Green’s Dictionary of Slang

leather n.

1. [14C–19C] the skin [SE until 18C].

2. in physiological or sexual contexts.

(a) [mid-16C+] the vagina; also attrib.

(b) [mid-16C+] sexual intercourse; thus phr. nothing like leather, nothing is as good as sex.

(c) [mi-19C; 1930s] a run-down whore; a poor, promiscuous woman.

(d) [1930s+] (US) the anus.

3. an item made of leather.

(a) [mid-18C+] a wallet or purse, or bag.

(b) [mid-19C+] a leather ball, usu. a cricket ball or football; in the US a baseball.

(c) [late 19C+] (US) a shoe; thus lay leather v., to walk.

(d) [1910s+] (US) a boxing glove.

(e) [1900s–30s] (Aus./US) a whip.

(f) [1920s+] (US) a holster; also attrib.

(g) [1920s+] (US) a saddle; thus fork leather v., to ride a horse; hit leather v., to ride off; pull/hunt leather v., to grasp the saddle while riding a bucking horse.

(h) [1930s] (US Und.) a pickpocket.

(i) [1930s–40s] (US) by metonymy, a brutal kicking with a boot or shoe.

(j) [1960s+] a leather coat or jacket.

4. [late 19C] (US) liver.

5. [1910s–30s] (US) meat.

In compounds

leather-dresser (n.)

[19C] the penis.

leather glommer (n.) [the pickpocket ‘lifts’ the sense 3a, while the assistant glom v. (1) or grabs it and takes it away]

[1930s] (US) a pickpocket’s assistant.

leather lane (n.) [pun on the Leather Lane market, off Holborn, London]

[19C] the vagina.

leather lay (n.) [lay n.3 (1)]

[late 18C] (UK Und.) the theft of bags.

leather lifter (n.) [lifter n. (1)]

[1920s–40s] (US Und.) a pickpocket.

leather-plating (n.)

[mid-19C] betting, gambling.

leather-pusher (n.)

[1920s] a boxer; thus leather pushing n., the sport of boxing.

leather-slinger (n.)

a prize-fighter.

leather-snatcher (n.)

a pickpocket.

leather stretcher (n.)

[19C] the penis.

In phrases

burn leather (v.)

[1930s–40s] (orig. US black) to dance; to move fast.

cop the leather (v.)

[1930s] (Aus. Und.) to suffer punishment.

give someone the leather (v.) [1930s]

to kick a person.

go leather-stretching (v.)

[late 18C–late 19C] of a man, to have sexual intercourse.

labour leather (v.)

[mid-16C; late 19C–1900s] to have sexual intercourse.

lay some leather on (v.)

[1930s] (US) to spank, to beat.

lose leather (v.)

[late 18C–19C] to become saddle-sore from excessive riding.

pattin’ leather [1930s+] (US black)

1. walking the streets.

2. thus fig. being out of work.

put in the leather (v.) (also put the leather in, put the leather to, stick the leather in)

[1910s+] to kick someone, esp. during a fight.

stretch leather (v.)

[17C–19C] to have sexual intercourse; thus get one’s leather stretched v.; stretching-leatherness n.

throw leather (v.)

[1930s+] to box; thus leather-throwing n., boxing.

SE in sl. use

In compounds

man of leather (n.)

[early 19C] a cobbler.