"The old jive broad split"

It's a part of what Bill Withers says at the beginning of "Ain't no sunshine".

It's a part of the story behind this song. But it lacks everything. I have absolutely no idea about its meaning or even its gramatical structure.


Found Bill Withers' intro to the song here. His full statement is:

Women can say stuff like, "I loved him, I really really loved him. But he just left. Why'd he leave like that?"
Men, given the same situation, usually say somethin' like, "I'm glad the old jive broad split, man," knowing all the time that it's really killin' him inside.

Here's the breakdown of the slang words used:

old = (informal - adj) "Used to express affection, familiarity, or contempt."

jive = (North American - informal - adj) "Deceitful or worthless."

broad = (North American - informal - noun) "A woman."

split = (informal - no object) "Leave a place, especially suddenly."

So he is giving an example of how a man usually hides his feelings after a woman leaves him. That line means:

"I'm glad that old jive broad split" = (disrespectfully) I am glad that worthless woman left me

He finishes explaining that he didn't want to be like that, so he wrote the lyrics, "Ain't no sunshine when she's gone," to speak honestly instead.


The sentence is parsed as follows:

(The ((old, jive) broad) split)

In other words, the "broad" - who is "old" and "jive" - "split". All of these are used in a slang / colloquial sense:

jive adj. Slang ... Misleading, phony, or worthless: talking jive nonsense.

old adj. ... Used as an intensive: Come back any old time. Don't give me any ol' excuse.

broad n. Offensive Slang ... A woman or girl.

split v. Slang ... To depart from; leave: a mobster who suddenly split town.

So the meaning of the lyrics are that a woman left, or broke up with, the narrator, and the narrator is referring to the woman in derogatory way out of frustration, regret, a broken heart, whatever.


The full context is I'm glad the old jive broad split. From the full OED...

jive U.S. slang
Used, chiefly by black Americans, in the primary sense ‘not acting correctly’ but with a wide range of connotations (‘pretentious’, ‘deceitful’, etc.).

In the cited context, broad is an old-time (disrespectful) slang term for a woman, and split is slang for left, went away.

The speaker is glad some particular woman left him (he didn't think highly of her anyway).

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