Green’s Dictionary of Slang

racket n.1

1. [early 19C+] any form of deception, criminal trickery, hoaxing.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

3. [late 19C] a theory, an idea.

4. [late 19C+] a job, an occupation; not necessarily illegal.

5. [late 19C+] a story, a ‘line’.

6. [mid-19C+] in combs., with a defining n.

7. [late 19C-1920s] in weak use, any form of activity.

8. [late 19C-1920s] (US) a plan, a scheme.

9. [1920s] (US) an easy job or situation, esp. a sinecure.

10. [1920s+] (US) as the rackets, organized crime.

11. [1950s–60s] (US prison) the world of homosexual relationships.

12. [1960s] (US) the racket, prostitution.

In compounds

racket man (n.)

1. [mid-19C] a thief.

2. [1930s+] (US, also racket boy, racket ghee, racket guy) a member of an organized crime syndicate.

In phrases

lay one’s racket (v.) [1930s–40s] (US black)

1. to reveal one’s real agenda, usu. a confidence trick or hoax.

2. to tease.

3. to show off.

stand the racket (v.) [stand v.2 (1)]

1. [late 18C–1930s] (also stand the nonsense) to pay the bill, to treat one’s companions.

2. [early 19C–1910s] to take the blame for the crimes of one’s confederates.

3. [mid-19C–1940s] to put up with a situation; to overcome a challenge [SE stand, to suffer].