Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ditch v.1

1. (US tramp) to throw off a (moving) train.

[US]J. London Tramp Diary in Jack London On the Road (1979) 31: They were forced to stop the train twice before they succeeded in ditching us. [Ibid.] 32: I don’t want to be ditched at some lone water tank.
[US]J. London Road 24: Barring accidents, a good hobo, with youth and agility, can hold a train down despite all the efforts of the train-crew to ‘ditch’ him.
[US]L. Light Modern Hobo 44: I got ditched in a one-horse town.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 302: Ditch, or Be Ditched — [...] The term is also applied to being put off trains and being locked in cars.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 63: DITCH. – [...] to put off a train by force or threat.

2. to ruin, to stand in the way of a plan.

[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 361: ‘Fatty,’ I said, ‘we’re ditched.’ ‘Ditched yer grandmother! What’s the matter?’.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 302: Ditch, or Be Ditched — to fail in an undertaking; to fall into trouble.

3. of people and objects, to throw away, to dispense with, to abandon; to end a relationship with.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 344: The old man couldn’t stand for your win [...] and he ditched me the next morning.
[US]B. Fisher A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 24: If he would only speak and forgive me for ditching him.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe on the Job 4: ‘Ah, ditch the sarcasm,’ says I.
[US](con. 1900) Journal Amer. Instit. of Criminal Law and Criminology X Jan. 62–70: In 1915 they caught me the same way. Some one tipped me off and they caught me in the crowd. I could not ditch the stuff, so they grabbed me.
[US]‘Digit’ Confessions of a Twentieth Century Hobo 73: Take a tip, ditch the rest of those eats.
[US]Van Vechten Nigger Heaven 122: I thought of writing a story about a coloured girl in love with a white boy and how he ditched her.
[UK]E. Glyn Flirt and Flapper 64: Flapper: I’ve got to make up my mind if I’ll dine with Jim Burly [...] or ditch him.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Nevada Gas’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 136: Listen, Francy. When do you ditch this gambler and let me set you up?
[US] in G. Legman Limerick (1953) 2: The girls he would dazzle, / And fuck to a frazzle, / And then ditch them, the son-of-a-bitch!
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 170: As soon as we hit The Big Apple we’ll ditch the buggy.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: johnstone: What? With him in tow? / mitchem: No... We’re ditching him.
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 176: Could Antony ditch Cleopatra? [...] Did Tristan cut out on Isolde?
[US]Batman No. 163 4: I can ditch it when necessary! Ha! Ha!
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 36: We won’t look too innocent if we ditch the car and shoot through on top of everything.
[UK]P. Theroux Family Arsenal 122: Has my old man ditched me again?
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Black Gangster (1991) 74: All he had to do was drop them peckerwoods off and ditch that goddam car.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 105: I ditch the gun under the front bumper of a parked car.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 254: Chris doesn’t know I’m here [...] I ditched her.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 3: Meeks ditched his car in a pine grove.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 283: Graham ditched Sandra, but she wouldn’t stay ditched by him.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Real Life 23 Jan. 3: He ditched the day job.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 92: That cold underneath feeling of being ditched by Jade.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I can’t believe you brought this car [...] We’re gonna have to ditch it.
[US] M. McBride Frank Sinatra in a Blender [ebook] Other guy ditched the bread truck here.
[UK]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 57: She was getting a lot more support with the kids, now she’d ditched Victor.
[Aus]G. Disher Kill Shot [ebook] She thought of what she might do with Jack’s running-away money [...] steal it with William’s help, then ditch him.

4. (US) to drink.

[US]J. Washburn Und. Sewer 168: There are all kinds of inducements for the girls to become drunkards, as it is sold in all houses [...] and the girls are required to drink, or ‘ditch it’ in order to keep up the expenses of the ‘house’.

5. (US Und.) to be sent to prison.

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 76: He got a ‘rumble,’ too. Came near to being ‘ditched.’ But the ‘fall dough’ saved him.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Ditched, sentenced to prison.

6. (US tramp) to hide (something).

[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 55: I [...] left the house with the package ‘ditched’ in the lining of my coat.
[US]D. Clemmer Prison Community (1940) 331/2: ditch, vt. To cache or hide loot.

7. (US) to leave in a hurry.

[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 403: Ditch. To depart [...] To ditch out before an arrest.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 106: Ditch Leave a place.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 156: We’ll ditch Mexico tomorrow.

8. (US teen/campus) to play truant from school.

[US]J.T. Farrell World I Never Made 218: Ditch school, and come along downtown with me.
[US] (ref. to 1950s) ‘Cupid’s Story’ in R.L. Keiser Vice Lords 58: I never did go to school during that time. I ditched school.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 41: I was ditchin’ a lot.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Where I Get My Weird Shit’ in Destination: Morgue! (2004) 36: I ditched school every day.

In phrases

ditch out (v.)

(US) to leave quickly or clandestinely.

[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Duke 38: We ditched out.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 46: That was the end of Tracy’s high schooling right there and then. She had ditched out of it.
[US] in C. Browne Body Shop 22: I couldn’t ditch out, it would tear the old man apart.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 387: This was the risk part of the operation, because there was a chance the prospect would ditch out on me.
give someone the ditch (v.)

(US Und.) to dismiss, to get rid of.

Arizona Dly Star (Tuscon, AZ) 23 July 8/3: ‘I don’t know what Shady Susie has on you that you can’t give her the ditch’.