Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bluey n.1

[all SE blue + sfx -y]

1. a policeman.

[UK] ‘Wonderful Times’ in Holloway & Black (1979) II 224: Sixteen servant girls was got with child by a Policeman all at once; / The parishes began to moan and Bluey got the sack.

2. (also blue) a red-headed person; also as adj.

[UK]Morn. Post (London) 4 July 6/2: ‘How do you do, Bluey?’ he exclaimed.
[UK]Lincs. Chron. 28 July 7/1: It was a man named Bluey that gave me my black eye.
[UK]Coventry Standard 25 Apr. 3/2: I asked him whether he was the owner of the pig. He said, ‘No I am not [...] It belongs to a man they call Bluey; I can’t tell you his real name’.
[UK]Birmingham Gaz. 28 Jan. 8/5: Mick Maley (alias Blue) has only seen nineteen summers.
[UK]Edinburgh Eve. News 22 May 4/4: It was supposed he had accomplices and Edward Rogers, alias ‘Bluey’ and Edward Jones, alias ‘Stick’ were apprehended.
[UK]Bury & Norwich Post 22 Aug. 8/2: Henry Bray, alias ‘Bluey’, [was] charged by Inspector Barnard with obstructing the footway.
[UK] ‘Fanny Flukem’s Ball’ in Bird o’ Freedom (Sydney) in J. Murray Larrikins (1973) 39: Fat Mag came down from Crown Street, / with little flat foot Poll / And Sally Jerks, the ice-cream bart, / And Bluey Murphy’s doll.
[UK]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 16 Feb. 3/6: A smoking c oncert [...] at a tavern in the West End [...] a large number of Jehus will be present [...] Old lampy, Roll o’ Carpet, Ginger Blade, Old Bluey Young.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 July 14/1: A little thing like that put a second storey on me sentence. [...] You’ll finish th’ call f’r another? Very well, Bluey, swing y’r pot to ’appy days ’n’ a fair go et th’ finish!
[Aus]Kia Ora Coo-ee 15 Oct. 2/3: ‘Bluey’ is a large, red-headed, good-natured youth.
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 60: ‘Is Blue all right?’ [...] ‘Yes, got a Blighty. Couple of leg wounds.’ [...] I find Dark just back from carrying Bluey to the doctor.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: bluey.The usual nickname of an auburn haired man.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson Shearer’s Colt 123: All red-haired men are called ‘Bluey’ in Australia for some reason or other.
[Aus]Bowen Independent (Qld) 29 Apr. 3/2: The name of long, gingery, leather-lunged C.S.M. ‘Bluey’ Adams, of A. Coy., 31st, Bn., has appeared in these columns’ in descriptions of peace time camps, but has escaped mention since he hit Miowera. [...] ‘Blue’ is an Anzac of the Light Horse.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 177: ‘Bluey brought a perv book back from Cairo with him.’ I did not bother to ask which Bluey. Every fellow in the A.I.F. with ginger hair was called Bluey.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 86: They’ll all be there. Bluey Green?
[Aus](con. 1944) L. Glassop Rats in New Guinea 51: Perhaps they called him Smiler because he did not smile, just as they called fellows with red hair ‘Blue’.
[Aus]B. Hesling Dinkumization or Depommification 69: His name was Hugh, but she called him Bluey for he had red hair.
[Aus]P. White Solid Mandala (1976) 147: Seen ’er making through the scrub with that bluey nut Arthur Brown.
[US]D. Butts Down Under Up Close 48: Nicknames, for example are common [...] anyone with red hair can look forward to a life as ‘Bluey’.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 38: Wake up and help, Blue. Me duchess is losing her drawers.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 29: Hey, mate, have you ever slept in bed with a beaut bluey sheila like that one?
[Aus]P. Carey Theft 21: He had red hair when young so they called him Blue meaning red.
D. Boyd Legends of Surfing 24: Bluey, who of course was a redhead, started out surfing on his mom’s ironing board when he was a grommet of six years of age.

3. a ‘navigator’, i.e. a labourer working on the railway [? the blue-steel tracks].

[UK]Morn. Post (London) 29 Mar. 7/2: On our arrival in town we [...] cast anchor at the house of an old land Tar named Bluey in Whitechapel and soon found this bluey had sailed all over the Kingdoms.
[UK]Hull Packet 24 Dec. 5/3: Mrs Binns saw the piece of shirt, and said, Bluey (meaning a labourer on the railway) had a shirt like this.

4. (UK Und.) lead.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Ire]B. Behan Brendan Behan’s Island (1984) 100: Now, this bit of flashing ’ere ... there’ll be nearly a ’alf ton of bluey in that alone.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 174: Bluey (a) Lead.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

5. a lead worker [abbr. bluebed woman, from the blueish colour of cooled molten lead].

[UK]Dundee Courier 5 Nov. 8/1: One first sees the melting of the lead in the smelting furnaces [...] Here the blue-bed women are employed, ladling the molten metal into moulds [...] The blueys can sometimes earn two shillings a day.

6. (Aus., also blue) a pack [f. the trad. blue blanket that covered a pack].

Bunyip (Gawler, SA) 19 Nov. 3/3: He picked up the swag again and said ‘I’m off to Teetulpa, I never humped a bluey before’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Baldy Thompson’ in Roderick (1972) 108: The meanest old whaler that ever humped bluey.
[UK]Leeds Times 10 Oct. 3/7: In Australia the tramp or ‘sundowner’ [...] is also a man of property [...] chiefly his ‘bleu’ and his ‘billy’.
[Aus] ‘On the Road to Gundagai’ in ‘Banjo’ Paterson Old Bush Songs 24: So we humped our blues serenely and made for Sydney town.
[Aus]J. Gunn We of the Never-Never (1962) 19: I was sound asleep, rolled up in a ‘bluey’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Oct. 14/1: I rise to object to the treatment meted out by artists to the great Australian swag. Almost invariably they show the bluey with a shoulder-strap fastened only at one end, and Billjim holding the other. [...] As a matter of fact, Matilda is usually fastened with two straps, and a third strap is attached to each.
[UK]Lawrence & Skinner Boy in Bush 249: If he’s got a pack, it’s his swag. If he’s only got a blanket and a billy, it’s his bluey and drum.
[Aus]T. Wood Cobbers 175: The aboriginals have added new words to the English language [...] never-never, fossicker, woodchop, bluey.
[Aus]G. Casey ‘Short Shift Saturday’ in Mann Coast to Coast 212: There were parcels of ‘blueys,’ rolled in towels, all over the place.
[NZ]P. Newton Wayleggo (1953) 51: I shouldered my bluey.
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 234/1: hump the bluey – to be on the tramp. In the Earlies the man on the move in the Outback carried his possessions rolled in a blanket. The original outdoor blanket was blue, and the nickname ‘bluey’ arose from that. Even though the blanket was sometimes so dingy and faded it was more nearly grey than blue, the name ‘bluey’ stuck, and ‘bluey’ now means any blanket, regardless of colour or contents.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 27: Why, what’s wrong with me rolling me bluey, making tracks for home per boot.
[Aus]A. Buzo The Roy Murphy Show (1973) 103: Wake up, Col, the dogs are pissing on your bluey.

7. (Aus./N.Z., also blue paper) a summons, a traffic ticket.

[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Bush Fire’ in Roderick (1967–9) II 142: Flash Jim the Breaker is lying low — blue-paper is after him.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 13 May 4/8: If your creditors pelt you with ‘blueys,’ / And your cheques are returned from the bank.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 26 Jan. 6/3: Court orderly Arthur Scully [...] served defendents with blue paper.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Oct. 44/1: In mild cases (for Jim) the local constable will often give his sister or his sweetheart a hint that there’s a ‘blue paper’ out for him.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxii 7/1: bluey: [...] a summons.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 21: Bluey Court summons.
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 17/1: bluey a summons; from the blue paper on which summonses are issued in Australia.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 166: There’s a bluey up here for you [...] Failure to produce driver’s license.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 256: I got a bluey for parking.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].

8. a drinker of methylated spirits.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 104/2: C.20.

9. (Aus.) a blue-tongued lizard.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Aug. 13/1: [H]ave no fear of the lick of the blue-tongued lizard. Have seen a terrier’s ear torn in three strips by a bite from a ‘bluey’ with no ill-effects.

10. (Aus.) a blue heeler, an Australian cattle dog.

[Aus]H. Morant ‘Good Things Which Remain’ in Cutlack Breaker Morant (1962) 156: Cattle-dog Bluey, now what do you think? / Cunningest dog upon all the earth!
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘The Merino Sheep’ in Three Elephant Power 36: Then there are loud whistlings and oaths, and calls for Rover and Bluey.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 73: The bluey is a type of cattle dog: originally a cross of the smooth-haired Scottish sheep dog and the dingo.
D. Stivens Ironbark Bill 54: Quite a few put their money on Ironbark’s cattle-dog Bluey.
[Aus]B. Wannan Fair Go, Spinner 26: Old Sandy [...] was telling some cronies in a certain outback pub about how fast his cattle dog, Bluey, was.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 99: Your two blues are looking after the place.
[Aus]G.A. Wilkes Exploring Aus. Eng. 7: A bluey was for Henry Lawson a blanket, and also the swag rolled in it, so that to hump your bluey was to follow the life of a swagman. A bluey might also be a cattle dog, while a Tasmanian bluey is a hard-wearing jacket for outdoor work.

11. (UK prison/drugs) any form of amphetamine-barbiturate mixture.

[UK]S. McConville ‘Prison Language’ in Michaels & Ricks (1980) 526: Amphetamine-barbiturate mixtures seem to have spawned a particularly vivid range of nicknames and images, often arising from the appearance or color of capsules in which they are taken. These include [...] bluey, [etc.].

12. a £5 note.

[Ire]R. Doyle Van (1998) 503: Not just green notes either, brown ones as well, and even a couple of blueys.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 62: ‘Here y’are,’ he said, handing me a bluey. ‘You can owe it us’.
[UK] market trader East London 4 June [personal communication] Who wants these sirloin steaks. There you are. A fiver, a bluey, a deep-sea diver.

13. (Aus.) any form of repimand, e.g. a referee’s warning to a sports competitor.

[Aus]C. Bowles G’DAY 63: Players frequently go the bash, and so sometimes one of them ends up a cot case. When that happens, the bloke responsible cops a bluey from the umpire.

14. see blue n.1 (2g)

15. (Aus. prison) a police warrant.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Bluey. A police warrant.

In phrases

hump one’s bluey (v.) (also hump bluey, hump the bluey) [hump v.1 (3d)]

1. (Aus.) to carry a pack.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Aug. 10/4: One day, a traveller [...] asked for a job, and impressed upon the sheep-farmer’s notice that they both came from the same locality. ‘Where’s that?’ said C. the Dog. ‘The Isle of Dogs!’ was the answer. That traveller still humps round ‘bluey.’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Possum’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 81: He ’umped his bluey ninety mile an’ kum to Bunglelong.
[Aus]K. Mackay Out Back 192: If humpin’ bluey ain’t work enough for a white man, I don’t know what is.
[Aus]W.T. Goodge ‘A Snake Yarn’ in Bulletin 21 Jan. 14: I had to cross that bog, yer see, / And bluey I was humpin’.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Romance of the Swag’ in Roderick (1972) 501: Travelling with the swag in Australia is variously and picturesquely described as ‘humping bluey’, ‘walking Matilda’, ‘humping Matilda’, ‘humping your drum’, ‘being on the wallaby’, ‘jabbing trotters’, and ‘tea and sugar burglaring’.
[Aus]E.S. Sorenson in Life in the Aus. Backblocks 81: Others swamp their earnings at the wayside rubby, and have themselves to blame that they are every year humping bluey.
[Aus]R.H. Knyvett ‘Over There’ with the Australians 24: They just made up their swags and ‘humped the bluey’ for the coast.
[UK]Western Times 5 Oct. 2/5: Whilkst ‘Humoing a Bluey’ recent across Dartmoor . . . we Australians [etc.].
[Aus]T. Wood Cobbers 196: Shearers are men [...] bushmen who hump their bluey.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 39: Every one of these starchy old Johnnies talking about the time he humped the bluey.
[US]J. Greenway ‘Australian Cattle Lingo’ in AS XXXIII:3 166: hump a drum (bluey) v. phr. To wander with a swag, to hobo.
[Aus]B. Wannan Fair Go, Spinner 63: We knocked our cheques down at this shanty, and was ‘humping bluey’ again.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/2: hump the bluey: Carry one’s worldly possessions on the road seeking work.
[Aus]G.A. Wilkes Exploring Aus. Eng. 7: A bluey was for Henry Lawson a blanket, also the swag rolled in it, so that to hump your bluey was to follow the life of a swagman.
[Aus]Penguin Bk of More Aus. Jokes 433: Two cobbers had been humping their blueys out back o’ Bourke for months.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 161: ‘The Wallaby Brigade’ is one of many songs and ballads about itinerant bush labourers or swaggies who humped their drums, blueys or swag (derived from 17th-century cant for a shop) from place to place in search of work.

2. (Aus.) to leave, to move on.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 2 Oct. 1/2: Any one spinning the ‘planets’ or holding the kip will have to hump his bluey and look for work elsewhere.