Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bottom n.1

[sporting jargon]

1. capital, (financial) resources.

[UK]Trappan Trapt 3: He had left his Clothes behind, and therefore desires his Credit and assistance to equip him in English A la mode France; and this began to be the winding up of his bottom.
[UK]Fuller Worthies (1840) II 451: Thus, beginning on a good bottom left him by his father.
[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 37: She has assiduously avoided any connection with the mother abbesses, and trades entirely on her own bottom.
[UK]‘A Sporting Surgeon’ Waterfordiana 7: The damsels here are [...] really and truly traders ‘on their own bottoms,’ since each house is inhabited by different girls who pay for their lodgings, dress, board, &c, out of their own ‘earnings’.

2. stamina, endurance, pluck; thus bottom-man, a courageous fighter; bottomless, cowardly; note 17C–18C phr. stand on one’s own bottom, to act independently, to act for oneself.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Bottom, a Man of no Bottom, of no Basis in principles, or no settlement of Fortune, or of no Ground in his Art.
[UK]Capt. Godfrey Science of Deference 54: I have mentioned strength and art as the two ingredients of a boxer. But there is another, which is vastly necessary; that is, what we call a bottom... There are two things required to make this bottom, that is, wind and spirit, or heart, or wherever you can fix the residence of courage [F&H].
[UK]Derby Mercury 21 Mar. 4/2: I’ll get out this yet, and win meikle good Siller, and get a Bottom of my ain too.
[UK]Johnson in Boswell Life (1906) II 461: Sir, he is a cursed Whig, a bottomless Whig, as they all are now.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Bottom [...] in the sporting sense, strength and spirits to support fatigue; as a Bottomed Horse. Among Bruisers it is used to express a hardy fellow, who will bear a good beating.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd edn).
[UK]Sporting Mag. Jan. I 200/1: His strength, science and bottom give him a rank superior to all others.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Aug. XVIII 261/1: Though ‘John Brown was well bred, he had no bottom’.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Feb. XXV 283/1: Blake has been long looked on as a bottom-man.
[UK]York Herald 27 June 2/5: ‘Bottom in fighting’ is as desirable in a bone-breaker as ‘Bottom in softing’ in a ‘bone-setter’ [...] both must spar as long as each has a leg to stand on .
[UK]Mr. Lawson ‘Chaunt’ in Egan Boxiana I 478: Whoe’er has seen Bitton behind, / Will ne’er dispute his bottom.
[UK] T. Jones ‘The True Bottom’d Boxer’ in Egan Bk of Sports (1832) 74/1: No crossing for him, true courage and bottom all.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 46: His determination, resolution, game, fortitude, gluttony, bottom, or devil, whichever the reader likes best.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 240: What is emphatically called ‘bottom’ was in favour of the rustics.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) x: Try the paces and bottom of the colonists, my Lord, and you will find they are not wanting.
[UK]M. Reid Scalp-Hunters III 178: It was no longer a question of speed [...] Did my horse possess the ‘bottom’?
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 125: bottom. Power of endurance.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 28 Mar. 4/3: An uncommonly quick dog [...] sowing both dash and bottom .
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Niggers’ in Punch 15 Mar. 113/2: Wot good’s British bottom and grit, / If when the dashed Niggers hinsult us, we can’t bang the beggars a bit?
[US]J.A. Riis How the Other Half Lives 246: The thief is infinitely easier to deal with than the pauper, because the very fact of his being a thief presupposes some bottom to the man.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Oct. 16/4: [I]f they could have secured the noble animal a Melbourne Cup would have been within their grasp – such ‘foot’ and ‘bottom’ did the ‘costs’ display in evading capture.
[UK]M. Hastings at Guardian 2 Oct. [Internet] [He is] not merely a smartieboots young opportunist who may have no ‘side’, but stands accused of also having no ‘bottom’.