1. dice; esp. in exhortation roll them bones!
|Pardoner’s Tale line 651: By goddes precious herte, and by his nayles [...] Seven is my chaunce, and thyn is cink and treye; By goddes armes, if thou falsly pleye, This dagger shal thurgh-out thyn herte go – This fruyt cometh of the bicched bones two, Forswering, ire, falsnesse, homicyde.|
|Bowge of Courte line 346: And on the borde he whyrld a payre of bones.|
|Lusty Juventus Eii: I wyll trill the bones while I haue one grote, And when there is no more inke in the pen, I will make shift as well as other men.|
|Verse Libel 182: They [...] / Love good ale, cardes and boanes.‘To the Archbishop of York’ in May & Bryson|
|Two Angry Women of Abington A4: m. bar.: Right by the Lord, a plague vpon the bones. m. gou.: And a hot mischiefe on the curser too.|
|Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 3: They shuffle and cut on one side: the bones rattle on the other.|
|Fine Companion V ii: I was at dice. I came the Caster with some of them I thinke, and I had like to haue made their bones rattle for it.|
|Persius III 36: But then my Study was to Cog the Dice; And dext’rously to throw the lucky Sice: To shun Ames-Ace, that swept my stakes away; And watch the Box, for fear they shou’d convey False Bones, and put upon me in the Play.|
|Penkethman’s Jests 87: A Footman, who had lost all his Money at Dice, – said, His Board-Wages was all gone to the Devil, with his Bones.|
|Nabob in Works (1799) II 301: When your chance is low, as tray, ace, or two deuces, the best method is to dribble out the bones from the box.|
|‘Luke Caffrey’s Ghost’ in Chap Book Songs 3: His grinders rattled in his jaw-wags, like a pair of white-headed fortune-tellers in an elbow-shaker’s bone box.|
|Better Late than Never 30: See, the lads are at it [i.e. dicing] already – the bones are in motion.|
|Pendennis I 181: I saw you sit down to ecarté last week at Trumpington’s, and taking your turn with the bones after Ringwood’s supper.|
|Lavengro I 63: A man with a white hat and a sparkling eye held up a box which contained something which rattled, and asked me to fling the bones.|
|Yankee Notions Jan. 2/2: Ez. put the ‘bones’ in his pocket [...] but, somehow or other, out came the dice again.|
|Good for Nothing (1890) 219: What with speculations failing, and Consols dropping all at once, not to mention a continual run of ill-luck with the bones, I saw no way out of it but to bolt.|
|White Rose 206: A merry blue-eyed boy, fresh from Eton, who could do ‘thimble-rig,’ ‘prick the garter,’ ‘bones’ with his face blackened.|
|Deacon Brodie I tab.I vii: You always were a neat hand with the bones, Deakin.|
|Autobiog. of a Gipsey 408: Groups of men were [...] engaged in playing cards, dominoes, or rattling the bones.|
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 17 Jan. 1/1: ’E instructed the dandy Apollo / In the fine art of playing the bones.|
|Powers That Prey 255: I tried gamblin’ for a bit, but I couldn’t win nothin’; a man that’s down on ’is luck shouldn’t touch the bones.|
|Convict Verse 18: Seben come ’leben – roll ’long bones!|
|Truth (Perth) 8 Oct. 8/8: Both them rooms Is rigged for gamblin’ / Little tables everywhere; / Cards & bones & such inventions / For the game, they all are there.|
|Old Man Curry 32: He [...] flang ’em bones jus’ like he’s got ’em ejicated.‘Levelling with Elisha’ in|
|Truth (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 9/3: One can imagine the heart-sick earnestness with which the ebony gamesters watch the roll of the bones.|
|Amer. Negro Folk-Songs 363: [reported from Auburn, Ala., 1915–1916] Roll dem bones, roll dem bones, roll ’em on the square, / Roll ’em on the sidewalk, de streets or any whar. / Roll ’em in de evenin’, roll ’em in de night, / Roll dem bones, when de cops are out of sight.|
|Dark Hazard (1934) 42: Did you see how he handled them bones? Man! he kin make ’em do eve’thing but talk.|
|An Indiscreet Guide to Soho 94: Should he prefer to ‘shoot the bones’ (play dice) his light-fingered friends can palm a loaded set.|
|Viper 90: Come on bones, roll me a seven.|
|Corner Boy 83: Only a crazy man would cut long hours when he could bounce some bones across the table and know he was going to come out on top.|
|Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 158: I’d take some loaded craps down there, some bones [...] and beat the paddy boys out of all their money.|
2. the human teeth.
|DSUE (1984) 114/2: C.19–20.|
3. the fingers when clenched in a fist.
|Tom and Jerry; A Musical Extravaganza I v: See that young man a diver is. Hush or he’ll rattle out his bones upon your ivories.|
4. a surgeon.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 17/4: The morning for the duel came, / Bones, Pistols, Cornet – all were ready, / But Tambourine; he hurried not, / Though sober quite, he wasn’t steady.|
|Chambers’s Journal 8 Jan. 30: I have sent for the village bones, and if he can but patch me up, it may not yet be too late [F&H].|
5. (US campus) a skeleton.
|DN II:i 24: bones, n. A skeleton.‘College Words and Phrases’ in|
6. (US) a thin person.
7. the game of dominoes [pl. of bone n.1 (2b)].
|N.Y. Times Mag 26 Mar. 22: Willie Nelson plays in a ‘bones’ (dominoe) tournament [HDAS].|
|‘It Was a Good Day’ [lyrics] Then we played bones, and I’m yellin domino.|
(US) a craps player.
|Wichita Daily Eagle (KS) 11 Aug. 6/5: ‘Liver Lip Jack’ [is] ‘King of the Bone Throwers’ [...] The bone throwers are the people who play ‘craps’.|
see St Hugh’s bones n. (1)
see under devil n.
(US) to play at dice; thus bone-roller a dice-player.
|Eng. Poets (1810) II 602/2: To shake the bones and cog the craftie Dice.‘To his Friend P.’ in Chalmers|
|N.-Y. Eve. Post 18 Sept. 2/4: Peradventure they [naughty boys] have obtained a little money, in which case their holy-day amusement may consist in throwing the dice (by them familiarly called trundling the bones) or playing chuck farthing.|
|Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) 17 Feb. 6/1: ‘Come, gentlemen,’ says he, ‘one more glass, and let us go and fight the tiger.’ Well, what do you suppose they meant by the Tiger? why it was a ‘Faro Bank’ on one side, and a ‘Roll the Bones, and fair play,’ on the other.|
|Morn. Advertiser (London) 19 Nov. 3/7: Lord Maidstone was in full play, and half-pay credit; he rattled the bones.|
|Lantern (N.O.) 12 Mar. 2: [He] comes all the way from the Third District up here to shake the bones.|
|Pink Marsh (1963) 157: I see Clay Walkeh an’ some mo’ boys rollin’ ’e bones.|
|Chariton Courier (MO) 3 Aug. 1/3: Another trio of the motley mess of crap-shooters [...] the same gang of bone-rollers.|
|TAD Lex. (1993) 70: The leading humorist of the camp was Bob Armstrong who would rather roll the bones than eat.in Zwilling|
|Old Man Curry 208: I’m rollin’ dem bones.‘Levelling with Elisha’ in|
|In the Reign of Rothstein 35: Fifteen men, who included Arnold Rothstein, Eddie Katz [...] and other prominent citizens [...] were rolling the bones.|
|(ref. to late 18C) Sucker’s Progress 42: It is interesting to note that in England before the beginning of the nineteenth century dice were commonly known as ‘the bones’ and ‘the doctors,’ while casting them was ‘rolling the bones’.|
|G.I. Laughs 208: Now Private Jones / He rolled the bones.|
|‘Pick ’Em Up An’ Shake ’Em Up’ [lyrics] We’re gonna pick ’em up an’ shake ’em up / An let ’em roll, / All night long we’re gonna roll them bones.|
|Texas by the Tail (1994) 138: He simulated a man shooting dice. ‘Like to roll the bones a little?’.|
|‘Candy Man’ [lyrics] Roll those laughing bones / Seven come eleven boys.|
|Where Dead Voices Gather (ms.) 237: Rolling them bones: dice, the oldest of gambling devices, older than the Bible, found in tombs of ancient Egypt.|
|Bet the House 199: Apparently Williams himself likes to roll the bones. ‘When I came here to play Michigan State [...] I went down and shot craps and lost’ .|
SE in slang uses
1. of a man, to have sexual intercourse.
|‘The Bold English Navvy’ in(1979) 30: Sure, he’ll jump on your bones with his navvy boots on.|
|in Erotic Muse (1992) 78: Don’t let a navvy come into your bed / For their hearts do run light and their minds do run young / Sure they’ll jump on your bones with their navvy boots on.|
|(con. c.1970) Phantom Blooper 181: Every guy in the ward with legs wants to jump her bones and every guy with hands tries to cop a feel.|
|A Drink Before the War 21: Makes you want to jump my bones on the spot, doesn’t it?|
|Big Ask 235: A girl likes to be romanced. Not have her bones jumped when she’s half-tanked.|
|Skinny Dip 172: I jumped your bones just because I was furious at Chaz.|
|Virgin Blood 267: After a real man’s jumped her bones, she won’t want nothing to do with you.|
2. to attack.