I was reading Scam City: The unlicensed 'forex trader' who lost £3.8 million. Excerpt:

It didn't sound like natural territory for a bio-med student - but on his Instagram profile he explained his philosophy with the words: "No rich parents. No excuses. Straight hustle."

What does "straight hustle" mean?

"Straight" could mean "honest", and "hustle" could mean "scam" (in American English). This does not make sense. An "honest scam"?!

  • 1
    "Straight" can mean "honest", but that's not its only meaning. Other dictionary definitions include direct and free from extraneous matter and not deviating from an indicated pattern. Do some of those seem like they make more sense?
    – stangdon
    May 25, 2021 at 15:17
  • @stangdon No, I think the problem is in my interpretation of "hustle".
    – Flux
    May 26, 2021 at 14:54
  • The comment is ironic. My answer is correct. Yes, it means he has to work. But it's gangster slang. It's a joke.
    – Lambie
    May 29, 2021 at 16:41

3 Answers 3


"Hustle" in this sense means "hard work". He's saying he didn't get where he is by inheritance, but by pure effort.


'Straight hustle' in this case is a slang way of saying "entirely focused on the work I am doing". 'Hustle' generally implies not just work, but also a continuous and varied stream of work. Adding 'straight' to 'hustle' is a hyperbolic way of essentially saying "I am working all the time; I'm doing everything within my power to get what I want." I hope that clears it up for you!

  • It does not imply all the time, or continuous. It means actually: plain hard work.
    – Lambie
    May 29, 2021 at 16:43

A straight hustle, means an unquestionable hustle. A real hustle.

Also: straight, as say, opposed to twisted or convoluted.

We say: straight shooter, for a person who is honest and above board.

Since a hustle by definition is a swindle, a straight hustle is just funny.

Similar to: He was an honest criminal. Not devious. It is ironic.

Merriam Webster: First meaning Definition of hustler : a person who hustles: such as a: one who obtains money by fraud or deceit : SCAMMER, SWINDLER A financial hustler who orchestrated the theft of $6.5 million from investors … — Shayna Jacobs and Alec Tabak

  • I don't think this answer is correct. Why would this person say that his personal philosophy involves swindling?
    – Flux
    May 25, 2021 at 15:00
  • It is ironic. As I said. Shall I repeat that? It comes from the slang for something else. To hustle. The problem is bending to the reality of how Americans actually speak. I might even say that what I do is a straight hustle, ironically.
    – Lambie
    May 26, 2021 at 18:27
  • @Flux People around here need to bone up on their American slang.
    – Lambie
    May 29, 2021 at 16:42

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