Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lag v.2

also leg
[16C SE lag, to carry off, to steal]

1. to sentence to transportation for more than seven years.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 42: I am to be legg’d; I am to be transported.
[UK] ‘The Lads of Virginia’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 149: Those hard-hearted judges so cruel has been, / To lag us poor lads to Virginia.
[UK]Whole Art of Thieving [as cit. 1753].
[UK]‘Cant Lang. of Thieves’ Monthly Mag. 7 Jan. [as cit. 1753].
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]T. Moore ‘Epistle from Tom Cribb to Big Ben’ in Morn. Chron. 31 Aug. 3: Ay — just a the time to show spunk, if you’d got any — / Kick’d him, and jaw’d him, and lag’d him to Botany!
[UK] ‘The Song of the Young Prig’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 172: If I’m not lagged to Virgin-nee, / I may a Tyburn show be.
[UK] ‘The Crossman’s Wife’ Cockchafer 9: Vat shall I do, vat shall I do, / When thou art lagg’d from me.
[UK] ‘Nix My Jolly Gals Poke Away’ in Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 16: For priging a ticker, they did me lag [...] But I cut my lucky one fine day, / And turn’d my a--e on Botny Bay.
[Aus][A. Harris] (con. 1820s) Settlers & Convicts 47: Having ‘lagged myself for fear the king should do it for me’.
[Aus]‘A. Pendragon’ Queen of the South 97: What as you lagged for?
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 250/2: ‘How’s the trial going on?’ [...] ‘Lane’s; the one for burglary, I mean.’ ‘I haven’t heard; suppose he’ll be lagged tho’!’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Sept. 24/1: The last man they sent me as a clerk was a swell mobsman, lagged for twisting a sparkler.
[UK]H. Baumann ‘Sl. Ditty’ Londinismen (2nd edn) v: Rum coves that relieve us / Of chinkers and pieces, / Is gin’rally lagged, / Or, wuss luck, gits scragged.
[Aus](con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 133: He was lagged for struggling for freedom.

2. (also lag off) to arrest, to apprehend.

[UK]Times 11 Sept. 3/3: If the swells do not come forward and settle the business we shall lag him.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 244: You may take your ‘davy’ they can’t lag you for being found here, without you are wanted.
[UK] ‘The Bastard’s Christening’ in Comic Songster and Gentleman’s Private Cabinet 12: There vos bow-legged Bet, and randy Sal, / Leery Suke, who had never been scragg’d; / Flare-up Peg, and fat-arse Meg, / Who better had been twice lagg’d.
[UK]London Mag. Mar. 88/2: ‘It’s the fighting Hirishman, by — l’ roared out a voice inside. ‘Hout with you, and “lag” him’.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 25 Mar. 2/1: His sister, Mother Samuels, is well known to have more girls lag’d out of her crib than any baud in Shoemaker’s Row.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 13 Mar. 3/1: He lagged him off to the watch-house.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 252: They tell him adventures of how they were nearly ‘lagged by the constables’.
Sth Aus. Wkly (Adelaide, SA) 29 Dec. 6/5: [from ‘Liverpool paper’] [I]f by accident a pupil is ‘legged’ — a slang term for being taken by the police — he must take care to have performed his work in such a manner as to avoid being come at by legal evidence.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 5 Oct. n.p.: He avers that the first time he catches the Frenchwoman ‘cruizing’ the streets, he will ‘lag’ her.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 23: They declare this [i.e. betrayal] to be the way in which they are ‘lagged’ (arrested), when not taken in the performance of a job.
[US]N. Gould Double Event 263: You’ll never lag me alive, you cur.
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 17: I want her lagged too.
[UK]Marvel III:58 19: They reckons a feller as leads ’em, takes a slice of the swag, and then keeps hisself outen it all an’ don’t run no risk o’ being lagged, arn’t quite square.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 273: It wants a lot o’ practice, either way, and ’fore you’re perfect you’re mostly always lagged as a rule.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 574: He was lagged the night before last and fined ten bob for a drunk and disorderly and refusing to go with the constable.
[Aus]L. Stone Larrikin 307: Lag – to put lag-irons on.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] 3. To arrest.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] Me case was about to come up. I had been lagged for another jumpover I did.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 101: I’m glad just to get the fock out of there without being lagged off.

3. (UK Und.) to cause trouble for; to lead to an arrest.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 115/2: Gentlemen! Boys! do you hear me? or do you want to ‘lag’ the drum at once! Stop this fighting, or we’ll have all the ‘cops’ in the town down on us.

4. to imprison.

[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 190: But the father gets lagged; and then the Juvenile Delinquent Society comes, and takes the boy away.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 6 Dec. 3/2: She sent him home with the consolitary observation that, ‘should Glover be “lagged’ to the Derwent she'd follow him’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 30/2: Sure enough, there was the mark of her talon on the back of the ‘wire’s duke’ — evidence enough to have ‘lagged a parish’.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 154: Not before they lagged me.
[UK]H.G. Wells Hist. of Mr Polly (1946) 217: Jim’s lagged again, Missus.
[Aus]Truth (Perth) 24 Dec. 8/8: ‘When you sez you won’t be sendin’ / Of a gell to gaol, you know; / As you wont be laggin’ of her, / To a ‘refuge’ she must go’.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 331: lagged : Send to penal servitude.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 121/1: Lag, v. (Southern, Central and mid-Western U.S.) To jail or imprison.

5. to cause someone to be arrested / imprisoned.

[UK]Paul Pry 30 Sept. 180/3: This hell–fire devil has been heard to say that he means to lag old Hague, in order that he may raise quarterly subsidies from the gambling houses for himself.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 6 May 80: We have found the b—cow that lagged him, and we have done it for her.

6. (Aus.) to inform on.

[UK]W.E. Henley ‘Villon’s Straight Tip’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 176: Suppose you screeve, or go cheap-jack? / [...] / Suppose you duff? or nose and lag? / Or get the straight, and land your pot?
[Aus]J. Furphy Such is Life 243: Don’t kindle a fire, unless you want to get lagged.
[Aus]L. Stone Jonah 48: I niver lagged ’im; s’elp me Gawd, I niver put nobody away to the cops.
[Aus] in K. Gilbert Living Black 302: Have you seen how they hate the cops yet run like yelpin’ mongrels dogs to lag each other in?
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Lag. 1. To inform.

7. (Aus. / US Und.) to imprison on trumped up charges and faked evidence.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 53: lag [...] the equivalent of ‘railroading’ a criminal to prison.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 2 Aug. 8/1: Will the spirit of the good old days when a vicious mistyress was allowed to lag her maid out to Botany Bay on a trumped up charge never pass?