Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cry v.

(US) to complain, to make a fuss.

[US]T.A. Dorgan Indoor Sports 18 June [synd. cartoon] Phillips is moaning to George now [...] Can’t that guy cry, eh?
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 126: That’s the type of thief that calls the police ‘a bunch of chumps,’ and goes to jail crying, ‘Somebody snitched’.
[US]C. Himes ‘The Way of Flesh’ Coll. Stories (1990) 229: Ah tol him Ah know bout mother leaving shurance n he quit cryin n tellin me how much de funral cost.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]F. Paley Rumble on the Docks (1955) 254: None of yuh guys knew him, so what the hell yuh crying about.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 9: Cons busted into jail, then spent half their time crying.
[US](con. 1916) in J. Breslin Damon Runyon (1992) 163: What is this man Hearst crying about? I only took from his mother, not from him.
[US]Simon & Burns Corner (1998) 510: The girl is hitting his beeper five and ten times a day, crying all the time about needing this and wanting that.

In phrases

I’m not crying

(US black) used to respond to the greeting: ‘how are you’, ‘how are things’, etc.

[US]C. Cooper Jr Weed (1998) 161: ‘How’s everything, Ned?’ ‘I’m not cryin, baby.’.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

cry (a) crack (v.) [fig. use SE crack]

(later use Aus./Irish) to give in, to surrender, to cry ‘quits’.

[UK]Skelton ‘How the Douty Duke of Albany’ in Henderson Complete Poems (1948) 406: Give it up, and cry creke, / Like an hoddipeake!
[UK]Thersytes (1550) A iii: I would make the knaves to crye creke Or elles with my clubbe their brayns I will breake.
[UK]D. Lyndsay Satyre of Thrie Estaits (1604) 147: Thought ze cry lyke ane Ke all day. Heir fal the bairns cry keck like ane Kaerd.
[UK]Udall (trans.) Erasmus’ Apophthegms (1564) Bk II 306: Cesar [...] had made the Tigurines crye creake.
[UK]R. Edwards Damon and Pithias (1571) Fi: In faith Dutting Duttell, you wyll crye creake.
[UK]Lyly Euphues (1916) 92: Curio be as hot as toast, yet Euphues is as cold as a clock; though he be a cock of the game, yet Euphues is content to be craven and cry creak.
[UK]J. Clarke Paraemiologia 54: To turn tayle and cry creake.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer II 133: At a moment’s notice they are off at full speed, which they keep up without ‘crying crack’.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Open Steeplechase’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 72: Let us mend the pace a little and we’ll see who cries a crack.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 293: And one time he led him the rounds of Dublin and, by the holy farmer, he never cried crack till he brought him home as drunk as a boiled owl and he said he did it to teach him the evils of alcohol.
[Ire]Joyce Finnegans Wake (1959) 86: They were on that sea by the plain of Ir nine hundred and ninety nine years and they never cried crack or ceased from regular paddlewicking .
cry a go (v.) [cribbage jargon cry a go, to pass]

to give up, to surrender.

[UK]Paisley Herald 7 June 4/1: The Running for the Derby [...] Before coming into the distance Brighton had to cry a go.
[UK]Hants. Advertiser 27 Jan. 7/1: He was obliged to cry ‘a go’, thus ending one of the best runs witnessed for many a year.
[UK]E.J. Milliken ‘Cad’s Calendar’ Punch Almanack n.p.: Got three quid; have cried a go with Fan, / Game to spend my money like a man.
[UK]Shields Dly Gaz. 27 July 4/3: In the eighteenth lap, Weber took up the running but at about three miles a splendid spurt from Cripps caused Chambers to cry a go.
[UK]Era (London) 9 Dec. 9/5: There is one old favourite there now who, I suppose, will never cry a go whilst he can still play his part.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘One of the Lucky Ones’ Sporting Times 20 Oct. 1/4: Ada came to the conclusion that the next should be the last, / For she felt that it was time to cry a go.
[UK]Nottingham Eve. Post 24 Sept. 7/4: Lowry [...] visiting the jaw several times with both hands, compelled Gent to cry a go after just over a minute’s boxing.
cry (a) rope (v.) [the hangman’s rope that awaits those who pay no heed]

to shout a warning.

[UK]Shakespeare Henry VI Pt 1 I iii: Winchester Goose!, I cry a rope! a rope! Now beat them hence.
[UK]S. Butler Hudibras Pt I canto 1 line 546: He understood [...] What Member ’tis of whom they talk when they cry Rope, and Walk Knave, walk.
cry bucket-a-drop (v.) [the image of filling a bucket with tears]

(W.I.) to make a good deal of fuss (and even cry) about an unimportant matter; to shed ‘crocodile tears’.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
cry carrots (and turnips) (v.) [? onomat. + ironic ref. to the carter’s normal cries]

(UK Und.) to be whipped at the cart’s tail.

[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 141: Whipt at th Cart’s Arse, which they call Shove the Tumbler or Crying Carrots.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c. n.p: He came off with crying carrots and turnips, a term which rogues use for whipping at the cart’s arse [F&H].
[Someset County Gaz. 14 Sept. 4/4: Friends, you must not expect that i shall bawl to you, like fellows who cry carrots and turnips in the street].
cry cockles (v.) [echoic: cockles, the sound made as one chokes]

to be hanged; cite 1836 refers to a suicide.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Cockles to Cry Cockles, to be hanged perhaps from the noise made whilst strangleing.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]‘The Blue Devils Now’ in New Cockalorum Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks II 14: She bolted the door then twisted her nob, / Then stretched and cried ‘cockles’ when she finished the job.
Shepton Mallet Jrnl 15 Mar. 8/4: A hanged man is said to ‘Cry cockles’ from the gurgling sound made in strangulation.
cry it (v.)

(Aus.) to name or order a drink.

[Aus]E. Dyson ‘Hello, Soldier!’ in ‘Hello, Soldier!’ 85: ‘Cri, it jumbo.’ ‘Have a beer.’ / ‘Wot-o, Anzac; you’re a dear.’.
cry pork (v.) (also pork) [‘a metaphor borrowed from the raven, whose note sounds like the word pork. Ravens are said to smell carrion at a distance’ (Grose, 1796)]

to act as an undertaker’s tout.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Pork. To cry pork; to give intelligence to the undertaker of a funeral; metaphor from a Raven, whose note sounds like the word Pork. Ravens are said to smell carrion at a distance.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1788].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 69: pork To inform the coroner of the whereabouts of a corpse.
cry roast meat (v.) (also cry roast, proclaim roast meat) [the assumed prosperity of those who eat roast meat. The OED suggests that such boasting is foolish]

to boast about one’s good fortune.

[UK]F. Lenton Innes of Court Anagrammatist (Nares) n.p.: They boast Of dainty cates, and afterwards cry roast [F&H].
[UK]J. Gauden Tears, Sighs, etc. of the Church of England Bk IV 682: He might have swallowed those holy (but now desecrated) morsells in secret, and not have proclaimed on the house-top to all the world, the rost-meat he hath gotten.
[UK]School of Venus (2004) 15: Mr Roger can farewell and not cry roast meat, neither does he betray you .
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: You cannot fare well, but you must cry Rost-meat, you can’t meet with good Chear, but you must tell Tales.
[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 85: To trumpet forth the praises of such a person, would, in the vulgar phrase, be crying Roast-meat.
[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas III i: Lay snug – far’d well – ne’er cried roast meat.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Cobbett’s Wkly Political Register 18 Sept. 13/1: The coward should never cry, roast-meat.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
C. Lamb Character of the Boys in Johnson Christ’s Hospital (1896) 44: The foolish beast, not able to fare well but he must cry roast meat [...] would needs proclaim his good fortune to the world below.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 5 Oct. 4/1: They are grown too wise, like the fox in the proverb, to cry out ‘roast meat’.
Kentish Mercury 28 Sept. 3/6: To cry ‘Roast-Meat’ — this phrase means to boast of good cheer.
[UK]G.F. Northall Folk-Phrases of Four Counties 27: To cry roast meat. (1) to make known one’s good luck. (2) to boast of women’s favours.

In exclamations