Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sucker n.1

1. a parasite [SE sucker, one who sucks, in this case money and favours].

[UK]L. Barry Ram-Alley I i: Impossible zart, I haue had two suckers, Able to spend the wealthy Cresus.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Sept. 21 n.p.: Suckers! a species of animals whose politeness and manner of introducing themselves and acquaintances has raised them in the estimation of the green horns.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 17 Dec. n.p.: The remainder of the ‘tail end’ were a kind of ‘suckers’ or ‘toadies’.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 18 May n.p.: ‘The Countess’ is [...] a most unmitigated sucker [...] Her propensity for borrowing is only equalled by her aversion to paying; and woe be to the credulous flat.
[US]Criminal Life (NY) 19 Dec. n.p.: That loud-mouthed sucker, Johnny Ludwick, begged for mercy.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 111/2: As the Captain said this, he threw an unmistakeable glance towards the trio of ‘suckers,’ who ‘stalled’ it off by talking to each other, and appearing as if they heard it not.
[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: One drinks [sic] the ‘bloody sucker’ ought to ‘drop on hisself’.
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 146: SUCK, SUCKER: a sponger.
[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 184: sucker one who sucks up.

2. as a part of the body.

(a) the vagina.

[UK] ‘Gee Ho, Dobbin’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) ii 204: I worked at her pump till the sucker grew dry, / And then I left pumping a good Reason why [F&H].
[UK] ‘The Jolly Waggoner’ in Fond Mother’s Garland 6: I worked at her pump ’till the sucker was dry, / And then I left pumping, a good Reason why. / O poor Roger, broken back’d Roger.
[UK]‘Bumper Allnight. Esquire’ Honest Fellow [as 1730].

(b) (Irish) a woman’s breast.

[US]Wash. Standard (Olympia, WA) 25 Apr. 1/6: ‘Your allusion to suckers and to breast works is extremely vulgar, and unworthy of the dignity of a married men’.
[Ire]C. Brown Down All the Days 81: Shoving the bottle inside her blouse. ‘It’s safe now anyway, between the two best suckers in Dublin.’.
[Ire]H. Leonard Da (1981) Act II: Bolicky Biddy had only one diddy / To feed the baby on / Poor little fucker had only one sucker / To grind his teeth up...
[Ire]B. Quinn Smokey Hollow 82: [as cit. 1973].

(c) the penis.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

(d) (N.Z.) the buttocks.

[UK]D. Davin For the Rest of Our Lives 51: We sat round on our suckers scoffing the beer and playing two-up.
[US]J.E. Macdonnell Jim Brady 69: Here. Get off your sucker and let’s see if we can find one.

3. (orig. US) pertaining to people, esp. when innocent [14C sucker, an animal before it is weaned, a child at the breast; thus the innocence of both; the term was popularized by New York nightclub hostess Texas Guinan whose celebrated greeting was ‘Hello sucker!’].

(a) (also suck) an innocent, a dupe, also attrib.

[UK]A. Ramsay General Mistake n.p.: This sucker thinks nane wise But him than can to immense riches rise [F&H].
[US]Boston Transcript 17 Dec. 2/2: It looks very much like a swindling concern, got up to catch suckers [DA].
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 26 Feb. n.p.: [C]ounted four suckers and a Jew spotter.
Flash (NY) 4 Sept. n.p.: [of a prostitute’s client] the flash wants to know Who that old sucker is who visits S. in Ch — street, and how much does it cost him for his board.
[US]D. Corcoran Pickings from N.O. Picayune 151: They all laugh and says, ‘That ’ere’s a reg’lar suck!’.
[US]S.F. Call 5 Dec. n.p.: You may think I’m a sucker.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 16 Nov. 2/2: Quite a crowd of ’guns’ were run in, but very few were held [...] ‘Suckers,’ however, were not so lucky.
[US] in ‘Mark Twain’ Life on the Mississippi (1914) 459: [as spelt] i noed you was a man who had don big work with good men & want no sucker.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 2 Oct. 14/2: The fascinating harlot was certain to pick up some ‘sucker’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 14 Mar. 14/1: ‘The contemplated match between the English professionals and 18 Victorian junior players has fallen through, owing to ‘a dispute about terms.’ In the name of fortune, what ‘terms,’ beyond actual expenses of ground and team should be asked of the professionals – pure and simple professionals, for a match against 18 suckers.
[US]H. Blossom Checkers 34: I felt at the time that I was a ‘sucker,’ but somehow he had a persuasive way.
[US]C.R. Wooldridge Hands Up! 189: Several women known as panel-house ‘steerers’ [...] were doing a land-office business in catching ‘suckers,’ as they termed it.
[US]R. Lardner You Know Me Al (1984) 52: I made them look like suckers.
[US]Sun (NY) 22 Sept. 7/1: As long as people make a sucker out of you it don’t make so awful much difference just what kind of a sucker they make.
Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/1: Crook Chatter [...] ‘There’s plenty of “sucker pokes” if they’re “flockin” for a good “tool”’.
[US]J. Callahan Man’s Grim Justice in Hamilton Men of the Und. 269: What a sucker I was to trust that yap.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 10: Do you think I’d take the sucker’s end of that racket?
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 84: Frank Libuse, the famous vaudevillian, who gave the suckers a workout they never forgot.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 175: I may be a sucker, but I’m not the kind of sucker you think I am.
[US]H.S. Thompson letter 1 Dec. in Proud Highway (1997) 550: His classic line about a sucker being born every minute.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 364: ‘We all had you down for a sucker’.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 22: Like a sucker, when they asked me what I did for a living, I told them I was an MA student.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Crime 101’ in Broken 74: It’s the kind of American immigrant story that Lou is still a sucker for.

(b) the victim of any kind of crooked plan.

[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms.
[US]J.H. Green Reformed Gambler 168: ‘I am swindled,’ cried the sucker. ‘You are robbed!’ vociferated the passengers, who had awaited the result, hoping to see the sucker win.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 203: He learned the rudiments of short card sharping from those thieves [...] and made himself useful to them in their search for suckers.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 20: He saw I was no ‘sucker’.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 397: sucker: a victim of both tramps and criminals.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 213: It is Barney’s impression that when we get a sucker for a bunch of coin, his share equals ours.
[US]Dly Press (Newport News, VA) 19 Apr. 12/3: [in context of pickpocketing] If you find a man in front of you [...] who won’t move forward, while another is pushing you [...] and a third with an overcoat on his arm [...] you may rest assured that a ‘gun mob’ is at work [...] and you have been singled out as the ‘sucker’.
[US]H. Hapgood Types from City Streets 38: He does himself all the harm he does, and that’s why he is a sucker.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Romance in the Roaring Forties’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 35: Here is a guy who may produce trouble, even if he is a sucker.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 6: Another accomplice had located a fat sucker.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 27: When you’re with a sucker you’re on the alert all the time. You give him nothing. A sucker is just to be taken.
[Aus]‘Geoffrey Tolhurst’ Flat 4 King’s Cross (1966) 106: [T]he greater part of my earnings came from commission on the amount that I encouraged the ‘suckers’ to bet.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 68: I’d bloody hate it to get around that I had a friend that was sucker enough to go in.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 9: Thinking up ways to con suckers like me.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 102: Henry would sometimes take the suckers into the apartment himself and pretend to lose five or six thousand alongside his dupes.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 49: They’d been played for a sucker all along.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 111: The guy who wanted the movie memorabilia [...] sounded like a sucker waiting to be taken.

(c) a person (occas. animal) or object, irrespective of status; early uses as phr. gone sucker, a lost cause.

[US]N.Y. Daily Express 24 Feb. 1/3–4: John Turman [...] used to lounge about the bar, and come it over other people’s liquor. [He’s convinced he’s drunk poison.] ‘What shall I do,’ beseeched John who thought himself a ‘gone sucker’.
[US]Southport Teleg. (WI) 30 Sept. 1/4: If we’re all drowned now, I’m a gone sucker, sure.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 283: When they strikes yer with that tail, yer a gone sucker, unless ye has plenty of whiskey to pull at.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 24: ‘[W]e was standin’ at de bar chewin’ de rag when in comes a guy dat’d scare a sucker into a fit’.
[US]W.H. Walp diary 4 Jan. [Internet] While you’re hanging up your washing / Some Sucker’s stole your tub.
[US]R. Lardner Big Town 125: The others had attended these functions before and knew that they wouldn’t be enough suckers on hand to make any difference whether you wore a monkey suit or rompers.
[UK]G. Blake Shipbuilders (1954) 59: ‘G’on, ye lousy wee sucker!’ one man said angrily.
[US] ‘Death Row’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 120: I tried to fight, I tried to resist, / But the suckers were too big, they twisted down my wrist.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 245: Some fierce-looking suckers they got there.
[US] Frank Zappa ‘San Ber’dino’ [lyrics] She’s in love with a boy / From the rodeo / Who pulls the rope on the chute / When they let those suckers [i.e. bulls] go.
[US]Ice-T ‘Drama’ [lyrics] They all die if those suckers ain’t bullet proof!
[US]T. Willocks Green River Rising 25: Hand me that sucker, man [...] That plastic shit there.
[US]C. Hiaasen Stormy Weather 113: [of a cockroach] This little sucker [...] is from Southeast Asia.
[US]T. Dorsey Stingray Shuffle 209: Serge patted the briefcase [...] ‘And thanks for returning this. The little sucker almost got away from me again.’.
[US]C. Stella Rough Riders 15: I’m bringing somebody [...] Indian dude [...] Big sucker.
[US]S.M. Jones August Snow [ebook] ‘All other suckas can hit the bricks with they dicks in they fists’.

(d) an unpleasant, mean person; note the stronger sucker n.3 (1)

[US]‘Ned Buntline’ G’hals of N.Y. 19: Laboul, and such suckers, are destroyin’ the business, every day, by takin’ a lot of girls on trial, to teach ’em the trade, not payin’ ’em anything.
[US]J.H. Green Reformed Gambler 165: ‘Well, gentlemen, they beat me out of three thousand dollars! But I am determined to have it back; my luck cannot always go against me in that way.’ ‘I should think not,’ said the sucker.
[US] ‘Central Connecticut Word-List’ in DN III:i 22: sucker, n. A mean fellow.
[US]M. Glass Abe and Mawruss 18: I ain’t charitable, Abe. Gott soll huten! I leave that to suckers like Max Linkheimer.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald ‘May Day’ in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald V (1963) 148: You put me in the position where, if I don’t lend it [i.e. money] to you, I’m a sucker.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 16: The suckers. They think you’re supposed to be happy to play for nothing, while they charge double for that bilge they call beer.
[UK]J. Mowry Way Past Cool 225: Word say that dude one way bad sucker.

(e) a general term of address, either derog. or teasing.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 293: Oh, shet up! Nobuddy ain’t goin’ to do no time, sucker!
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 5 Aug. [synd. col.] Listen, sucker [...] I’m gonna count up to five and if you don’t [etc].
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 39: You oughta learn to play this game, sucker.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 97: Hello, sucker [...] Shake hands with your brother.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 190: Kicking back his chair he reached for me shouting, ‘Listen, sucker . . .’.
[US]S. King Christine 537: ‘There you are you little suckers,’ he said. ‘You watch your language, young man,’ Mrs Sykes said.
[US]P. Beatty White Boy Shuffle 182: You [...] is still wearing leathers jackets and talking about ‘Stand back, sucker, fo’ I cut cha’.
[US]F.X. Toole Rope Burns 175: ‘You the one that goin down, sucker. I whup you like a stepchild.’ ‘You mama!’.
Q. Vidal ‘Third Rail’ [lyrics]Tryna be Brooklyn, and still remain Free from the Suckas, sucka (You stupid muhfuckas) .

(f) an enthusiast, a ‘pushover’.

[US] ‘The Open Book’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 115: He’s a sucker for Mexican cooking, / Chili beans with cigarette butts; / a red hot tamali is right down his alley, / That’s why he ain’t got any guts.
[US]W.P. McGivern Big Heat 109: She knew Lagana was a sucker for his kids.
[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 26: She was a sucker for the sauce.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 73: ‘You mean to tell me that that KKK pig is a sucker for my women?’.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 159: I have always been a complete sucker for stories told or read.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 11 Sept. 51: I’d always been a sucker for that kind of jive.
[US]J. Wambaugh Glitter Dome (1982) 58: Tiffany Charles was a sucker for young-looking older guys.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 24: Suckers for Amazonian blondes, those zipperheads.
[US] in W. Shaw Westsiders 200: I must admit I was a sucker for the drink.
[UK]Guardian Editor 7 Jan. 12: I’m a sucker for Mafia dialogue.

(g) (US) a fan.

[US]Green & Laurie Show Biz from Vaude to Video 28: Texas Guinan, firebrand hostess of the Golden 20s, first came to the attention of her ‘suckers’ in 1908.

4. (US) a drunkard.

[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Mar. 22 2/1: You will find some of the greatest suckers in America swigging blue ruin.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 29 Jan. n.p.: To the Correspondent who asks us to give the names of the suckers [...] that have joined the Hope Temperance Society [...] we do not know of any.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 2 Sept. 2/6: The Yankee ‘suckers’, who wander abuut tho ; docks with a gimblet and a straw, and, whilst apparently only taking a snooze amongst tho casks, are vigorously sucking away at the bottom of a rum puncheon.
[US]N.E. Police Gaz. (Boston, MA) 18 Aug. 6/3: John G—ey, the sucker, had better pay the Dutchman for those drinks.

5. people who suck v.1 (1)

(a) a fellatrix.

[UK]Smithers & Burton Priapeia (1996) 139: The patient (fellator or sucker) provokes the orgasm by the manipulation of her (or her) lips and tongue on the agent's member.

(b) a lesbian.

[UK]Horn Book: A Girl's Guide to the Knowledge of Good and Evil 49: hey are also known as Lesbians, gamahuching girls, and suckers, because the generally lick thegenitals, [sic] a taste formerly supposed to be peculiar to the women of the island of Lesbos.

(c) (US Und.) a male homosexual.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

6. (W.I.) a nagging old woman [note dial. old suck, a blood-sucking demon in the shape of an old woman].

[WI]cited in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).

In compounds

sucker-ass (n.) [-ass sfx]

(US black) a general term of abuse.

[US]Schoolly D ‘P.S.K. What Does It Mean’ [lyrics] A sucker-ass nigga tryin to sound like me.
[US]Dr Dre ‘Fuck Wit Dre Day’ [lyrics] All these sucka ass niggaz can eat a fat dick.
‘Success’ Up Against It 30: Ain’t that yo' ex Dasia, walking with dat sucker-ass nigga Tay?
sucker-bait (n.) (US Und.)

1. young women hired by casinos to appear available and thus lure and distract gamblers; thus the female body, as an object of fantasy.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
‘Troy Conway’ Cunning Linguist (1973) 74: The Mangano breasts [...] were all a girl-watcher could hope for. Real drool material, sucker bait, fantasy ingredients.
[US]‘Randy Everhard’ Tattoo of a Naked Lady 17: Bunny was the sucker bait, working the outside.

2. any form of fraudulent enticement.

[US]Indianapolis Star (IN) 22 May 19/4: Sucker-Bait for Capmpaign Year. This is campaign year, and a more fruitful time for the utterance of sucker-bait cannot be found.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Raw, Medium, and Well Done’ in Blue Ribbon Western June [Internet] He’s just putting out the sucker bait [...] When he gets the boobs all a-flutter, he’ll bump ’em.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
Dly Mirror 31 Mar. 7/4: They had fallen for what the trade calls ‘sucker bait’.
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) 1 Aug. 4/5: An even worse solution, designing for even lower intelligences and deserving of the lowes appellation of all: ‘sucker-bait’.
D.M. White Popular Culture 92: When Ringling Brothers and Bamum and Bailey Circus opened last week in Madison Square Garden the same device was sucker bait.
Tampa Bay Times (St Peteresburg, FL) 1 Apr. 7/2: ‘I fee; [...] Mr Cohen pushed this court for a mistrial as possible suckerbait’.
R. Greer Resurrecting Langston Blue 207: ‘Fine,’ said Newburn, wondering whether or not he had enough sucker bait to get Flora Jean to spit out anything more.
sucker list (n.) [note WWII US milit. sucker list, duty roster]

(US) a client list, a mailing list; also attrib.

[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks.
[US]Collier’s 30 Mar. 32/4: The pickings from phony promotions are so slim, however, that post-office sleuths are getting fewer sucker-list cases all the time [DA].
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 101: So far as history records, it was the first sucker list he ever compiled.
sucker play (n.) [play n. (2)]

1. (US) any form of scheme intended to trap a gullible victim.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 19: It was a sucker play, too, because I might ’a’ known it’d be a case of takin’ the horse cars to get back to the West Side.
Bakersfield Californian (CA) 10 Nov. 7/2: ‘Jerry delights in pulling sucker plays to draw green pilots out of formation so he can pick them off’.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 195: It was a sucker play and he knew it.

2. a foolish action.

[US]Van Loan ‘A Rain Check’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 295: You made a sucker play, and met the man [...] out on a street corner for everyone to see.
[US]R. Lardner Gullible’s Travels 82: It’d be a sucker play to take a vacation in weather like this.
[Aus]J.J. DeCeglie Drawing Dead [ebook] Our asses were on fire and I wasn’t gonna make the sucker play and be that asshole.
[US]Rapid City Jrnl (SD) 21 Oct. 32/5: South made a sucker play. If he’d trusted his opponent to defend correctly, he’d have continued hearts.

see separate entries.

sucker stroking (n.)

(US prison) becoming tearful at the thought of one’s absent girlfriend.

[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Sucker Stroking: To get teary eyes missing one’s girlfriend. As in ‘He’s really sucker stroking over her.’.
sucker town (n.) [the inference is that the populace are too innocent to accept bribes]

(US Und.) a town or city in which any criminal activity is unwise – the authorities have proved impervious to corruption.

[US]D. Maurer Big Con 235: There are some towns in the United States known as ‘sucker towns’. Here there is no fix.
sucker-wild (adj.)

extremely stupid, gullible.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 17: My idiot father had come to the big city and gone sucker wild.

In phrases

sucker out (v.)

(US) to act like a fool; to make a mistake.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 61: You can start pimping hard on a bitch and then sucker out and blow her.