Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cull n.1

[? cully n.1 ; ? SE cullion, a contemptible person; ? fig. use of culls n.; Bee (1823) suggests that the cull was orig. ‘a prostitute’s favourite’ before losing status to become merely ‘a customer of any sort who pays for “favors secret, sweet, and precious”’]

1. a prostitute’s customer.

[UK]Mercurius Democritus 9 Nov. 644: The old Lecherous Culle, perceiving himself smoak’d by the Whiddling Drawer, [...] removed his brace of Mobbs to fresh Quarters.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 6 5 July 48: Where she soon venter’d on her prey, / And worm’d her Cull at Billyeard play.
[UK]Wandring-Whores Complaint title: A full discovery of the whole Trade of [...] Bawds, Whores, Fyles, Culls, Mobs, Budges, Shop-lifts, Glasiers, Mills, Bulkers, [...] and all other Artists, who are, and have been, Students of Whittington Colledge.
[UK]C. Sedley Bellamira IV ii: He is the Top Cully of the Town.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus II:3 8: Cooks winding up their rattling Jacks, / Preparing Food for Culls and Cracks.
[UK]C. Hitchin Conduct of Receivers and Thief-Takers 6: He had Impudence and Courage enough, to attack the Cull, until the Buttock had made her escape.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 45: She being overjoy’d at the Booty she thought she had made of her Cull.
[UK]Ladies Delight 28: The Dunghill Trapes, trickt up like virtuous Trull, / If by good Chance, she gets a Dupe or Cull.
[UK]Machine 11: That queer Practice, by the Cull call’d Barking, / Rather than deal in such unnatural Ways / I’d risk the Pox and naked swive Nan Hayes.
[UK]G. Stevens ‘A Cant Song’ Muses Delight 177: We fil’d the rum codger and plumpt the queer cull, / And away we went to the ken boozie.
[UK]J. F---g Epistle of a Reformed Rake 10: Do not Ladies of Pleasure frequently excite their Culls, when Finances fail, to take an airing (solus) upon Hounslow-Heath?
[Scot]Gentleman’s Bottle-Companion 55: Has she a better C--- than I, / Of nut-brown hairs more full? / That all mankind with her do lye, / While I have scarce a Cull.
[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 143: She places this debilitated cull, among the best of her customers.
[UK]Belle’s Stratagem 14: Married! — the girl’s ruin’d for ever, she she attempts to be an honest woman — all her culls will withdraw their allegiance.
[UK]Morris et al. ‘Collin’s Seven Ages’ Festival of Anacreon (1810) 78: Bawd and trull, pimp and cull, / At his nod, go to quod!
[UK] ‘The Bowman Prigg’s Farewell’ in Wardroper (1995) 283: Now the bitch pads it in jail / And laughs at the culls she has bit, sir.
[UK]M. Leeson Memoirs (1995) III 148: He [...] picked up culls and would have turned bully for us, had he spirit enough.
[UK] ‘Song No. 3’ Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: Come Blowen its past four o Clock [...] And if with a cull you chance to meet / Maul him down to Catherine Street.
[UK] ‘Sonnets for the Fancy’ Egan Boxiana III 621: A link-boy once, Dick Hellfinch stood the grin, / [...] / ‘Here light, here light! your honours for a win,’ / To every cull and drab he loudly cried.
[UK] ‘The Blowing In Quod’ Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 39: When I was but green on the town, / At fifteen or sixteen years old, / Oh, then I had plenty of culls.

2. a dupe, a silly fellow, a simpleton, a fool.

Dekker Canters Dict. n.p.: Culle A simple fellow.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 29 13–20 Dec. 232: A Cloak rescued from the Gallows, and given to a Rum Cull that stood by.
[Ire]Head Eng. Rogue I 48: Culle A Sap-headed Fellow.
[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 204: The twelfth a Trapan, if a Cull he doth meet, / He naps all his Cole, and turns him i’th street.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: cull, cully a Man, a Fop, a Rogue, a Fool or silly Creature that is easily drawn in and Cheated by Whores or Rogues.
[UK]C. Hitchin Conduct of Receivers and Thief-Takers 11: You will have ten Pounds, and I shall have six Pounds, and the Cull, alias the Fool, will have four Pounds.
[UK]Defoe Street Robberies Considered 31: Cull, a Silly Fellow.
[UK]Cibber Harlot’s Progress 10: Then take yourself away, / Since I have chous’d you well, you Cull.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 223: Thinks I to myself. I’ll nick you there, old cull; the devil a smack of your nonsense shall you ever get into me.
[UK]J. Cox Narrative of Thief-takers, alias Thief-makers 66: Somebody called out, hey Jack, where are you going? And the boy Swannick, the Prisoner, replied, that he was going to the Start for nimming a Cull.
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxvi: A Cove, or Cull A Man – Cull is likewise frequently used to signify a Fool.
[UK]R. King New London Spy 27: ‘Why, if you must know, curious cull’ [etc].
[UK]J. Freeth ‘A Strolling Ballad Singer’s Ramble to London’ Political Songster 7: At Dunstable ... pick’d up a Cull, / With whom we beat a parley.
[Scot]W. Scott Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 308: If the b--- queers the noose, that silly cull will marry her.
[Scot]Life and Trial of James Mackcoull 299: The sacrifice which I behoved to make to this seedy cull to shirk the roundbottom, would have gone her way, and done her a good thing.
[UK] ‘Unfortunate Billy’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 268: They nurs’d the cull, and bon’d his chink.
[Scot]A. McCormick Tinkler-Gypsies of Galloway 202: Makin’ a cull o’ yer nesis (a fool of you) for mangan (talking) to us.
[US]S. Ornitz Haunch Paunch and Jowl 142: Youse seen what happened to dat spieler, well, culls, look out dat don’t happen to youse.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 28/1: Cull, an argumentative person of low mentality.
[US]S. Longstreet Flesh Peddlers (1964) 182: But failure – not to get the girl [...] have a low car-plate number, a good table up front – and you’re a nobody, a cull.

3. a constable.

[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 61: He was collared by two constable culls.

4. a man, a fellow, a chap.

implied in coffing cull n. (1)
[UK] ‘When My Dimber Dell I Courted’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 49: There was a time no cull could toute her.
[UK]Fielding Life of Jonathan Wild (1784) IV 258: If the old cull of a justice had not sent me hither.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 5: He answered on the Scamp, and the Cull does not come above seven Scratches off.
[UK]C. Johnston Chrysal ii 17: Your secret, grave, old, rich, culls, just fit to do business with [F&H].
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 136: Let each cull’s and doxy’s heart / Be lighter than a feather.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]B. Bradshaw Hist. of Billy Bradshaw 10: A link-boy first I stood the grin, / At Charing-cross I plied, / ‘Come light your honour for a win,’ / To ev’ry cull I cried.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 18: But the cull broke away.
[Scot]W. Scott St Ronan’s Well III 102: He is a queer auld cull.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 295: Zounds, Bess [...] what cull’s this? Is this a bowsing ken for every cove to shove his trunk in?
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 258: Each cull completely in the dark, / Of vot might be his neighbour’s mark.
[UK]Egan ‘The Bould Yeoman’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 136: On the road he cut a dash, to him ’twas delight! / And if culls would not surrender, he shewed the kiddies fight!
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 98: Well, Bell, here’s the bingo — sluice your gob! But who was the cull that peached?
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[UK]Stephens & Yardley Little Jack Sheppard 50: 🎵 A little bit of Whitechapel – ‘What cheer, cull? Blow me tight!’.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 11: ‘Well, culls, have a tiddley?,’ they said, going off to a pub.
[UK]Sporting Times 15 Apr. 2/3: H’yer, cull, which side for Bond Street?
[US]Salt Lake Herald 24 May 29/4: A beetle-browed footpad crept softly behind him [and] said gently ‘Say, cull, wot’s de score?’.
[US]R. McAlmon ‘Blithe Insecurities’ in Knoll McAlmon and the Lost Generation (1976) 48: Say cull, slip me a jit, can’t juh.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.

5. a friend, usu. as term of address.

[UK]London & Provincial Entr’acte 15 Oct. 3/1: They looked upon me as a pal, / And ’gan to call me ‘cull’.
[US]Daily L.A. Herald 13 Aug. 2/3: Cull, you should have seen the frost his jags struck when he went on [i.e. on stage].
[US]Sun (NY) sec. B 11 Sept. 12/1: Well-known men tramps go up to equally celebrated women tramps [and] ask: ‘Cull, have you got a bloke?’.
[US]C. Connors Bowery Life [ebook] Between you an’ me dere's strong arm guys in odder places dan de Bowery, only dey work diffrunt. Stow dis in yer nut, cull, an’ t'ink it over.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 277/2: mid-C.19–20.

In derivatives

cullish (adj.)

deceitful, cheating.

[UK]J. Bell Jr. (ed.) Rhymes of Northern Bards 105: Why, Jack, sure they’re feulish, to refuse them is cullish, / Why siller, man‘s, siller and paper’s but rags.
cullishly (adv.)


[UK]J. Bell Jr. (ed.) Rhymes of Northern Bards 26: ‘In her breest great consarn it inspir’d, / That my Lord should sae cullishly come by his deeth’.

In compounds

cull of the bing (n.) [bingo n.1 ]

(US) a tavern-keeper.

[US] ‘Hundred Stretches Hence’ in Matsell Vocabulum 124: Oh! where will be the culls of the bing / A hundred stretches hence?
cull of the ken (n.) [ken n.1 (1)]

(UK Und.) the master of the house.

[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxviii: To Bundle the Cull of the Ken To tie the Man of the House Neck and Heels.