Green’s Dictionary of Slang

degen n.

[Ger. Degen, a sword ]

1. (also dagan, dagen) a sword.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Degen c. a Sword. Nimm the Degen, c. steal the Sword, or whip it from the Gentleman’s Side.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: degen, or dagen, a sword; (cant) nim the degen, steal the sword. Dagen is Dutch for a sword.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: degen, or dagen a sword.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 333: Tip him the degen, Fib, fake him through and through; if he pikes, we shall all be scragged.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 11: Dagen – a sword.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 24: dagan A sword.

2. an artful person [suggests play on knowing blade].

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 298/2: C.19.