Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cad n.1

[SE cadee, caddie, a cadet; thence Eton and Oxford jargon cad, a townsman, the implication being that such a figure could not be ‘a gentleman’, and late 19C cad-mad, the excesses of a nouveau riche undergraduate; cf. the cognate, but somewhat later bounder n. (3)]

1. a poorly behaved, ill-mannered lout; thus artists’ jargon cad-catcher, pictures painted to attract the undiscriminating.

[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London II 519: To pitch it rum, and astonish the natives — up to the gab of the cad.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 130: The Cads, and fellows with the Race Lists, were thus hawking their bills and cards over the race ground.
[UK]T. Hood ‘University Feud’ Works (1862) V 417: There’s one of them that cusses / Enough to shock the cads that hang on opposition ’busses.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Adventures of Mr Verdant Green (1982) I 6: The jolly mills they used to have with the town cads.
[UK]Mayhew & Binny Criminal Prisons of London 5: He wants a more nobby crib, as the one he hangs out in now is only fit for some pleb or cad.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Little Mr. Bouncer 17: Although he’s Honourable by name, he’s not by nature. He’s as genuine a cad as was ever pupped.
[Ind]‘Aliph Cheem’ Lays of Ind (1905) 30: ‘A d—d young puppy; just like ’em all- / Some d—d young monied cad!’.
[US]Appleton’s Journal (N.Y.) May 482: For the utterance of an opposite sentiment we have every defect, trivial or otherwise, summed up in ‘a horror,’ ‘an atrocity,’ ‘a wretch,’ ‘a sinner,’ or ‘a cad,’ if human beings are in question.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 29 Apr. 2/2: [T]he worst elements of our society—the snobs, cads [...] and ‘bum’ aristocracy .
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 24 May 31/3: He was probably one of the most offensive little cads the sun ever shone upon.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 Mar. 9/2: The fact is, the type of creature it represents – the moneyed cockney cad of the Lord Tomnoddy school – is unknown amongst us. We trust he will long remain so.
[UK]Kipling ‘Gentlemen-Rankers’ Barrack-Room Ballads (1893) 204: To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental hops / And thrash the cad who says you waltz too well.
[Aus]Coburg Leader (Vic.) 9 Nov. 4/1: The cads say they are going to give a ‘titty bottle’ a ‘teething neck lace’ and ‘a dummy’ to Oily Gammon.
[UK]J. Conrad Lord Jim 119: Blake’s a little cad, but Egström’s all right.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 7 Feb. 8/3: He’s a superfine type of cad [...] he crawled and toadied up to his present position, helped considerably by his wife's money and pa-in-law’s influence.
[US]S. Ford Trying Out Torchy 12: [I]f he’s cad enough to take advantage of my hospitality to try any of his tricks on me, I want him to squirm for it.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 25 Oct. 8/1: They Say [...] That The long cads Tom and Bernie must have got the fire from the Yatala fitters .
[UK]‘Sapper’ Mufti 66: He was, in short, a supreme cad, with not a single redeeming feature.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 713: Theyre so snotty about themselves some of those cads he wasnt a bit like that.
[US]Dos Passos Manhattan Transfer 247: You’re sorry you had a mother who brought you up a gentleman instead of a cad like the rest of ’em.
[US]R.E. Howard ‘Alleys of Peril’ Fight Stories Jan. 🌐 Shut up, you cad! [...] Get out of this ring. You’re disqualified!
[UK]J. Betjeman ‘Slough’ Continual Dew n.p.: But spare the bald young clerks who add / The profits of the stinking cad.
[UK]M. Marples Public School Slang 30: cad. [...] 1. a townsman, 2. anyone with bad manners, uncouth speech, or deceitful character.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 122: Forget him, Channelle. He is a cad as well as a bad Hamlet.
[UK]J. Osborne World of Paul Slickey Act II: Oakham, only a cad would say a thing like that to a lady!
[UK]K. Waterhouse There is a Happy Land (1964) 112: They used to shout ‘College cad’ at him because he was always top of the class.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Confessions 181: The foul word that had left her lips stamped her [...] as a cad or cadess.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 31: Young Fred [...] would be called a cad and a bounder.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 128: Ignore that cad.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘Wellington’s On the Other Foot’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] [R]ather than be a cad and belt her in the mouth, he called the police.
[UK]Guardian 10 Sept. 22: A true cad [...] would not give a toss about reputation.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 6: He’s a bit of a cad with the judies, bit of a rake and that.
N. Soames in Guardian 28 June 🌐 Appalling ghastly performance by that dreadful cad Farage in the European parliament.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 27: That Commie cad Alger Hiss.

2. a passenger taken on board by a coachman for his own profit.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK] ‘Appeal to the Public’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 199: None excel the Coachman and their Cads.

3. (also cad-boy) a coachman’s assistant.

[UK]Pierce Egan’s Life in London 17 Oct. 6/2: [I]t being a common practice with these short-stage coachmen to employ cads, as they are called—fellows to inveigle passengers by false representations, both as to the fare and destination of their coaches.
Guards 70: He was cheered in Piccadilly by coachees and cads. — ‘My eyes, Jack! here 's a fresh swell! He cuts it fat, so help me Bob!’.
[UK]Satirist (London) 17 June 194/1: And Peel played the Cad to the Whip Wellington, / ‘The Sovereign’ [i.e. a coach] wot drove, in the days that are gone.
[UK]A. Smith Adventures of Mr Ledbury III 266: A pair of hob-nailed high-lows for my cad-boy.
[UK]Sam Sly 31 Mar. 3/2: Sam advises the riding master’s cad [...] not to make such a fool of himself by causing his horse to rear as he does.

4. (UK gambling) a player-confederate in a casino, working to defraud the clients.

[UK]Satirist (London) 11 Mar. 87/3: [A]nd so the changes are rung upon him, if he passes the box to one of the ‘bonnets’ or ‘cads,’ whose business it is [...] to select those dice which will insure his losing.

5. an omnibus, occas. railroad conductor (see cite 1960).

[UK]T. Hood ‘Sketches from Road’ Comic Annual 52: Though I’m a cad now, I was once a coachman and had cads under me.
[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 431: The numerous cads and drivers of short stages who assemble near that famous place of resort.
[UK]T. Hood ‘Sweep’s Complaint’ Poetical Works (1906) 313: There’s the omnibus cads as plies in Cheapside, and keeps calling out Bank and the City.
Atlas (N.Y.) 6 June 1/2–3: THE OMNIBUS CAD. The duty of the Cad was at first to let every body into an omnibus who chose to enter, but to let no one out who did not pay.
[Aus]Dispatch (Sydney) 20 Apr. 2/2: [C]ab drivers, hackney coach drivers, and omnibus cads, are the ultra specimens of flash vagabondism. [...] The cad has a slang of his own, a laugh of his own, a sneer of his own, a morality of his own, a costume of his own peculiar and inimitable.
[UK]Paul Pry 2 Apr. 3/3: Paul Advises [...] The omnibus cads, in the Broadway, not to insult every respectable girl that passes, or we shall be compelled togive their names.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 24 Apr. 3/5: His employment is that of a cad at the bus.
[UK]G.A. Sala Twice Round the Clock 119: The [...] importunities of the omnibus cads who are wrestling for old ladies and young children.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 345/2: The conductor, who is vulgarly known as the ‘cad,’ stands on a small projection at the end of the omnibus.
[UK]Cythera’s Hymnal 71: There was a young woman of Hadley / Who would with an omnibus cad lie.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘The Pirate ’Bus’ Dagonet Ditties 138: It ran a stout old lady down, who wanted Temple Bar, / And when they reached the Marble Arch, the cad cried, ‘Here you are’.
[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 23: Cad – a railroad conductor.

6. a lowly rated assistant.

[UK]T. Hook Gilbert Gurney 114: I will start alone, and appear to know more of you, than one of the cads of the thimble-rig knows of the pea-holder.
[UK]J. Hewlett College Life I 115: He had dogs, dog-cart, and a cad of his own.
[UK]Paul Pry 26 Mar. 3/3: Paul Advises [...] Mr. C—s C—k, the fish-cad of High street [...] not [to] think all the girls are in love with him.
[UK]D.W. Barrett Life and Work among Navvies 41: If he runs short of bricks, he cries out to his ‘cad’ (assistant) for ‘Dublin tricks’.

7. a messenger boy.

[UK]T. Hood ‘Miss Kilmansegg & Her Precious Leg’ Poems (1846) I 156: Not to forget that saucy lad / (Ostentation’s favourite cad), / The page, who looked so splendidly clad.

8. in attrib. use of sense 4.

[UK]Sam Sly 21 Apr. 2/3: We advise James W—ll—am—on [...] not to [...] chaff that his situation is worth twenty-five shillings per week, when it brings him only ten, as a cad collector of water rents.

9. a police spy.

[UK]Morn. Chron. (London) 27 Nov. 5/5: If you was to go to the raffle to-night, sir [...] they’d think you were a ‘cad’ or [...] a spy come from the police.

10. (US campus) an academy or prep school student.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 26: cad, n. A student in an academy or preparatory school.
[US] (ref. to c.1870–1910) Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

11. (US prison) a porter.

[US](con. 1950-1960) R.A. Freeman Dict. Inmate Sl. (Walla Walla, WA) 23: Cad – a baggage smasher.

In derivatives

caddish (adj.)

poorly behaved, ill-mannered, vulgar, thus caddishness, vulgarity.

[UK]Temple Bar Mar. 127: Rome is overwhelmingly sad; Paris is overwhelmingly caddish.
S. Brooks Sooner or Later 268: I don’t care about walking on Sundays [...] it seems so caddish — like snobs who can go out on no other day.
[UK] ‘’Arry to the Front!’ in Punch 9 Mar. 100/2: They was down on the Music-Halls once, called ’em caddish and wulgar and low.
[UK]Manchester Courier 12 Apr. 5/5: There were all the outward signs of the gentleman, but these were [...] supplemented by little touches [...] which revealed the despicable and caddish character of the man.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 4 June 7/7: The incorrigibly caddish nature of Frank Armour.
[UK]Reynolds’s Newspaper 11 Dec. 4/5: Let us suppose that such a piece of caddishness was done just after England had given way.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 16 Feb. 314: It’s so beastly caddish, hitting a Johnny when he’s down.
[UK]Magnet 27 Aug. 23: The fat junior would speak of her in a caddish way.
Nottingham Eve. News 16 May 4/5: Such caddish tactics will [...] only recoil on those who practice them.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 6 Apr. 6/1: It was a mean and caddish thing to have seduced this girl.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 7 June 8/3: It is caddish [...] There is nothing more caddish—.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 17 Feb. 5/5: It’s a cruel thing to steal an unemployed man’s bicycle — it’s a caddish thing to do.
[Scot]Aberdeen Jrnl 27 Apr. 1/6: That is a caddish thing to say.

In phrases

cads on castors (n.)


[UK]Royal Cornwall Gaz. 7 Oct. 7/6: Bicycle riders [...] are naturally becoming a nuisance in the suburbs [...] Their riders have been [...] described as ‘Cads on Castors’.
[UK]Daily News 10 Sept. in Ware (1909) 60/1: It will come as a severe blow to fastidious people, who, adopting and freely using the rather stupid phrase that stigmatised all bicyclists as ‘cads on castors’, fondly thought that they could kill by ridicule a pastime to which they took exception.
[UK]Bucks. Herald 12 Nov. 8/1: The intolerable army of cads on castors who run down all and sundry without even saying ‘ beg your pardon’.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 12 June 4/1: ‘Cads on Castors’ again [...] a cyclist, who was passing, used a filthy expression to one of the ladies.
[UK]Luton Times 5 July 7/2: A cyclist [...] charged into a lady cyclist and seriously injured her, behaving [in] the way in which they would expect [...] ‘cads on castors’ to act.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 2 Dec. 2/7: Gone indeed, are the days when cyclists as ‘cads on castors’ were denounced as the special tyrants of the highways.