1. (US) a police officer, usu. male.
|Broadway Racketeers 181: It’s a tough racket now-a-days. The Shommuses have made the good spots too hot.|
|Haunch Paunch and Jowl 9: ‘A shammos! A shammos!’ (Synagogue beadle. In the secret lingo of the gang shammos was the warning that a policeman was coming).|
|Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 7: ‘Oke, I’ll stand here and guard the hat while you run and get a cage,’ offers the shommus.letter 31 Oct. in Crowther|
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 167: Sham.–A policeman, probably from the fact the majority of these men were from Ireland, and wearers of the shamrock. Shamos.–See ‘sham.’ Shamus.–See ‘sham.’.|
|Und. and Prison Sl. 66: shom, shomus, n. (From the Hebrew.) A cop, bull.|
|Dan Turner - Hollywood Detective Jan. 🌐 A harness copper came bouncing into the joint. I stood up. The shamus spotted me.‘Million Buck Snatch!’|
|Best that Ever Did It (1957) 78: What’s with your great big birdbrain, shamus?|
|Signs of Crime 200: Shamez Synagogue official used as a slang word for policeman (Yiddish).|
|Lowspeak 126: Sham – a policeman [...] Shamez (Yiddish) a policeman.|
2. a detective, esp. a private operative; also attrib.
|Pearls Are a Nuisance (1964) 73: ‘I think you are a dick. A smart dick.’ ‘Just a shamus,’ I said.‘Finger Man’ in|
|Halo in Blood (1988) 19: Who was your friend, shamus?|
|New Yorker 3 Mar. 26/3: Scores of hoodlums, gunsels, informers, shyster lawyers and crooked shamuses.in|
|Jeeves in the Offing 39: You mean that I’m to be a sort of private eye or shamus.|
|Venetian Blonde (2006) 212: Who saw us on the beach? That cheap shamus?|
|Kingston Dly Freeman(NY) 23 Feb. 43/1: Burt Reynolds [...] portrays a shamus (super tough private eye).|
|Alice in La-La Land (1999) 133: This kid, looks like a girl, is a private eye. A shamus. A gum shoe.|
|Baltimore Sun (MD) 23 Nov. 50/5: Like so many disgraced cops before, he’s hung out a shamus shingle.|
|Cadillac Beach 258: Should have strapped iron and put daylight into the hinky shamus who dropped the dime.|
|Life During Wartime (2018) 190: ‘Amscray, shamus’.‘Six Feet Under God’ in|
3. a police informer.
4. any person, also as an affectionate term of address; cites 2017 suggests use as a villain, the opposite of a police officer.
|Decade 317: Cokey too, this shamos, and ready to kill on any beef.|
|Scarperer (1966) 11: All the shams, they put in threepence of a night with Pig’s Eye O’Donnell.|
|(con. 1930s) Death of an Irish Town 20: They were, in the current slang of the town, ‘the buff shams’.|
|Conversations on a Homecoming (1986) 54: No bother there, sham.|
|Sudden Times 14: Hi Sham, he says.|
|Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Sham (n): used by a man from a rural area when addressing one from the city e.g. How’s it goin’, sham?|
|Blood Miracles 8: Half of Ireland will want in on it. The Shades and the shams, all looking for a cut [of drug dealing].|
|Blood Miracles : The two oldest Cusack boys, a right pair of shams-in training, you’d want to givem a wide berth.|
|Rules of Revelation 52: ‘Happened to a sham I used to pull pints with in Galway. He broke his hand in a fight’.|