Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mark v.

[mark n.1 ]

1. (UK Und.) to subject to surveillance, e.g. of criminals by the police.

[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 164/1: Marking – watching, observing.
[UK]G.M.W. Reynolds Mysteries of London III 66/1: Tim twigged that a pig was marking.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 66/2: Could it be that we were ‘marked’ home from the ship launch?
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. 10/1: Jack buzzed a bloak and a shickster of a reader and a skin. A cross-cove, who had his regulars for stalling, cried ‘Cop bung,’ as a pig was marking. Jack speeled to the crib. Jack picked the pockets of a gentleman and a lady of a pocket-book and a purse. A fellow-thief, who had his share of the plunder for watching, cried ‘Hand over the property,’ as someone was observing. Jack ran away home.

2. (US Und.) to select a prospective victim.

[UK]Wodehouse Psmith Journalist (1993) 218: That man was probably sent to mark us down for one of the gangs. Now they’ll know what we look like, and they can get after us.
[US]J. Fishman Bullets for Two 8: He was afraid [...] He knew he was a marked man.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 136/1: Mark, v. 1. To select, or put the finger on, as a prospective victim of murder or robbery.
[Aus]A. Weller Day of the Dog 46: Once they make an enemy or mark someone, they never let up.
[US]L. Rodríguez Always Running (1996) 120: I was ‘marked,’ meaning Sangra members were obliged to shoot.

3. (US black) to tease, to mock.

[US]Mitchell-Kernan ‘Signifying, loud-talking and marking’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 333: ‘Marking’ is essentially a mode of characterization. The marker attempts to report not only what was said, but the way it was said, in order to offer implicit comment on the speaker’s background, personality, or intent.

In phrases

mark someone’s card (v.) [racecourse use, tipsters mark race-cards with their selections]

1. to watch someone, to place someone under surveillance, to pick someone out as a potential victim.

[UK]V. Davis Gentlemen of the Broad Arrows 125: The first intimation I received that my ‘card was marked’ occurred [...] soon after the commencement of my sentence.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 19: I’ll mark your card for you.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 82: Keith O’Rouke’s back in London and he’s saying he’s going to mark my card.
[UK]Fabian & Byrne Out of Time (ms.) 42: Gisela can’t show her face. They’ve got her card marked for junk back in the Fatherland.

2. to explain, to point out, to warn.

[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 83: Gourmets let Pepe order their dinner and the right sort of sherry for them. You won’t go far wrong if he ‘marks your card’!
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 23: I shot off to Bella’s to mark her card.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 36: I reckon I ought to mark your cards about this ‘Show Biz!’ lark.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 77: Sneed would simply mark the insurance assessor’s card by innuendo.
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 56: One of the drivers, Four Nine probably, marked his card and that was the end of that.
D. Shaw ‘Dead Beard’ at www.asstr.org [Internet] Just to mark your card here, Dionne comes from a family in Lambeth which has been making a living out of small time lemon and lime since Oliver Cromwell was around.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 61: ‘Why the lecture, Roy?’ ‘I’m markin yer card’.

3. to categorize, usu. either as a good or trustworthy or bad or untrustworthy person; to put someone in a specific position.

[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 159: You’re marking my card before I ain’t done nothing.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 18: My card had been marked, I could be completely straight with him.

4. to realize, to see and understand.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 722/2: later C.20.
mark up (v.)

1. to bruise, to leave with scars after a fight.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 383: If this is some kind of a frame-up for us, I’ll get you, Mr. Rat, and mark you up so you’ll never grab another dame.
[US]N. Algren Never Come Morning (1988) 97: They just want t’ find out a thing ’r two without marking you up.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 22: Never mark ’em up. Bad for the street [...] But [...] must [sic] chicks like a whacking once in a while.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 269: It’s a shame I can’t mark you two up.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Mark up. 2. Bruising from a fight.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 13: This lad didn’t want us to mark him up too bad.

2. (Aus. prison) to tattoo.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Mark up. 1. Tattoo.