1. a carman, a coachman.
|Freeman’s Jrnl 23 Oct. 4/3: Instead of paying the ‘John’ he began to laugh at him, and turn him into ridicule.|
2. in Und. uses, a victim, a source of money.
(a) (US Und., also james) an easy victim, a sucker; a free spender.
|Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. viii: Every time the Johns would fall, except in Milwaukee, and nobody ever got anything out of that town anyway. [Ibid.] Ch. xiv: When you are out with a James go to it and eat your head off. But when you are out with some one in the business or a newspaper man be circumscribe.|
|Vocab. Criminal Sl. 50: john [...] General currency among the demi-monde. A ‘captain’; a ‘sucker’; an amorous fool with money and free love proclivities.|
|Chicago May (1929) 25: Sometimes the Johns (suckers) would go to Harrison Street Station and put up a holler.|
|Spicy Detective Stories Nov. [Internet] What the hell do you do with all your dough? [...] Blowin’ it in on fancy duds to get the Johns all hot and bothered, huh?‘Body Ransom’ in|
|High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 414: He’d get some john steamed up about how they could make a hundred thousand dollars.|
|Men from the Boys (1967) 53: I know enough rich Johns and toney theatrical people we can get as a starter.|
|Reinhart in Love (1963) 47: Maker, here come a john.|
|One to Count Cadence (1987) 237: You’re obviously as hip as Richard Nixon, but you’re good enough to fool these johns.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 102: I met a cat I had become friendly with who was a kind of john or mark.‘Russian Blackie’ in|
(b) (US Und.) any law-abiding man.
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 189: Many a chorus girl preferred him to some flimsy John, and he had met a few that he might have fancied.‘Second from the End’ in|
|Roughly Speaking 7: She daily obsrved the Johns gulp and satagger away dazed when me or Hazel tossed ’em a charitable smile.|
(c) (orig. US) a female or male prostitute’s client.
|[||Randiana 52: Now all you young ladies take warning had better / [...] / When you treat John make him wear a French letter].|
|Vocab. Criminal Sl. 50: john [...] General currency among the demi-monde [...] a man in a contemptuous sense. Example: ‘She’s got a John keeping her.’.|
|Chicago May (1929) 49: On another occasion, I picked up a John in Broadway and took him to the Coleman House.|
|(con. 1900s) Behind The Green Lights 89: There’ll be plenty of Johns in there with the girls.|
|Really the Blues 22: The girls sat there while the johns (customers) moped around giving them the once-over.|
|Gay Girl’s Guide 11: (in gay use) john: NYC term for an auntie with financial potentialities, on a long- or short-term basis.et al.|
|Cast the First Stone 144: The most important links between our world and the strange world prostitutes inhabit are the customers, the tricks who make the profession profitable. Court attachés call them ‘Johns.’ as short for ‘John Does.’.|
|Naked Lunch (1968) 147: [of a male prostitute] I’m fucking this citizen so I think, ‘A straight John at last’.|
|Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 329: Saturday night was a time for first things, even for girls turning their first tricks, pulling their first real John.|
|Property Of (1978) 79: The goddam john didn’t show.|
|On the Stroll 189: She would like to find a millionaire of her own, a rich john who wanted to marry her.|
|(con. 1940s) Hold Tight (1990) 67: (in gay use) Johns go ape over sailors.|
|(con. early 1950s) L.A. Confidential 99: County ground where the city D.A. would be just another john caught with his pants down.|
|Indep. Rev. 23 Feb. 9: A bare-bottomed working girl [...] scrubbing at her privates while her john adjusts his trousers.|
|My Lives 103: (in gay use) At night the Square [...] became still seedier and attracted a few [gay] hustlers and johns.|
|Pulp Ink [ebook] Only the working girls and potential johns cruising by getting an eye and earful were out.‘Slicers’ Serenade of Steel’ in|
|Sellout (2016) 191: The call of the early-bird-purple-sequined-halter-top-prostitute caterwauling to poential johns.|
(d) in attrib. use of sense 1(c).
|Lush Life 204: Two years ago his son gets picked up in a John sweep on Allen .|
(e) (US black) a gullible white man.
|[||Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 111: John. — A free spender, probably from John D. Rockefeller].|
|Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 141: John — A square, jaded, white male seeking thrills in colored communities.|
|Negro Folklore 485: John. A dupe, a stooge, a sucker.|
|Pinktoes 51: In Harlem idiom a square is a lain, a doe, a John, a mark — in other parlance a fool, a chump, a sucker, a simpleton.|
(f) (US black) a man susceptible to feminine trickery.
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 244: John Male who is easily duped or exploited, especially by females.|
|Outside In Act II: Yous’re worse than the fucken johns at the ‘Heaven’s Scent Strip’!|
3. (Aus.) a boyfriend.
|Benno and Some of the Push 100: ‘What-oh, girls!’ she cried, ‘little Gannon’s got a John iv her own.’.‘Susie Gannon’s Young Man’ in|
|Spats’ Fact’ry (1922) 34: I’ve got a John now, I’ve ’ad ’im a month on trial.|
4. the penis [abbr. John Thomas n. (1)].
|[||‘Gingling Johnny’ in Rambler’s Flash Songster 16: Braw Muckle John was a bonny Highland man].|
|Inventions of the March Hare in Ricks (1996) 314: O daughter dear daughter I think you are a fool / To run against a man with a john like a mule.‘Fragments’|
|Anecdota Americana I 18: ‘Now let’s see how big your John really is,’ the woman thought. ‘Unbutton my pants,’ said the Alderman.|
|in Limerick (1953) 36: There was a young fellow of Harrow / Whose john was the size of a marrow.|
|in Erotic Muse (1992) 328: When they get to heaven, they’ll grab St. Peter’s john, / And in a loud and ringing voice, they’ll cry, ‘Shove on, shove on!’.|
|(con. 1930s) Lawd Today 184: My name is Jim Taylor / My john is a whaler / And my balls weigh ninety-nine pound / If you know any ladies / Who want any babies / Just tell ’em Jim Taylor’s in town.|
|Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 63/2: john penis; short for ‘John Thomas’.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].|
5. a skilled, professional tramp [such a top-class tramp is well dressed and thus resembles a ‘normal’ citizen].
|Hobo Songs n.p.: The John got busy and took a risk [HDAS].|
|Man’s Grim Justice 132: The well-dressed boys were the Johns and the plingers, the professional tramps who could go out on the drag and get most anything they wanted.|
|(con. c.1910) Big Jim Turner 158: We aim no trouble for any man who is good work stock and no john .|
|(ref. to c.1930s) Knights of the Road 92: But for years afterward yeggs paid homage to their fallen martyr – the best of the ‘Johns.’.|
6. (orig. US college) the lavatory, usu. for men [? abbr. cuz john n.].
|[||Harvard College regulation n.p.: No freshman shall mingo against the college wall or go into the fellow’s cuzjohn].|
|(ref. to late 19C) Amer. Madam (1981) 241: The next few days he’d hardly be sleeping, eating, or going to the john.|
|They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? in Four Novels (1983) 10: I was so weak I used to have to crawl to the john.|
|Halo in Blood (1988) 177: I [...] made a brief visit to the john.|
|letter 2 Jan. in Charters I (1995) 141: I heard some of the cats discussing him in the john.|
|Price Is Right 96: Deedee told me in the john at nine sharp that Larry Ide had been in since a little after eight.|
|On The Road (1972) 71: When a queer approached me in a bar john I took out the gun.|
|Absolute Beginners 54: ‘You poor old bastard’, I said [...] as he sat there on my john, and almost crying.|
|Mute Witness (1997) 40: I didn’t move from here [...] Not even to go to the john!|
|(con. 1920s) South of Heaven (1994) 129: Some campers there a john had made.|
|letter 11 Mar. in Leader (2000) 694: Interesting that I spent the whole 6½ weeks in Mexico entirely free of the shits, only to start hareing it to the john within 24 hours of leaving the place.|
|Enderby Outside in Complete Enderby (2002) 324: You’ll find it in the john library.|
|Pimp 163: I went into a mirrored john.|
|Dopefiend (1991) 48: Ain’t none of the rooms got a private john.|
|(con. 1960s) Wanderers 89: C excused herself, and she and Despie split for the john.|
|(con. 1940s) Danger Tree 144: She’s in the john at the moment.|
|Kings X Hooker 78: ‘How do I know how you got it? ... Off a john seat or maybe you’ve got a fancy man, huh?’.|
|Faggots 104: Intelligent human beings do not go around doing it in public johns.|
|Fort Apache, The Bronx 36: Every single task [...] from signing out, to going to the john, was painful to him.|
|After The Ball 309: Why can’t a Harvard boy go to the john in this dump without being groped by a seedy queer!?|
|Dict. of Invective (1991) 251: A jane also is a toilet for women, i.e., a female john.|
|Stormy Weather 239: I hope that asshole hiding in the john is the highlight of your [...] life.|
|Guardian G2 7 Dec. 7: Moving the john into the powder room isn’t enough.|
|(con. 1964–8) Cold Six Thousand 33: He slept alone. Barb slept in the john.|
|Corrections 419: She fired the dishwasher who’d tied off in the john.|
|Running the Books 151: The janitor, I believe, was still in the john.|
|OG Dad 128: I carry my four-month-old little sweetheart into what my mother used to call ‘the john’.|
7. (gay) an older man who supports a younger one without actually sharing a long-term relationship with him.
|5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.|
|AS XLV:1/2 57: John n Someone who supports younger men without entering into a permanent relationship.‘Homosexual Sl.’ in|
8. (US) one’s signature [abbr. John Hancock n.].
|oral testimony in HDAS II.|
9. (US gay) among lesbians, a man who associates with female homosexuals.
10. a condom. [note johnny n.1 (12)].
|Signs of Crime 189: John Prostitutes’ term for a client or for a sheath contraceptive. The term is used contemptuously in both cases.|
11. (US) the menstrual period.
|Geronimo Rex 36: When ‘John was home’ the first time, that is, when she had her first menstrual period, she missed a day of school [...] she would say, ‘I was with John’.|
12. (US drugs) heroin [fig. use of John n. (1), based on boy n.2 (4a) and the idea that heroin is a ‘masculine’ drug].
|Corner (1998) 62: They called it ‘girl’ or ‘Jane’ or ‘Missy’ in feminine contrasts to ‘boy’ or ‘John’ or ‘Mister’ for king heroin.|
(US) a prostitute.
|Rumble on the Docks (1955) 189: That john catcher, I’ll teach her something.|
(US Und.) a security man in a brothel.
|Black Players 38: A common term in old-fashioned whorehouses is johnwalker; meaning a man who stands by ready to ‘handle’ Johns if they give the girls any trouble.|
a whoremonger, a promiscuous man.
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
of a man, to flirt.
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 131/1: Folkstone sat in the rear along with Mary Ann [...] while I played John along with Harriet and Janey Dempster in front.|