Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mary ann n.1

[joc. uses of proper name]

1. (US gay) a lesbian.

[US]Criminal Life (NY) 19 Dec. n.p.: Lize Bemis [...] is a rough Mary Ann, and rather partial to a Green moll. He man left her on account of her too free talk about doughnuts.

2. (also Mary Jane) an effeminate male homosexual; a young boy used as a catamite in prison.

C.H. Ulrichs Memnon (1898) 37: In Paris und London giebt es Schaaren junger hiibscher Weiblinge, die sich koquettierend auf Boulevards und Promenades umhertreiben. Dies ist dem dortigen Publikum auch wohlbekannt. In London nennt sie der Volksmund ‘Mary-Anns’ (Marie-Annen oder Anna-Marien). [In Paris and London there are crowds of pretty young effeminate men who carry on coquet-tishly round and about on the boulevards and promenades. This is well known to the public there, too. In London they are called in the slang ‘Mary-Anns.’] [GS].
J. Saul in Kaplan Sodom on the Thames 202: ‘I am still a professional Mary-Ann’ [...] he named a number of fellow ‘Mary-Anns,’ including a cross-dresser called ‘lively Poll’.
[UK]Sins of the Cities of the Plain 8: The handsome youth must indeed be one of the ‘Mary-Ann’s’ of London [...] often to be seen sauntering in the neighbourhood of Regent Street.
[UK]Reynold’s Newspaper 2 June 1, col. 4: I remember when residing in Oxford having pointed out to me in ‘the High’ more than one professional catamite; just as waiting for a bus at Piccadilly-circus a few years later I heard prostitutes jocosely apostrophising the Mary-Anns who plied their beastly trade upon the pavement beside the women [F&H].
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Old Regime 44: This one of Convict James Tinsley, alias Luffy Ned, alias ‘Mary Jane,’ touched him more deeply still.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[UK]‘George Orwell’ Road to Wigan Pier in Complete Works V (1986) 75: They [...] feel that a man would lose his manhood if, merely because he was out of work, he developed into a ‘Mary Ann.’.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 136/2: Mary Ann, the. The robbery of drunkards by combined crude pocket-picking and suave talk; frequently the thief pretends to be a sexual pervert to throw off suspicion that he is feeling for the victim’s wallet.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Billy Liar (1962) 161: You’re like a bloody Mary Ann!
[UK]A. Hollinghurst Swimming-Pool Library (1998) 41: A coachload of absolute Mary-Anns.
[Aus]G. Seal Lingo 115: There seems to have been no shortage of terms used either by homosexuals themselves and/or by non-homosexuals, such as [...] margery, mary-ann, madge-cull and, what was once the great Australian insult, poofter.
J. Chinn It Looks Like rain Again [radio play] Our Stan’s a bit of a Mary Ann.

3. (Aus.) a girlfriend.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Feb. 4/4: They besiege the lemonade boy and treat their Mary Anns liberally to all that’s in the basket, and if the Opera prove romantic, […] they may be seen to pass their arm in an elephantine manner around their buxom partners’ waists.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Apr. 14/3: Some 20 years ago there lived in a Southern township a Chinaman whose great ambition it was to possess a white ‘Maly Ann.’.

4. a dressmaker’s dummy.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 715: ...I hate those ruck of Mary Ann coalboxes out for the day.

5. (US gay) a US Marine.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

6. (Irish) a boarding-house landlady.

[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 80: [W]e went for weekends away and told the Mary-Anns in the B&Bs that we were Mr and Mrs Looney and only married a year.

7. see Mary n. (1b)