Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sugar n.1

[fig., but note sugar and honey n.; Cohen (ed.), Studies in Slang II (1989), suggests that on the basis of honey = gold, sugar = silver as well as the plain generic]

1. money.

[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 379: In order to find out which of the inhabitants ‘was with most sugar’.
[UK] ‘Cheap John’ in Prince of Wales’ Own Song Book 50: Hand me over the ‘sugar’ – alias the cash – for it.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 5/1: ‘Sugar’ was plentiful, and of course the ‘lush’ was ditto.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 5 Oct. n.p.: The rest of the ‘cops’ were putting up their ‘sugar’ on the races.
[US]S.F. Trade Herald Aug. 2/2: To soak—to hock—Yer upper benjamin at yer uncle’s, to get the ‘sugar’ for a good square meal [DA].
[US]A.J. Leavitt Body Snatchers 5: Give me part of the sugar and I’m with you.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 10 Jan. 14/1: ‘Don’t you be afraid about the “sugar,” she’s fixed’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Jan. 5/3: All my ‘sugar’ was done, and they offered me 2 to 1 in thousands. I took £500 to £200, being my last ‘bob,’ and looked upon it as finding the money.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Possum’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 81: No, he wa’n’t the kind er cockeroach that on’y kums ter shirk, / That wants ter git the sugar, but is fri’tended ov the work.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Aug. 11/4: An innovation was made this season at the Richmond by the local manager, in allowing growers to cut their own crops, and thereby make an extra bit of ‘sugar.’.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 9: I am [...] fiscally crippled till the end of the month; what sugar have you?
[UK]H.G. Wells Hist. of Mr Polly (1946) 22: ‘Short of sugar, O’ Man,’ said Mr. Polly, slapping his trouser-pocket.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 10 Dec. 4/8: How the sugar it were flying / That there she would surely find; / And some cheques she would discover, / Which as how she never signed.
[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 204: He can’t even give them any sugar from this fight, because he’s fighin’ for the Red’s Cross for nothin’.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 21 Jan. 3/4: ‘I’ve done my sugar’.
[UK]Lawrence & Skinner Boy in Bush 249: ‘And his money is his sugar?’ ‘Right-O! son!’.
[US]L. Berg Prison Nurse (1964) 96: Instead of paying off right after – like they used to – all I been getting is a beef that no sugar came in from the outside.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘That Summer’ in Coll. Stories (1965) 159: My sugar’s gone.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 147: She is just letting me take care of her until she can get well and marry somebody with a lot of sugar.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 150: He would square that account, too when he got a little sugar together.
[US]T. Berger Reinhart in Love (1963) 199: If you’d ever stop worrying for two minutes, you’d be knee-deep in sugar.

2. a premium, an unexpected bonus.

[UK]Daily Tel. 24 Dec. in Ware (1909) 169/1: She applied for five Ordinary shares at £1 premium, paying £2, 10s. with her application, and on allotment she paid up the balance, £7, 10s. in full. She held all the shares when the corporation was wound up, and received nothing for her money. You didn’t get anything of Goodman’s ‘little bit of sugar’? (Laughter.) – No.

3. monetary gifts or bribes; also attrib.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 236/2: Sugar shop (Electioneering) [...] a head centre of bribery.
[US](con. late 19C) C.W. Willemse A Cop Remembers 120: Of course there were gratuities occasionally, or call it graft or sugar, if you like. [Ibid.] 154–5: The wardmen were bringing in collections many times a day […] Around the first of the month the ‘sugar’ rolled in fast. No checks. All good hard cash.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 135: Sugar – 2. bribe money.

4. see sugar daddy n.

In derivatives

sugared (adj.)

(UK Und.) in funds, holding money.

[UK]Worcs. Jrnl 21 Feb. 3/5: Hollad [...] said to his ‘pal’ — ‘The mollisher is sugared’ (i.e.) Wood had some money about her.

In compounds

sugar bag

see separate entries.

sugar daddy (n.)

see separate entry.

Sugar Hill (n.)

see separate entry.

sugar mama (n.)

see separate entry.

sugar mummy (n.)

see separate entry.

In phrases

heavy sugar (n.) [heavy adj. (2a)]

1. (orig. US) a large amount of money; also attrib.; thus heavy sugar guy, a big spender; heavy sugar daddy/papa, a sweet old man with a fat purse.

[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 14 Sept. [synd. col.] Here were ‘wise guys’ who spent their days shearing the sheep and yet at night they proved to be ‘heavy sugar papas.’.
[US]M. West Sex (1997) I i: Oh, I’m going somewhere where I can play around with the heavy sugar daddies and see life.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 449: Heavy sugar guy, A good spender, the prey of the mush worker.
[US]Thurman & Rapp Harlem in Coll. Writings (2003) 347: the kid: I’m Kid Vamp. [...] I likes all the ladies. cordelia: Heavy sugar papa – eh?
[US]M. Prenner ‘Sl. Terms for Money’ in AS IV:5 357: Recently we have begun to hear (or at least, to read, in such writings as those of H.C. Witwer) of important or serious money or of heavy sugar.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Sleeping Dogs’ in Spicy Detective Sept. [Internet] Frankly, I’m out after the heavy sugar. [...] I aim to get my pile.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 56: Let’s do real business for a change — we’re in on the heavy sugar.
[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 24 May 11/2: Heavy Sugar — Quite a wad of money.
[US]F. Brown Dead Ringer 54: Don’t waste a torch, Eddie. She’s got a date with heavy sugar. An honest-to-God banker.
[US]J. Thompson Getaway in Four Novels (1983) 24: The terms were identified with news stories which he inevitably skipped over, but he guessed they probably meant heavy sugar to a lot of people.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 125: I’m sitting on what you call a heavy-sugar proposition.

2. see sugar daddy n.