1. (also cap) a confederate in a gambling game who poses as another gambler but actually works to swindle the genuine participants; similarly used in confidence tricks; also used of confidecne tricksters (e.g. cite 1845) [such a confederate is always able to cap everyone else’s bet].
|Discoveries (1774) 31: There are generally four Persons concerned; that is, the Sailor, called a Legg Cull, to pinch the Nobb; the next is the Capper, who always keeps with the Sailor; and two Pickers up, or Money Droppers, to bring in Flats.|
|Life of Richard Nash in Coll. Works (1966) III 347: There are generally four persons concerned in this fraud, one to personate a Sailor, called a Legg Cull, another called the Capper, who always keeps with the Sailor.|
|Thieving Detected 30: When the Cap hath finished his story of him, the Kid comes in with a pack of cards [...] When the Kid has lost about ten or twelve guineas, he refuses to play any more with the Cap, he being so lucky – But I’ll play, says he, with either of these gentlemen. – Well are you agreeable says the Picker-up to the Flat.|
|Whole Art of Thieving 8: The Art of Old Nobb, called Pricking in the Girdle. There are generally four persons concerned, that is, the sailor, called a Legg Cull, to pinch the Nobb; the next is the Capper, who always keeps with the sailor: and two pickers up, or Money Droppers, to bring in Flats.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 13 Dec. 133/3: On going down Broadway [...] he was accosted by a watch stuffer who, with the assistance of his pal or capper, endeavoured to stuff him with a mock watch.|
|N.Y. Daily Globe 13 Mar. 2/5–6: What are you afraid of? – none of the New York Cappers are about. I know ’em all.|
|Alta Calif. (S.F.) 25 Apr. 1/7: Each shop has a glib-mouthed auctioneer and at least two cappers, puffers, or decoy-ducks [DA].|
|Vocabulum 17: capper. One who supports another’s assertion, to assist in cheating, ‘The burner bammed the file with sham books, and his pal capped in for him’ — The sharp cheated the countryman with false cards, and his confederate assisted (capped) in the fraud.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Dec. 2/4: There will be so many ‘sheenies,’ ‘hoisters,’ ‘fences’ and ‘cappers’ on hand.|
|Undeveloped West 92: The long hall is soon crowded with a motley throng of three or four hundred miners, ranchmen, clerks, ‘bullwhackers,’ gamblers and ‘cappers’.|
|Forty Years a Gambler 31: About this time the ‘capper’ came up, and said he was positive he could guess the card.|
|Poker Stories 53: These cappers wouldn’t win any money.|
|Gentle Grafter (1915) 228: Rufe was to be the capper. I gave him a roll of phony currency to bet with and kept a bunch of it in a special pocket to pay his winnings out of.‘The Ethics of Pig’ in|
|Taking the Count 118: Logan’s the main finger of the bunch – the boss. The others are cappers and steerers.‘The Spotted Sheep’|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 151: His ‘cappers,’ ‘boosters,’ and ‘shills’ fought with the yokels for a chance to get something for nothing and always beat them to the pieces of soap containing the money.|
|Western Fiction Monthly Aug. [Internet] He glanced around swiftly, trying to locate the cappers.‘Don’t Frame a Red Head’ in|
|Songs of a Sun Lover (1955) 72: A satellite of Soapy Smith, a capper and a shill, / A slimy tribute-taker from the Ladies on the Loose.‘Montreal Maree’ in|
|Men of the Und. 320: Capper, An assistant to a confidence man or gambler.|
2. (US) an employee of a casino, brothel, strip-club etc, who points a potential client towards the variety of self-indulgence they seek [ext. use of sense 1].
|Galaxy (N.Y.) July 67: These are the canaille of gamblers, who [...] manage to supply the necessities of life in a cheap way, from chance success in small bets and by a few dollars picked up by guiding more profitable customers to the houses where they are known. Strictly speaking, more ‘cappers’ than gamblers, they are [...] at the bottom of the profession.|
|Hands Up! 104: ‘Cappers’ are sent out to bring in the rural visitors. They are told of the ‘big sights’ to be seen in this wonderful place; shown pictures of women in suggestive attitudes and hear stories of a reproduction of a harem and this more easily leads out-of-town sightseers astray than anything else.|
|Shorty McCabe on the Job 18: An ex-pool organizer, who makes a livin’ as capper for a hotel branch of a shady stock-brokin’ firm.|
|Detective Story 18 Feb. [Internet] He returned to the city to turn capper for a gambling-house in the upper Forties.‘White as Snow’|
|Smile A Minute 34: I [...] started to go out when the Plattsburg guy which acted like he was a capper for the show or somethin’ says to wait for the next act.|
|Sixty Seconds 234: When the cappers on the floor — the men who tear the tickets — get a crush on a girl and she won’t tumble, they swear to the boss that she’s holding out on the tickets.|
|Sucker’s Progress 415: A jostling mass of cappers, steerers, ropers-in and pickers-up, fighting over the suckers and literally dragging their prey into the gambling houses.|
|Gangs of Chicago (2002) 73: In 1860, when he was about twenty-seven years old, he became a roper and capper for a small faro bank.|
|DAUL 40/2: Capper. [...] 2. One who directs or lures customers to a gambling den, house of prostitution, or other illegal resort. ‘Sadie’s nautcheries (brothels) got the hack-drivers and coppers in town on the payroll as cappers.’.et al.|
|City in Sl. (1995) 73: Such places, also known as cab joints or steer joints, sometimes paid cab drivers, known as steerers or cappers, to bring them victims.|
3. anything seen as terminal, ‘the last straw’.
|On Blue Water 206: I’ve been in a few regular scorching hot packets, both Yanks and blue-nosers, but this puts the capper on the lot.|
|Shorty McCabe 195: As a capper he digs up that envelope, shows her there needn’t be any hitch in the program.|
|Coonardoo 311: Bob had letters in his pocket for Hugh which would put the capper on all this misery and desolation.|
|Jazz Rev. May 30: But dig, here’s the capper.|
|Harper’s Mag. Nov. 55: It’s the capper to drugs. People were at the point where they were taking anything. It was insane. But they won’t go back now.|
|Skeletons 194: Played games with you and lied to you and tried to terrorize your ass and finally, for a capper [...] let you open up their godamned closet.|
|Brown’s Requiem 33: It was a capper to a frustrating morning.|
|Yes We have No 287: And then, the capper [...] the motor was gone.|
|Pulp Ink 2 [ebook] I want to see the whores. To put the capper on this .‘Glinty-Eyed Robert’ in C. Rhatigan and N. Bird (eds)|
4. (US) a shop tout [ext. use of sense 1].
|Hands Up! 66: South side clothing ‘cappers’ rubbed their hands together in glee when the detectives passed them, offering them every inducement to come in and buy.|
|New York Day by Day 26 Nov. [synd. col.] A sleekly polished young blade who acts as a glorified capper for a jewelry firm. It is his job to steer patronage to his establishment.|
5. an anecdote that steals the limelight from a previous anecdote, a punchline.
|Essential Lenny Bruce 46: This would be a capper on Broadway.|
6. (US black) one who triumphs in contests of verbal facility.
|‘Cusswords’ [lyrics] I’m a MC rapper [...] / A big bank roller and a cold, cold capper.|