Green’s Dictionary of Slang

down n.2

1. (UK Und.) a suspicion, a degree of illegality; thus take down off, to render a (stolen) object less suspicious; there is no down, there is no risk.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 236: A down is a suspicion, alarm, or discovery, which taking place, obliges yourself and palls to give up or desist from the business or depredation you were engaged in; to put a down upon a man, is to give information of any robbery or fraud he is about to perpetrate, so as to cause his failure or detection.
[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 16: We [...] were convinced we were the only prigs in the gaff. We therefore determined not to raise a down by doing any petty jobs.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 Feb. 1/4: I buzzes, cuts, and not no down.

2. (orig. Aus.) a prejudice against, a suspicion of; a tendency to be unkind towards; usu. as have a down on.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 7 Oct. 3/2: I arter her, cos I had a down on that ere chap there.
[Aus]W.W. Dobie Recollections of a Visit to Port-Phillip 84: The bushranger had been in search of another squatter, on whom ‘he said he had a down’.
[NZ]C.R. Thatcher Canterbury Songster 10: I’ve got no ‘down’ on Travers.
[Aus]Sth Aus. Register (Adelaide, SA) 9 Mar. 3/5: All the farmers with whom I conversed in [...] Kapunda (to use a little colonial slang) had a great ‘down’ on the railway.
[Aus]M. Clarke Term of His Natural Life (1897) 116: It was evident that Mr. Frere had a ‘down’ on the Dandy.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 67: If you take a regular strong down upon a man or woman [...] it’s ten to one that you’ll find some day as you’ve good reason for it. [Ibid.] 225: Do you think he’s got any particular down on him?
[UK]Kipling ‘An Unsavoury Interlude’ in Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 74: Richards got awf’ly wrathy. He has a down on King for something or other. Wonder why?
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 102: Gawd’s got a ‘down’ on single women.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Sept. 2/4: If the Jockey Club stewards have a down on young Wootton he is doomed in the capacity of race-rider.
[UK]E. Wallace Squeaker (1950) 10: There’s Number Two who’s got a down on me.
[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 40: A hell of a time to run into an old friend that had a down on you.
[Aus]D. Stivens Courtship of Uncle Henry 171: Most of us had a down on Bill over the spoke he threw into the working-bee.
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 65: You can’t believe a word she says either [...] She’s always had a down on me.
[UK]C. MacInnes Mr Love and Justice (1964) 134: One of our vice boys I’m on a job with [...] who’s got a down on me.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 96: Dad says mum’s a bit hard on the newcomer. Why ‘have a down’ on her?
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 67: down, in phr. have a down on a grudge, hostile or at least poor opinion of someone; in 1862 Charles Thatcher said he had ‘no down on Travers’.

In derivatives

In phrases

raise the down (v.)

(Scot. Und.) to give the alarm.

[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 66: She immediately raised the down that the swag was rousted.