What I’ve done here is compile a list of prison vernacular in addition to some common idiomatic expressions. This list is by no means exhaustive or definitive, and I’ll periodically update it as I recall terms and sayings.
I’ve tried to send some version of this post multiple times, but the prison admin has censored every attempt. So I’ve removed the most egregious entries that probably gotten it flagged previously, which is unfortunate because they tend to be the most interesting or essential to know.
The dialect/vernacular of a prison yard is a fascinating subject from linguistic & lingual perspectives because it’s the most bastardized form of English and veers so far from societal norms. The closest relative is Black American Vernacular, but the language of the prison yard includes some extremely rare variants that are not even common in that innovative dialect.
Furthermore, many terms and phrases originated behind bars and then have slowly permeated pop culture, particularly rap music and movies. Maybe some of these entries will or already have followed the same course.
[all entries in quotations are idiomatic expressions. the following list is not alphabetized]
in the world/ on the street = life before incarceration/outside of prison
(the next 4 entries are self-explanatory and not uncommon in the world, but their ubiquity on the yard warrants their inclusion)
“talk to me, I’ll talk back”
“make that make sense”
“higher than giraffe pussy”
“tighter than fish pussy”
cathead = the meatball from the chow hall
get money=to work out
a booger= a hit of wax
“sneeze on me” =”smoke me down”
sweet thing=someone who’s getting squeezed. The one doing the squeezing often feels a sense of ownership over the ‘sweet thing’.
freak book= porn
affiliated=denotes gang membership
grind= to gamble
drill/ get drilled on= to tat/get tatted
hard & soft money = hard money is store goods on hand; soft is money sent out in the world thru apps or money orders
hit a lick = jerk off in the shower
squozed = squeezed
the black-and-white= any paperwork, like the pre sentence investigation (PSI) which describes an inmate’s crime, background, criminal history, etc. Also refers to any tickets caught in prison.
the box=the shower
a view = a visit
green-and-whites = pepper and onions, usually usually stolen from the kitchen
hoodie mac (pronounced who-dee mack)= dab rig made of an exposed wire from the tablet charger
cheeks = ass
“shower transfer”= a jocular reference to fucking in order to pay one’s bills
stick = ciggy
banger = shiv
“on that shit” = on sanctions
chomo/cho= child molestor, or really, any convicted sex offender, regardless of the details of the offense