually referred to a suicide-watch suit. It is made of paper, or from reinforced nylon with velcro-closing arm and neck holes.

BANGER: (n) A commonly used slang for knife.

BASE: (n) This is like the center of the prison where you have the “housing unit” or “cellblock.”

e.g. There’s always so much noise coming from the base that my ears are beginning to hurt lately.”

BEEF GOO: (n) A meal of beef stew served in the chow hall or cafeteria.

e.g. “This beef goo tastes a lot better than that of last week.”

BEET JUICE: (n) A kind of wine served in prison. It is called beet juice because it is made from beets.

BEND-AND-SPREAD: (n) This is said to mean prison strip-search.

e.g. “It’s so embarrassing that you have to agree to a Bend-and-Spread  by prison guards before allowed to visit.”

BIRD: (n) A slang for tobacco. It is large, and usually the amount of 7 oz bag of tobacco commonly found in possession of Michigan prisoners before it was banned in 2009.

e.g. “Before Riley died, he smoked a bird week in, week out.”

BISCUITS: (n) “Oxford”-styled shoes commonly distributed to prisoners by the state.

e.g. “I prefer putting on my biscuits when attending the school program I enrolled for.”

BLASE-SPLEE: (n) pronounced as (blah-seh splee). It means “that one guy,” or “some guy.”

BLAST OFF: (n) To get totally high on heroin.

e.g. “I have been thinking too much lately, it will calm my nerves to go blast off somewhere.”

BLOOPING: This is commonly used to refer to inmates who smuggle in drugs into the prison by inserting it into their anal cavity.

e.g. “Everyone was surprised Johnny finally got a visit from an old time friend, but the motive for the visit was soon revealed, as he was caught blooping half-a-pound of weed.”

BOILING: (v) To pour boiling water on another person, especially throwing it on the person’s face.

BONE CRUSHER: (n) This is used to describe a large prison knife or shank.

BOY: (n) Another slang for homosexuals.

e.g. “Damn! I didn’t know Johnny snooped around with a boy all this while.”

BRICK: (n) This a kind of noodle prisoners refer to as bricke because it takes the shape of a square and can be stacked.

e.g. “The meal served at chow this morning was wack, so I helped myself to a brick instead.”

BROWN: (n) Heroin 

BUCK-50: (v or n) To slash a person’s face with a razor or shank so as to make a statement. In most cases, it is done to ensure that the prison guards see the person wounded and put them in protective custody away from any further harm.

e.g. One of the gang member of the Negros got Buck-50’d during yesterday’s confrontation.”

BUCK: (v) To fight

BUG: (n) A crazy fellow

e.g. “Old Charley is just a bug.”

BUGGING OUT: (n) To do something extremely crazy.

e.g. “Ken pulled off some bugging out moves at the gym yesterday.”

BUNK: (n) A slang for beds in the prison regardless of if it’s a bunkbed or not.

BUNKIE: (n): Another word for cellmate.

BURNER: (n) A prison knife or shank.

BUS-THERAPY: This was formerly a medium used to punish prisoners by having them transferred from one prison to another. In some cases, the inmate is not even allowed to settle down in the new facility before being transferred.

e.g. John confronted the Warden yesterday, and now I fear he may be placed on Bus-Therapy.

BUSHWHACKER: (n) A person with preference for high-school aged girls.

BUTTBOY: A homosexual, used most especially to mean a prostitute.


CADILLAC-BUNK: (n) This is commonly referred to as a one-man cell, usually reserved for people with disabilities, or a two-man cell temporarily with just one inmate in it.

CAN-LID: (n) A kind of fabricated shank made from folding a large can lid to make a pointed end. It is one the commonest forms of shank too.

e.g. “Danny was cut pretty bad with a can-lid in the fight between the gangs yesterday.”

CAR WASH: (n) A slang for shower as well as for masturbating.

CATHEAD: (n) It is mostly used to refer to a meatball or “salisbury” patty served in the chow hall.

e.g. “I would rather buy some food at the commissary, than settle for the cathead they got for chow tonight.”

CAVE-DIVING: (v) A body cavity search.

e.g. “Unknown to Johnny, the surveillance camera caught him smuggling in drugs from his visitor, and so after the visit, the medics had to go cave-diving on him.”

CELL-GANGSTER: (n) An inmate who acts all macho and tough when in his/her cell, but is powerless in the face of real confrontation.

e.g. “I never knew Gates was a cell-gangster until he got into trouble with some gang member.”

CHANGE: (n) This refers to cheap commissary items sold in the commissary such as noodles, ramen, and soaps.

CHEVY: (n) A tape player.

e.g. “My friend got me a chevy in the parcel he sent yesterday! I’m finally going to treat myself to some good music.”

CHOW: (n) A slang for food served in prison.

e.g. “What have they got for chow tonight.”

CHOW-HALL: (n) A prison’s dining hall.

CHO-MO: A child molester.

COFFEE-SHOT: (n) A single serving of coffee sold by someone in return for some extra money.

e.g.”The only way Fin gets money for phone calls is by selling coffee-shots.”

COOKUP: (noun, or verb) A casserole made from commissary items, almost always containing ramen noodles, cheese, chopped summer-sausage, and beans/chili.

To cookup also means to make one of these casseroles.

COPS (or C/Os): (n) Correctional officers.

CROTCHING: (v) To smuggle in one’s underwater.

CSC: (n) This means a Criminal Sexual Conduct charge, also a child molester.

e.g. “The reason why Joe is held up in here is because he is a disgusting CSC.”

CUBE: (n) A dormitory-style prison setting, with bunks in an open-air cubicle setting.

CUBIE: (n) A cube mate/another person in your cube.

e.g. “I had a loud-mouthed cubie who just couldn’t shut his mouth up. Always causing a nuisance.”


DEATHCARE: (n) Healthcare (medical unit).

DEUCIN’ IT: (v) To be in a number two position in the bathroom.

DICKBEATERS: (n) Hands/fists.

Do not provoke me, else I’ll smash your face with my dickbeaters.”


“Joe is all go and no show, all he knows how to do is run his dicksuckers.”

DIAPER-MITE: (n) A child molester.

DOGFOOD: (n) Heroin.

DRESSING OUT: (v) To throw out urine of faeces on somebody while being held in the hole, through a tray-slot in the door of the hole.

DRILL: (n) A device for drawing tattoos.

DRILLER: (n) A tattoo artist.

e.g. “Greg is a pretty good driller for a learner, don’t you think?”

DUCK: (n) A derogatory term used by black inmates to refer to white inmates.


EIGHT-HUNDRED NUMBER [800 NUMBER], The: (n) Mythological direct-line to the warden able to be called from the inmate telephones to snitch (saying someone’s “calling the 800-Number” is calling them a snitch).


FALL-OUT: (v) An act of falling to the ground and calling out for medical attention. It can be real or sometimes faked as a form of distraction.

e.g. “The fall-out act by Liam was timely in the face of the altercation between the gangs.”

FEE-FEE: (n) An artificial pleasure device, usually made with latex gloves in a rolled up sock or filled with water and tied together and lubricated.

FEEDING THE WARDEN: Making use of the facility’s toilet.

e.g. “My stomach upset caused me to feed the warden about five times since morning.”

FLATBOY: (n) A type of ramen noodle named so because they’re square and flat.

e.g. “I traded four flatboys just for a night with Jerry’s tape player.”

FLICKING UP: (v) A word that is used to describe taking a picture.

FOO-FOO: (n) An anal-dildo made and used by homosexuals.

NOTE: Based on a true story. A prison sissy nicknamed Hot-Pockets got called over for a patdown by an officer and ran away. As Hot-Pockets did, a large cucumber stolen from the garden and covered tight with a latex glove fell out of his pants. This was a foo-foo.

FOUR-LEGGED SHOWBREAST: (n) A homosexual union in the show.

FREAKBOOK: (n) A porn magazine that circulated before the 2000’s when prisons allowed porn magazines to be purchased. Currently, prisons no longer allow the purchase of porn magazines.

e.g. “Teddy gave up his night chow just to get a look at Kingston’s freakbooks.”

FREAKS: (n) The shortened word a for FREAKBOOK.

FREEWORLD: The world of law abiding citizens outside the prison.

e.g. “I have friends in the free world who still believe in my innocence.”

FUCK-BOY: (n) A homosexual, usually a male prostitute.


“GET THAT”: (phrase): This is kind of challenging someone especially if the person has refused to pay back a certain debt. The word “Get That” is usually followed by the word “Bitch.” Inmates who use this phrase know that the person they’re challenging is too much of a weakling to do anything.

e.g. “Not one word from you about my involvement in the slashing of Joe’s face to the others. Get that, bitch!”.

GLADIATOR-SCHOOL: (n) A violent prison.

GOLDMINE: (n) A slang for one’s ass.

e.g. “With a goldmine such as this, every fuck-boy will be chasing after you.”

GRAPE-SMUGGLERS: (n) Men’s briefs underwater.

e.g. Felix said his visitor friend was so pissed after the visit, because according to him, he was stripped to his grape-smugglers by the guards before he was allowed to see him.”

GROUND-WORK: (n) Ground exercises like sit ups, pushups, planks and others, usually done without requiring exercising equipment.

GUNNER: (n) Some who masturbates while staring at a female staff.


HAG: (n) A slang for a nurse that works in prison.

HEATER: (n) A prison knife/shank.

HOLDING [a] POCKET: (v) This is an act of submission to a sexual predator. To hold another man’s pocket means you’re their possession.

e.g. “What makes Jimmy so attractive that every fuck-boy wants to hold his pocket since he got into this prison.”

HOLE: (n) A segregation unit or solitary confinement, usually used as a tool for punishment.

e.g. “You’ve just earned yourself some time in the hole for talking down on that officer.”

HOOTIE-HOO: (n) Prison guards/officers.

e.g. “Be careful not to be spotted by the hootie-hoos with any gang member, so you won’t be seen as one of the bad boys.”

HOMIE: (n) A word used to describe a prison  friend (although has its origin in Spanish, the word “homie” is used globally to refer to a friend irrespective of race/ethnicity).

HOPPING-BOB: (n) A prison snitch

HITTING THE FENCE: (v) Attempting escape.

e.g. “After planning to hit the fence for months, Derwin got snitched on to the guards who were already prepared as they caught him in the act.”


ICE: (v) To stab someone, especially using an icepick-like shank.

To murder someone.

“Larry was sentenced to life imprisonment because he iced the supposed killer of his wife.”

ICEBOX: (n) The hole/solitary confinement/ segregation unit.

ICEPICK: (n) A prison shank.


JABAPS: (n) A derogatory term used to whites and Latinos to describe black inmates.

JALAPENO: (n) A derogatory term used by other races to describe Latino inmates.

JEFFIN’: (v) The act of snitching.

e.g. “Guess who I caught jeffin’ to the C/Os yesterday, Frank of course!”

JUICE: (n) Spud-Juice, or prison-made wine. It costs $3-$5 for about 16-20 oz, with a strength about equivalent to real wine.

JUICE-MAN: (n) A person who prepares prison-made wine.


LADY FINGER: (n) A transgender inmate’s penis.

e.g. “We don’t have much lady fingers down here do we?”

LAWNMOWERS: (n) Norelco beard trimmers, used for cutting hair (approved for purchase by the MDOC).

LEGAL-BEAGLE: (n) It is used to describe an inmate who studies or claims to study law, and will offer his/her legal services for a fee.

LOCK-IN-A-SOCK: (n) A common prison weapon which is made by putting in padlocks in a sock that allows it to be swung to hit someone.

LOCKING (someone): (n) To hit someone in the head with a padlock in sock.

e.g. “Jack was sent to the hole for being involved in a fight with one of the gang members.”


MAD-DOGGING: (v) To suddenly get aggressive with someone for no reason, usually to intimidate them.

e.g. “Little did Greg know that he was watched by the surveillance cameras while he was busy mad dogging another inmate.”

MAN: (n) A description for the dominant partner of a homosexual relationship.

MALANIKS: (n) A name that is used to describe certain inmates of the Nation of Islam.

MEATSTICK: (n) Summer sausage (almost always weighing 5.5 oz) sold in prison commissary.

MELLOW: A prison friend.

e.g. “I’m grateful for having Fern as my mellow all through my time in prison.”

MIMOSA: (n) A kind of prison wine made from orange juice.

MONKEYBOATS: (n) A slang for prison-issued “Oxford”-styled shoes.

e.g. “Get on your monkeyboats and report at the Control Room already.”

MURDER-ONE: (n) A completely bald haircut.

e.g. “There’s no way I’m getting a murder-one cause my family is visiting. A flattop looks more preferable instead.”


NUTS-TO-BUTTS: (noun, or adverb) Standing in a single-file line, usually at the chow hall.

e.g. “I have been standing nuts-to-butts just to get my meal in the chow hall food-line for over an hour.”


OCK: (n) A word used to describe a Muslim inmate, usually used by other Muslim inmates.

e.g. “Don’t you know that the new arrival to cell 25 is an Ock.”

ORIGINAL MAN: (n)  A term for greeting especially among black Muslim inmates, referring to the origin of the human race being in Africa.

e.g. “Yo! What up, Original Man?”

OUTFIT: (n) Regular clothes that could be worn to court appearances and formerly for visits.


PACKING: (v) Hiding something in one’s anal cavity.

PACKAGE: (n) A smuggled bundle of drugs/miscellaneous.

PAYING TAXES [or FEEDING THE WARDEN]: (v) Engaging in some bowel activity in the facility’s toilet.

e.g. “I will be back in a minute. I just need to go pay my taxes first.”

PC: (n) Protective Custody (usually for inmates who fear they’ll be harmed by another inmate. So for the inmate’s safety, they’re taken to protective custody.

e.g. “Jeks stepped on some really really bad toes, a reason why he requested to be taken to PC.”

PEE-PEE PEEPER: (n) A homosexual predator.

PINKIES: (n) A derogatory term for white inmates.

PLOPPING: (v) To get high on pills.

POLLOS: [means “chicken”] (n) A derogatory term used by Latinos to describe white inmates.

POLTERGEIST STEW: (n) Poultry stew served in the prison chow hall.

PREDATOR: (n) A homosexual predator, usually seeking for an opportunity to rape and sexually harass other inmates.

PUTTIN’-IN-WORK: (v) To fight.

e.g. “That was some gory sight from the scene of gang members puttin’ in work yesterday.”


QUEEN: (n) A homosexual, one that proudly displays femininity.

e.g. “That dude’s behaviour is definitely that of a queen.”

QUILLS: (n) Seroquil, an antipsychotic tranquilizer commonly prescribed to prisoners with mental disorders. Considered to give you a buzz.

e.g. “After constantly banging his head into the cell barricade, Hoffman was whisked away to be given quills by medics.”


RAINBOX: (n) Shower.

e.g. Dude! You seriously need to get into the rainbox cause you stink.”

RAPPY: (n) Codefendant.

RAT: (n) A snitch.

RENT: (n) Money extorted from new inmates to stay in a particular cell.

e.g. “Santos extorted as much as $100 from new inmates as rent.”

RIG: (n) A syringe (usually one that has been used or dirty) stolen from the diabetic insulin injection area.

RIVERBOAT: (n) Heroin.

ROAD-DOG: (n) A prison friend.

e.g. Old Charley has been my road-dog for about ten years now.”

RUNNER: (n) A person paid to “run” food, other items, or gambling slips from one unit to another.

RUNNING A TABLE: (v) To manage a gambling table (usually Poker). A very lucrative business especially in prison.


SCRAPPIN’: (v) A common term for Fighting.

SECOND-HAND SNITCH: (v) To reveal illegal activities of someone to a known snitch, who in turn tells the staff.

SEG: Short form of Segregation unit, or hole.

e.g. Dink was sent into Seg for his involvement in the fight in cell 28 of yesterday.”

SHANK: A prison knife.

SHITTING McDONALDS: (adjective) This is usually used to describe new inmates fresh from the shit.

e.g. “Wait until it gets tough in here, for now you’re still a shitting McDonalds.”

SHOWER BABIES: (n) Semen named as a result of masturbating in the shower.

e.g. After Henry and Tom got out of the bathroom, you could see shower babies all over the place.”

SHOWER-STALKER: (n) A homosexual predator.

SHOWER TRANSFER: (n) Homosexual sex in the shower, especially as payment for a debt (as opposed to “money-transfer”).

SKINS: (n) Gambling Slips/ Gambling Tickets.

e.g. “Harry has a good knowledge of baseball skins, you should seek his advice before going all in the game.”

SLIP-GAME: (n) To jokingly make derogatory statements which are usually homosexual.

SISSY: (n) A common term for a homosexual bottom, or one who displays feminine characteristics.

e.g. “Jerry can easily pass for a sissy with the way he walks.”

SMURFS: (n) Pills taken to get high. (Often specifically to dentropan, a bladder-control medicine that is blue and which taking a dozen or two of will make you hallucinate).

SNITCH: (n) Someone who tells on others. Do not be caught as a snitch as the consequences are severe.

SNOWFLAKE: (n) A derogatory term for white inmates.

SOUP: (n) A prison meal prepared with ramen noodles.

SPUD-JUICE: (n) A prison-made wine.

SQUEEZING: (v) Extortion through force.


e.g. “You wanna prove your masculinity, step in the bathroom with me.”

STEVE-McQUEENING IT: (v) To attempt an escape (named after the lead actor in “The Great Escape”)

SUITCASING: (n) To smuggle drugs or other items in one’s cavity.

SWORD: (n) A very large prison-made knife) shank.

TABBING: (v) To get high by taking 50 or more allergy tablets.

e.g. “Larry is always tabbing on a Friday.”

TICKET-MAN: (n) Someone who is in charge of selling gambling tickets or skins.

TREE-JUMPER: (n) A child molester/pedophile.

e.g. “It’s hard to believe that feeble old Sammy is a tree-jumper.”

TURD-CUTTER: A prison term for “your ass.”

e.g. “Sit your turd-cutter right there and quit pacing around.”


UNCLE CHARLIE: (n) Prison term for Correctional officers, or administrators.

e.g. “You need to be a little more discreet when smoking this stuff, you don’t want to be caught by Uncle Charlie, do you?.”

UNDER-THIRTEENER: (n) A child molester (usually targeted children under 13 years of age).


VIEW, a: (n) A visit from family or friends.

e.g. “Jakes, when did your family tell you they’re coming for a view?”


WAXING IT: (v) To masturbate.

WHAM-WHAMS: (n) A prison-made snack-food.

e.g. “I would prefer some wham-whams for dinner to what they got at chow.”

WHITEBOY: (n) A derogatory term for white inmates.

WHITE-GIRLS: (n) White-iced honeybuns.

WITCHES: A prison termed for nurses that work in prison.


X’s, the: (n) This is used to describe members from the Nation of Islam.


YARD-CARD: (n) A metaphorical permission given by other inmates to go out to the prison yard. It is used describe an inmate getting his “yard-card taken”

YELLOWBAG: (n) A 3 ounce bag of instant coffee (named as it comes in a yellow bag).

Y/O: (n) Meaning “Youthful Offender.” A legal term used to describe a chronological juvenile charged as an adult and sentenced to an adult facility, often as young as 12 or 13.

YONTAS: (n) A derogatory term used by Latinos for black inmates.


ZOOM-ZOOMS: (n) prison-made snack food.

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