1. a trick, a dodge.
|Pardoner and Friar Biii: And yf thou playe me suche another touche / Ish knocke thee on the costarde.|
2. an act of sexual intercourse, thus take a touch, to have intercourse.
|Select City Quaeries 15: […] to take a Touch now and then with a Citizens wife.|
|Eng. Rogue I 381: Is that a Brothel, or an House of State [...] This was a stately house, and yet was such; In stately houses Ladies take a touch.|
3. any item that will persuade purchasers to buy, albeit within certain price limits; thus a sixpence touch, a guinea touch.
|F&H].Diary 22 Sept. n.p.: At night went to the ball at the Angel, a guinea-touch [|
|Works (1801) n.p.: Print my preface in such form as, in the bookseller’s phrase, will make a sixpenny touch .preface note ‘To the Bookseller’ in|
|, ,||Sl. Dict. 260: TOUCH, a slang expression in common use in phrases which express the extent to which a person is interested or affected as ‘a fourpenny touch,’ i.e., costing that amount.|
|Ulysses 573: There was a dosshouse in Marlborough Street, Mrs Maloney’s, but it was only a tanner touch and full of undesirables.|
4. (also touch-off) an act of theft, esp. pickpocketing.
|Autobiog. 105: Towards evening I got a touch at a cove’s suck.|
|National Police Gazette (U.S.) 18 July 390/1: Ingenious Touch [...] Phillsburg [...] felt for his money, and [...] found in its place another pocket-book filled with newspaper instead of money [OED].|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 11 Sept. 3/2: She heard May say to her husband that they had done ‘touch’.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 48/2: The most splendid ‘touch’ of the campaign was already in our grasp.|
|Robbery Under Arms (1922) 43: Whatever made ’em think of such a big touch as that?|
|Tales of Mean Streets (1983) 153: Why did other gonophs get lucky touches for half a century of quids at a time.|
|Types from City Streets 315: I’m living on a couple of good touches I made last spring.|
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 37: ‘You hear it rings sometimes a bell?’ ‘Yeh — I made it. Sounded like a touch-off.’.‘Charlie the Wolf’ in|
|Chicago May (1929) 36: I made a big touch in New York, one night.|
|(con. 1905–25) Professional Thief (1956) 13: The mob had made a touch of a Spanish shawl, worth three or four hundred dollars.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|On the Waterfront (1964) 262: It’s the sweetest touch in the harbour.|
|Scene (1996) 34: The girls had picked one particular store because everyone considered it a hard touch.|
|You Flash Bastard 119: Wasn’t a bad little touch. Radio, cassette and a briefcase. Thought maybe I’d get a couple of quid for the briefcase.|
|in That Was Business, This Is Personal 15: We had a right touch, about a couple of hundred quid apiece.|
5. (UK Und.) an arrest.
|‘The Slap-Up Cracksman’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 42: The traps are snoozed – so we can swig / Without fear of touch or pig.|
6. (also the touch, touchdown) the act of cadging a loan, usu. small; thus the loan.
|Better Late than Never 41: What, are you come to the Doctor to be curs’d with a touch.|
|Artie (1963) 29: Next day they had to make a hot touch for a short coin so as to get the price of a couple o’ sinkers and a good old ‘draw one’.|
|Forty Modern Fables 26: Later on he got into many a Touch.|
|Long Carry (1970) 192: Writing appealing letters to sympathetic females at home or as we termed it ‘doing the lonely soldier touch.’.diary 17 July|
|Hand-made Fables 159: All the Overture Stuff about the Spring Planting and the Health of the Family did not camouf Ebeneezer. He could feel a Touch coming.|
|Judge (NY) 91 July-Dec. 31: Touchdown - A loan.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 711: He wins so much dough that he even pays off a few old touches.‘All Horse Players Die Broke’ in|
|Nobody Lives Forever (1944) 3: Doc saw him shying off from a touch and it amused him.|
|Fings I i: He is very generous and is always good for a touch [...] and always lets everyone have things on the slate from his tea bar.|
|Return of the Hood 57: She was [...] a sucker for a touch from every stray cat with a hard luck story.|
|Up and Down Under 79: I really and truly expected a ‘touch’ for a couple of bob.|
|Lowspeak 141: Touch – money successfully and slightly dishonestly obtained by a gamble or by borrowing.|
7. (US Und.) the money gained illegally, e.g. that which is ‘stolen’ by a confidence trickster’s scheme; also in fig. use.
|Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 252: I t’ink he’ll stand a swell touch.|
|Sun (NY) 27 July 40/1: ‘Looks like the boys have made another good touch,’ said Wise Jimmy.|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 168: A thousand dollars was considered a good ‘touch.’.|
|Spanish Blood (1946) 128: They are out for a quick touch.‘Pearls Are a Nuisance’ in|
|Big Con 26: The size of the touches (the gross amount taken from the victim) has increased beyond the fondest dreams of old-timers.|
|Across the Board 138: Shot oppa you mouth-a. You wanna getta toucha-a from all-a deesa bumba.|
|Crust on its Uppers 20: I had a right touch teaching at a languages school.|
|Fireworks (1988) 167: I never tried for another touch, and I ain’t going to neither!‘Sunrise at Midnight’ in|
|Lowspeak 141: Touch – money successfully and slightly dishonestly obtained by a gamble.|
|TwentyFourSeven [film script] (1998) 82: Why don’t we photograph him in bed in his wildlife snake pants? Then we can bribe him, a touch.|
|Raiders 6: When you’ve had a nice touch from a jug you always keep it in mind to rob again.|
8. (US Und.) the climax of a confidence trick, when the victim hands over their money.
|Confessions of a Con Man 124: And he wasn’t one of those ‘twenty-minute men’ who can’t hold a sucker after the touch.|
9. one from whom one obtains a loan or a monetary gift.
|implied in easy touch|
|Urban Grimshaw 286: In our vocabulary, this meant a victim, a dupe, a greenhorn, a touch [...] not a kill.|
10. the victim of a confidence trick.
|London’s Und. 134: They’d think nothing of travelling through six countries with a really good ‘touch’ — i.e. victim.|
11. a piece of good fortune; e.g. an acquittal.
|They Drive by Night 74: Lucky touch if he got a job on a ship.|
|Lowspeak 121: Right touch – a lucky and unexpected acquittal.|
|Inside 22: It was a right touch, thought I was looking at a five.|
|Layer Cake 76: This is a touch, it was well worth going out tonight after all.|
|Viva La Madness 282: [He] knows he’s had a touch, telling his mates the mug was only getting a blowjob while I chored his fuckin coat.|
12. a woman who can be easily picked up.
|[||Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 30: Any gentleman that is dispos’d for a touch of the times, may take his choice for the price of a penny].|
|Riverslake 41: The Pole didn’t say nothing about the Bastard’s old woman being a touch. Vodavitch made it up, just to get him hurled.|
|Chancer 23: I always wanted to be in Who’s Who so that I could list all the ten-bob Soho touches I knew.|
13. (N.Z.) one’s turn to buy a round of drinks; in cit. 1895 the round itself.
|Old Times in Bush 150: Look here, master, these chaps is all ‘fly blown,’ and we would like to give them a ‘touch’ before we go; will you advance ten shillings?|
|Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 114/2: touch somebody’s turn to buy a round of drinks.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].|
(US) a beggar, one who is always asking for a loan.
|‘On Broadway’ 2 Oct. [synd. col.] 25 years of [...] giving the brush-off to touch artists and salesmen.|
|Harder They Fall (1971) 123: Crumbs [...] touch artists and no-goods, but still my guys.|
|Crime in S. Afr. 106: A ‘mooch’, a ‘dingaloo’, or a ‘touch artist’ is a beggar or crook.|
|Odd Spot of Bother 122: Of all the barflies, shout-dodgers, compo-kings, touch-artists, takes, spruikers, bludgers, spongers, and other hopeful hangers-on.|
|q. inLugosi 128: The secret to success for every ‘touch’ artist [...] is to find a successful person’s Achilles’ heel and then work it over until you get the money .|
(US Und.) synon. for Murphy (Game), the n. (1) in which a client, lured into a room by a prostitute, is beaten and robbed.
|N.Y. Daily Trib. 27 July 1/5: The Touch Game Again. [...] She is well known to the police officers as an adept at the touch game.|
(US) one who is constantly scrounging.
|After Hours 31: I can’t stand these touch guys walkin’ around.|
(US Und.) any tavern or similar establishment where victims are robbed, beaten and even killed; they may also be subjected to the Murphy (Game), the n. (1)
|N.Y. Herald 9 Mar. 11/4: Wm McCullough . . . was tried for highway robbery, in robbing a colored man named Gifford Johnson, on the 7th of February last, at a ‘touch house’ in Cross street.|
|N.Y. Herald 11 Jan. 2/4: Nearly all of the ‘touch houses,’ as they are technically called, are situated in this ward, and midnight robbery, through the operations of their inmates, nightly occur.|
a petty thief.
|Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 49: Touch Merchant Petty Cheat.|
see sense 3 above.
(US) to reminisce.
|USA Confidential 396: We were chewing up old touches with a retired Chicago dick.|
(also cut up, cut up old dough) to reminisce over old successes, villainies etc.
|Wise-crack Dict. 7/1: Cut up old dough Talk over old times.|
|TAD Lex. (1993) 30: Cutting up the latest scandal from the local barber shop.in Zwilling|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 84: Rusty Charley and Knife O’Halloran [...] are cutting up old touches of the time when they run with the Hudson Dusters together.‘Blood Pressure’ in|
|Limey 218: I was one of a group of convicts there yarning about past experiences and people we had known – ‘cutting up touches’ as they say.|
|McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon (2001) 125: He and Dutch would get together and cut up touches.|
|Honest Rainmaker (1991) 119: We had many old touches to cut up together.|
|Cannibals 249: Let’s sit down and cut up some touches.|
|In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 33: Not time to guzzle a couple of beers, cut up any touches, tell each other any lies or dirty stories.|
(US Und.) to share out the spoils of criminal acts.
|Und. Speaks 28/2: Cut up the touch, division of the spoils or plunder.|
|DAUL 54/2: Cut up a touch. [...] 2. To divide the loot from a specific crime.et al.|
1. money, whether loaned or extorted, that is easily obtained.
|Amer. Mag. Oct. 98/2: That story about a blackmailer showing up at three o'clock in the afternoon, making an easy touch for five grand, and then sticking around till midnight is just silly.|
2. one who can be easily solicited for money or favours.
|‘On Broadway’ 23 Nov. [synd. col.] ‘Sherm I need five C’s’ . . . ‘Sure,’ said Sherman, shelling off the five hundred. . . . Her rich friend couldn’t believe such an easy touch existed.|
|Fixx 223: I was not the easy touch I had been when I was single.|
|Co-Leaders: The Power of Great Partnerships 75: Even in death Merrill remained an easy touch. Philanthropy was a passion with him.|
|Workin’ Man Blues 123: Cooley was also known as an easy touch, a man who had made big bucks, [...] and who was always generous.|
3. (UK Und.) a robbery that can be carried out without difficulty.
|Inside the Und. 34: ‘Jim’ makes great play about what turned out to be an ‘easy touch.’.|
4. a situation which is easily exploitable.
|Scotland on Sun. Mag. 7 Nov. 7: It was seen as an easy touch, where you could buy acres of land and draughty houses for the price of a garage in Chelsea.|
see touch v.2
1. to borrow money, esp. when the donor is less than enthusiastic.
|Checkers 46: I’d put up a song to my Uncle Giles, and try to make a little ‘touch.’.|
|Down the Line 24: I [...] made a swift touch for the price of a couple of rides home.|
|Enemy to Society 330: Think of me [...] givin’ kings and emperors the haughty eye when they want to make a touch.|
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 172: I ain’t de kind what goes aroun’ makin’ cheap touches offa penny-swipers like you. But I tell you I gotta have a twenny.‘Canada Kid’ in|
|AS I:12 652: Make a touch — asking for money.‘Hobo Lingo’ in|
|Tropic of Cancer (1963) 136: Van Norden generally manages to have at least fifty francs in his pocket, a circumstance which does not prevent him fom making a touch whenever he encounters a prospect.|
|Tropic of Capricorn (1964) 106: It would be safer to leave Curley downstairs while I made the touch.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 152: make a touch To lift a purse; to beg on the street.|
2. to pickpocket.
|Autobiog. of a Thief 32: I signalled to Zack that I would make the ‘touch.’.|
|DAUL 134/2: Make a touch. 1. To succeed in the execution of a profitable crime.et al.|
3. to make a winning bet.
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 14: Guess that system of mine was wrong. I must make a touch somehow.|
|Tales of the Ex-Tanks 167: I was never on the touch at any stage of the game, snow or hail.|
|Best of Myles (1968) 292: That man makes a fiver a day on the touch and drinks every penny of it.|
to (attempt to) borrow or extort money.
|Pal Joey 77: You mean to say she did not put the touch on you.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|Und. Nights 44: Perce was skint when Peter tried to put the touch on him.|
|Three Negro Plays (1969) I ii: I plan to put the old touch on her when she comes back.Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window in|
|Under A Hoodoo Moon 178: Ray and Walter had cooked up some scam to put the touch on Mick Jagger.|
|Love Is a Racket 371: You’re nothing but a street whore who got herself made up just so she could put the touch on him.|
|Big Boat to Bye-Bye 152: ‘I work for clients whom your husband was putting the touch on’.|
1. one who is easily beaten.
|Yes Man’s Land 196: The fans would figure me for a soft touch for him.|
|Runyon on Broadway (1954) 155: These Harvards are by no means soft touches in a scrabble such as this.‘Hold ’Em, Yale!’ in|
|Harder They Fall (1971) 116: Bring somebody out from the East, a nice soft touch.|
|Godfather 135: Sollozzo has you figured for the soft touch in the Family because you let McCluskey hit you without fighting back.|
|Indep. 1 Feb. 9: They must have thought I would be a soft touch. But I’m still fit.|
2. an easy job or sinecure; thus an easily achieved robbery or similar crime.
|Me – Gangster 220: ‘Take it easy, Flop,’ Carrots grunted. ‘This is the softest touch we’ve had.’.|
|We Who Are About to Die 192: He gets a send-in on a soft touch up north [...] an’ he chases up there to look it over.|
|Runyon à la Carte 113: It is by no means a soft touch to be a war correspondent.|
|Rap Sheet 135: A bank job that looked like a soft touch.|
|Down These Mean Streets (1970) 228: Danny found a nightclub downtown that he thought would be a soft touch.|
|Digger’s Game (1981) 50: It’s no soft touch [...] things the way they are.|
3. one who can easily be solicited for money, or goods or favours; thus as v., to solicit something from someone.
|Yes Man’s Land 11: He was no soft touch for the ladies by no means!|
|Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.|
|Crack Detective Jan. [Internet] Boy, what a soft touch this was, boy, oh boy!‘Time to Kill’|
|Scrambled Yeggs 146: That made him a soft touch when Joe Brooks – or Joey Maddern – started his little squeeze play.|
|Snowblind (1978) 204: Charlie Kendricks was always getting robbed, suckered or soft-touched by people.|
|Bachman Books (1995) 552: Charlie Grady is a soft touch.Running Man in|
|Soft Detective 259: But Professor Unwala was not the soft touch you thought he’d be.|
|Indep. 23 Feb. 3: Some are a ’soft touch’, too easily hoodwinked into providing more drugs than the addict strictly needs.|
|(con. 1973) Johnny Porno 310: Pay them once and they’ll come back for more. They know they have a soft touch, they won’t forget it.|
4. a sympathetic person, one who is easily persuaded.
|Observer Life 24 Oct. 102: I’m a bit of a soft touch where children are concerned.|
SE in slang uses
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
|Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) I Bk I 44: Another [would call it] her sugar-plum, her kingo, her old rowley, her touch-trap, her flap dowdle.(trans.)|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
|Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden 23: Enough! I cried, and wedged a lusty turd against his tapering touch-trap.|
|Gargantua and Pantagruel (1927) II Bk V 572: Harry Cotiral the chemist, an old toast, who had got a swinging ass’s touch-tripe (penis) fastened to his waist.(trans.)|
(Aus.) to infuriate.
|We Were the Rats 30: You give me a touch of ’em.|
(Aus.) delirium tremens.
|‘The Hero of Redclay’ in Roderick (1972) 302: He’s boozin’ again [...] He’s got a touch of ’em.|
(orig. Irish, then US) sexual intercourse.
last minute hesitation.
|Whisper in the Gloom (1959) 187: ‘What I say, I don’t like it.’ ‘You got a touch of the seconds?’.|
|‘Metropolitan Police Sl.’ in Scotland Yard (1972) 327: seconds, a touch of the: used of a policeman who has been seen twice by someone he’s following; also of, say, a witness who has had second thoughts about his evidence.|
see under tarbrush n.