Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cry v.

[1910s+] (US) to complain, to make a fuss.

In phrases

I’m not crying

[1960s] (US black) used to respond to the greeting: ‘how are you’, ‘how are things’, etc.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

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

[16C; late 19C–1930s] (later use Aus./Irish) to give in, to surrender, to cry ‘quits’.

cry a go (v.) [cribbage jargon cry a go, to pass]

[mid-19C-1910s] to give up, to surrender.

cry (a) rope (v.) [the hangman’s rope that awaits those who pay no heed]

[late 16C] to shout a warning.

cry bucket-a-drop (v.) [the image of filling a bucket with tears]

[20C+] (W.I.) to make a good deal of fuss (and even cry) about an unimportant matter; to shed ‘crocodile tears’.

cry carrots (and turnips) (v.) [? onomat. + ironic ref. to the carter’s normal cries]

[18C] (UK Und.) to be whipped at the cart’s tail.

cry champagne (v.)

[1990s+] (W.I.) to express oneself in a dramatic fashion.

cry cockles (v.) [echoic: cockles, the sound made as one chokes]

[late 18C–early 19C] to be hanged; cite 1836 refers to a suicide.

cry it (v.)

[1910s] (Aus.) to name or order a drink.

cry off (v.) [1940s–50s] (US Und.)

1. to confess.

2. to inform.

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)]

[late 18C–early 19C] to act as an undertaker’s tout.

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]

[late 17C–19C] to boast about one’s good fortune.

In exclamations

cry mapsticks! [SE play on mopstick, mop handle]

[early–mid-18C] I beg for mercy!