Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jigger n.3

[SE jig, to shake, with idea of jigger n.1 too as under lock and key ]

1. (also chigger) a clandestine, illicit still.

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 49: Chigger — a still, ‘Working the chigger or jigger;’ a private still.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[US] in B.L. Ridley Battles and Sketches of the Army of Tennessee (1906) 444: It was not considered shocking to [...] partake of the hospitality of a soldier’s tent, in the shape of a ‘jigger’.
[UK]Sl. Dict.

2. (UK Und., also jigger man) one who operates an illicit still and sells the liquor; also attrib.

[UK]Northampton Mercury 17 Sept. 2/1: Resurrection of a Gin-Spinner [...] They discovered a private distillery, and apprehended a known ‘jigger man,’ a private still worker, named Dennis Duggan. [...] About six months ago [...] a gin-spinning establishment which he had formed [...] was broken up by the same officers.
[UK]H. Mayhew Great World of London I 46: ‘Jiggers’ (defrauding the excise by working illicit stills).
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 378/2: It is suspected that he likewise does a little in the ‘jigger line’ [...] the packmen are suspected of trafficking.

3. bootleg liquor; also attrib.

[UK]Diogenes ii 199: Jigger-gin will kill body and brain faster than arrack punch or Sangaree [F&H].
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 387/1: The jigger spirit is above proof, and a pint will make two pints of gin-palace stuff.

4. a drink of spirits, a dram; also attrib. [SE in 20C+].

[US]Harper’s Mag. Mar. 443/1: Betsy [...] would drink numerous consecutive jiggers of raw whisky without winking [DA].
[US]Butte (MT) Daily Miner 14 Apr. 1/3: ‘Blizzard’ [...] There has been extensive use of the word in Pennsylvania for many years [...] A drink of any intoxicant, generally applied to whisky. Synonymous with the slang ‘a slug,’ ‘a smile,’ ‘a jigger,’ ‘a bumper.’ Example: ‘Let’s take a blizzard.’.
[US]A.E. Lee Hist. Columbus I 335: The ‘jigger’ was a dram of less than a gill [DA].
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 149: The Colonel’s Birthday Parties had gone the way of the Jigger and the Jazz Band.
[US]G.G. Korson Minstrels of the Mine Patch 315: Jigger Boss: A company official who dispersed whiskey rations at Maunch Chunk in the 1820’s.
[US]J. Mitchell ‘Professor Sea Gull’ in Joe Gould’s Secret (1996) 21: A couple of beers or a single jigger of gin will untie his tongue.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 91: People are so dam’ sensitive about colour around here that you can’t even ask a barman for a jigger of rum. You have to ask for a jegro.

5. a small glass or metal cup, a measure used in mixing cocktails.

[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 16 Nov. [synd. col.] The ‘jigger’ glass which many saloon-keepers are intriducing to guarantee that no patron [...] can get over the two and one-half finger mark.
[US]H. Asbury Gangs of N.Y. 93: Standing before the bar drinking a jigger of hot rum.
[UK]K. Fearing Big Clock (2002) 94: He dropped the first jigger [...] and only finally managed to fill the second one.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 105: He held up his jigger ceremoniously.

6. (US) a young man who frequents soda fountains in the hope of picking up girls.

[US]L.A. Times 4 May II 4: Herewith another installment of snappy younger generation slang just broadcast from eastern points, where it has its origin: [...] Jigger: A soda-fountain Adonis.

In compounds

jigger worker (n.) [SE worker/worker n.1 (1)]

1. a seller of illicitly distilled spirits.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 387/1: Two, and sometimes three, female lace-sellers are also ‘jigger-workers’. They carry about their persons pint bladders of the ‘stuff,’ or ‘jigger stuff’.

2. a drinker of such illegal spirits, esp. whisky.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 619/2: –1896; ob.