Green’s Dictionary of Slang

darby n.2

[16C SE Father Darby’s bands, a moneylender’s bond of particular severity, which effectively bound the borrower to the lender while the debt remained outstanding]

1. usu. in pl., shackles, fetters, handcuffs; thus darbies and joans, fetters linking a pair of prisoners; darby-ringer, a villain [for ety. for darbies and joans, see darby and joan n.].

[[UK]Greene Quip for an Upstart Courtier C3: They tie the poore soule in such Darbies bandes [...] and dub him sir John bad lands].
[UK]A Newgate ex-prisoner A Warning for House-Keepers 5: But when we come to the Whitt, / Our darbies to behold / And for to take our Penitency, / And boose the water cold.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Darbys c. Irons, Shackles or Fetter.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Darbies, Fetters.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 204: Darbies, irons, shackles, or fetters.
[UK] ‘Frisky Moll’s Song’ J. Thurmond Harlequin Sheppard 22: He broke thro’ all Rubbs in the Whitt, / And chiv’d his Darbies in twain.
[UK]G. Stevens ‘A Cant Song’ Muses Delight 177: The darbies I dread not, death’s common to all, / That rumble in rattlers or pad the Mall.
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxix: Darbies Fetters.
[UK]J. Messink Choice of Harlequin I viii: Ye scamps, ye pads, ye divers, and all upon the lay [...] Rattling up your darbies, come hither at my call.
[Ire] ‘Lord Altham’s Bull’ in Walsh Ireland Ninety Years Ago (1885) 88: Oh! cruel Coffey, glory to you, just knock off my darbies.
[UK] ‘Blue Lion’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 32: The darbies too they try on.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 77: Thus a new set of darbies, when first they are worn, / Makes the Jail-bird uneasy, though splendid their ray.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 76: I set to work and cut the darbies off my legs.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 8: The fellow’s a regular drilled darby-ringer after all!
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) I 127: Here is a darby cutter (one skilled in cutting off his chains) who has travelled before with us .
[US]N.Y. Eve. Post 11 July 2/6: On being taken to the cage again, that terror of evil doers, Jacob Hays, put the Darbies on him, by way of splints for his wrist.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 206: How my bowman he snivelled away, o, / How he broke off all the dubbs in the whitt, / And chivied the darbies in twain, o.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend 1 190: Oh, I’m dark, sir [...] he won’t know me till I put the darbies on him.
[UK]Vanity Fair (N.Y.) 9 Nov. 216: Pinch all the swag and put the darbies on each nigger.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 238: Let me out of these ’ere darbies, and then we can have some fun with the old feller.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie III tab.V iv: Suppose we introduce our wrists into these here darbies?
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 16 Oct. 11/3: ‘The darbies’ were taken from his wrists.
[UK]Graphic (London) 30 Jan. 23/1: ‘Darbies’ is a very old cant term for handcuffs [...] when they were used to attach one prisoner to another they were called ‘Darbies and Joans’.
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Early Days 189: I’ll do for any man who forces the darbies on me!
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 31 Jan. 1/1: The occasion is the appearance of the ‘gaol-breakers and Handcuff kings’ [and] a large population of Perth will therefore attend to learn how to dodge the darbies.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 209: In fewer than forty-eight hours you clap the darbies on the murderer.
[UK]Marvel 15 Jan. 11: He brought a pair of darbies into view.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 441: second watch: (Produces handcuffs.) Here are the darbies.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 252: First time they’ve ever left the darbies on me when I’ve been in the cell.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 173: It is his dearest wish to see the darbies clapped on him.
[Aus]S.J. Baker in Sun. Herald (Sydney) 8 June 9/5: Other English incorporations [in Australian slang] include: [...] ‘darbies,’ handcuffs.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 60: They screwed a screw or something inside the darbies.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves in the Offing 175: It was the sort of sniff Sherlock Holmes would have sniffed when about to clap the darbies on the chap.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 193: darbies handcuffs.

2. in pl. in fig. use, anything that shackles one.

[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 333: The never-ending darbies of matrimony.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 47: Darbies [...] the iron clad terms of a money lender.

3. in pl., sausages.

[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 3 Apr. 6/2: Ye should [...] twig him spreading his legs when he’s hooking it with a duea [sic] of darbies (sausages) from a cat’s-meat-shop (eating house) .

In compounds