Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hoist n.

[SE hoist, to lift]

1. (UK Und., also hoys) constr. with the, the act of shoplifting or breaking into houses; also used of those who specialize in the crime.

[UK]Hell Upon Earth 3: As for the Male Students which come here, some are very dext’rous for the Hoist; that is, two, three or more idle Sparks going together, one of them leans his Head against a Wall, [...] and another standing upon his Back, he climbs into a Window, and throws what he lays Hands on [...] out to his Confederates; then jumping out, away the successful Villains trudge.
[UK]J. Fielding Thieving Detected 48: The Lift or Hoist. Shoplifting, of all the other branches of thieving, is the most pernicious and destructive to tradesmen.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 246: The game of shop-lifting is called the hoist; a person expert at this practice is said to be a good hoist.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 38: We were principally engaged upon the hoys and coreing. [Ibid.] 58: He was a rum cove at the hoys.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 44: hoist [...] the profession of shoplifting.
[Aus]Sun. Mail (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 2/7: Few of these occupiers of the lowlier ranks in the underworld social scale run any great risk in their operations. But the ‘Hoist’ shows more daring. [...] [T]hese gentlemen, who confine their activities principally to lifting suit lengths from tailors’ shops, are in a class by themselves.
[US]A. Hynd We Are the Public Enemies 104: He went to Boley [...] got drunk, pulled a hoist and murdered a man in the process.
[Ire]B. Behan Scarperer (1966) 62: Since you did that bit of a hoist down on the Point.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 195: No little hoist from Woolworth’s?

2. (UK Und.) a shoplifter or burglar.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Hoist. To go upon the hoist; to get into windows left open by the Assistance of a Confederate, who leans his head against the wall, making his back an ascent.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: To go upon the hoist; to get into windows accidentally left open: this is done by the assistance of a confederate, called the hoist, who leans his head against the wall, making his back a kind of step or ascent.
see sense 1.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 196: Ninety-nine per cent of the losses are inflicted by the female ‘hoists’.

3. the profits from a robbery.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 38/1: Fat hoist, a big haul.

4. (US) a hold-up or hijacking.

[US]Sat. Rev. (US) 18 July 978: Crooks [...] speak of [...] a hold-up as a ‘hoist,’ which must come from hoisting the hands at the point of a gat.
[US]N. Algren Somebody in Boots 254: Ah aint told yo’ half of what ah done since that butcher shop hoist.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

5. (also hyste) any form of robbery.

[US]‘Boxcar Bertha’ Sister of the Road (1975) 158: He did a bit in the pen for a hoist (theft).
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 138: He got ninety days for kindness and a month for likin laughs and not a day for makin the hyste.
[Aus]J. Alard He who Shoots Last 140: Dey buckles me and da pinch is not just fer da hoist. Dey charges me wif packin’ a gun.
[UK]T. Parker Frying-Pan 43: A big hoist from one of those organisations that carry money about for banks.

In compounds

In phrases

go (up)on the hoist (v.)

to shoplift.

[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 143: Going on the Top or Hoist, that is, breaking into a House in the dark Evening, by getting in at a Window one Story high.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: To go upon the hoist; to get into windows accidentally left open: this is done by the assistance of a confederate, called the hoist, who leans his head against the wall, making his back a kind of step or ascent.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
on the hoist (also at the hoist, on the hoys)

working as a shoplifter.

[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 62: The Doctor and I ordered off the other three up on the hoys [...] In one shop they nabbed two mush-topers.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 109: As crooks they’re [i.e. women] all right on the ’oist, or on the look-out, but they ain’t no good at inside work.
[UK]D. Ahearn Confessions of a Gunman 53: A good man on the hoist can always take a joint in five or eight minutes .
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 155: Flo and Fifi travelled about the country ‘at the hoist,’ going from town to town stealing valuable furs.
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 72: My old woman’s still out on the hoist now and she’s a bleeding good earner.