Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hustling n.

[hustle v.]

1. street robbery; bag-snatching.

[UK]W. Perry London Guide 32: This brings me to speak of that next species of robbery by those who are appropriately called Scamps, called hustling.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 102: Hustling — forcible robbery, by two or more thieves seizing their victim round the body, or at the collar.

2. selling objects, ideas, one’s services etc, esp. in an aggressive manner; also attrib.

[UK]Hull Dly Mail 5 Sept. 5/5: Hustling is not an end in itself, but simply a means to an end. It is no new American idea; the ancient Egyptians practised it [and] as competition has become keener, just so much has the hustler become more necessary.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 3 June in Proud Highway (1997) 166: Keep hustling, hustling, hustling.
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 52: I c’n make more’n that in a good day’s hustling, man.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 90: They were just beginning a morning of hustling.
[US]Ice-T ‘High Rollers’ [lyrics] They say I’m glamorizin’ the hustlin’ hood.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 58: The corner of Market and Powell is a tourist hub — and a prime hustling locale.

3. living by one’s wits; also as adj.

[US]H. Blossom Checkers 40: When they got me ‘on the tram,’ I had to go to hustlin’.
Stanford Interior Jrnl (KY) 18 Apr. 5/4: Beazley bought two very handsome buggies [...] from R.M. Arnold, the hustling buggy manufacturer of Danville.
[US]Odum & Johnson Negro and His Songs (1964) 232: I’m gamblin’ for my Sady – she’s a lady; / I’m a hustlin’ coon, that’s what I am.
[US]C. Himes ‘Prison Mass’ in Coll. Stories (1990) 165: He had put on his ‘hustling jacket’ and gone out to get her some [cocaine].
[UK]C. MacInnes City of Spades (1964) 58: ‘If you [...] don’t like the work in the Jumble post office or railways, for six pounds less taxes and insurance, then, man, you must hustle.’ ‘And what is your particular hustling?’.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 91: My old hustlin’ partner, John, he really knew the score, / he told me if I kept chippin’ I would soon be woe.
[US]J. Yount Trapper’s Last Shot (1974) 80: Hustling is a matter of psychology, Jimbo.

4. working as a prostitute; also adj.

[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 408: Hustling – streetwalking.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 114: ‘’Ow’s ’ustlin?’ ‘Worse’n hell [...] No more of dese sailor boys and shorefront stiffs . . . . I’m gettin respectable.’.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 21: He could locate gold like a good hustling chick.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Cast the First Stone 34: We always talked about hustling. We used to play Hustlers’ Game. A girl made believe she was working the streets.
[US]C. Himes Run Man Run (1969) 69: Brock got the idea that she did a little hustling on the side.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 69: hustling v. […] 3. prostituting.
[US]J. Rechy Rushes (1981) 15: Although this is not a hustling area, he is obviously bartering for sexmoney with an older man.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 15: Sorefooted hustling gals sat on the stuffed chairs and bamboo thrones.
[Aus]L. Redhead Peepshow [ebook] Hustling’s something prosttiutes do.

5. (US black) making a nervous sign at someone.

[US]R. Abrahams Deep Down In The Jungle 266: Hustling – making nervous sign at. Very different from common slang sense of term.

In compounds

hustling-ass (adj.) [-ass sfx]

(US black) aggressively self-aggrandizing, hard-working, self-promoting etc.

Dr Dre Chronic [album] ‘Lil’ Ghetto Boy’ [lyrics] You’s a hustling ass youngsta, clocking your grip.
Ashley Fantz ‘Making Tracks’, Weekly Wire May [Internet] I’m a hustling ass thug from the projects, making loot, screaming thugged out with the union when I shout.
hustling broad (n.) (also hustling dame, ...girl, ...woman) [broad n.2 (2)/SE dame, girl/woman]

(US Und.) a female prostitute.

[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 184: I tell you, a hustling girl is up against it unless she’s got a pimp to protect her.
[US] ‘The Castration of the Strawberry Roan’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 92: I was layin’ round town in a house of ill fame, / Laid up with a rough, tough hustlin’ dame, / When a hop-headed pimp with his nose full of coke / Beat me outta that woman and left me stone broke.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 163: The only thing a hustling girl has [...] is her purse.
[US]N. Algren ‘Watch Out for Daddy’ in Entrapment (2009) 129: The first hustling broad I meet [...] I’ll tell her she’s suppose to come downtown.
[US]W.L. Alderson ‘Carnie Talk’ in AS XXVIII:2 117: hustling broad, n. A prostitute.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 34: Pot is a cinch and I know a couple hustlin’ broads we can call.
[US]E. Bunker Little Boy Blue (1995) 213: Let’s go fuck around Main Street [...] Check out the fruiters and the hustling broads.
R.N. Maki Briefcase 161: Yet, there was a slight tinge of sadness in his recollection of the hustling broad, Sweet Mary.