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everywhere else it's coke
December 9, 2009 12:09 PM   Subscribe

In Chicago the standard term for bags of heroin sold on the street is "blows." I've also heard the word used as a verb, e.g. "You blow?" Does anyone have any clue as to the origin of the term?
posted by generalist to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
 
Yeah, as you said, "blow" has always been cocaine for me. But I'm on the east coast. And old.

Maybe in Chicago they're just getting midwest with it. I have heard heroin called "working class cocaine", so it might be something down that etymological path.
posted by rokusan at 12:19 PM on December 9, 2009


Blown veins, probably (from injecting).
posted by mkultra at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2009


Yeah, to me 'blow' means cocaine (as in the film 'Blow' starring Johnny Depp as a cocaine dealer).

"Insufflation (Latin insufflatio 'blowing on or into') is the practice of inhaling substances into a body cavity." "Insufflation (known colloquially as 'snorting,' 'sniffing,' or 'blowing') is the most common method of ingestion of recreational powdered cocaine in the Western world."*
posted by ericb at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2009


When I was copping in Chicago back in the early 90s heroin was "boy" and coke was "girl." As in, "Here's $30, gimme two boys and a girl."
posted by The Straightener at 12:49 PM on December 9, 2009


Googling around I find that heroin is also called 'blow' in Detroit.

Also ... "Blow - Cocaine; to inhale cocaine; to smoke marijuana; to inject heroin."

So, it appears the term is interchangeable in some places. I wonder if the 'heroin' use of the term derives from the colloquial slang for 'cocaine.'
posted by ericb at 12:59 PM on December 9, 2009


IIRC The Straightener (based on past comments), you were in the Hyde Park area? Micro-regional differences maybe. I've heard "blows" on the west side/near northwest since the mid 90's, friends heard it long before then–the tip chant, "rocks and blows, rocks and blows." I'm interested because whereas "boy" and "girl" are used across the U.S., "blows" seems to be peculiar to Chicago.
posted by generalist at 1:01 PM on December 9, 2009


I was mostly on the South side but would occasionally go out west. Philly doesn't do the boy/girl thing, it's just dope/coke.
posted by The Straightener at 1:19 PM on December 9, 2009


Philly doesn't do the boy/girl thing, it's just dope/coke.

That's not what I've heard. Maybe not boy, but I've heard girl.
posted by Pax at 6:57 AM on December 10, 2009


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