In a movie about drug addiction they used this combination of words:

hustle, score, use

They said it was always the same pattern - but what does it mean and where does it come from?

3 Answers 3


All three are slang for the life of an addict:

  • hustle: do what you have to to get some money. It could involve honest work, stealing, begging, borrowing, whatever it takes
  • score: find a drug dealer and buy some drugs
  • use: take drugs
  • hm, I'm not so sure about "score", but I think you might be right. up-voting and hoping someone else will chip in.
    – Frantisek
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 20:55
  • 4
    Score is used correctly here. See: thefreedictionary.com/score The act or an instance of buying illicit drugs. Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 20:58
  • @slim: yep, all ok, I remember it was in the latest season of Beavis and Butthead, so yeah, you got my up-vote. great job!
    – Frantisek
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 20:59

Q: ... and where does it come from?

It's not a set phrase but three individual words, the first two of which are slang.

  • hustle: "Sense of "to get in a quick, illegal manner" is 1840 in Amer.Eng.; that of "to sell goods aggressively" is 1887." (Online Etymology Dictionary)

  • score: "to find and purchase drugs. [US, (1926): ERH: 1982, DWM: 1936, BVB: 1942, D&B: 1970c, ..." (The Slang and Jargon of Drugs and Drink)

  • use: "mid-13c., from O.Fr. user "use, employ, practice," from V.L. *usare "use," frequentative form of pp. stem of L. uti "to use," in Old L. oeti "use, employ, exercise, perform," of unknown origin. Replaced O.E. brucan (see brook (v.))." (Online Etymology Dictionary)


Definitely correct use, think of it this way: if one is playing a game or sport the players must work hard and fast to get a point, a coach might say "come on lets hustle out there". The focus is to score a goal. After which the player or team celebrates for achieving their goal, use.

  • Welcome to the site, @Nick! Yes, this expression may have a sporting origin. Can you improve your answer with any examples, say from a sports journal or movie script? Or other material that supports your answer? Commented Aug 25, 2015 at 12:35

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