Green’s Dictionary of Slang

stinker n.1

also stinkard
[SE stink]

1. a loathsome, unpleasant person; occas. used teasingly/affectionately.

[UK]Dekker & Webster Northward Hoe IV i: I smelt out my noble stincker Greenshield in his Chamber.
[UK]J. Cook Greenes Tu Quoque Scene xix: I doe feare that I shall turne stinckard, I doe smell such a matter: you are married then?
[UK]Fletcher The Night-Walker I i: wil.: I am her kinsman [...] Yet honest Franke, before I would have that stinkard, That walking rotten tombe, enjoy her maidenhead... fr.: Prethee leave mocking.
[UK]Mennis & Smith ‘The Shepheards Holy Day’ Fancies and Fantasticks (1817) II 368: He that hammers like a tinker / Kettle musick is a stinker.
[UK]Congreve The Way of the World IV ii: Your Mahometan, your Mussulman, is a dry stinkard.
[UK]E.V. Kenealy Goethe: a New Pantomime 189: Scoundrel, stinkard, ruffian, booby!
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).
[UK]Kipling ‘The Flag of Their Country’ Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 220: He was further (I give the barest handful from great store) a Flopshus Cad, an Outrageous Stinker, a Jelly-bellied Flag-flapper.
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 263: Oh sufferin’ cats! The stinkers’ve got me!
[Aus]Queenslander (Brisbane) 6 Sept,. 56/1: Steve very rudely called out, ‘Hello Stinker’.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 225: Yuh pushed me in id, yuh lousy stinkuh!
[US]B. Cerf Anything For a Laugh 70: Let’s keep the little stinker six months more.
[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 24: ‘Like me a bit, Charlie?’ A kiss landed at the corner of his mouth. ‘No, you’re a little stinker.’.
[UK]H.G. Lamond Big Red 98: He had a look at them goats. [...] ‘Watch me give that ol’ stinker a bit of a hurry-up,’ says he.
[UK]A. Bennett God the Stonebreaker 118: Lying bastard. Damn lying stinker! T’ief! Crooked brute!
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 36: I thought she was a stinker when I met her.
[UK]R. Dahl Rhyme Stew (1990) 70: So finally, like all great thinkers / Who also happen to be stinkers.

2. (UK Und.) the mouth.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 51: So help my squirter, vot a rasping stink! [...] Why don’t you eat more salt and plug your stinker.

3. a black eye [20C+ use is Aus.].

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 311: bob got a stinker.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 8 Dec. 32/1: Uncle Jim was kneeling on the hearth, giving Bobbie a lesson in boxing, and from time to time he ducked cleverly to show us all how to dodge a ‘stinker.’ Uncle has the dirtiest left on the Castlereagh; in fact, you can’t see it for dirt at times.

4. a counterfeit coin.

[UK]Westmoreland Gaz. 20 Oct. 1/4: Solomons: Ven he showed it [i.e. a bad shilling] after he took it out of his mouth it was a regular stinker. Lord Mayor: Why did you put it in your mouth? You could have discovered that it was a counterfeit without tasting it. Solomon: I just put it in my mouth for to bite it, for to see whether it wasn’t a stinker: so when I finds that it bites soft, I knowed.

5. anything that emits an offensive smell, orig. aimed at cigars and cigarettes; thus penny stinker n.

[UK]Proceedings Geological Society II 21: The greater part of the workings are only shallow pits, touching merely the sulphureous beds, locally called ‘stinkers’ .
[UK]‘Paul Pry’ Oddities of London Life I 175: [H]e gets a link, a rig’lar ‘stinker,’ vich it’s a shame for any nobleman or gentleman to be obligated to walk arter.
[UK]York Herald 2 Nov. 6/2: The ventilating shafts were great stinkers.
[UK]J.D. Brayshaw Slum Silhouettes 221: They’re good uns, none o’ yer penny stinkers these ain’t. Kitty brought ’em. She knows a good smoke when she sees ’em.
[UK]Blackburn Standard 5 May 12/1: Whereupon he took another penny stinker — as rude boys call them — and lit up.
[UK]Leicester Chron. 18 Aug. 2/3: Silver was to electro what [...] the Havan cigar [was] to the two-penny stinker.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 26 June 4/8: I smells the shillin’ stinkers an’ I listens to the band.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 23 4/2: Stinker (Working Boys’). Penny cigars. Frequently so named in taverns.
[UK]Post 28 Mar. 11/1: Everybody I meet seems to be smoking the fierce black cigarette that is commonly met with in France [...] They used to be called ‘stinkers’ by the Tommies.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 291: So they started arguing about the point, Bloom saying he wouldn’t and couldn’t and excuse him no offence and all to that and then he said well he’d just take a cigar. Gob, he’s a prudent member and no mistake. – Give us one of your prime stinkers, Terry, says Joe.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 47: Canteen Stinker: A cheap cigarette. A ‘gasper’.
[UK]F. Jennings Tramping with Tramps 147: A packet of stinkers and a red ’un!
[US]A.J. Liebling Honest Rainmaker (1991) 130: A genuine Principe de la Porta [...] ‘No stinker, a real two-dollar torch.’.
[US] letter 8 Feb. in Edelman Dear America (1985) 153: The beach formed by the bay in town is a real stinker, resulting from all sorts of debris.
[US]J. Conaway Big Easy 40: [of a mortuary corpse] He was a real stinker – plumb full of corn bread.
[US]S. King Dolores Claiborne 24: Even stuck in a bed most of the time, wearing diapers and rubber pants, she could be a real stinker. The messes she made.
[UK]J. Joso Soothing Music for Stray Cats 30: But train bogs [...] they used to be well worse. Man, they were stinkers.

6. an exceptional example of, e.g. a cold in the head.

[UK]‘A Grand Turn-Up’ in Randy Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) I 188: Ragged Jack gave his rival a stunning blow on the conk and down went dirty Dick [...] Bravo! bravo! cried Ned the nightman, there’s a stinker!
[UK]G. Squiers Aerbut Paerks, of Baernegum 1: Ower old mon says, ‘I ain’t ’arf copt a stinker and all,’ so the doctor ’e shoves summat in a bottle.
[UK]M. Harrison Reported Safe Arrival 23: What a stinker of a cold I shall have!
[UK]Guardian G2 3 Dec. 18: His wife Irene is having a right stinker of a blazing affair with a younger man.
[UK]Brummagem Dict. [Internet] stinker n. a cold; flu. ‘I aint ’arf copt a stinker an’ all.’.

7. (Aus.) a very hot or humid day.

Port Augusta Dispatch (SA) 3 Jan. 2/6: Christmas Day at Tarcoola was ‘a stinker’ - 112 in the shade - writes our correspondent, from there, on Dec. 26.
[Aus]Chron. (Adelaide) 15 June 63/1: Already the distant hills and the granite outcrop were being swallowed in waves of shimmering mirage; Taffy decided that the day was going to be a ‘real stinker’.
Don Dorrigo Gaz. (NSW) 4 Feb. 3/1: It’s also a ‘stinker’ of a day - must be a 200 deg. job to-day.
[Aus]D. Hewett Bobbin Up (1961) 101: A real stinker ain’t it?
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 104: Hot already outside. It’s going to be a real stinker today.
[Aus] L. Redhead ‘Grassed’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] The next day was a stinker. The eucalypt scented humidity and relentless cicada buzz combined to form an oppressive wall.

8. (Aus.) a Chinese person.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Apr. 31/3: I must save myself at all costs. Damn that poker-party last night! How the devil is a fellow to distinguish one ‘schtinker’ from another when he’s been keeping it up all night?

9. a brandy-ball sweet.

[UK]Marvel 10 Mar. 197: A pennyworth of stinkers – brandy-balls, you know.

10. a bad turn, an unkind act.

[UK]Essex Newsman 14 Nov. 2/8: Miss Garrett and I walked toghether to the Common gate. I left her outside [...] but when I came back she had gone. [...] Laver asked me if I was going out next night and I said, ‘No, she has done me a stinker to-night, and I have made no appointment with her’.

11. anything considered unpleasant because of the difficulty in accomplishing it, e.g. a school essay; thus come a stinker v., to fall into difficulties (evidence suggests that this may be unique to Wodehouse).

[UK]Kipling ‘Regulus’ Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 158: The second stanza [...] of that Ode is what is technically called a ‘stinker’.
[UK]F. Bason Diary I (1950) 20: It ain’t a bad life when the weather is O.K. But it’s a stinker when it is wet.
[UK]Wodehouse Right Ho, Jeeves 65: It seems a pity that the frail craft of love should come a stinker like this.
Wodehouse Thank You Jeeves134: ‘And Sir Roderick came a stinker?’ ‘He appears to have fallen with some heaviness, sir.’.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 67: What we call ‘a bit of a stinker,’ a case where there looks to be lots of trouble before anyone is caught – if ever.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 204: Stinker Difficult exam.
[UK]Wodehouse Bachelors Anonymous 130: It’s his love life. It’s come a stinker.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 51: The man from Columbia presented him with a check [...] and a stinker of a contract.
[Aus]Bug (Aus.) 4 Aug. [Internet] There is so much debate over rule changes that when a real stinker comes along, it’s not treated with the uproar it deserves.

12. a strongly worded letter; a disagreeable review or other communication.

[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 166: Like Lord Byron reading a review of his last slim volume [...] and finding it a stinker.
[UK]K. Williams Diaries 24 Sept. 155: Bernard Levin in the Express gives it [i.e. a play] an absolute stinker.
[UK](con. c.1928) D. Holman-Hunt My Grandmothers and I (1987) 180: An old bee, Aunt Emily, wrote the Guvnor a proper stinker after she read something in a rag.
[UK]Camden New Journal (London) Rev. 4 Sept. VII: Sumptuous costumes and wonderful locations mean this film will no doubt be a [...] hit across the Pond. But as a drama it’s a stinker.
[UK]Guardian G2 10 Feb. 6/2: Andy Warhol’s maxim, ‘Don’t read your reviews, weight them,’ clearly cut no ice. He still remembers every stinker.

13. an unfunny ‘joke’.

[US]W. Winchell ‘On Broadway’ 6 Dec. [synd. col.] He quotes radio writers in defence of their raid on Joe’s ancient stinkers . . . That’s all the dial muggs savvy.

14. a failure.

[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 184: I was just running some pictures at the studio. Two stinkers.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Dead Man’s Shakedown’ in Dan Turner Detective Mar. [Internet] Think of the publicity you’ll get for free on ‘Desert Destiny’ and all the other Fernando del Cavallero stinkers.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 281: This stinker, loser, bomb, meant twenty-three million dollars of P-P’s money down the toilet.
[US]G. Axelrod N.Y. Times n.p.: I took Bill Holden, Audrey Hepburn, Marlene Dietrich, Noël Coward and the city of Paris and made an absolute stinker [R].
[UK]Guardian G2 23 July 13: People say your show is a stinker.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 85: They shot a one-reel stinker [...] Cohen at Coney Island.
[UK]Guardian G2 14 Oct. 11/1: One critic described it [i.e. a musical] as ‘a real gold-plated stinker’.

15. a bad mood.

[UK]K. Sampson Powder 488: Keva, in a stinker again.