Student or Learner
You should be nailing Lady Macbeth,
not some working stiff from Queens.
That "working stiff" means "working man"
I'm sure it's "working stiff"
Lady Macbeth, on the other hand is the scheming bitch who thought up whatever plan the stiff is carrying out.
It does carry the connotation of "hard work, manual labor, unskilled labor."
For example, a judge or a nurse (or some other professional) would not be a "working stiff" ordinarily.
The expression is related to "lucky stiff." For some reason, "stiff" means "a person."
Here's a list of the kinds of people who might be called "stiffs:"
1. A corpse.
When Vincent Vega (John Travolta) accidentally shoots Marvin in the head, Winston Wolf helps them get rid of the stiff. (Pulp Fiction)
2. A person regarded as constrained, priggish, or overly formal.
"I wouldn't date a stiff like that for anything!"
3. A drunk.
The crime of "tossing stiffs" involves fishing the pockets ("tossing") of drunks who have passed out in public places. It's also called "rolling drunks."
"He's stiff" means "He's drunk."
4. A person: a lucky stiff; just an ordinary working stiff.
"You lucky stiff! You hit the number?"
5. A hobo; a tramp.
A "bindlestiff" is a hobo who carries a "bindle" -- a bedroll (or other belongings) on a stick
(from German das Bündel = bundle, bale)
6. A person who tips poorly.
Don't stiff the waiters if you intend to eat in the restaurant again.
In the passage you cite, where the working stiff is contrasted with Lady Macbeth, it sounds like the working stiff is a working WOMAN rather than a working man. She would be a waitress or a hairdresser, maybe, or work in some light industry -- light factory work or light outdoor work. She might be a crossing guard, a landscaper's helper, an apprentice plumber . . jobs like that.
Did you understand the expression "nailing" Lady Macbeth?
In this case, "nailing" means "having her as your sex partner."
Last edited by Ann1977; 09-Oct-2009 at 08:53.
Doesn't 'nailing Lady Macbeth' mean going after her with a view to making a conviction? Isn't the speaker just saying 'The police should be trying to catch the organ-grinder [the Lady Macbeth figure] rather than the monkey [the working stiff]'?
I think working stiff could mean an aged prostitute, given that the action here is nailing, or shagging. I interpret it to mean: you should be having sex with a passionate and amazing woman, not some dried up old whore off the street. You should be in love, not screwing strangers for money.
You and Ann have interpreted it that way.
Bob and I have interpreted it another way.
If it's from an American novel/show, and if "nailing" does not meaning "catching/arresting" in America, then you are probably right.
Right but the nick and avatar are from CSI, though the context of the phrase in question isn't. "Nailing + a female" means shagging for sure, unless there is a military or police context for certain, in which case it could mean "getting" or "catching."