Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dunghill n.1

[cock-fighting jargon dunghill, any cock but a fighting cock]

1. (also dunghill-cock) a coward; also attrib.; cite 1818 = cowardice.

[UK]‘Bashe Libel’ in May & Bryson Verse Libel 78: This scabbed squyre, this dunghill knight.
[UK]Shakespeare King Lear IV vi: Out, dunghill!
[UK]G. Peele Merrie Conceited Jests 13: You Dunghill, quoth George, doe you out-face me?
[UK]Ladies Delight 28: The Dunghill Trapes, trickt up like virtuous Trull.
W. Dunkin Parson’s Revels (2010) 62: For Spurs [...] / Were made for Birds of mettle Keen, / And not for Dunghill-Cocks.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: dunghill a coward, a cockpit phrase, all but game cocks being stiled dunghills.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Apr. VI 58/1: Though you crow, / And reckon dunghills those that cannot show / Feathers as fine as yours.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff All at Coventry II ii: I was mistaken in my bird, I see, – a shy cock, right dunghill.
[UK]Observer 11 Oct. 2: This †mushroom of fashion, whenever he came, / Seem’d to me to display much more dunghill than game † This vegetable, from generally springing up where refuse has been thrown [...] implies an upstart.
[UK]Pierce Egan’s Life in London 19 Sept. 269/1: [I]t being the opinion that he was a dunghill bird.
[UK]W. Clarke Every Night Book 73: One drop of dunghill blood in his heart will curdle the whole current with cold fear.
[Aus]Examiner 19 Aug. 11/1: Dunghill demagogue — foul example — potatoe plebian face.
[UK]E.V. Kenealy Goethe: a New Pantomime 189: Dunghill, coward, dunce, rascallion!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 13 Mar. 2/7: Come show me if you’re dunghill or game cock-a-doodle-doo.
[Newcastl Jrnl 7 Oct. 3/3: Never, under any circumstances, make a friend of a coward; his heart is a dunghill while suspicion is the cock that ever crows upon it].
[Aus]Aus. Town & Country Jrnl (Sydney) 26 Nov. 17/1: ‘The big dunghill is wheeling again.’ ‘Give it to him!’ ‘Pitch into him!’.

2. used as a non-specific insult.

[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 30 July n.p.: They must not take more credit than what is due to them, or crack themselves up for fighting men when they are nothing but mere dung hills.

In phrases

die dunghill (v.)

see under die v.