You have the Diners Club, you sign for it. You go first class in those joints, I know that, yeah."

What's the meaning of "joint" here? I checked the O.D. didn't find anything useful...

  • 2
    As always, please provide the context and identify the speaker, and cite the source.
    – TimR
    Dec 21, 2018 at 12:39
  • 2
    Also, it would be better to tell us what you found in the O.D., and explain why that wasn't useful, than to simply say, "I checked, but didn't find anything helpful." When I checked O.D., I found: An establishment of a specified kind, especially one where people meet for eating, drinking, or entertainment.
    – J.R.
    Dec 23, 2018 at 12:34

3 Answers 3


In your example


means a "place", like a restaurant or a bar or just some location indoors where you can spend some time.
It's slang from the 30's or 40's. Bars were called gin joints, and the famous quote from Casablanca is

Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.


In casual English, joint means something like a place where a bunch of friends meet. It usually includes places like food restaurants, diners and things like that. The reason it's called a joint is because what it does is it literally joins people together when they meet. That's one common interpretation of the idea behind its meaning. In your quote, it probably just means a place.

  • Diner's Club is a reference to the credit card, which was considered a premier card to use back in the day.
    – Peter
    Dec 21, 2018 at 7:57
  • I didn't know it was a credit card company. Well, it that case, joint probably just means a place. Dec 21, 2018 at 8:04
  • That's why the person says "You have the posh credit card, you sign for it." and by having the posh credit card, the holder goes first class. It used to have the status of what American Express Black is today.
    – Peter
    Dec 21, 2018 at 9:24
  • Diners Club was the first credit card. As its name implies, the first businesses to accept the credit card were restaurants, soon followed by bars and nightclubs. Having the card implied that you're someone who spends money to entertain your friends. The stricter sense of "joint" -- a place where people gather to mingle, a place you would go to join up with friends -- seems a good fit for this context. Those were the venues where simply having the card could get you VIP treatment. Dec 21, 2018 at 14:26

The colloquial term joint is somewhat deprecatory. The sleazy bars where down-on-their-luck "private eyes" (detectives for hire) drink in the movies from the 1940s and 1950s are "joints". A greasy-spoon restaurant is a joint. A Michelin 3-star restaurant is not a joint, except when the speaker is being ironic or comical, or when the speaker uses the term "joint" indiscriminately to mean "place" (as not all speakers do).

For example, if you say

We usually order take-out from a pizza joint a few blocks away.

the meaning most native speakers of American English would glean from that statement is that the atmosphere of the pizza place is not very inviting for a sit-down meal there. It might be noisy. The door might open frequently as take-out customers come in and out. The formica tables might be wobbly and they might not be wiped off very well between customers. You might find napkins on the floor. It is not a quaint little neighborhood restaurant with red and white checkered tablecloths that has been run with pride as a family business for 50 years.

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