Green’s Dictionary of Slang

squire n.

[SE squire, a title orig. used to denote an esquire, a young man of good birth, attendant upon a knight, but by 17C referring mainly to a country gentleman]

1. a fool [one who is foolish enough to serve another].

[UK]Jonson Alchemist Prologue: No clime breeds better matter, for your whore, / Bawd, squire, imposter, many persons more, / Whose manners, now called humours, feed the stage.
[UK]Whores Rhetorick 76: Such squires will be credulous enough to believe this circumspection is all but necessary.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: The Squire, a Sir Timothy Treat-all; also, a Sap-pate. . . . A fat Squire, a rich Fool.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].

2. a general title used ironically in a number of contexts, e.g. apple squire under apple n.1 ; see also phrs. below.

[UK]Middleton Blurt, Master Constable C3: I am Frisco, Squire to a bawdy house.
[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) V ii: hip.: Oh, an Apple-squire. bots.: Yes, sir, that degree of scuruy Squiers, and that I am maintained by the best part that is commonly in a woman.
[UK]Middleton & Rowley A Fair Quarrel IV iv: When thou art dead, may twenty whores follow thee, that thou mayst go a squire to thy grave.
[UK]Massinger Emperour of the East I ii: Marry there I am calde The Squire of Dames, or seruant of the sex.
J. Shirley Constant Maid V iii: [Knights who] lose their spurs In women’s petticoats, and turn squires again To whores.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘The Rights of Kings’ Works (1794) III 58: Dear as sham-fights to that same ’Squire of Coals.
[UK]J. Galt Lawrie Todd I Pt II 120: I ain’t special ’bout pedigrees; but my wife [...] wont have nobody call me but squire.
[UK]R.H. Savage Brought to Bay 105: It was no light-minded squire of dames who sat alone in the smoking-room, rolling his Syrian cigarettes.

3. a general term of address, no particular rank or intimacy indicatedcit. 1935 means ‘yourself’.

[US]J.F. Cooper Notions I 102: The New-Englandman is too kind in all his habits to call any man stranger. His usual address is ‘friend’, or sometimes he contemplates a stranger of a gentlemanly appearance, with the title of ‘squire’ .
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker II 286: Mornin’, squire, said he.
[US]G. Seaworthy Bertie 80: ‘Good morning, squire!’ replied we in chorus.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 55: ‘It is a middlin fine day Square,’ I obsarved.
[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Sunshine 240: Hold on, squire!
[UK]‘Henry Green’ Living (1978) 321: ‘Why squire’ Mr Tarver said.
[UK]M. Harrison Spring in Tartarus 23: Well, Merrion, how’s tricks? How’s the squire?
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 68: Hail, squire [...] Long time no see.
[UK]C. Wood Fill the Stage With Happy Hours (1967) Act III: Mine’s a light ale pale ale, Squire, thank you.
[UK]Clement & La Frenais ‘Prisoner and Escort’ Porridge [TV script] I’ll give it serious consideration, squire.
[Aus](con. 1941) R. Beilby Gunner 27: What would you like, squire? A leg-break or full toss?
[SA]C. Hope Separate Development 72: Suits me, squire. Waiting goes on the meter, see.
[UK]P. Theroux Kowloon Tong 34: You’d better get used to it, squire.
[NZ]P. Shannon Davey Darling 88: Right you are then, squire.

4. (UK Und.) a successful criminal.

[UK]Life and Trial of James Mackcoull 18: The squire’s a good little fellow.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 84/2: ’Twas a shocking dirty domicile for a ‘squire’ to live in.

5. (US) a magistrate.

[UK] ‘Uncle Sam’s Peculiarities’ Bentley’s Misc. IV 587: I went before one of the rascally squires in New York, who [...] ordered some of his people to put a belt round me and tie me to the wall.

In derivatives

In phrases

squire of Alsatia (n.) [Alsatia n.; best known as the title of Thomas Shadwell’s play, first staged in 1688]

1. a gentleman who has been drawn to the criminal world and there found himself fleeced, robbed and generally rendered destitute by its denizens.

[UK]T. Shadwell [play title] The Squire of Alsatia.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Squire of Alsatia, a Man of Fortune, drawn in, cheated, and ruin’d by a pack of poor, lowsy, spunging, bold Fellows that liv’d (formerly) in White-Fryers.

2. an overly generous man.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Squire of Alsatia [...] a Sir Timothy Treat-all.

3. a rich fool.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Squire of Alsatia [...] a Sap-pate.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Squire of Alsatia. A weak profligate spendthrift; one who pays the whole reckoning, or treats the company, called standing squire.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]London Dly News 27 Apr. 2/2: Genuine old-fashioned inns [where] many a ‘Squire of Alsatia’ took his ease, his tabacco, and strong waters.
squire of the body (n.) [mocking the SE esquire or the ‘country squire’ + SE body; cf. knight of the... n. and its combs]

a pimp, or a term of abuse.

[UK]Dekker Honest Whore Pt 2 (1630) V ii: I liue (like those that keepe Bowling-alleyes) by the sinnes of the people, in being a Squire of the body.
[UK]H. Nevile Newes from the New Exchange 6: You have had many a one by that excellent Squire of the Body young Lenthall.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 71: Prithee, Sweet-heart, from what Dunghil didst thou pick up this Shakerag, this Squire of the body? This thing drest up in sippets? This Scarecrow, what shall I call him?
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy III 67: Knights of the garter, two were Call’d, / Knights of the Shoe-string, two install’d / [...] / But oh! the Squire of the Body was / A better place than both.
squire of the cross (n.) [cross n.1 (1)]

(UK Und.) a thief.

[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford II 108: Gentlemen of the Road, the Street, the Theatre and the Shop! Prigs, Toby-men, and Squires of the Cross!
squire of the gimlet (n.) [SE gimlet, used as a corkscrew]

a publican, a tapster.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 1140/1: ca. 1670–1800.
squire of the pad (n.) [pad n.1 (1)]

a highwayman.

[UK]R. L’Estrange (trans.) Visions of Quevedo 318: We were in the other world intitled to the Order of the Squires of the Pad; and borrow’d now and then a small sum upon the Kings High-way.
[UK]T. Brown Amusements Serious and Comical in Works (1744) III 60: Sometimes they [i.e. gamblers] are squires of the pad, and now and then borrow a little money upon the King’s high-way.
[UK]M. Prior Thief and the Cordelier in Works (1959) I 459: There the Squire of the Pad, and the Knight of the Post, Find their Pains no more balk’d and their Hopes no more crost.
squire of the petticoat (n.) (also petticoat-peer, petticoat squire) [metonymic use of SE petticoat = women]

a pimp; as a term of abuse.

[UK] ‘A Quarrel betwixt Tower-hill & Tyburn’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) I 342: The next among these Petticoat-Peers / Is Harry Martin, take him thither.
[UK] ‘City Ballad’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 41: The late Petticoat Squire / From his shop mounted higher / To the Sword.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues V 179/1: petticoat-pensioner (squire or knight of the petticoat) = a male keep.