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

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.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 38: [A] decent skin who wasn’t about to rip her off with ground up aspirin wrapped in tinfoil.
[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.
[Scot]I. Welsh Dead Man’s Trousers 6: There’s owing some cunt money, then there’s ripping off a violent nutjob.
[Aus]C. Hammer Silver [ebook] He ripped of his workers and dudded his creditors.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 215: [N]othing happens [...] everything feels totally normal and boring. ‘You got ripped off,’ Janice says.

3. 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.’.

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.
[US]J. Ellroy Blood on the Moon 196: ‘I don’t take it up the ass, I give it up the ass. I been rippin’ off butthole since high school’.

5. (also rip) to rob, to steal (from), thus attrib.

[US]J. Horton ‘Time and cool people’ in Trans-action 4 7/1: [T]he hustler ‘burns’ people for money, but he also ‘rips off’ goods for money.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 223: The other conniving bastards ripped me off for every red cent.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 76: 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’.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Godson 66: Some bastard who had just ripped him off.
[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]J. Green It 188: [S]he worked in one of these sex clubs – the rip off clubs, ‘Give me fifty quid and I’ll meet you round the corner and give you a hand-job’, and then you run off with the money.
[Aus]G. Disher Crosskill [ebook] ‘Your pals could rip you off’.
[Scot]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. 🌐 That was because the chumps thought it was an inside job [...] that the Sudanese owners of the vault had ripped off their own business.
[US]D. Winslow Border [ebook] [M]aking sure that [...] none of the shipments are ripped by local gangs, hijackers, or even cops who are truly dirty.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Crime 101’ in Broken 72: Money would never rip Davis off.
[Aus]C. Hammer Opal Country 55: ‘I worked out he was ripping me off’.

6. (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 126: 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.

7. 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.

8. 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!

9. of a weapon or its ammunition, to fire, to shoot.

[US]R. Daley To Kill a Cop 144: ‘How many shots did you fire, Agnes?’ ‘Three. How many did you fire?’ ‘I ripped off all six’.

10. to satirize.

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

11. 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.

12. 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.

13. (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 derivatives

ripper (n.)

(UK und.) a thief, a confidence trickster.

[UK]J. Cameron Brown Bread in Wengen [ebook] [W]e is ripping off the brothers in Senegal but we is doing it gentle. We is alternative rippers.

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.
[Scot]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.
[Aus]D. Whish-Wilson Zero at the Bone [ebook] [T]here he was, the Judge’s son, the weedy white-collar rip-off merchant, astride the Harley Knucklehead.

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

[Can]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 6 + 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]N.C. Heard When Shadows Fall 179: [C]ursing himself for getting caught in one of the oldest tricks in whoredom—getting ripped off while ripping off a piece of tail.
[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’.