Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rip off v.

[SE rip off, to tear off]

1. (US) to create, to make.

[US]R. Lardner ‘The Water Cure’ in Gullible’s Travels 195: If it’s as rough as I think it’s goin’ to be,’ says I, ‘you won’t feel like rippin’ off no scenarios Monday.’.

2. to take, to secure (with no implication of theft).

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 311: ‘You think he rip off the title this time?’ ‘He rip it off. Cool Breeze got great class, plus big heart.’.

3. (US black) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 21: I’m going to rip off that creamy sonofabitch at a hotel.
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 110: Nice piece of ass [...] You ripping off some of that?
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 152: A young lady rips off a dude. The dude get loaded and he’s too loaded to do anythin’. So she gets to playin’ and she make it hard [...] So she rips him off too – ’stead o’ him rippin’ her off.

4. (US black/prison) to rape.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 252: If someone doesn’t stand in front of you, you’ll get your little ass killed, or someone will be ripping you off every time you try to take a shower.

5. to steal (from).

[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 223: The other conniving bastards ripped me off for every red cent.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 83: I ain’t got no bread. I’m here to rip off this Jorge faggot.
[US]in J. Breslin World According to Breslin (1985) 85: ‘How does he rip them off ?’ ‘He got a gun’.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 152: ‘Break Me’ is his song. When we rip it off him, that goes beyond the bounds of human behaviour.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 288: Fingers Billy, who’s [...] carrying the clipboard he always uses when he rips oaf shoaps.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 14: And they was all dead principled by the way — they’d only rip off the ‘haves’ and they’d always hand it all over to Mam.
[Aus]P. Temple Broken Shore (2007) [ebook] ‘What’s he done?’ ‘Ripped off a rep staying at the motel. Five hundred-odd bucks’.
[US]D. Winslow Winter of Frankie Machine (2007) 121: They practically had a license from the San Diego cops to rip off drug dealers.
[UK]K. Richards Life 337: I always heard the stories of how Freddie was ripping me off, scalping tickets and so on.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] I’m not sure why you’d be so dumb as to rip off a bunch of bikies.
[UK]Vanity Fair 16 Mar. [Internet] That was because the chumps thought it was an inside job [...] that the Sudanese owners of the vault had ripped off their own business.

6. (orig. US, also rip) to cheat, to defraud, esp. in drug deals.

[US]Dr J. Brothers Good Housekeeping Feb. n.p.: ‘Ripping off the Establishment,’ they insist, is a political act [R].
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 25: Others are ripping off the tax and fiddling their expenses.
[Aus]V. Viidikas ‘Island of Gems’ in India Ink (1984) 42: The trishaw boys [...] control the waterfront and the big five star hotels where they good naturedly rip off tourists.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 282: Who was ripping off who? Who could rip off who the fastest?
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 183: he had no intention of ripping Lily Shreave off.
[Aus] D. Whish-Wilson ‘In Savage Freedom’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] He ripped him off for a kilo of pure.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] It would be good to have them along, though, in case Savino tries to rip him [...] you’re talking a lot of money and a lot of dope here, and you never know what that’s gonna do to a guy.

7. to raid; cite 2010 refers to on-street confiscation.

[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 200: You can leave a little geez for me hidden away sometimes when you rip off a doper’s pad.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 344: Rambo grabbed me! Motherfucker ripped me off [...] Nineteen large, yo!

8. to kill, to assassinate.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 198: It’s the killers. They just won’t rip a man off in the daylight.
[US](con. 1964–73) W. Terry Bloods (1985) 58: If I just wanted to be a real nasty person, then I probably could have just ripped off South Vietnamese civilians for practice.

9. to satirize.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 979/1: earlier 1970s.

10. to copy, to plagiarize.

[UK]Observer Rev. 27 June 4: I’m so fucking marvellous, they’re all ripping me off.
[UK]T. Blacker Kill Your Darlings 281: Word for fucking word. I checked. 100 per cent. You ripped that poor dead bastard off.

11. to exploit financially.

[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 92: The girl was ripping them off.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 51: You rip us off and we have to like you as well. Nice deal.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 179: It pisses him off that the landlord lets them come here and rip him off.
[UK]Guardian 6 July 23/4: Tenants step up protest against ‘rip-off’ fees from letting tenants.

12. (US black) usu. of whites, to exploit, socially or economically, to place at a disadvantage.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines xix: The pig, he try to destroy the people — beat ’em up, rip ’em off.
[US]A.K. Shulman On the Stroll 115: A trick’ll rip you off, every chance he gets.
[UK]Guardian Media 4 Oct. 9: We give the guy his say while ripping his balls off.

In compounds

rip-off artist (n.) (also rip-off merchant) [artist n. (1)/merchant n. (1)]

1. a thief.

[US]B.W. Gibson Ten Blocks from the White House 146: One Howard University student, Steve, who ran a black market in his apartment, was just such a rip-off artist.
[UK]I. Welsh Trainspotting 248: Past acquaintances were described with bitterness: ‘a rip-off merchant’.
[UK]Guardian Guide 26 June–2 July 4: Are any celebrities safe from the sweaty clutches of the rip-off merchants?
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 50: He’s still gorrer fuckin rip-off merchant for a fuckin uncle.

2. any form of cheat, emotional as well as material.

[UK]J. Mandelkau Buttons 149: From now on my club was going to have nought to do with the Alternative society and its rip-off merchants.
[US]E. Grogan Ringolevio 234: They began calling him [...] a cultural rip-off artist.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 104: Forget about seeing the rip-off merchant in Bellevue Hill.
B. Sparks Jay’s Journal 31: He’s a rip-off artist and he’s such a dumb bastard.
B. De Palma Interviews 69: Is he the new Hitchcock, the new ‘master of the macabre,’ as he’s being touted, or is he just another rip-off artist?

In phrases

rip off a piece (v.) (also rip off a hunk) [SE rip off/sense 3 + piece n. (6)]

(US) to seduce, to have sexual intercourse.

[US] ‘The Love Guide’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 146: You should have seen it [i.e. his penis] when Mae and me rips off a hunk.
[US] ‘Amos ’n Andy’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 71: Amos and Ruby are in the bedroom prepareing [sic] to rip off a little piece.
[US]S. King Finders Keepers (2016) 126: Morris bellamy had grabbed her as she passed the alley [...] and told her of his intention to ‘rip off a piece’.