Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cully n.1

also cullee, culley
[? as ‘fool’ there may be links to Ital. coglione, a dolt, but as ‘man’ it may well come from the Sp. Gypsy chulai or Turkish Gypsy khulai, both meaning man, or poss. fig. use of French couillon, testicles; Grose (ms adds c.1786) suggests ‘from the French word Couillon, a Blockhead’]

1. a simpleton, a victim.

[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 193: Mort. [...] And if thou want lower, budge to the next Vile, and there nip a Bung, or cloy a Culley; then budge to the bowsing Ken, and boose rumsie and beanely.
Crafty Whore 22: My Cully was so taken with me and my sugar’d words.
[UK]New Brawle 12: [of a pickpocket] Out thosed base Pad, thou Prigger of Cullies, thou Shop-lift.
[Ire]Head Eng. Rogue I 133: My Cully would have waited on me, which I utterly refused.
[UK]A Newgate ex-prisoner A Warning for House-Keepers 5: We bite the Culley of his cole / But we are rubbed unto the Whitt.
[UK]Behn Rover III ii: And tho you’ve better Arts to hide your Follies, / Adsheartlikins y’are all as errant Cullies.
[UK]Whores Rhetorick 45: How thinkest thou might the Cullies be handled by Women of sense and understanding?
[UK]Congreve Old Bachelor III i: Man was by nature woman’s cully made.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 179: Thus they on Flatt’ry build Foundations bad, / And only in the empty Air they Trade; / Selling of Wind for things to support Life, / And tickle Cullies in their Folly rife.
[UK]W. King York Spy 62: The several Contrivances of a Cunning Woman, when she has a Mind to make a Cully.
[UK]Penkethman’s Jests 34: Gaming finds Man a Cully, and leaves him a Knave.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 164: The Ladies introduced their supposed Cully into an Apartment splendidly furnished.
[Ire]J.E. Weekes ‘The Intrigues of Jove’ in A. Carpenter Verse in Eng. in 18C Ireland (1998) 296: With permission, this Jove was a cully, / To give such a sum to a lass.
[UK]Cleland Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1985) 19: The old b—h might look out for another cully [...] he would not be fool’d so by e’er a country mock-modesty.
[UK]The Tricks of the Town Laid Open (4 edn) 62: When we have hit of our Cully (and they have commonly a damnable Notion of a Person for their Turn) , one of our Gang marches directly before him.
T. Chatterton ‘To Miss Lydia C---n’ in Works (1803) 155: A rev’rend Cully-mully Puff, / May call this Letter odious stuff.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) Preface: To these brisk souls I mean to shew, / That full four thousand years ago / Some men were knaves, and some were bullies, / And some were asses, fools, and cullies.
[UK]H. Brooke ‘On Humbugging’ in Chalmers Eng. Poets XVII (1810) 428/1: Our neighbour of France [...] For once stands amaz’d, howsoe’er it was hit on, To find he’s humbugg’d by his cullies of Britain .
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]New Cheats of London Exposed 20: When they hit off the cully [...] they come to a convenient place where the mouth, as they term him, must needs observe. The spark that is in the front then drops the guinea.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 104: [note] The word cull or cully, a strumpet’s kept man [...] now means a man taken in by her wiles.
[Scot](con. early 17C) W. Scott Fortunes of Nigel II 282: Taking a bale of dice from the sleeve of his coat; ‘I must always keep company with these damnable doctors, and they have made me every baby’s cully.’.
[UK]Egan ‘Miss Dolly Trull’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 143: She ogles, nods, and patters flash / To ev’ry flatty cully.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 68: Do you think I’d be such a cully as to tell a pack of green-horns like you the truth before a sharp hand like our governor.
[UK] ‘Thief-Catcher’s Prophecy’ in W.H. Logan Pedlar’s Pack of Ballads 143: The sixth is a File-cly, that not one cully spares.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 10: A bludger and his mot ’ticed a cully into the ‘Deadhouse’ and while he was parting for the booze buzzed him of three caser and a deaner. / A man who robs in company with a prostitute and his woman enticed a victim into the ‘Deadhouse’ [...] and while he was paying for the drinks picked his pocket of three crowns and a sixpence.

2. (also cowly) a prostitute’s customer; thus cully-catching, picking up customers.

[UK]Dialogue Between Mistress Macquerella a Suburban Whore I: I have not had a Cullee worth half a Crown to me this half a score dayes.
[UK] ‘The Merry Mans Resolution’ in Ebsworth Bagford Ballads (1878) II 486: Farewel unto Shore-ditch, and More-fields eke also, / Where Mobs to pick up Cullies, a night-walking do go.
[UK]Wandring Whore I 6: That Sack was poured in on one side by such Cullies as Priss Fotheringham, and suck’t out on the other, which is a new fashioned Cup for our roaring boys to drink in.
Whores Dialogue title: The Cheats, Abuses and Trapaning Trades which they drive; their ways to entice young Cullies.
‘Letter from a Missionary Bawd’ in Carpenter Verse in English from Tudor & Stuart Eng. (2003) 424: Sir William Talbot for her cully marks; / She at ticktack him often entertaines, / And through that spunge his Masters Guineys draines.
[Ire]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) 80: This Buttock so bold, her name was call’d Siss, / By Quaffing with Cullies three pounds she has got.
[UK]Night-Walkers Declaration 5: Taking the opportunity of the Night [...] abroad we walk a Cully catching.
Behn Feign’d Curtizans Prologue: For my own principles, faith, let me tell ye, / I’m still of the Religion of my Cully.
[UK]Character of a Town-Miss in C. Hindley Old Bk Collector’s Misc. 3: Making a Sally abroad one night, picked up a Drunken Cully.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 15 Jan. n.p.: Whilst he was searching her Placket, [she] took the opportunity of searching his pocket, and drew thence for her own proper Use, about 14 or 15 Shillings, and then making an excuse to go down stairs, sheard off ; at which the Cully having some mistrust, all was not as it should be searching his Pockets, found his loss.
[UK]N. Ward London Spy II 27: If the Lewdness of the Town has lately thrown a Cully in their way, they may chance to be able to make me Satisfaction.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 3: When the Cully is groping Jilt in a Dark Alley with his Breeches down, she picks his Pockets.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 165: She [went] upon the Buttock and Twang by Night; which is picking up a Cull, Cully, or Spark, and pretending not to expose her Face in a Public House, she takes him into some dark Alley.
[UK]Laugh and Be Fat 105: Near to the Rose, where Punks in Number flock / To pick up Cullies to increase their Stock.
[UK]Smollett Roderick Random (1979) 136: I have often sauntered between Ludgate Hill and Charing Cross a whole winter night, exposed not only to the inclemency of the weather, but likewise to the rage of hunger and thirst, without being so happy as to meet with one cully.
[UK]Smollett Peregrine Pickle (1964) 295: Meanwhile the French syren, balked in her design upon her English cully, who was so easily disheartened, and hung his ears in manifest despondence.
[Ire]‘The Rakes of Stony Batter’ in A. Carpenter Verse in Eng. in 18C Ireland (1998) 339: But when their cash is gone, they’ll hunt for a Cully, / And bring the splinters home, to their beloved Bully.
[UK]Memoirs of [...] Jane D****s 14: She was obliged once more to have course to street walking. The first cully she met was a presbyterian parson.
[UK]Cheats of London Exposed 33: He became a passive dupe to his doxy, who takes care to avail herself of the opportunity, by making as profitable a Cully of him as possible.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (4th edn) I 300: She now has got a Grecian cully, / One Diomede.
[UK] ‘The Rakes of Stony Batter’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 223: But when their cash is gone, they’ll hunt for a Cully.
[UK]G. Andrewes Stranger’s Guide or Frauds of London 15: In this manner they live, by pretending a like unwillingness for prostitution, and a like regard for every fresh cully.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 61: Cull [...] a customer of any sort who pays ‘for favors secret, sweet, and precious [...] Cully is but a variation’.
[US]Sun. Flash 17 Oct. 2: She decoys the cullies home and gets them to bed and Jem removes and examines their clothes by the sliding pannel.
[UK]W. Tait Magdalenism 6: [footnote] The word cowly is a cant term used by prostitutes to denote a lover of a particualr description/ It is never applied to their spoony or fancy man, but to all other who pay their addresses [...] It is probably a Scotticism of the English word ‘cully’ signifying a ‘fool’.
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor 9: Having picked up a cully one night, they repaired to the ken.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 3: Cully - One whom a prostitute has picked up.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy VI 186: The Drunkard’s confin’d to his Claret, / The Miser to his Store; / The Wit to his Muse and a garret, / And the Cully-Cit to his Whore.

4. a fop, a dandy.

[UK]J. Dunton Ladies’ Dict. n.p.: Cully, fop, or one that may easily be wrought upon.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.

5. a man, a fellow, a companion; often a term of address.

[Ire] ‘Of the Budge’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 12: But if the Cully napps us, / As a thing it is unfit / To take away the cole from us / And rub us to the Whit.
[UK] ‘The Poet’s Dream’ in Ebsworth Roxburghe Ballads (1893) VII:1 14: If cullies fight in a drunken fit, / Away goes Toby’s dog for a Writ.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy II 53: Let Cullies that lose at a Race, / Go venture at Hazard and win.
[UK] Ordinary of Newgate Account 8 Mar. 🌐 Priscilla Mahon followed close after her Companions and in the same House were their Cullies, whom they called Husbands.
[UK]Midnight Spy (c.1929) 71: [He] could suit the taste of a cully to as great a nicety, provided he was paid.
[UK]G. Parker ? ‘The Sandman’s Wedding’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 65: No sneer from cully, mot, or froe / Dare then approach my Bess for Joe.
[UK] ‘The Fancy’ Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 8: Try her, and ply her, when cully’s gone; / Dog her, and jog her.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 58: Stunning place – bona shicksters, and clys worth touching, eh, cully?
[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 316/1: Cully, a partner.
[US]J.H. Green Secret Band of Brothers 113: If you wish to ascertain if a Brother be present, you can easily do so by sounding. sounding signifies feeling, or ascertaining; and if you wish so to do, use the word culley, which signifies Brother, Friend, Partner.
[UK]Vanity Fair (N.Y.) 9 Nov. 216: Kinchins and cullies, all must have their bingo.
[UK]Sheffield Dly Teleg. 9 Nov. 3/2: To his ‘firm pal,’ Jack, he bequeaths his favourite jemmy; to his ‘Rotty [sic] Cully,’ Bill, his ‘ticker,’ which he ‘bunged from the old cove on Denmark-hill; and to his ‘Leary Bloke,’ Bob, his unexpired ticket-of-leave.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer 7 Sept. 10/7: Nibs, Cully, Pard, Rocks, Rocksy – All are endearing or friendly titles, but are mainly used by the circus and variety performers, while shaking hands with or addressing those with whom they are, or wish to be, familiar.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 July 7/2: You come on thar, Cully, and I slings you the patter — see?
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 4 Dec. 7/3: He calls the manager ‘the old man,’ the actors ‘hams’ [...] and his friends he addresses in conversation as ‘Cully,’ ‘Rocks,’ ‘Old Stock’ [etc].
[UK]Sporting Times 6 Dec. 1/5: I’ll bet you two two’s of gin (unsweetened, mark me, cully) [...] Here, cullies, let the poor bally cow have a chance.
[UK]S. Watson Wops the Waif 2/1: We sticks by our pals, don’t we, cullys?
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 11: Well, cullies, how are you?
[UK]Marvel XIV:344 June 3: ‘You see, cully,’ Bateman would explain.
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 166: ‘How’d it happen, cully?’ he said.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 245: I say, cully, you can’t sleep here, y’know.
[US]Van Loan ‘On Account of a Lady’ Taking the Count 124: T-bone [...] asks him what he will have. ‘Name it, cully!’ says T-bone.
[UK]‘Bartimeus’ ‘In the Dog-Watches’ Seaways 22: Garn, cully, chuck it off your chest agin!
[Aus]E. Curry Hysterical Hist. of Aus. 109: Well, cully it aint arf a queer place ter live.
L. Dawson The Spy Who Came... 18: The compere was a good-looking, cocky young cully.

In compounds

In phrases