Green’s Dictionary of Slang

knight of the... n.

also burgess of the...

[16C+] ‘Various jocular (formerly often slang) phrases denoting one who is a member of a certain trade or profession, has a certain occupation or character etc. In the majority of these the distinctive word is the name of some tool or article commonly used by or associated with the person designated, and the number of such phrases may be indefinitely increased.’ (OED) While the earlier (16C–18C) terms definitely have this occupational basis, the later (19C) ones tend to use the occupation in more of an ironic or joking sense.

In phrases

...the awl

[19C] a cobbler.

...the black jug

a heavy drinker.

...the blade

see separate entry.

In compounds

...of the blue pencil (n.)

1. [late 19C-1940s] a censor.

2. [1900s-20s] (Aus.) a newspaper sub-editor.

3. [1950s] (Aus.) a film editor.

...the brogan [brogan n.]

[late 19C] (US) a tramp.

...the brush (and shovel)

1. [late 18C] a chimney sweep.

2. [19C] an artist, a painter.

...the brush and moon [? SE brush that was once used as the sign of a tavern; or a real or generic public house name]

[mid-19C] a drunkard.

...the cleaver (and steel)

[late 18C–19C] a butcher.

...the collar

[mid-16C–mid-17C] one who has been hanged.

...the cross

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a professional criminal.

...the cue

[late 18C–19C] a billiard-player; a billiard marker.

...the elbow

[late 17C–mid-18C] a card-sharp, a cheating gambler.

...the forked order (also knight of the order of the fork)

1. [late 16C–17C] a cuckold.

2. [mid-17C–mid-18C] one whose job involves digging with a fork.

...the golden grummet [naut. jargon grummet = rope ring + gold = excrement]

[1930s+] (US Und.) one who enjoys anal intercourse.

...the grammar

[late 17C–mid-18C] a teacher.

...the green cloth [the green baize of card tables]

1. [late 19C–1920s] (orig. US) a gambler.

2. [1900s-40s] a billiards or snooker player.

...the halter

1. [16C] one doomed to be hanged.

2. the hangman.

...the hod

[early–mid-19C] a bricklayer; a bricklayer’s labourer.

...(the) industry [he ‘works’ his victims]

[mid-17th–19C] a thief or swindler.

...the Iron Chain

[late 19C] a prisoner in irons who is being transported.

...the jemmy (also knight of the jimmy)

[mid-19C–1920s] (UK/US Und.) a burglar.

...the knife

[17C] a cutpurse.

...the lapstone

[mid–late 19C] a cobbler.

In phrases

knight of the meter (n.)

[1930s] (Aus.) a taxi-driver.

...the napkin

[mid-18C–1920s] a waiter.

...the needle

[late 18C–1920s] a tailor.

...the pad (also knight of the rumpad) [pad n.1 (1)]

[mid-18C–mid-19C] a highwayman.

...the pen [mid–late 19C]

1. a clerk.

2. a writer.

...the pencil

1. [early 19C] a painter.

2. [mid-19C] an author, a writer.

3. [late 19C–1920s] a bookmaker.

4. [late 19C–1900s] a reporter, a journalist.

...the pestle [despite dates of recorded citations, sense 2 prob. came first]

1. [17C] (also knight of the burning pestle) someone with a venereal disease, a term of abuse.

2. [mid-17C–19C] an apothecary, esp. one who prescribes for venereal diseases.

...the petticoat

[late 19C–1900s] a man employed as ‘muscle’ by a brothel.

...the pigskin

[mid-19C–1930s] a jockey.

...the pisspot

[late 19C] a doctor, an apothecary.

...the pit

[late 19C] a fan of cock-fighting.

...the post

see separate entry.

...powder puff

1. [late 18C] a hairdresser.

2. [late 19C] an effeminate or homosexual male.

...the quill

[late 17C–1920s] an author.

...the rainbow [the colours of the uniform, which would represent those of the person served]

[mid-18C–late 19C] a footman, a waiter.

...the rattle

[early 19C] a watchman.

...the road

see separate entry.

...the satchel (n.)

[1910s] (Aus.) a bookmaker.

...the scissors and yard

[mid-19C] a tailor.

...the shears (also knight of the sheers)

1. [late 18C–late 19C] a tailor.

2. [late 19C] (Aus.) a sheep-shearer.

...the spigot

[19C] a publican, an inn-keeper.

...the standard

[late 19C] a racecourse bookmaker.

...the tape

[1900s] (Aus.) a tailor.

...the thimble

[late 18C–19C] a tailor.

...the trencher

[mid-18C–1900s] a great eater.

...the vapour

[17C] a smoker; also known, by the coiner John Taylor the Water Poet (c.1578–1653), as gentlemen of the whiffe, esquires of the pipe.

...the wheel

[late 19C–1910s] a cyclist.

...the whip

[late 18C–1900s] a coachman.

...the willow

[late 19C] (Aus.) a cricketer, presumably a batsman.

...the yardstick

[19C] (Aus.) a draper, a haberdasher.