Green’s Dictionary of Slang

prigger n.1

[prig v.2 (1)]

1. a thief.

implied in prigger of prancers
[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 43: They haue also their woman, that [...] sheweth these Priggars thereof when they meete.
[UK]Dekker Belman of London C1: Next are wilde Rogues [...] then Priggers, then Palliards. [Ibid.] G2: The Prigger, who trauailes vp and downe the whole kingdom vpon his gelding.
[UK]Mercurius Democritus 9-16 Feb. 352: [This] would prove the utter ruine and decay of Pettie-foggers, Lifters, Padds, Priggers, and Cut-purses.
[UK]New Brawle 12: [of a pickpocket] Out thosed base Pad, thou Prigger of Cullies, thou Shop-lift.
[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 205: The nineteenth is a Prigger of Cacklers [...] He steals their Poultrey, and thinks it no sin.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Priggers, Robbers, Stealers, high-way Men.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Priggers c. Thieves.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 29: To caution all Shopkeepers and Salesmen against Shoplifters of both Sexes [...] There shall be generally three Persons together, called in Cant Prigger Lifts or Files [...] They will open a Piece of Stuff and hold it up between the Owner and their Partner that sits down with her Petticoats half up ready for the Word nap it; then she puts it between her Carriers (that is, a Cant Word for Thighs) and then gets up and lets her Clothes drop [...] and so walks off.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Public Ledger 19 Jan. 3/3: A most abandoned character, well-known at Billingsgate as a fish-prigger or fish-dobber — a person [...] getting his living principally by stealing fish from boats.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lancaster Gaz. 10 Oct. 3/2: There were lots of cracksmen, family men and priggers, but we have not yet heard that they reaped any very great harvest.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 21: The body-snatchers and the dog-priggers are outdone upon this suit.
[UK]Mons. Merlin 9 Oct. 3/2: Mr Townsend [...] lveelled a fowling-piece loaded with small shot [...] pulling the trigger [...] The apple-prigger [...] scampered over the wall.
[UK]Westmorland Gaz. 1 Dec. 3/1: The turkey prigger had neither hat nor coat [...] nor shoes on.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 8 Aug. 3/3: The old prigger was therefore offered leisure and rations at Darlinghurst [Prison].
[UK]‘A Harassing Painsworth’ in Yates & Brough (eds) Our Miscellany 28: Listen! all you high pads and low pads, rum gills and queer gills, patricos, palliards, priggers, whipjacks, and jackmen, from the arch rogue to the needy mizzler.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]E. de la Bédollière Londres et les Anglais 317/1: priggers, voleurs.

2. a highwayman.

see sense 1.

In compounds

In phrases

prigger of prancers (n.) (also prad prigger, prigger, prigger of paulfreys) [prancer n. (1)/prad n.]

(UK Und.) a horse-thief.

[UK]Awdeley Fraternitye of Vacabondes in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 4: A Quire bird is one that came lately out of prison, and goeth to seeke seruice. He is commonly a stealer of Horses, which they terme a Priggar of Paulfreys.
[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 42: A Prigger of Prauncers be horse stealers, for to prigge signifieth in their language to steale, and a Prauncer is a horse, so being put together the matter was playn.
[UK]Greene Second Part of Conny-Catching in Grosart (1881–3) X 75: The Priggar is he that steales the horse, and the Martar is he that receiues him.
[UK]Dekker Belman of London G1: A Prigger of Prancers is a horse-stealer, for to Prig, signifies in the Canting language to steale, and Prancer signifies a horse.
[[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Beggar’s Bush V ii: Higgen hath prigg’d the prancers in his days].
[UK]T. Jordan ‘A Canting Rogue Parallel’d with a Phanatick’ in A Royal Arbor 71: A language which admits no derivation [...] Prigging Prancers, Tipping Nab’s, and such / Phrases as make the slovenly Low Dutch / A polite dialect.
[UK]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) 47: Priggers of Prancers are Horse-stealers; for Prig is to Steal, and Prancer is a Horse.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68b: Give me leave to give you the names (as in their Canting Language they call themselves) of all (or most of such) as follow the Vagabond Trade, according to their Regiments or Divisions, as [...] Priggers of Prancers, Horse, Mare, or Beast Stealers.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Priggers of Prancers c. the Sixth Order of the Canting Crew, Horse-Stealers, who carry a Bridle in their Pockets, a small Pad Saddle in their Breeches.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 195: The Prigger of Prancers is nubbed [The Horse-stealer is Hanged].
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: priggers of prancers the Sixth Order of the Canting Crew, Horse-Stealers, who carry a Bridle in their Pockets, and a small Pad Saddle in their Breeches; and being informed by their Spies abroad where good Horses run at Grass, in the Dead of Night they will steal them away in a Moment.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 114: Horse-stealer Prigger of Prancers.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 39: There is not one Horse Jockey out of ten, but will buy a stolen Horse of any Prad Prigger that they know.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 29: The Prigger of Prancers is one that makes it his business to steal Horses.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]A. Burgess Enderby Outside in Complete Enderby (2002) 312: Easy Walker had given Enderby not only a reprise of ‘The Song of the Dunnygasper’ but also ‘The Ballad of Red Mick the Prancerprigger’.
prigger of (the) cacklers (n.) [cackling-cheat n.]

(UK Und.) a chicken stealer.

[UK]‘L.B.’ New Academy of Complements 205: The nineteenth is a Prigger of Cacklers [...] He steals their Poultrey, and thinks it no sin.
[UK] ‘The Thief-Ketcher’s Song’ Head Canting Academy (1674) 145: The nineteenth is a Prigger of the Cacklers, / Goes into the Country to visit the Farmers.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]B.M. Carew ‘The Oath of the Canting Crew’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 51: No dimber damber, angler, dancer, / Prig of cackler, prig of prancer.
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 31: The Nineteenth is a Prigger of Canklets [sic] in Storms [sic], / Goes to the Country to visit the Farms, / He steals there the Poultry, and thinks it no Sin.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK] ‘Thief-Catcher’s Prophecy’ in W.H. Logan Pedlar’s Pack of Ballads 144: [as cit. a.1674].