Green’s Dictionary of Slang

come the... v.

also come the old...
[ext. of come v.3 ; var. on come over v.2 /come on v.1 ]

[19C+] in a wide variety of combs. this means to act, to pose as, to attempt to be; it is always constrained by a n., e.g. come the artful, come the paddy etc. The word ‘old’ is often inserted between the phr. and the defining n., e.g. come the old soldier; see combs. below and at relevant n.

In phrases

come the... (v.)

see also under relevant n. or adj.

come the after game (v.) [image of those who analyse a sporting fixture after the game, when they naturally know better than those who actually had to play it]

[1920s+] (Aus.) to be full of opinions and predictions, after the event.

come the artful (dodge) (v.)

[19C+] to hoax, to deceive.

come the double (v.)

1. [mid-19C] (US) to doublecross.

2. [1910s] (Aus.) to take more than one’s fair share.

come the drops (v.)

[mid–late 19C] (Aus.) to make a fuss, to burst into tears.

come the heavy (v.)

[mid–late 19C] to pose as a member of a superior class to that to which one actually belongs.

come the (old) bag (v.)

[1920s] (orig. milit.) to bluff, to ‘try it on’.

come the old man (v.) [to pretend to infirm old age, or naut. use of old man, the captain]

[late 19C] to act in a lazy manner, to shirk one’s duties.

come the old soldier (v.) (also come the old sailor, tin soldier, play the old soldier, put the old soldier, soldier) [the skills of a veteran who, supposedly, knows every trick when it comes to avoiding onerous duties. Ware also cites the rash of beggars who proliferated in London after Waterloo (1815), all claiming to have taken part in the battle. Note naut. jargon soldier, a poor or lazy seaman, a shirker]

[18C+] to deceive another for one’s own benefit, esp. to avoid an unpleasant task.

come the possum over (v.) [stereotype of the cowardly, dissembling possum]

[mid-19C+] to pretend to be ill or even dead.

come the raw prawn (v.) (also come the raw pommie, come the uncooked crustacean, cop the raw prawn)

[1940s+] (Aus.) to act resentfully or unpleasantly, to be rude.

come the roots over (v.)

[mid-19C–1910s] (US campus) to defeat by trickery.

come the Rothschild (v.) [the proper name Rothschild, the epitome of the fabulously wealthy banker, esp. during the reign of the magnate-loving Edward VII]

[late 19C–1910s] to pretend to great wealth.

come the tin man (v.) [SE tin, petty, worthless, counterfeit (as opposed to precious metal) + man] [20C+]

1. to deceive, to bluff.

2. to make oneself a nuisance.

come the Traviata (v.) [the Verdi opera La Traviata (1853), which was based on Dumas fils’s La Dame aux Camélias, in which the heroine dies of that disease]

[mid–late 19C] of a prostitute, to pretend to be suffering from phthisis or pulmonary consumption.

come the ugly over/with (v.) [SE ugly, unpleasant]

[mid–late 19C] to make threats, to menace.