Green’s Dictionary of Slang

sack v.

1. in senses of taking or placing ‘in a sack’.

(a) to rob, to steal, to take possession of, to pocket.

New Flash Song [broadside ballad] We took from him all we could sack, / With a silver hilted sword, and gold lac’d hat.
[UK]‘T.B. Junr.’ Pettyfogger Dramatized I iii: You’ll have a fine opportunity to ruin him, and sack the plunder! [Ibid.] II ii: I sack’d all the deeds, and here they are. [...] Be a share of the sin at your door; for you are the receivers of stolen goods!
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 199: [He] had been one of those concerned in the affair [...] and is supposed to have sacked all the money.
[UK]W.N. Glascock Land Sharks and Sea Gulls II 103: It stands to reason as him as lays the plan ought, in course, to sack the most of the swag.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 38: Hoppy consented only on condition of their helping him first to sack the ‘gospel-shop’.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 62: Let’s sack the joint!
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 101: The safes that I’ve cracked and the jewelry I’ve sacked / I laid the swag at her feet.

(b) to put in one’s pocket.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 154: Sack it — to appropriate things to oneself, to put them into the pocket or sac.
[UK]‘Knowing Bill’ in Rake’s Budget in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 87: If they fork out a bob to pay, / The browns I allus sacks.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 123: Sack, to, to take up.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 200/2: They made it all right; paid something, as I’ve heard, and sacked the profits.

(c) (US Und.) to sort out, to arrange.

[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 259: ‘We’re in,’ I said. ‘This thing’s sacked.’.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 184/1: Sack. [...] 2. To prearrange and predetermine. ‘The jury is spiked (bribed) and the rapper (complainant) is squared (appeased). A turn-out is all sacked for you, Guzzler.’.

2. in senses of dismissal.

(a) to dismiss someone from a job.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 44/2: He was again unlucky, having, after repeated watchings, been ‘bowled-out’ in a guilty amour with his master’s son’s wife, and of course sacked.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 277: After asking two or three questions Jemmy ‘sacked’ Garibaldi and sent him to prison clothes-mending.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) III 484: ‘They will sack us both,’ said Betty. Kitty began to cry.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Visit of Condolence’ in Roderick (1972) 34: He didn’t have cheek enough to arsk the boss for a rise, lest he’d be sacked.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 55: Phil, remind me to sack him [i.e. a valet].
[UK]Wodehouse ‘At Geisenheimer’s’ in Man with Two Left Feet 119: The boss’ll sack you just one minute after I tell him.
[Aus]K.S. Prichard Coonardoo 255: Hugh’d sack me, if he didn’t think I was up to the job.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 52: And the cheque you got when they sacked you from your job.
[NZ]F. Sargeson ‘A Pair of Socks’ in A Man And His Wife (1944) 65: In the end Bill got fed up so he sacked us both.
[Aus]D. Niland Shiralee 44: The first two, boss sacked ’em.
[WI]V.S. Naipaul A House For Mr Biswas 358: Let them sack me like hell. Think I care? I want them to sack me.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 26: He was sacked because they wanted someone younger and flasher.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 179: He sacked his manager and got greedy.
[UK]G. Burn Happy Like Murderers 166: He was sacked from his job as a tyrefitter.
[UK]Observer Screen 16 Jan. 6: They have to go into work, because if they don’t they get sacked.
[Aus]P. Temple Broken Shore (2007) [ebook] Sacked three weeks ago. [...] Someone leaked information and the whole thing went-pear-shaped. They blamed me.
[US]J. Ellroy Hilliker Curse 13: Rita sacked his lazy ass, circa ’50.

(b) (also sack off) to reject or dismiss something or someone.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 145/2: The old man threatens to sack lover. He goes into cottage and brings out lover’s bundle, and throws it to lover.
[UK]Magnet 10 Sept. 2: The Remove had chosen to sack him.
[US] ‘Rejected By Eliza Jane’ in T.W. Talley Negro Folk Rhymes 134: Perhaps you’ll sack ‘Ole Sour Bill’ / An’ git choked on ‘Sugar Cain’.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 442: They’d be heroes if they could pull it off, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they had to sack it.
[UK]Observer 9 Jan. 6: He was sacked from the programme.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 95: Tempted to sack the whole friggin thing off.

(c) to expel from school or university.

[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 399: sack. To expel.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown’s School-Days (1896) 108: I shouldn’t like to see any of you getting sacked.
[UK]Sporting Times 20 Mar. 3/4: His domestic rebellion [...] led to his being sacked from Harrow.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 5 Nov. 86: It’ll be awfully rough on my people if I’m sacked.
[UK]Magnet 22 Feb. 11: I’d like to see him sacked from the school.
[UK]Gem 23 Sept. 20: Keep it dark. I was your friend once. Don’t get me sacked from this school.
[UK](con. 1912) B. Marshall George Brown’s Schooldays 94: Either he’ll lace your arses off or you’ll both be sacked.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 19: Sacked from the most super public school in the country.

(d) to end a relationship with, esp. in an abrupt, brutal manner.

[US]P. Munro Sl. U. 162: sack to break up with, dump, treat (someone of the opposite sex) badly.
[UK](con. 1979–80) A. Wheatle Brixton Rock (2004) 7: If me hear that you’re palavering with any gal again, I will sack you so quick.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 98: I’m going to sack him after Christmas.

(e) (US campus) to humiliate someone.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 4: sack – to embarrass, to make someone look foolish: John was sacked by Betty.

(f) (Aus. prison) to ostracize.

[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Sacked. Sent to Coventry; ostracized.

3. (US Und.) to tie someone up with the cord round their limbs and throat; they are then placed in a sack and when they struggle to get free they will asphyxiate themselves.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Sense of Humor’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 275: A guy from St. Louis [...] is doing most of the sacking for Frankie Ferocious.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 205: Sometimes they ‘sacked’ a victim, drugging him first, then tying him in a gunny sack with a noose drawn loosely around his neck and tied to his ankles.

4. to allot a sleeping place.

[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] Sack him in my mess. It’s his first ship.

In phrases

sack (down) (v.)

to go to bed, to sleep.

[US]B. Stiles Serenade to the Big Bird 113: Sam casually announced that I was staying home. ‘Oates is going,’ he said. ‘You can sack.’.
[UK]A. Sinclair My Friend Judas (1963) 19: I [...] took a swig of milk from the bottle, turned off the Brube, and sacked down. I was pooped, all muzzy.
[US]R.E. Alter Carny Kill (1993) 10: ‘Got a place to sack,’ he asked.
[US](con. 1970) J.M. Del Vecchio 13th Valley (1983) 471: ‘I’m sackin,’ he whispered.
sack in (v.)

1. (US) to go to bed, to sleep.

[US]M. Spillane Long Wait (1954) 9: I’m tired and dirty and I want to get sacked in for the night.
[Ire]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 35: When I’m gone from the ould sod, sacked in with some lovely French doll.
[UK](con. 1943) A. Myrer Big War 223: Come on, Al. Let’s sack in.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 155: He went to his own bunk and sacked in.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 79: Listen, pal, before I sack in [...] why don’t you tell us.

2. to lie in, to stay in bed.

[US](con. WWII) R. Leckie Marines! 41: He’s still sackin’ in.
sack off (v.)

see sense 2b above.

sack out (v.)

to fall asleep, to go to bed.

Vocational Trends 7 82: Butch is sacked out. He stayed up late last night beating his gums with the gang.
[US](con. 1950) E. Frankel Band of Brothers 31: Gonna sack out, Skipper. Anything you want me to do first?
[Aus]P. Pinney Restless Men 69: ‘Musgrove bloody Park!’ Specs growled. ‘Hot as a bodgie fiver! Every vag and winedot in Brisbane sacks out there.’.
[US]E. Shepard Doom Pussy 40: Some shucked their uniforms [...] and shaved before sacking out.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 129: I took it easy for a few days — sacked out a lot, watched television.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 14: When Keith left I sacked out immediately. Not that I had much say in the matter. Twenty-two hours later I opened my eyes.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 63: We better all sack out if we expect to get an early start in the morning.
[US]E. Weiner Drop Dead, My Lovely (2005) 230: Stephanie [...] got comfy, and sacked out.
[Aus]P. Temple Broken Shore (2007) [ebook] They would all be in the shed, the dogs sacked out [...] round the old potbelly stove.
sack up (v.)

1. (US) to go to bed.

[US]J.W. Bishop ‘Amer. Army Speech’ in AS XXI:4 Dec. 251: Sack. Bed. To sack up or hit the sack is to go to bed. Sack time is sleep.
[US]W. Guthrie Seeds of Man (1995) 224: I guess that they’re sacked up asleep.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 73: Guess I’ll go sack up.
[US]J. Thompson ‘Sunrise at Midnight’ in Fireworks (1988) 165: What he was sacked up with was two other guys – [...] they’d been having a party.

2. (US) to be quiet.

[UK]Observer (London) 9 Nov. 22/2: Vets need to sack up. We will bash each other for no fucking reason.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

sack ’em up (man) (n.) [the corpse is placed in a sack before its delivery to a hospital]

a resurrectionist or grave-robber.

[Ire]Waterford Mail 13 Mar. 4/5: The box was opened and the skeleton of a child found in it. This was confirmation [...] that the old woman was not only a ‘sack ’em up’ herself, but the mother [...] of a family of ressurectionists.
W. Carleton Misfortunes of Barney Branagan (1850) 237: He also entertained a terror of the sack-’em-ups [...] created by the exaggerating tongue of rumour, which gave awful accounts of men who were kidnapped, smothered, and sold to the surgeons for large sums of money.
J.V. Huntington Rosemary 24: A coarse bag and naked body is the wonted style of the resurrectionist, or ‘sack-em-up’ — to use an expressive old country term.
[Ire]Shamrock (Dublin) 11 Jan. 254/2: It was, indeed, the very height of the period of bodysnatchers, sack-em-ups and resurrection-men.
London Jrnl 21 Dec. 394/1: Lanty, did you ever hear of a resurrectionist—a sack-em-up?
W. Carleton Works I 474: A mere sack-’em-up, who disinters the dead, and sells their remains for money.
J. Moore Ball [bk title] The Sack-’Em-Up Men.
(con. 1880s) W.B. Blanton Medicine in Virginia in the Nineteenth Century 70: This latter was the Potter’s Field in the eighties when old Billy, veteran sack-em-up man, and his promising assistant, Chris Baker, were in their heyday.
[Ire]G.A. Little Malachi Horan Remembers 25: There were in those days men who went by the name of ‘sack-em-ups’ – what you would call resurrection men. They used to rob graveyards and sell the bodies to the doctors.
(con. 19C) E. O’Brien Conscience and Conflict 58: With the Act came the end of the body-snatching era — the ‘sack-em-up’ man was no more.
sack up (v.)

1. (US campus) to survive a challenging situation [? one places it in a fig. SE sack].

[US]‘Tom Pendleton’ Iron Orchard (1967) 276: We’re gonna sack up this oil business, sweetheart. I can make deals for these people. A percentage are bound to hit.
[US]Da Bomb [Internet] 24: Sack Up: To come through in a difficult situation.

2. (drugs) to divide up and place bulk drugs into separate bags prior to sale.

[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 75: Bailin’ through the party with a pound of bud / All sacked up in straight dimes and dubs.

In exclamations

sack it!

be quiet!

[UK](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 49: —Sack it, ya fat cunt, Begbie says —she’s mine, but, eh, Lesley?
[UK]I. Welsh Decent Ride 455: fuckin sack it, barksdale., ah’m tellin ye!