Green’s Dictionary of Slang

saw n.2

[? their ‘rough/sharp edges’]
(US black)

1. a woman, a wife, esp. when a nag.

D. Burley in Chicago Defender 31 Oct. 26: My saw shipped off to London.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 88: ‘Saw’ is more of a derogatory term. It refers to the wife, or some other nagging female, whose tongue has that sawing quality which would arouse goose-pimples along the hearer’s spine, when her shrill voice is heard raised in protest against something or other.

2. (US black) a mother-in-law.

D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 17 May 11: I laid a spiel on the witchmen [...] about my ole saw and her spread.

3. the landlady of a cheap rooming house.

[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

sawbones (n.)

a doctor, a surgeon; also attrib.

[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 391: What! don’t you know what a Sawbones is, Sir? [...] I thought evrey body know’d as a Sawbones was a Surgeon.
[Aus]‘ Week in Oxford’ in Bell’s Life in Sydney 8 Nov. 4/2: We sent across for young T—, the ‘sawbones,’ and talked of the events of the day over a bowl of punch.
[UK]Thackeray Pendennis I 170: She has taken on with another chap – another sawbones.
[US] ‘Pertaters and Ternups’ in Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 89: A wag of a young doctor [...] a bran new, bright, and polished journeyman sawbones.
[UK]Thackeray Lovel the Widower 153: He seems a low, vulgar blackguard, that Sawbones.
[UK]The Tailors’ Strike in Darkey Drama 5 33: Dar’s de brads, sawbones!
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 22 Oct. 3/2: The ‘stiff’ was brought to [...] the private office of a practical ‘sawbones’.
[UK]Bristol Magpie 1 Feb. 12/2: Can’t say I’m in love with the sort of thing adopted by a certain ‘sawbones’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 6/4: So the two sawbones, Hinchcliff and Boyd, were called in. ‘Jimmy’ said ’twas water, ‘Teddy’ a tumour.
[UK] ‘’Arry on Equality’ in Punch 22 Feb. 85/1: Hinfluenza be blowed! [...] The Sawbones have give it that name, I’m aware, but of course that’s their fun.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) Oct. 1/1: Doctors are the last men to bring in a verdict of guilty against a brother ‘Sawbones’.
[US]A.H. Lewis Wolfville 207: Sech parties as that sawbones Peets.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 205: There was a saw-bones here [...] pawin’ me over for a life-insurance game.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 1 Jan. 1/1: The infuriated flossie is now receiving the attentions of a solemn sawbones.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 20 Oct. 36/2: The Sawbones brotherhood may differ as to whether the curse is contagious or not.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Human Touch 16: ‘You unholy old sawbones,’ he answered genially.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 403: Where the Henry Nevil’s sawbones and ole clo?
[UK]Nichols & Tully Twenty Below Act I: Doctor Percival Whittaker – a precious bag of sawbones.
[UK]P. Cheyney Don’t Get Me Wrong (1956) 83: The local sawbones is workin’ on me with a stomach pump.
[US]G. McMillan Old Breed 213: Chesty [...] allowed the sawbones to cut out the shrapnel.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 205: Listen, sawbones, you’re licked before you even start.
[UK]F. Keinzly Tangahano 175: Screamed about the doctor every time he tried. But hell, the sawbones didn’t say to lay off for ever.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 274: The head sawbones there – a nice enough guy.
[US]C. Heath A-Team 2 (1984) 118: Ain’t no lady sawbones gonna work on me.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 12: So you’re a sawbones, huh?
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 110: Finally we tracked down a sawbones.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Coorparoo Blues [ebook] ‘I’m half-dead and you’re the sawbones’.

In phrases