In Sweet Smell of Success (1957), J.J asks his press agent Sidney about this boy Dallas who is having a affair with his sister:

Sidney: I've cased this kid. I know his ins and outs. He's full of juice and vinegar, just waiting...for a big shot like you to put on the squeeze.

What does "full of juice and vinegar" mean?

  • 2
    Used to be 'piss and vinegar' when I was a boy. Full of youthful energy. Oct 23, 2022 at 10:20
  • @MichaelHarvey The concept has its more contemporary renderings as well.
    – tchrist
    Oct 23, 2022 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


As @Micheal_Harvey has mentioned, the original phrase is "full of piss and vinegar":

To say that people are “full of piss and vinegar” is to say that they are brimming with energy. Although many speakers assume the phrase must have a negative connotation, this expression is more often used as a compliment, “vinegar” being an old slang term for enthusiastic energy Source

So the story is telling us that Dallas is super energetic.

  • 5
    The Google Books Ngram Viewer for 1800-2019 reveals that "piss and vinegar" made its first appearance in 1933, but "juice and vinegar" goes back to 1800. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – MTA
    Oct 23, 2022 at 20:44

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