Green’s Dictionary of Slang

reef v.1

[SE reef, to roll up and secure all or part of a sail]

1. (orig. pickpocket jargon) to steal money; thus reef a leather, to steal a wallet by pulling out the lining of the pocket that contains it.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum 73: ‘Reefing up into work,’ drawing up the pocket until the purse or portmonnaie is within reach of the fingers.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 92/1: Now or never, thought I, and leaning over I ‘reefed’ up his ‘leather,’ which I instantly handed to Joe.
[US]A. Pinkerton Thirty Years a Detective 45: He inserts the first two fingers of his right hand [...] he draws the pocket-book up little by little, which is known as ‘reefing’ [...] the moment he is able to take hold of the pocket-book – called ‘tapping,’ he quietly calls out ‘Rouse!’ the victim receives a rough push from the stalls – and out comes the pocket-book.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 395: To reef a leather means that the pickpocket pulls out the lining of a pocket containing the ‘leather’.
[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 252: Reef. To work lining of pocket to top of opening.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 69: reef [...] To lift a pocket lining or an obstacle in the form of wearing apparel by methodical manner to expedite the operations of the ‘wire’.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 43: He may ‘reef’ the victim’s clothes by thrusting one finger into the pocket and dragging out the purse.
[US](con. 1910s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 43: Hours are spent in ‘reefing’ [...] It is a delicate operation and one that often requires considerable time to accomplish.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 9: Reefing: Turning trousers pocket inside out with two fingers.
[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 58: I’m going to reef the dough off those bookies till it hurts.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 191: reef a breech To lift a purse [...] reef a kick To pick a pocket by gently pulling out the lining [...] reef a leather To pick a pocket of a purse [...] reef a ticker To pick a pocket of a watch.
[Aus]Baker Drum.
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 17: Look out [...] or he’ll reef twenty quid off you like steam.
[Aus]J. Davis Dreamers 129: I can reef your money off you any day, mate.
[Aus]Advertiser (Adelaide) 10 Dec. 17: How kind to give back some of the money he reefed off us in GST [Goods and Services Tax].

2. (Irish) to gouge out, to attack, to remove forcibly; as n., a kick.

[Ire]P. Boyle At Night All Cats Are Grey 76: Who’s going to lash porter into a Metal Man who’ll turn and reef you at the finish.
[Aus]J. Alard He who Shoots Last 48: Make yaseIves at home—I’ll reef the sculls orf a couple of bottles.
[Ire]H. Leonard A Life (1981) Act I: It’s me ma ... she’ll reef me.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 122: I suppose I shouldn’t have reefed you in the Niagaras like that.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘Law is a Dope’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] [A]ll your clothes get reefed out of your wardrobe, they go through all your personal things.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 294: But don’t try anythin’ smart or I’ll fuckin’ reef you round the gaff, I swear to Christ.
[Aus]T. Winton ‘Abbreviation’ in Turning (2005) 24: The girl reefed off her shirt.

3. (Irish) to criticize, to tell off.

[Ire]P. Boyle At Night All Cats Are Grey 179: I watched her grow old again and the edge creep into her voice and I wondered could I get away before she started reefing me.

4. (gay) to fondle someone’s genitals.

[UK]R. Hauser Homosexual Society Appendix 3, 167: Reef, feel.
[US]Maledicta VI:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 140: Hauser hits upon some words later found in The Queens’ Vernacular such as […] reef and grope (feel up).
[UK] (ref. to 1930s) S. Humphries Secret World of Sex 40: John Binns remembers [...] If you boasted that you’d made love to a girl [...] you’d say ‘I had a bit of kife there.’ If you’d felt a girl’s breasts you’d say ‘I had a good reef.’ And if you’d felt her down below you’d say ‘I got a handful of sprats’.
[UK]P. Baker Fabulosa 297/1: reef to feel, especially to feel the genitals of a person.
[UK]R. Milward Man-Eating Typewriter 113: Our lovemaking would be all the more rampant and luminous if we resisted reefing one another until lights-out.

In phrases

reef it off (in lumps) (v.) [lump n. (1)]

1. (Aus.) to express oneself boisterously.

[Aus]Northern Miner (Charters Towers, Qld) 23 July 6/3: Doin’ their blocks, [the bullockys] reefed it off their chests in earnest. The leaves withered, the bark crumbled and fell from the trees, an' the paint peeled off me new pipe.

2. (Aus.) to obtain large sums of money.

[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 7 Nov. 5/1: Amongst the many backers who have been reefing it off the books at the Melbourne Cup carnival is the Brisbane trainer Spencer Vaughan.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 4 Dec. 12/2: ‘Roll ’em and rob ’em’, / And reef it right off ’em’.
[Aus]Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 19 May 4/7: [cartoon caption] So that’s why they call ’em Reef Hotels . . . they simply reef it off you!
[Aus]Baker Drum.
reef it in (v.)

(Aus.) to have energetic sexual intercourse.

[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Coorparoo Blues [ebook] Heading up the stairs he could hear a loud, wooden thumping. Holy hell! Some bugger must be reefing it in.