Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hide n.

[SE 11C–16C]

1. skin or its products, whether human or otherwise.

(a) the human skin, thus one’s life; esp. in phrs. like save one’s hide etc.

[UK]Rowlands Greene’s Ghost Haunting Coniecatchers E4: Such iollie shauers, that are deepe slashers of others mens hides, haue I knowne (more is the pitie) to sit vp all night, some at Cardes and Dice, some quaffing and swilling at the Tauerne, and others among their trulles.
[UK]J. Harington Epigrams II No. 39: So widdow Lesbia, with her painted hide, / Seem’d, for the time to make a handsome bride.
[UK]W. Davenant Platonic Lovers V i: You shall hear all within, perhaps find cause To swaddle my old hide.
[UK]Gossips Braule 6: Did not I bring you clouts ye Whore, lend ye money to pay for the washing of your lowsy Smock, and bring you a Posset with a pox to ye, and Bread for your Whores hide.
[UK] ‘The Rump Carbonado’d’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 84: ’Tis pity that Hewson the Lord should have died / For piercing his Brother, the Cobler’s Hide.
[UK] ‘The Wooing Rogue’ in Ebsworth Westminster Drolleries (1875) 17: We then shall want both Shirts and Smocks, To shift each others mangy hide, That is with Itch so pockifi’d.
[UK]Fumblers-Hall 15: The Taylors man in Black-Fryers had taken measure of your hide for a young bantling.
[UK]Dryden Don Sebastian 82: I long to be handselling his hide, before we bring him to my Master.
[UK]J. Eachard (trans.) Plautus’s Amphitryon I i: If you once provoke me, I’ll make all your Bones rattle i’ your Hide.
[UK] ‘Sylvia in Bathing’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) III 159: Would I were a Vermin, [...] Tho’ show’d as they do a damn’d tawny Hide.
[UK]Sterne Tristram Shandy (1949) 479: And if I do, replied the other – they shall make a drum of my hide.
[UK]Bridges Homer Travestie (1764) II 95: Had he the fate of battle try’d / Hector had surely trimm’d his hide.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 288: O warriors! cries this head of cod, / I’ll smoke great hector’s hide by G-d.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Lyric Odes’ Works (1794) I 91: God [...] pull’d his hide off, as you’d pull your shirt!
[Ire] ‘Patrick’s Day in the Morning’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 3: But we their hides did bravely leather.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Apr. XX 62/1: You’ll be tried, / And will scarcely hop off without holes in your hide.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff All at Coventry I ii: I’ll mill you rogue – your hide I’ll flog.
[UK]Pierce Egan’s Wkly Courier 22 Mar. 4/1: Dobell measured himelf up, in order to welt [?] the hide of Reddy.
[US]J. Neal Down-Easters I 104: Let ’em lump it if they don’t like it, an’ squirm their hides off.
[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 42: [He] had mossy‘d to save his hide.
[US]L.H. Medina Nick of the Woods II i: Tell me whar the Injuns are concealed, or I’ll have your cowardly hide flogged off of you!
[US]M. Griffith Autobiog. of a Female Slave 169: Now take your dirty black hide away, or it will be the worse for you.
[US]G.W. Harris Sut Lovingood’s Yarns 295: The wind sumhow gethered atwixt the hary side ove dad’s hide.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 99: A few of your countrymen took it into their heads that our hides wanted ventilating.
[UK]J.Greenwood Tag, Rag & Co. 119: Dang his hide.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 79: I will fill his hide full of lead.
[Aus] ‘The Welsher’s Confession’ in Seal (1999) 144: If you want to be a spieler [...] you must have a hide that would kill a rhinoceros, and brass that would build a monument to the memory of your cheek.
[US]E.W. Townsend Chimmie Fadden 11: He took me in de harness-room, and he just everlasting lambasted de hide off me.
[US]F. Hutchison Philosophy of Johnny the Gent 13: ‘[D]on’t let anybody tell you it’s soft cuttin’ out the grog after you’ve had your hide half full for a couple o’ weeks’.
[UK]J. Masefield ‘One of the Bosun’s Yarns’ Salt-Water Ballads 22: If ye wish to save yer sickly hides, ye’d best contrive a raft.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 18 Feb. 4/8: ’E went off pop on her like ’ell. Told ’er if she didn’t ante up some brass, ’e’d take it out of ’er ’ide.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 May 2nd sect. 9/1: They Say [...] That the threat of the old man to ‘belt his hide off’ had something to do with it. That on receiving the ‘polite intimatioin’ the P.O. dandy vanished.
[UK]Gem 7 Oct. 14: I guess I’ve took some of the shine out of their black hides this time.
[US]M.E. Smith Adventures of a Boomer Op. 64: If that gink gets me in that car again you may use my hide for a door mat, with welcome on it.
[US]R. Whitfield Green Ice (1988) 27: ‘Damned if it isn’t Mal!’ he greeted. ‘Pull your hide inside.’.
[US]L. Hughes Mulatto in Three Negro Plays (1969) Act I: Boy, I’m gonna fan your hide if you don’t hush!
[US]W. Guthrie Bound for Glory (1969) 292: I commenced yanking my shirt off again, being a big hand for sunshine. I felt it burning my hide.
[US](con. 1943–5) A. Murphy To Hell and Back (1950) 59: Now it is up to them to save their hides.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 200: Your loyalty [...] just prevents you from saving your own hide.
[US]M. Spillane Return of the Hood 9: The brothers Stipetto would be only too happy to help the fuzz nail my hide.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 86: One wrong move while you are in his gentleman’s care and it’s going to be your hide.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 242: It seems like everybody wants a piece of my hide.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms. 41: I was sailin all over the Pacific savin your coon hide.

(b) a person.

[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 180: ’Tain’t ther liquor wot’s snide, it’s ther dead hookity hides what it gets chuted into.
[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 163: Move ye ole hide away, Andy.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 173: The old hide caved-in; was glad to let all the money go and give me the gig.

(c) (US) a horse.

[US]D. Runyon ‘That Ever-Loving Wife of Hymie’s’ Runyon on Broadway (1954) 598: While it is a cheap race, there are some pretty fair hides in it.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 59: We’ll give him the hides.
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 120: Then he names some of the hides he’s bet fifty cents on to show.

(d) (jazz) drums.

[US]Pic (N.Y.) Mar. 7: hide busting. — going to town on the drums. Godfrey Hirsch, ‘My Man Godfrey,’ beats it up on the traps.
[US]P.E. Miller Down Beat’s Yearbook of Swing n.p.: hide: drums.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.

(e) (US) a wallet.

[US]J.L. Kuethe ‘Prison Parlance’ in AS IX:1 26: hide. A pocketbook.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 95/1: Hide. 1. A wallet or a cro’s purse.
[US] ‘Sporting Life’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 162: There’s the cool old shot at the busy bus stop / Scanning on a hide.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 18: I gave them a flash of apparent long green stuff inside the bulgy hide.

2. by metonymy, as a woman or her body.

(a) the female genitals; thus sexual intercourse.

testimony in a rape case People v. George Holberton et al. in Jnl of Early Republic XV:4 613: I suppose they are going to give us ten years for getting our hide.

(b) (US) a woman, usu. considered as a sex object.

[US]H.N. Cary Sl. of Venery I.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 95/1: Hide. [...] 2. Loose women; prostitutes.
[US]N. Algren ‘Watch Out for Daddy’ in Entrapment (2009) 150: I don’t need a tennis-bat to swing a smalltown hide like you [...] the flat of my shoe will do.
[US] in Current Sl. IV:3–4 (1970).
[US]K. Weaver Texas Crude 70: Some ol’ hide over at the Skid Row lounge fell in love with me for a while last night.

(c) (US) an old crone, a hag, an ugly old woman.

[US]K. Weaver Texas Crude 114: Carl [...] went down to Mexico, got sloppy drunk and woke up married to some ol’ hide, not a tooth in her head.

(d) (US) an effeminate male homosexual.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 95/1: Hide. [...] passive pederasts.

3. (usu. Aus./N.Z.) in fig. use, impudence, effrontery, cheek.

[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Jones’s Alley’ in Roderick (1972) 39: She’s got the hide to come up to my stand and sell in front of me.
[UK]J.H.M. Abbott Tommy Cornstalk 94: Now, I’ll jes’ tell yew boys what one of those something French’s Scouts had the darned hide to do, or rather to try to do, during the day. I reckon he had a pretty con-siderable section of real, slap-up cheek, too.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Sept. 10/1: Leery Liz: ’E’s a shameless cyow, that Judkins! Why, ’e even ’ad the ’ide to stare at me an’ ’Arry when all the pleecemens wuz turnin’ their ’eads away.
[Aus]R.D. Doughty diary 20 Apr. [Internet] Had a vaccination inspection. The MO had the colossal hide to tell me I had to be done again.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 16: ’E ’as some bloody ’ide, pinchin’ the commandin’ officer’s bucket.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 249: That beastly old blister had the hide to button-hole him in the street.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 50: ‘Lift up ya dress,’ he says, ‘so’s I can see ya legs.’ The hide of ’im!
[Aus]G. Hamilton Summer Glare 104: Well, [...] I never! The hide of you . . . asking to marry my daughter!
[NZ]B. Crump Hang On a Minute, Mate (1963) 41: He poured hot water out of the tap into last night’s tea billy and had the hide to call it a brew.
P. Mathers Wort Papers 37: I don’t care, my God you’ve got a hide.
[Aus]T. Winton That Eye, The Sky 971: She’s got a bloody hide sending you over here. She’s got hide, full-stop.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 56/1: hide insensitive nature or impudent manner, in phrs ‘you have a thick hide’ or ‘you’ve got a hide’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Davo’s Little Something 8: You’ve got a hide to bag me for bringing a bit of decent tucker to work.
[Aus](con. 1945–6) P. Doyle Devil’s Jump (2008) 222: One of the group muttered, ‘Bastards have got a hide.’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Mystery Bay Blues 30: And I’ve got the hide to bag Warren about him losing his memory.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Old Scores [ebook] ‘Fucken hide on him. Shekel grubbing — ’.

In compounds

hide-beater (n.) (also hide-pusher) [sense 1d + SE beater]

(US) a drummer.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 6 Aug. 11/1: The ace hide-beater of the Universe, Chick Webb.
[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 10 Feb. 7/1: I did a memory lane tip about the many hide pushers of color who are laying the same jive for java and no sugary dough.
[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) hide-beater (n.): a drummer.

In phrases

loosen someone’s hide (v.)

to thrash, to flog.

[UK]Daily Chronicle 11 Apr. 9/2: He thought the only way to make them decent members of society was ‘to loosen their hides’ .
more hide than Jessie (the elephant) (also more arse than Jessie) [a favourite elephant Jessie (1872–1939), which could be visited at the Taronga Park Zoo]

(Aus.) a phr. used of one who is very cheeky.

[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 14 July 9/5: ‘They have the hide of jessie,’ said one alderman, evedently referring to the Zoo elephant.
[[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 130: ‘You’ve got more cheek than Jessie the elephant!’ I said].
[Aus](con. WWII) E. Lambert Long White Night 81: ‘You’ve got more arse than Jessie,’ I told him.
[Aus]Les Ryan Shearers 143: ‘The bastard’s got more hide than Jessie,’ he said [GAW4].
[Aus]Sun-Herald (Sydney) 24 Jan. 150: So Bill McMahon gets the old age pension ... It tells you all you need to know about Australia, about the kind of man we put ourselves up to run it, about noblesse oblige Australian style, about the hide of Jessie [GAW4].
John G. Great Dict. of Aus. Sl. [Internet] Jessie – as in ‘more hide than Jessie the elephant’ extremely thick skinned.
tan someone’s hide (v.) (also tan someone’s pelt)

to beat someone severely, to spank someone severely.

Robin Hood and the Tanner in Child Eng. and Scot. Popular Ballads 307: If he be so stout, we will have a bout, / And he shall tan my hide too.
[UK]C. Coffey Devil to Pay II i: Work, come and spin, you Drab, or I’ll tan your Hide for you.
[UK]Mr. Lawson ‘Chaunt’ in Egan Boxiana I 477: Who could not bear his hide well tann’d, / Was quite unfit for that seat.
[US]J. Neal Brother Jonathan II 51: What’ll I do! – tan your hide for you.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker I 221: I’ll tan your hide for you, you may depend.
[UK]R. Barham ‘The Lay of St. Odile’ Ingoldsby Legends (1840) 257: It will not do to lie under any Saint’s ban, / For your hide, when you do, they all manage to tan.
[UK] ‘Stinking Breath’ in Ticklish Minstrel 46: D--n that fishmonger, [...] If I find out his name, I will well tan his hide.
[Ire] ‘The Kind-Hearted Man’ Dublin Comic Songster 78: Bring him into the hall, John, says I, / And his hide with a cane did tan!
[UK] ‘Leary Man’ ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue (1857) 42: And if your donkey will not go, / To lick him you must not be slow, / But well his hide must tan.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 234: ‘I’ll tan your hide,’ i.e., give you a good beating.
[US] ‘Hurrah for Grant!’ Grant Songster 3: Now we mean to have a new man [...] And choose for pilot, Grant the tanner, / Who can tan traitor’s hide.
[US]E. Eggleston Hoosier School-Master (1892) 146: But he’ll git in, though, and tan your hide fer you, you see ef he don’t.
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 30: To tan the hide = To chastise.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:ii 160: tan one’s hide [...] v. phr. To punish one.
[US]P. Kyne Cappy Ricks 27: How did you tan his pelt?
[US]J. White ‘Great Grandad’ Lonesome Cowboy 18: He’d have been right glad / To tan their hides with a hickory gad.
[UK]‘Henry Green’ Loving (1978) 55: If you so much as breathes a word of what ’as just passed I’ll tan the ’ide clean off your back.
[US](con. 1910s) J. Thompson Heed the Thunder (1994) 34: If they [i.e. children] got out of line, you tanned their hides with a bit of harness.
[UK]T. Parker Frying-Pan 28: My dad won’t ever listen to me [...] All he ever does is tan the hide off me.