1. the police.
|Fast Man 7:1 n.p.: A week in the blues. By a Discharged peeler.|
|Five Years’ Penal Servitude 257: He would chatter gaily and enter with gusto into the details of some cleverly executed ‘bit of business,’ or ‘bilking the blues’ – evading the police.|
|Tag, Rag & Co. 114: I happened to know that in criminal circles to describe a person as being ‘shy of the blues’ is equivalent to saying that he has particular reasons for keeping out of the way of the police.|
|Joyful Condemned 21: Don’t let’s have any blues [...] You know how the brush are? Screaming and yelling copper at the least little thing.|
|Portable Promised Land (ms.) 157: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] The breaks. The beast. The blues. The vapors.|
2. (Aus./US) a blue uniform.
|Kia Ora Coo-ee 15 Aug. 17/1: I am not handsome, neither am I vain; but when they issued me with ‘blues’ at the 14th. A.G.H. [...] I wanted to go away and die quickly in a dark corner.|
|East of Farewell 131: I’m going to [...] get into my blues.|
3. any trousers.
|(con. 1940s) Tattoo (1977) 238: You ever see such a punk? Shittin his blues. Pissin his pants. [Ibid.] 358: He pulled out the tailor-made dress blues. He unfurled the trousers and held them up to his waist.|
4. a police uniform.
|(con. 1949) Big Blowdown (1999) 147: And here he was, a beat cop, wearing the same lousy blues given to him when he joined the force.|
|Pain Killers 49: How was Roscoe supposed to know the man was police if his blues were ona hanger.|
5. (US prison) a prison uniform.
|On the Yard (2002) 226: Deliver a clean set of blues to Society Red. You know where he cells?|
|False Starts 232: Worn blues and scuffed shoes.|
|Silent Terror (1990) 67: Inmates awaiting sentencing and classification were called ‘blues,’ a reference to the denim uniform I was now wearing.|
|A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 127: I was given a set of blues to wear. Prison blues consist of jeans, T-shirt and denim jacket.|
|Oz 2 13/2: Blues (drinamil) sell at 1/3d. each.|
|‘Cut My Hair’ [lyrics] on Quadrophenia [album] I clean my room and my shoes, / but my mother found a box of blues.|
|(con. 1982–6) Cocaine Kids (1990) 133: On the corner of 162nd Street, three boys and two girls shout to me [...] ‘got that coke, got that crack, got red caps, got blues, got yellow ones – you choose. What you want, my friend? What you need?’.|
|Source Oct. 154: We got reds! We got blues!|
|Glue 95: That boy Nicky that sells the blues is doon thair n we git yin each offay um.|
7. (US) a sailor’s trousers.
|Garden of Sand (1981) 351: A pair of bell-bottom blues on a stiffly grinning landlubbery mannequin.|
8. (US) blue jeans.
|Pay for Play Cheerleaders [Internet] The lovely lassies were quick to obey their teacher, both doffing their blues, pushing them down their gorgeous legs until they gathered around their ankles.|
|(con. 1970s) King Suckerman (1998) 190: Last pair of these disco blues I’m gonna buy.|
9. (Aus. prison) prison officers; thus used as adj. to refer to staff activity, e.g. blue talk, prison officer conversations etc.
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Blues. Prison Officers (NSW). A straightforward reference to uniform colour. Can be used as an adjective to describe staff activity, eg ‘blue talk’ is prison officer talk.|