Green’s Dictionary of Slang

spout n.2

[SE spout, a lift formerly in use in pawnbrokers’ shops, up which pawned articles were taken for storage; note Egan, Life in London (1821): ‘It was a long narrow spout, which reached from the top of the house of the Money-Lender down to his counter, and through which articles of property when redeemed, were conveyed, in order to facilitate business’]

1. a pawnbroker’s shop.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 93: This Spout [...] must possess the powers of Magic; and my uncle must be a liberal character indeed!
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 164: Spout A spout, is a contrivance in pawnbrokers’ shops to keep up communication with the store-rooms, by passing up and down the things required. ‘Put it up the spout’ ― pawn the articles. ‘Knight of the spout,’ a pawnbroker, or his man.
[UK] ‘Family Stories’ Bentley’s Misc. Aug. 208: An ‘Uncle’ of his, who’d a ‘Spout’.
[UK]Disraeli Sybil Bk III 42: It’s a scarlet shame to go to the spout because money lent to a friend is not to be found.
[UK]‘Albert Smiff’ in Yates & Brough (eds) Our Miscellany 165: [note] ‘The Spout’ is an institution unknown in France. It is supposed that the present enterprising Emperor will introduce it among his numerous improvements.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 84: spout A Pawnbroker’s Shop.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) XI 2290: Let’s walk this way and I’ll get them [i.e. pawned gloves] out of the spout.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 38: Other convict terms that are either still with us or have only relatively recently dropped include: [...] seedy, serve, snitch, spout, stash, stretch, swag, turn up, and yarn.

2. as ext. of sense 1, a police cell, a prison; used in up the spout

In phrases

down the spout [antonym of up the spout ]

out of pawn.

[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 61: You only got your togs down the spout last night.
[UK] ‘I’m One of the Chaps Wot Sings’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 16: Gets my toggery down the spout.
[UK]J. Greenwood In Strange Company 309: On every floor was a sharp and active youth, whose business it was to discover and send ‘down the spout’ the ransomed bundles.
up the spout

1. hospitalized, imprisoned.

[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry II iv: mr. t.: And I take it – off with him to the black hole. tom: Aye, aye, take him up the spout.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 164: ‘Tom is up the spout,’ — he is imprisoned, – at the hospital, — otherwise reduced in life.
[Aus] ‘Kicking Their Livers Out’ in The Dead Bird (Sydney) in J. Murray Larrikins (1973) 92: The beak will give him credit, and he’ll send you up the spout.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Sept. 32/1: The exposure seems to have arisen through the rash conduct of somebody who left a letter about in which a relieving officer asked a doctor for an advance on account of his fees for taking lunatics to the asylum, and promised to be so active in finding lunatics as to promptly liquidate the debt. He wanted to hypothecate his prospective madman, so to speak, and put his deranged person up the spout.

2. (also up the gargoyle) in the pawnshop.

[UK] ‘Jonny Raw & Polly Clark’ Batchelar’s Jovial Fellows Collection of Songs 4: At length she vow’d she’d serve him out, / Bung up his eyes and crack his snout, / And send the duds all up the spout.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 268: spout to pledge any property at a pawnbroker’s is termed spouting it, or shoving it up the spout.
[UK] ‘Fuddling Day’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 110: The children’s clothes gone up the spout / Which causes discontent.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 566: Up the spout, or up the flue—Are synonimous in their import, and mean the act of pledging property with a Pawnbroker for the loan of money.
[Ire]Tom and Jerry; A Musical Extravaganza 55: Spout, ‘to put anything up the spout’ means to pawn it.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 164: ‘Put it up the spout’ ― pawn the articles.
[UK]Sussex Advertiser 3 May 2/3: The breeches and waistcoat were put up the pawnbroker’s spout and [...] he had not a farthing in the world.
[UK]Duncombe Dens of London 56: She had taken every rag he had, even the shirt off his back, and put them up the spout.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 8 Aug. 3/4: Webster swore, that some time past she bad sent her shawl and a pair of shoes up the spout.
[UK] ‘Bloomer Costume’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 121: Come shove your bustles up the spout, / And join the dashing bloomers.
[UK]Thackeray Pendennis II 219: Fancy a Member of Parliament [...] obliged to put a drawing-room clock and a buhl inkstand up the spout.
[US]Stocks Up, Stocks Down in Darkey Drama 1 I: orlando: Stole? (jeff: shakes his head mournfully) Up de spout?
[US]C.G. Leland ‘Breitsmann in Germany’ in Hans Breitmann in Europe 264: Derefore he vent to dat goot relation who may pe foundt at den or fifdeen per cent. all de worlt ofer, — ‘mine Onkel,’ – und poot his tress-goat oop de shpout for den florins.
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 45: They would chaff, and ask him what he’d put his Sunday ‘togs’ up the spout for.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Dec. 12/1: Bright little child to lady visitor, ‘Pa’s hid mamma’s diamond earrings.’ ‘Indeed! Where has he put them?’ ‘Up the spout, and he says they’ll stay there’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Spring-Time and Sport’ Punch 18 Apr. 184/1: My winter ‘Immensikoff’ can with safety be put up the spout.
[UK]Bateman & LeBrunn [perf. Vesta Victoria] A 'oliday on One Pound Ten [lyrics] So Brown took off his pantaloons and popped them up the spout.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Sept. 26/2: Joe’s pub. and bruising-shop have apparently gone where all his other possessions went – up the gargoyle.
[US]J. London People of the Abyss 32: No coal t’ make the kettle sing, an’ the kettle up the spout, that’s wot I’d get.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Sept. 40/4: Me furnichur’s mostly in pop, / Me weddin’ ring’s gone up the spout; / But Billo must ’ave ’s wee drop / No matter wot we do without.
[Ire]B. Duffy Rocky Road 119: ‘She’s out redeemin’ me leg’—he held up his shortened limb [...] ‘It’s up the spout’.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 279: Up I comes last week, and, being a married man without none of my furniture up the spout, they gives me a week’s bail.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 100: Hocked it, you mean? Popped it? Put it up the spout?

3. (also up a spout) having problems, ‘in a bad way’.

see sense 1.
[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 181: If she did not find some sort of a daddy for her bantling this time, it would be up the spout with her, and she would be sentenced to the tread-mill.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 189: I am completely up the spout! I am in pawn.
[Ire]Tipperary Free Press 23 Aug. 3/1: Dan told a flattering tale, That Whigs were up the spout.
[US]letter q. in Wiley Life of Johnny Reb (1943) 131: We are done gon up the Spout the Confederacy is done whiped.
[US]C.H. Smith Bill Arp 23: P. S. – Where is Fremont? I hear he has gone up a spout.
[UK]J. Mair Hbk of Phrases 9: ‘All up’ [...] is an abbreviation of ‘Up the Spout’.
[US]Dodge City Democrat 19 Aug. in Miller & Snell Why the West was Wild 614: They must reform or a Chinese laundry will go up the spout one of these days.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 12: ascend completely up the spout [...] 1. to disappear. 2. to fail completely in an undertaking.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Loafers Club’ Old Bush Songs 87: But that to-morrow never comes, until they see quite plainly, / That it’s completely up the spout with Messrs. Scrase and Ainley.
[US]B.L. Bowen ‘Word-List From Western New York’ in DN III:vi 442: go up the spout, v. phr. [...] To fail utterly.
[Aus]G.H. Lawson Dict. of Aus. Words And Terms [Internet] UP THE SPOUT—In trouble.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 142: I’m proper up the spout, see? No pay, no paints, no pictures, see?
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 257: Things ain’t going so good? [...] Miv me, believe me, also things is up the spout.
[UK]N. Dunn Poor Cow 119: Now I’m all up the spout, I’m fucking all arse upwards.
[US] in E. Cray Erotic Muse (1992) 115: Yet we are not broken-hearted, / Neither are we up the spout.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Last Video Show’ in Minder [TV script] 19: The health of the entire family is up the spout.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 197: Upisms also embrace up the spout, meaning finished; failed, as in that business is up the spout and not to be confused with the maternal version above.

4. in fig. use of sense 2, put on one side, discarded.

[UK]‘The New Moll in the Wad’ in Corinthian in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 34: If you’re detarmined to be prime, / You’ll be sent up the spout, or be laid on the shelf.

5. impoverished; bankrupt.

[UK]‘Paul Pry’ Oddities of London Life 10: ‘I’m so preciouslye up the spout, ’at I aint picked up a blessed indiwidual copper this here blessed day’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 163: ‘Wot, you’re i’ Short’s Gardens, are ye?’ [...] ‘Just so,’ nodded the man. ‘Hup the spout’.
[US]O. Johnson Varmint 198: The Third Triumvirate Manufacturing Company is insolvent, bankrupt, busted, up the spout.

6. (also up a spout) gone to waste, ruined.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 64: When she saw all hope was up the spout, / She spouted everything a spout would take.
[US]C.H. Smith Bill Arp 108: A kind-hearted man by the name of Sherman came along [...] and put a torch to the depot, and my salt wasn’t salty enough to save itself. By no means. It went up a spout.
A. Kleberg Slang Fables from Afar 27: Of course if Browne refused to agree it would be all up the Spout with him.
[UK]Magnet 7 Mar. 3: There goes our half-holiday up the spout.
[US]E. O’Neill Anna Christie Act I: That puts my idea of his giving me a rest up the spout.
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Down and Out in Complete Works I (1986) 153: It’s hell when yer clo’es begin to go up de spout, eh?
[UK]P. Larkin letter 5 June in Thwaite Sel. Letters (1992) 57: The news that you have struck lucky is wholly delightful, but perhaps by now you have been selected or psychologised or put up the spout in some manner.
[Aus]D. Niland Big Smoke 146: But your bloody luck’s up the spout.
[UK]Galton & Simpson ‘Mayday’ Hancock’s Half-Hour [TV script] Well, that’s my Duke of Edinburgh medal up the spout.
[UK]Galton & Simpson ‘And So To Bed’ Steptoe and Son [TV script] Well that’s another romance up the spout.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 126: My youth is going up the spout.
[UK]D. Fallowell One Hot Summer in St Petersburg 31: I’m dislocated. Rhythms are fractured. Sleep up the spout.
[UK]‘Barbara Vine’ Blood Doctor (2003) 388: Another two and a half K up the spout.

7. of money, missing.

Pittston Gaz. (PA) 3 Feb. 2/1: Fisk [...] testified that certain sums had gone ‘up the spout’.

8. dead.

[US] ‘Our Warrior Bold’ Farmer of Chappaqua Songster 67: Why he’ll surely lay them out, / He will send them up the spout / In a jiffy, with his chopper keen and true!
[US]B.L. Bowen ‘Word-List From Western New York’ in DN III:vi 442: go up the spout, v. phr. To die; to be beyond recovery.
[UK]Galsworthy White Monkey 235: Hopes that have long gone up the spout.
[US]T.J. Farr ‘Lang. of the Tennessee Mountain Regions’ in AS XIV:2 90: gone up the spout. Dead.
[US]L.T. Milic ‘Chipman: A Little-Known Student of Americanisms’ in AS XXV:3 174–5: go up the spout. To mount the gallows; to be hung, to die.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 190: Spirituality is pretty much up the spout.

9. (also up the shoot) pregnant.

[UK]K. Amis letter 10 Feb. in Leader (2000) 41: Dont go putting her up the Spout.
[UK]F. Norman in Encounter n.d. in Norman’s London (1969) 62: The last I heard was he had stuck her up the spout (made her pregnant).
[UK]C. Rohan Delinquents 149: You might have known a Geordie would get you up the spout as quick as look at you.
[UK](con. WWII) B. Aldiss Soldier Erect 168: Pity any Burmese girl goes in there – she’d be up the spout in no time!
[UK]A. Bleasdale Scully 163: ‘Are y’sure it’s you?’ I said [...] ‘What’s put her up the shoot.’.
[Can]M. Atwood Cat’s Eye (1989) 297: There are those girls who went too far in back seats [...] There are jocular terms for it: up the spout, bun in the oven.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 18: She gets up the spout once in a while.
[NZ]A. Duff Jake’s Long Shadow 69: He just stuck it in ’er, bangbangbang, another one up the spout.

10. wrong, incorrect.

[UK]Galton & Simpson ‘Hancock Alone’ Hancock’s Half-Hour [TV script] No, he must be up the spout there. He’s all right on theories, but when it comes to adding up sums, he’s right out of his depth.
up the spout and Charley-Wag [charley wag n.]

a general phr. used of something that has gone to waste, been squandered or lost.

[UK]W.E. Henley ‘Villon’s Straight Tip’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 177: It’s up-the-spout and Charley-Wag / With wipes and tickers and what not!