Green’s Dictionary of Slang

collar v.

[SE collar, to get hold of]

1. (also collar up) to arrest.

[[UK]J. Mabbe (trans.) Life of Guzman Pt I Bk I 63: They are [...] of a rascall kind of race; very Varlets, Buckle-bosomes, Collar-catchers: in a word they are Sergents and Catch-poles].
[UK]Greene & Lodge Lady Alimony I ii: Call him in; we will collar him.
[UK]Proceedings at Sessions (City of London) Feb. 91/2: I and a Watchman went to look for Beck and Edwards. We met ’em coming down the Street; we collar’d them, and brought ’em into Mr. Wood’s House.
[UK]O. Goldsmith Citizen of the World II cxvi 219: The justice himself met me: he called me a villain, and collaring me, desired I would give an account of myself.
[UK]Stamford Mercury 28 Dec. 1/3: Mr Peake collared them [...] They were taken into custody.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 125: They instantly collared the deeker, and searched him from top to toe.
[US]N.-Y. American 10 Jan. 2/2: Michael Higgins was convicted of an assault and battery on Caleb Crane, a peace officer. It appears that Crane was in a squabble with some person, and that Higgins coming along collared Crane and took him to the watch house.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 61: He was collared by two constable culls.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 279: Why didn’t you up and collar him?
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) Feb. 4/3: If you collar me, I’m blow’d if I don’t muzzle you.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 310: They are suddenly lighted upon by the constables, remorselessly collared, and dragged into the brig, there to await a dozen lashes in the morning.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]H. Kingsley Ravenshoe II 274: He was ‘collared’ by a policeman, on a charge of ‘area sneaking’.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 32/2: The policeman appeared, and regardless of all the ‘flat’ could say, he was collared by the ‘bobbie’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 16 Nov. 3/1: Finally the rogue was run down and as soon as he was ‘collared’ he handed over the watch.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 320: After running nine blocks, Hardgrave’s wind gave out, and the Chief ‘collared’ him.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 115: The constable, who tried to collar Harry again, but was met by such a blow on the nose.
[UK]G.R. Sims Dagonet Ballads 83: He was collared for somethin’ at Hendon, and walked off that minit to gaol.
[UK]‘Dagonet’ ‘A Plank Bed Ballad ’ in Referee 12 Feb. n.p.: I pulled out a chive, but I soon came to grief, / And with screws and a james I was collared.
[UK]Bird o’ Freedom 15 Jan. 7/2: If the police come let no man be collared.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Jan. 3/1: ‘Who’ve you collared, Sergeant?’.
[UK]Kipling ‘Stalky’ Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 16: S’pose we’re collared?
[US]A.H. Lewis Boss 141: I aint collarin’ nobody; I don’t get policeman’s wages.
[UK]Chums 22 Apr. 730: ‘Collar him – quick’ [...] yelled one of the constables.
[UK]C. Holme Lonely Plough (1931) 207: It takes brains to be always just on the wrong side of the law without getting collared.
[UK]Butterfly and Firefly 23 Nov. 8: A full-grown gentleman in blue [...] collared those two bad feller-me-lads.
[US]D. Hammett ‘Gutting of Couffignal’ Story Omnibus (1966) 19: General Pleshkev collared the youth.
[US](con. 1900s) C.W. Willemse Behind The Green Lights 120: We collared them, and carted them along to the cells.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[UK]H.E. Bates Poacher (1944) 163: Pulled? You know that. Collared. Clap you in quod afore you can wink.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US] in C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 76: If we were collared we could maintain our innocence.
[UK]A. Sillitoe ‘Disgrace of Jim Scarfedale’ Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner (1960) 133: They collared him and he was put inside for eighteen months.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 43: Even if the law did collar these blokes they aren’t going to own up to anything.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 32: He could wait until the runner came, and collar them all.
[UK]F. Taylor Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 36: If he sets foot back here, they’ll collar him.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Collar. To arrest.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 229: When at last he was collared, there were alleluias.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 154: You guys looking to collar up?

2. to grab, to appropriate.

[UK]Hist. of the remarkable Life of John Sheppard 52: I soon Coller’d him, fell Souse at him, then with his own Cane I strapp’d till he was forced to Buckle too, and hold his tongue.
[UK]Defoe Street Robberies Considered 11: All Parties took Leave well pleas’d. The Churchwardens that they had got rid of a new Parishoner, and my Mother that she had Collard the Cole.
[UK]Proceedings at Sessions (City of London) Jan. 12/2: Hearing an outcry of Murther and stop Thief [...] he saw the Prisoner running with a Bundle, and he ran to him and collar’d him.
[UK]B. Bradshaw Hist. of Billy Bradshaw 33: I arrived on the spot [...] and sternly running up to him, collared him just as Will came up with his cudgel.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) xi: There is nothing [...] I watch so steadily as to collar your monthly the moment it arrives.
[UK] ‘Pickpocket’s Chaunt’ (trans. of ‘En roulant de vergne en vergne’ in Vidocq 1829) IV 261: To his clies my hooks I throw in, [...] And collar his dragons clear away.
[UK] ‘Hurrah For An Irishman’s Sprig!’ Cockchafer 20: When plac’d in the fist, what maid can resist? / So she collars the Irishman’s sprig!
[UK] ‘They’re All Shooting’ in Cuckold’s Nest 36: My wife collars the gun of a tailor in the kitchen.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 125: Ve collared the blunt, started off for town.
[US]Melville Moby Dick (1907) 223: But all these were collared, and dragged along the deck like dead cattle.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 104: And who gets the money they collars from the chaps?
[UK] ‘Mary Newall’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 140: She collar’d all her master’s tin.
[US]Memphis Dly Appeal (TN) 12 Mar. 3/3: ‘I slung my hook’ and ‘collared his poke’.
[UK]Old Hunks in Darkey Drama 5 44: If it was on’y a grocery now [...] a fellow could collar de stock!
[US]G.G. Hart E.C.B. Susan Jane 22: I’ve often missed a whole mince pie / And thought Jim Mizzen on the sly / Had collared it.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Jan. 4/4: She, in her turn, got together a party of her customers and […] after a short and sharp struggle, the violinist was ‘collared.’.
[US](con. c.1840) ‘Mark Twain’ Huckleberry Finn 200: Spose people left money laying around where he was — what did he do? He collared it. [Ibid.] 257: The lawyer and the doctor sung out: ‘Hold on, hold on! Collar all these four men and the boy.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 16/1: We were immediately ‘collared’ to put into a raffle – literally collared, for the dear creatures didn’t waste time in coaxing us to ‘part,’ but grasped hold of us by the back of the collar and informed us we had got to do so.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 151: I kolered her nut an giv her a fine slugging and her mug was all over blud.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 175: We could see a fortune sticking out, ready for us to catch hold of whenever we were ready to collar.
[UK]A.J. Vogan Black Police 56: Them Star boys collared me ticket, an [...] I’ll get dollied if fayther cotched me back at ’ome without a thick ’un fur ’im.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 5 May 5/6: We planned to collar the peter (the cashbox) from this [public] house.
[UK]Marvel XIII:329 Feb. 16: Collar those treacle-sucking, bunghole-chawing scum!
[UK]Sporting Times 10 Mar. 1/4: [He] arrived at the wine merchant’s office, rushed in and slapped down the cheque, which the astonished grape-juice vendor promptly collared.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 94: Collaring two bottles of brandy and a jar of Scotch out of the boot.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 26 Mar. 1/1: On his way from the office someone snow-dropped him for his pants [and] as his cash was collared too he has sworn off swanky till next pay.
[UK]Magnet 10 Sept. 12: The two juniors collared him.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ From Coast to Coast with Jack London 44: It was then that I collared my mate by his coat, bodily dragged his nerveless body into my grasp.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 3 June 5/6: The ’oot he collared came to £21 10s.
[UK]Wodehouse Inimitable Jeeves 72: What with the excitement of collaring the hat [...] they got a bit above themselves.
[UK]Wodehouse Carry on, Jeeves 84: A very decent chappie, but rather inclined to collar the conversation.
[US]O. Strange Law O’ The Lariat 232: Well, boys, yu better take an’ string me up for collarin’ my own coin.
[Ire](con. 1880–90s) S. O’Casey I Knock at the Door 229: A few Fenian faces in the crowd among the Irish [...] were soon collared by the police, an’ cuffed out of the vicinity.
[UK]Whizzbang Comics 53: Collar those men, driver! They are spies!
[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 254: collar (v.): to get, to obtain, to comprehend. Ex., ‘I gotta collar me some food’.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 55: He collars Senators and Congressmen in the cloakrooms.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 165: I never saw such a chap for wanting to collar the conversation.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 119: You dropped it when we collared you.
[UK]B.S. Johnson All Bull 110: The major [...] collared me after the results came out.
Penguin Book of Aus. Jokes 359: He collars the Pom and whacks him against the wall.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Birthday 36: The girl’s fat brute of a father collared him on his way out of work.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 135: An old man who collared you in the lift and gave you an earful.

3. (orig. UK Und.) to catch out.

[UK]Egan Anecdotes of the Turf, the Chase etc. 24: And Eales [...] / Will never submit to be collar’d.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 25/1: I’ve just ‘collared’ that little Tommy kissing her inside the doorway.
[US]S. Crane Complete Stories (1963) 308: If you hadn’t lied to me in one thing, and I hadn’t collared you flat in it, I might believe all the rest.

4. (orig. UK Und.) to understand, to work out.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 46/1: We make up our minds, before going to it, not to be taken if there is any possibility of getting out of it. Do you ‘collar’ my meaning?
Flash! (Wash. D.C.) 21 Feb. 11/1: collar — Meaning to understand. (Ex: Do you collar?).
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 44: I began to collar that all the evil I ever found came from ounce-brain white men who hated the Negroes and me both.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Bk of Negro Folklore 482: collar all jive: To understand everything. Hipsters collar all jive.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

5. in prize-fighting, to hit.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 2 Mar. 5/1: Some rattling deliveries [...] Probert sending home a rib-roaster, but was ‘collared’ in retreating on the right temple.

6. in fig. use, to delight, to overwhelm.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Apr. 16/1: Then came the local poetess, Mrs. Collard [...] who recited an original poem, the title of which has slipped our memory, but it was something about her son and a whirlpool – anyhow, whatever it was, it quite ‘collared’ the audience.

7. to receive in punishment.

[UK]Wild Boys of London I 132/1: ‘Didn’t the chummy collar?’ ‘Didn’t he? Lor, how he sung out when the big peeler scurfed him.’.
[UK]Sporting Times 18 Jan. 1: Don’t forget that the man who steals your walking-stick gets hard labour, and he who robs you of your wife collars but a fine.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Good in Their Different Lines’ Sporting Times 6 Jan. 1/4: It’s no fine, it’s a ‘drag,’ and you’ll collar the lot!

8. (orig. US black) to get hold of, to obtain.

[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. xix: We hike up to Harlem and collar the ship.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 17: The skull had been [...] letting her collar her nod on a zoom for so long, she couldn’t quit it.

9. (US) to master, to deal with.

[UK]Union Jack 5 May 17: ‘But why don’t you come on and collar us?’ chaffed Lord Tinribs.

In phrases