Green’s Dictionary of Slang

take care of v.


1. to arrest.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ Snare of the Road 98: They won’t be able to take care of all of us.
[US]B. Appel Tough Guy [ebook] There’d been Jack Legs Diamond and Waxey Gordon also, but those two guys’d been taken care of with the help of Dewey, the racket buster.

2. to beat up; to kill.

[US]Standard (London) 20 Oct. 1/4: ‘Give it him home, Harry’ — ‘Take care of him now — he sees his own blood’.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 24 Nov. 114: ‘You stay right here now,’ he whispered; ‘I’ll take care of that fellow.’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘Situation Wanted’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 658: In six or seven years [...] Asleep takes care of scores of characters.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 34: The kind of slugger who could take care of two ordinary guys by himself.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 121: The Cootas [are] going to be taken care of by a group even more professional than us.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 185: Let me take care-a the nigger for you.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 41: I [...] took him out there in the country and took care of him.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 26: I’m glad you took care of that prick who was using my name.
[US]G. Sikes 8 Ball Chicks (1998) 32: Other guys in the hood could have taken care of this girl.
A. Kleinzahler Cutty one Rock (2005) 165: He somehow got into it with several greasers late one night [...] he took care of a couple of them.

3. to bribe; to exert (political) pressure on.

[US]N. Nye Breed of the Chaparral (1949) 72: Will fifty thousan’ take care o’ you?
[US]Mad mag. May 9: A ten dollar bill for [...] looking the other way ... I hope that takes care of you.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 13: I always took care of the special bulls and it got to the point where Red’s package arrived almost without inspection.
[US]R. Cooley When Corruption Was King 235: [of coupt judges] We’re gonna have to take care of Scotillo and Buck now’.

4. to have sexual intercourse with.

[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 185: There cute-looking girls [...] stretched out in the hot sun. ‘Oh, brother,’ the Killer observed, ‘how wudja like to take care of them?’.
[US]‘John Eagle’ Hoodlums (2021) 45: ‘A little gift from my honey, for taking care of her. If you know what I mean’ [ibid.] 99: Remember this kid is taking care of me. Like I’ve never been taken care of before. What she didn’t know in the bedroom wasn’t necessary.
[Ire]R. Doyle Snapper 128: You took care of me five months ago. Goodbye, Mister Burgess.

5. to cause trouble for.

[US]S.E. Wallace Participant Observation Journal in Wallace Skid Row (1965) 38: Out he goes after that. I told him about it. I’ll take care of him.
[US] ‘Old Zebra Dun’ in G. Logsdon Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing (1995) 83: All you so and so’s, you said this hawse was tame! / Well, I’ll ride him! I’m his owner! But I’m takin’ care of you. / You boys now have a burro! You can go to Timbucktoo!

6. to pay, to give a tip.

[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 44: Thanks Pops, I’ll take care of you when I come down tomorrow.