Green’s Dictionary of Slang

wedge n.1

1. (also wage) silver, money in general.

[UK]Hell Upon Earth 6: Wedge, Silver.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: wedge [...] Money.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 36: They go in the Morning just as the Maids open the Doors and Windows, and glee into them; that is, look into them to see if there’s any Wage of any Sort, i.e., Silver.
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxix: Wedge Silver.
[UK] ‘A Leary Mot’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 77: For he valued neither Cove nor Swell, for he had wedge snug in his cly.
[UK] ‘Oh! Lady Touch That Lute’ in Black Joke 37: Tho’ we are now without a mag, / We’ll soon have lots of wedge.
[UK]Egan ‘Miss Dolly Trull’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 143: She ogles, nods, and patters flash / To ev’ry flatty cully / Until she frisks him, at a splash / Of rhino, wedge, and tully.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 21/2: Our luck turned out to be two ten-pound notes — a five and nine ‘quid’ in ‘ridge’, besides about thirty shillings in ‘wedge,’ (silver).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 417: Old Father Nat swore I must’er been scammered and ’ad made a mistake in samplin’ the wedge.
[UK]A. Morrison Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 152: Failing the more desirable wedge, one might claim a pair or two of daisies put out for cleaning.
Trans. Gaelic Soc. Inverness 24 450: Wedj, silver.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 162: ‘But if I’d a brightful o’osh,’ she said, ‘I wouldn’t parker no wedge to you.’.
[UK]E. Jervis 25 Years in Six Prisons 68: When the ‘wedge’ (as the melted-down silver or gold is called – in fact, the word was used for any silver or gold articles) was to be taken away, one of the cutest dodges was to put it at the bottom of one of those gallon baskets in which street-vendors carry their fruit.
[UK]A. Payne ‘Minder on the Orient Express’ in Minder [TV script] 61: We are among influential people, people with a right bit of wedge.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 23: Never got a gaff for the night or any wedge or just fucked off there he was away down the road smashing the old mirrors.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 82: You’ll think differently when you have your wedge out.

2. silver plate.

[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. n.p.: She was gone far enough off with the Wedge, that’s to say, Plate.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: wedge Plate, or Silver or Gold Moveables and Trinkets.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd edn) n.p.: wedge Silver plate, because melted by the receivers of stolen goods into wedges. Cant.
[UK] ‘Flash Lang.’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 18: Silver plate of any sort, wedge.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan ‘Jack Flashman’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 141: Jack long was on the town, a teazer; / A spicy blade for wedge or sneezer; / Could turn his fives to anything / Nap a reader, or filch a ring.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 94: wedge Silver-ware. wedge-box A silver snuff-box.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 15/2: Next morning the ‘wedge’ was ‘fenced.’.
[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 500: At last they told me about wedge (silver-plate), how I should know it by the ramp (hall-mark — rampant lion?).
[UK]‘Dagonet’ ‘A Plank Bed Ballad ’ in Referee 12 Feb. n.p.: If I pipe a good chat, why, I touch for the wedge, / But I’m not a ‘particular’ robber.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 260: He’ll see a parcel of wedge – which is plate – into the pot right under the noses o’ the splits.
[UK]Northern Whig 12 Sept. 8/6: I couldn’t pipe no peter, and no wedge worth a hog.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

3. (UK Und.) a silver buckle.

[UK] Ordinary of Newgate Accounts 8 Nov. [Internet] He told Dr. Fluellin, he had seen a Tale, (a Sword) a Scout, (a Watch) a Calm and Shade, (a Hat and Wig) a Brace of Wedges, (Silver Buckles) and an outside Toge, (a Cloak).
[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 31 July [Internet] We [...] took his § Wedges out of his ‖ Stomps [...] § Buckles.

4. (UK Und.) a receiver [? backsl. Jew; ? the silver plate was melted down into wedges by receivers].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 260/1: Wedge (Thieves’). Jew. A wedge fixes objects or breaks them up. So a Jew-fence, in relation with thieves, or a Jew ordinary, in his everyday business, is supposed to ’wedge the other.

5. a thick, chunky roll of banknotes, usu. folded in half; thus a large amount of money or wealth in general.

[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 207: Wedge Large number of banknotes folded once.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 11: ‘Iss loads innit’ [...] ‘Yeah a wedge.’.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 256: Tidy fanny wi real brains always take the short-cut by marrying wedge and getting sorted out with some plastic.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 19: Morty is rubbing the wedge up against his bollocks.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 12: Each an every truck is a wedge a proper wedge. Which is to say a livin.
[UK]Guardian Society 13 July [Internet] He’s had a wedge of money.

6. in specific use of sense 5, a bribe.

[UK]T. Black Gutted 249: Rab feeds Jonny a wedge to turn a blindy to the dog fights.

In compounds

wedge-hunting (n.)

(UK Und.) stealing silver-plate or silver watches.

[UK] ‘Autobiog. of a Thief’ in Macmillan’s Mag. (London) XL 501: I will go to London Bridge rattler (railway) and take a deaner ride and go wedge-hunting (stealing plate).

In phrases

wedged (adj.)

1. abundant in silver, e.g. of table decorations.

[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 185: The table was well wedged* from one end of it to the other. *Lots of silver plate.

2. (also wedged up) well-off, rich.

[UK]T. Hill Underground 47: First Saturday of the month, isn’t it? I’m well wedged.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 25: — Told you about him sure I did. — Only tha’ he was wedged up.
[UK]T. Black Gutted 109: Did you check the clobber [...] They’re wedged up, wee bastards.
wedge up (v.)

1. to amass money.

[UK]Guardian Guide 1–7 Apr. 59: Four East geezers [...] end up owing half a million to local gangster, ‘Hatchet’ Harry, with a week to wedge up.

2. to hand over money.

[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 123: Meantime I’ll wedge you up. Even sort you out some new garms for kick-off.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

wedgeass (n.) [SE wedge + -ass sfx]

(US) a general term of abuse; thus wedge-assed adj.

[US]L. Uris Battle Cry (1964) 134: Don’t be a wedgeass all your life.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 6: You . . . wedge-assed hillbilly. [Ibid.] 187: Shut up [..] Or I’ll make you walk, you wedgeass.
wedgehead (n.)

one who has a ‘wedge’ haircut; also attrib.

[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 4: Liverpool started the wedgehead look last season.