Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shiner n.1

1. in pl., money [the distinction between this sense and the pl. of sense 2 is not always clear].

[UK]C. Walker Authentick Memoirs of Sally Salisbury 118: The Count [...] returns, according to his Promise, bringing a Purse full of Shiners.
[UK]Foote The Minor 53: Come: shuffle thy brains [...] To let a lord of lands want shiners, ’tis a shame.
[UK]Foote Capuchin in Works (1799) II 395: Has he the shiners, d’ye think?
[UK]J. Messink Choice of Harlequin I viii: First you touch the shiners — the number up — you break.
[Ire] ‘The Irish Morsho’ North Country Maid 4: They threw down the shiners the reckoning to pay.
[UK] ‘Meg of Wapping’ Jovial Songster 70: So she popp’d off, and Tom [...] Spent the shiners of old Meg of Wapping.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 27: Who knows but, if coax’d, he may shell out the shiners?
[UK]Microscope (Albany, NY) 22 May n.p.: The Dutchmen in Albany are not so weak and illiterate as to throw away their shiners for the trash of a Cockney.
[UK]H.M. Milner Turpin’s Ride to York I iii: I’m going to propose a plan, rather out of our way, but still the shiners are to be got by it.
[UK]Egan ‘The Bridle Cull’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 140: Then, my blades, when you’re bush’d, and must have the swag, / Walk into tattlers, shiners, and never fear the lag.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 27 Feb. 3/2: Bright clinking shiners, must I part with ye?
[UK]G.A. Sala ‘Slang’ in Household Words 24 Sept. 75/2: Money – the bare, plain, simple word itself [...] might have sufficed, yet we substitute for it – tin, rhino, blunt, rowdy, stumpy, dibbs, browns, stuff, ready, mopusses shiners [etc.].
[US]H.L Williams Ticket-of-Leave Man 9: ‘I dare say he’ll be flash with the shiners now.’ ‘And flush of flimsies.’.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 178: We want the shiners which was found aboard of the Spaniard divided among us.
[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 11 Dec. 4/7: ‘The Ballad of the Bunco Man’ [...] [He] garnered in the shiners / In a manner that was queer.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 14/3: And so well did they succeed, that they picked out a noted ‘suspect,’ backed him heavily for a coming event, and then raked in quite a plethoric pool of shiners.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 24 June 1/4: There’s Shaft, who calls for Gatling guns, / To bring him in the shiners.
[UK]A. Binstead Houndsditch Day by Day 122: She subsekervently vent and buzzed me for a bit o’ shinus what vhas in my ofercoat pocket.
[US]Bluefield Daily Tel. (WV) 11 Mar. 4/2: In addition [...] the following [names for money] are given: [...] Shiners.
[UK]D. Stewart Wild Tribes of London in Illus. Police News 22 Feb. 12/4: If it warnt for such as i you wouldn’t have one half of the shiners you’ve got locked up in your money chests’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 404: Stunned like seeing as how no shiners is acoming, Underconstumble?

2. a gold coin, spec. a sovereign or guinea.

[UK] ‘Sally Mac Gee’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 242: With fifty bright shiners he came on to court me.
[UK]W. Godwin Caleb Williams (1966) 243: If therefore you will give us them there fifteen shiners, why snug is the word.
[UK]Sporting Mag. June XX 138/2: Milo [...] shakes his conqueror by the paw, gives him a shiner, and drives home.
[UK] ‘The Flour Clubs’ Garland of New Songs 7: Some thousands of good yellow shiners.
[UK]‘Who Cares’ in Universal Songster I 12/2: He comes home with shiners galore.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford II 215: I gave the guinea to the waiter at the White Hart yesterday; the dog brought it back to me to-day, and I was forced to change it with my last shiner.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 189: Fagin [...] is it worth fifty shiners extra, if it’s safely done from the outside?
Wilmington Jrnl (MC) 6 Aug. 1/3: Let your Uncle Johnny put his potato stealer (hand) into that hat, and tickle the chins of them are shiners a little!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 25 Mar. 1/3: Bets were offered, [...] 10 to 1, in beautiful shiners.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ G’hals of N.Y. 41: He tendered her one of his ‘shiners,’ and having received his change, he lit one of his dozen.
[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act III: Five thousand shiners, p’raps.
Pittsburgh Gaz. 29 Apr. 4/2: As soon as the ‘cow jockey’ got his hands on the ‘shiner’ he was chilled to the heart to find that it was a base fraud.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 265: I fancied the old people finding the five shiners were only duffers.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie III tab.V ii: A free pardon and fifty shiners down.
[UK]Albert Chevalier ‘Our Little Nipper’ 🎵 I’ve got a little nipper, when ’e talks / I’ll lay yer forty shiners to a quid / You’ll take ’im for the father, me the kid.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 72: Shiners, gold coins.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 14 Aug. 4/8: Scooping in the notes and shiners / At the Cup.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 2 Mar. 11/3: A cool five hundred shiners.
[UK]Nott. Eve. Post 30 Apr. 6/3: Lesser known nicknames for sovereigns [...] ‘chip’ [...] ‘canary,’ ‘nob,’ ‘old Mr Gory’ [...] and ‘shiner’.

3. (also shinker) a black eye.

[UK]M. Robinson Walsingham II 161: ‘Sport your glass-blinkers, old grizzlepate,’ cried the inebriated prisoner, ‘and look steadily while I dazzle your optics with a brace of shiners.’.
[US]J.A. Riis Battle with the Slum 98: A brazen-looking woman with a black eye, who answered the question of the officer, ‘Where did you get that shiner?’ with a laugh.
[US](con. 1918) J. Stevens Mattock 266: He had a shiner and a swelled nose.
[US]F.M. Thrasher Gang 267: Shiners, shinkers—black eyes.
[US]J. Lait Put on the Spot 93: Under his puffed-up left eye was a purple shiner.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 336: Her left eye was nearly closed and it was surrounded by a swollen purplish bruise [...] ‘Who gave you that shiner?’.
[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 82: A person who goes out for a peaceful walk is liable to come home with a shiner or bloody nose.
[UK]H.E. Bates Oh! To be in England (1985) 381: It was almost worth a shiner to see Edith like that.
[US]P. Conroy Great Santini (1977) 441: Did he give you that shiner?
[US]T. Wolff (con. mid-1950s) This Boy’s Life 115: [H]is boy Jack had hung a real shiner on the Gayle kid .
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 317: Guy had never had much to do with pain. Except that shiner: pure instinct – the dear fist.
[Ire]J. O’Connor Salesman 307: I meant to get a bit of steak to cure that shiner I have.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 180: You got magic touch. Left Fergie lookin’ like a panda in love. Double shiner.
[US]C. Faust Money Shot [ebook] The double shiner helped too, and so did the broken nose.
[Aus]T. Winton Turning (2005) 151: Her shiner was still puffy.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Irish Fandango [ebook] The huge shiner and the split in her bottom lip.
[Scot]T. Black Ringer [ebook] n.p.: I take a deck in the mirror and see there’s some bruising around my jaw; there’ll be a nice shiner on the way as well.
[US]T. Robinson Hard Bounce [ebook] ‘You look at your eye lately?’ She brushed her fingers lightly over her shiner.
[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 65: His face looks a bit fucked, n he’s git a shiner ae a black eye.
[US](con. 1991-94) W. Boyle City of Margins 38: Mikey went to the funeral with the fat purple shiner he got from the cop’s bat.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 810: [H]e laid one on her... punched her... that’s where the shiner came from.

4. (orig. UK Und.) a mirror, esp. as used by card-sharps to spy on otherwise hidden hands.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]G. Smeeton Doings in London 254: If they can prig a ‘shiner’ (a looking-glass), they immediately transport it to the neighbourhood of Wentworth Street, where the Jews knock off the frames [...] to destroy all identity.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 91: SHINER, a looking-glass.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 244: ‘Shiners,’ which reflect the faces of cards being dealt through mirrors, are listed in various forms. The ring-shiner consists of a tiny mirror which can be attached to a ring [...] One type of shiner fits a pipe [...] A harmless-looking match box is a shiner in disguise.
[US]V.W. Saul ‘Vocab. of Bums’ in AS IV:5 344: Shiner—A mirrorlike surface on a finger ring, enabling a card dealer to see the reflected face of every card as he deals it.
P. Grey ‘’Twixt Night ’n’ Dawn’ in Afro-American (Baltimore, MD) 12 Nov. 11/5: I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Mex fell out with one of those shiners [...] the kind one buys in barber shops for two bits.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 264: The insideman [is] using a shiner so that he can see what he deals the mark.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]P. Hoskins No Hiding Place! 192/1: Shiners. Small reflectors used by card- sharpers.
[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling.
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 154: I have played against sleeve holdouts and readers and daub and shiners.

5. a silver dollar.

[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Sept. 14 n.p.: [They] made there [sic] exit with a shiner in their fob .
[UK]A.C. Mowatt Fashion II i: Tiff will work every shiner into the concern.
[US]S.F. Call 26 Mar. n.p.: [He] went to fight the furious tiger, / Went to fight the beast at faro, / And was cleaned out so completely / That he lost his every mopus, / Every single speck of pewter, / Every solitary shiner.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 15 July 658: We’ll have the bronchos, and we’ll have the swag, for Baron Rinkie [...] doesn’t travel without the shiners.
[US]C. M’Govern By Bolo and Krag 21: The 4,000 shiners I was going to buy the farm with.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ From Coast to Coast with Jack London 114: Using our pocket knives each of us tackled one of the shiners. We dug and pried away endeavoring to lift the dollars from their receptacles. But the cement with which the coins were fastened had become as adamant as granite.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 404: Stunned like seeing as how no shiners is acoming.

6. something first-rate, i. e. which fig. ‘shines’; usu. as regular shiner[cite 1838 suggests the shininess of fresh fish].

[UK]Windsor & Eton Exp. 9 Jan. 1/5: is father gave him a basket of sprats to sell, with instructions not to dispose of [them] under sixpence, as they were ‘regular shiners’.
[UK]Royal Cornwall Gaz. 1 June 6/3: No.6 bill (a regular shiner) — ink from London [...] come and see it.
Buckingham Exp. 8 Jan. 4/5: 1887 will be recorded in our national history as a ‘regular shiner’.

7. a young woman who poses as being susceptible to flattery (presumably in the hope of gain).

[UK]Cornishman 14 Nov. 7/1: A ‘shiner’ is a philanthropic young lady who is willing to bestow her smiles on smooth-tongued visitors in return for flattering words.

8. a silk hat.

F. Francis On Angling 179: A tall black hat, or one of the genus called shiner, I do not recommend [F&H].
[UK]Hull Dly Mail (Yorks) 2 Nov. 4/1: The Sweep and the ‘Shiner’ [...] the bridegroom [...] wore a top hat.
[UK]Daily Tel. 31 Oct. 10/6: The little man with his tall shiner [F&H].

9. a diamond, or other jewel; also in pl.

[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 54: If we get rid of the shiners, we leave for the mines for a few months, and then say that we have made a lucky hit; and who is to deny it?
Queenstown Free Press 15 Jan. n.p.: When they dug it up they at once came to the conclusion it was a real shiner.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 75: Various sums which a three-bulb plant in San Francisco had dished out to me for my sundry and diverse De Beers shiners.
[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 52: The Kimberley shiners that had been rusting away.
[US]Wash. Post 10 Dec. 4/5: A diamond is now ‘ice’ or a ‘spark fawney’. It is no longer referred to as a ‘shiner’ or a ‘headlight’ or a ‘rock.’.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 86: ‘What’s the haul size up at?’ he demanded. ‘Anything in the safe besides the shiners?’.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 260: Sparklers, sparks, shiners, stones, ice (English), etc—diamonds.
[UK]D.L. Sayers Nine Tailors (1984) 193: Want to know where those shiners are?

10. (Aus.) an attractive person.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Dec. 34/2: I mean the girl I was first engaged to. She was a fair shiner.

11. (US tramp) a ten-cent piece.

[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 213: Shiner – A ten-cent-piece.

12. (W.I.) in pl., sparkly clothes or fabrics.

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 47: Shiners lamé or sparkly fabrics: u. to dress up in shiners.