Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dodge n.

[other than in date, it is hard to differ between the orig. 16C SE dodge, ‘a shifty trick, an artifice to elude or cheat’ (OED) and this sl. ‘a clever or adroit expedient or contrivance’ (OED)]

1. a trick, a gimmick; a means of avoiding problems, esp. those encountered in work.

[UK]Featly Stricturae in Lyndomastigem I 201: I have beate the Iesuit heretofore out of this dodge [OED].
[UK]H. More Exposition Prophecies of Prophet Daniel 64: To put a dodge upon the Protestants to weaken their Faith [OED].
NYG and GA 16 Feb. 3/1: The Yankee is to be rowed by four pumpkin lads, and is, as yet, the favorite. The Snipe is very deceitful, and if not closely watched, will give her antagonist the dodge.
[UK] ‘When We Get Johnny’s Reform’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 108: The water-drinking dodge they teach.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 3 Sept. n.p.: Many a dodge to gain a ’point the best of it’ [...] has been worked.
[UK]Lloyd’s Wkly Newspaper 9 July 8/3: A New Omnibus Dodge A lady [...] cautions the public against ‘gentlemen’ in omnbuses with flowers [...] She found that she had been robbed of her purse.
[UK]‘Epistle from Joe Muggins’s Dog’ in Era (London) 24 Jan. 4/2: Thus ended intended dodge the first, for 1847 [...] but this time the knowing ones bave been done, and ‘sarve them right’ I say.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 24 Jan. 6/1: Among the various ‘dodges‘ which have been practised with great success in this part of the country are ‘the escaped slave dodge,’ ‘the modest dodge,’ ‘[the] journeyman tradesman’s dodge,’ ‘the dry land sailor’s or mud-lark’s dodge,’ ‘the shivering dodge,’ ‘the maimed dodge,’ ‘the discharged soldier’s dodge,’ ‘the hysteric dodge,’ ‘the respectable family dodge,’ ‘the lost money dodge,’ ‘the actual want or starvation dodge,’ ‘and many other ‘dodges’ which it would require a ‘dodger’ to enumerate.
[UK]W. Phillips Wild Tribes of London 83: There’s the Hindoo-and-trac’ dodge – the Uncle Tom – the persecuted Nigger go [...] and a precious sight o’ dodges beside.
[US]Broadway Belle (NY) 22 Jan. n.p.: We are pretty well posted up in all the ‘dodges’ practiced by women of the streets.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 May 49/1: Mrs. Major Waddle has five penniless daughters, and adopts this way ( [...] the serious dodge being far more successful) for getting them off her hands.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 20 Nov. 3/3: DODGE.-Noun, a move, a fakement, a notion a fixin, humbug, hankypanky, a plant, &c., &c. This word is of almost universal application.
[Ind]Hills & Plains 2 217: He made use of the bank’s name to fleece as many as he could, and by that dodge kept the whole thing dark.
[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act I: They put a fellow up to the dodges of the town though: for instance, these cases of bad notes offered at the Bank lately.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 17 Aug. 5/5: Sometimes I was on the cadging dodge.
Newton Wkly Ledger (MS) 16 Jan. 2/3: While at the penitentiary Swan undertook the crazy ‘dodge’ — said snakes and tigers and lions and devils were after him.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 179: There are many ‘dodges’ men have for this purpose, especially for ‘playing the waiting game.’.
[US] letter 19 Nov. in T. Hughes Gone To Texas (1884) 25: We have them hot for breakfast [...] I have just hit the dodge for making them au fait, or whatever it is.
Tammany Farmer (Covington, LA) 10 Sept. 1/3: You can’t come that dodge over me. Here, hand it over.
[UK]Cremorne III 80: We must hit on a dodge to show her yours is a disinterested affection.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 176: Our dodge was to take three quiet horses from the Hollow and ride them there, first thing.
[UK]A. Day Mysterious Beggar 216: She takes a young gal ’long with her. She puts bellerdoner [...] in ’er own eyes. Then th’ young pullet leads ’er [...] That’s th’ ‘blind dodge’, y’ know.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 2 Dec. 3/3: Oh, them dodges as they works is / Twice as rotten as a sewer / Flowin’ into Darlin' Harbor.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Deceptive Labels’ Sporting Times 4 Mar. 1/4: He was told ’twas labelled ‘poison,’ which but strengthened his belief / That some brand of whisky therein was on tap; / For with many ’twas a dodge to frighten off a would-be thief / Who might otherwise the precious liquor lap.
[UK]J. Masefield Everlasting Mercy 10: They drove (a dodge that never fails) / A pin beneath my finger nails.
[UK]A. Brazil Madcap of the School 205: ‘She’s nuts on this afternoon-tea dodge! (I don’t care—I shan’t put a penny in the slang box)’.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 196: The Kid dearly wished [...] that he might originate some dodge whereby he could shoo Miss Heffernan safely away from the house.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 195: We can work the platform-ticket dodge on the railway.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 128: The pay-off is really a very old-fashioned dodge.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: Up to every dodge and skive that’s in the book.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 83: But that artful dodge, on his own, was impracticable.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 39: Most of the models’ mothers tried the same dodge.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 56: The ‘fourth man’ routine was just a dodge to beat the death penalty.
[UK]Indep. 22 July 15: The houseboat was a crafty dodge that let them spend comfortable holidays in the state without [...] owning their own homes.

2. (UK Und.) a thing.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 65: It is common for the donna of the cassey to patter thus to the tramp: – ‘Vot pad vould you like, sir?’ ‘Oh, a two win dodge,’ (a twopenny bed).

3. a job, an occupation, a profession.

[UK]Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: This establishment is conducted much in the same style as Jessop's, but [...] as the dodge is carried on but in few respectable houses on the Surrey (or the other) side of the water, we are induced to notice it.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 45/2: We always have a pardner now to play the drum and pipes, and collect the money. This, however, is only a recent dodge.
[UK]‘Cuthbert Bede’ Little Mr. Bouncer 16: ‘I’ve been persuaded to make a book.’ ‘What! to come the literary dodge and do the complete author?’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Dream Street Rose’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 50: A decent young guy [...] makes plenty of potatoes in the grocery dodge.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 2: His dodge is to observe new plays [...] and to tell his readers what he thinks of these plays.
E. Wilson Show Business Laid Bare 201: [Marlon Brando] told me [...] he was going to ‘get out of this dodge,’this movie-actor racket.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 91: I went back to the stickup dodge, gorilla work.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 8 Jan. 7: That’s the way it goes in the word dodge; if you coin a good one, it becomes the lead in your obituary.

In derivatives

dodgery (n.)

(Aus.) chicanery, trickery.

[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 5 Dec. 4/1: Policemen believing the end justifies the means and towards that end no despicable dodgery, no low-down type of humanity is too base to be used.

In phrases

come the dodge (v.)

1. to carry out a fraudulent and/or illegal action.

[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 23 Mar. 2/4: The prisoner then told him he was going to come ‘the dodge’ to-night.
[UK]Morpeth Herald 1 Dec. 3/4: She was one of those who worked what was called the ‘mug dodge.’ [...] When they can’t find a strange child to come the ‘dodge’ with, they send their own children.
Petroleum Centre Daily Record (PA) 10 Feb. 2/3: Why, I’ve come those dodges over the Fifth Avenue girls more than twenty times.
Tammany Farmer (Covington, LA) 10 Sept. 1/3: You can’t come that dodge over me. Here, hand it over.

2. to act in a given manner, without illegal overtones.

[UK]Lichfield Mercury 17 Aug. 7/5: You can’t tell a nigger who has bin overflowed out that he can’t come the cabin dodge on you.
[UK]Lancs. Eve. Post 16 Apr. 4/5: I should like to say a few words to you... (A voice ‘Don’t come the parson dodge’ and laughter).
do the — dodge (over) (v.)

to take on a pose – e.g. a clergyman, an ex-soldier – for the purposes of fraud.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 219/1: 1931.
fake the dodge (v.)

(UK Und.) to perform some form of confidence trick.

[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: I nearly shook my flesh, bag and trousers off with hactual faiking the dodge to a rhino point.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/2: Cadgers are [...] men who get their livings by ‘faiking the dodges’.
on the dodge

hiding from or avoiding the authorities.

B.M. Bower Happy Family of the Flying U 57: I heard that the sheriff wired down to the San Simon country and told ’em their man was up here. Mama! what bad breaks a man will make when he's on the dodge!
J.B. Gillett Six Years with the Texas Rangers n.p.: Two of the Dublin boys were on the dodge charged with murder. They were supposed to be hiding near their father's home.
[UK]L. Short Raiders of the Rimrock 182: What do you think I’m on the dodge for? [...] I’m tryin’ to keep from gettin’ a slug in my back.
[US]W.D. Overholser Buckaroo’s Code (1948) 80: You’re on the dodge because of Malloy, aren’t you?
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 321: Dodge, on the, In hiding.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 810: on the dodge – Fleeing from justice; avoiding the police.
up to the dodge

(US) aware, shrewd, knowledgeable.

[Ire]Joyce ‘Two Gallants’ Dubliners (1956) 48: I was afraid, man, she’d get in the family way. But she’s up to the dodge.
K. Mansfield ‘Something Childish’ in Something Childish (1924) 124: I understood yesterday's ‘new leaf,’ as Mrs. Carsfield put it. Was up to the dodge in a jiffy.