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 ]

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.

[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Tony Lumpkin in Town (1780) 29: If you come the gentleman usher [...] you’ll absolutely knock your head against my fistis [sic].
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 166: The Fawney Rig. A Ring Dropper: a fellow who has gotten a woman’s pocket, with a pair of scissors, some thread, a thimble, and a housewife with a ring in it, which he drops for some credulous person to pick up. [...] He then comes the stale story of ‘If you will give me eight or nine shillings for my share, you shall have the whole.’ If you accede to this and swallow his bait, you have the ring and pocket, worth about sixpence.
[Aus]P. Cunningham New South Wales II 264: One of these was endued with the natural gift of ‘coming the piteous’ (to use their own slang).
[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 589: Hear him come the four cats in the wheelbarrow – four distinct cats; sir, I pledge you my honour. Now you know that’s infernal clever.
[UK]W.N. Glascock Land Sharks and Sea Gulls II 104: But mind ye one thing — don’t attempt to come the rig without we [sic].
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 14 Dec. 303/1: You need not come the bounce too much without a feather to fly with.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 49: I’ve caught him, Julia! I came the sentimental over him.
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes II 253: Newcome is trying to come the religious dodge, as Mr. Potts calls it.
[US]‘Artemus Ward’ Artemus Ward, His Book 18: We must fetch the public sumhow. We must wurk on their feelins. Cum the moral on ’em strong.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 167: Just try to come the hanky-panky and play the old soldier with him and there was no man in Dartmoor Prison more up to every move than the old Marine.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 230: Once I heard her comin’ the religious dodge over two old ladies she’d cornered in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
[UK]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 14 July 7/2: If i could have procured a morself of soap I would have ‘come the epileptic dodge’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Aug. 9/1: Oh, she could come the gay Pauline / Till wrecked by fortune’s rudder; / And as ‘the lady’ in ‘Macbeth’ / She’d make a dead man shudder!
[Aus]E. Favenac ‘Parson’s Blackboy’ in Murdoch & Drake-Brockman Classic Australian Short Stories (1997) 22: You’re not a bad sort, I can see; but don’t come the blooming innercent!
[UK]Kipling ‘Bonds of Discipline’ in Traffics and Discoveries 60: That’s where ’e’s comin’ the bloomin’ onjenew. ’E knows a lot, reely.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 11 Nov. 1/1: A loud-mouthed bookmaker threatens to maroon him on the Orizaba if he ‘comes his comics’.
[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 80: The detective was coming the innocent dodge, and his little lead off was most excellent, and displayed great quickness and readiness of thought.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 271: Another wheeze is to come the sweet young thing in muslin.
[UK]B. Cronin Timber Wolves 43: See here, Mister, you can’t come the bluff on me like that.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 104: Which is what Mexicans is always doin’ when they ain’t tryin’ to come the neat stuff with a dame.
[Aus]K. Tennant Foveaux 48: If you think you can come the Holy Willie over me, Jock, just because I come in to have a drink with a friend of my girl friend’s, while he waits for her to get off, you can . . .
[Aus]K. Tennant Joyful Condemned 226: He did not like, as he put it, for anyone ‘to come the bounce over him’.
[UK]W. Hall Long and the Short and the Tall Act I: Eight-double-seven Private Bamforth to you, Corporal Macleish. You want to come the regimental, boy, we’ll have it proper.
[Aus]‘David Forrest’ Hollow Woodheap 149: ‘Is she sick?’ ‘No, but you will be if Doug comes the knuckle.’.
[UK]J. Mandelkau Buttons 132: She started coming this crush where she was the film director’s wife.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 29: Boracic – a tall story, as in ‘Don’t come the boracic with me’.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] Jack [...] don’t come the lawyer with me.
[UK]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 279: ‘Don’t come the cowboy with me, son’.

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]

(Aus.) to be full of opinions and predictions, after the event.

[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 47: COMING THE AFTERGAME: sporting slang: – to make an assertion of the ‘didn’t I tell you so’ or ‘I knew it’ kind after the conclusion of any event. Also – expressing repentance after losing money and swearing never to bet again.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl.
come the artful (dodge) (v.)

to hoax, to deceive.

[UK]New Sporting Mag. Mar. 218: then comes the doubt as to whether the Derby winner will follow the example of so many predecessors, and fail to come the artful dodge over ‘Canny Yorkshire’.
[UK]Devizes & Wilts. Gaz. 25 Jan. 3/5: It enabled some of the ‘prads’ [...] to come the ‘artful’.
[UK]Hereford Jrnl 21 Oct. 3/7: [The bull] made a desperate charge at his mounted enemy, who tried [...] to come the artful dodge by manoeuvring about among the trees.
Naturalist III 239: These moths it generally caught on the wing, but should one chance to ‘come the artful dodge,’ and endeavour to baffle the intentions of its pursuer, by dropping amongst the herbage, it would be down upon it in a moment.
G. Rose Mrs. Brown on the Skating Rink 136: Oh! he come the artful dodge more than once, ritin’ letters, a-sayin’ as he were a-dyin’, and a-goin’ to prisin and all like that.
come the double (v.)

1. (US) to doublecross.

[US]N.Y. Times 3 Sept. 2/5: She is a smart woman, but [...] not smart enough to come the double over him.
[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 13: I think you’re coming the double over me, Bill [...] You must have got more than sixteen dollars for that watch!
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘A Holy War’ Rose of Spadgers 43: A crooked crook is Spike amongst the crooks, / A rat, ’oo’d come the double on ’is friends.
[Aus]S. Gore Holy Smoke 51: ‘Oh yeah!’ He says. ‘Comin’ th’ double, eh?’.

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

[Aus]C.E.W. Bean Anzac Book 47/2: So ’e gets ’is grub after all, but ’e couldn’t come the double no more after that.
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 17: come the double — Demand one’s dues after having already received them.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 62: Come The Double, To: To take more than one’s share.
come the heavy (v.)

to pose as a member of a superior class to that to which one actually belongs.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 243/2: from ca. 1860.
come the (old) bag (v.)

(orig. milit.) to bluff, to ‘try it on’.

[UK]Partridge DSUE.
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 103: They’re all right so long’s you don’t let ’em come the old bag. One o’ mine’d been getting me nothing but duds all week.
come the old man (v.) [to pretend to infirm old age, or naut. use of old man, the captain]

to act in a lazy manner, to shirk one’s duties.

[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 61: Come The Old Man [...] To attempt to shirk anything. To try to bluff someone.
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]

to deceive another for one’s own benefit, esp. to avoid an unpleasant task.

[UK]C. Shadwell Humours of the Army Act III: The Devil a Farthing he owes me – but however, I’ll put the old soldier upon him.
[UK]W. Scott St Ronan’s Well (1833) 195: Curse me but I should think he was coming the old soldier over me, and keeping up his game.
[UK]West Kent Guardian 23 Nov. 6/2: I suppose he thought as I was an Irishman he could come the old soldier over me.
[UK]New Sprees of London 22: In one part you may behold a number of vagrants that have probably excited your commiseration in the streets, by [...] shamming fits, coming the old sailor, pitching the Spitalfields weaver, or the tradesman out of work!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 30 June 3/2: Mr. Gilligan, your female friend has come the old soldier over you.
[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 122: When it was my quarter-watch on deck, and not in the top, and others went skulking and ‘sogering’ about the decks, secure from detection [...] my own hapless jacket forever proclaimed the name of its wearer.
[UK](con. 1850) Fights for the Championship 222: He was evidently playing the old soldier and reserving his strength.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 369: You needn’t try to come the old soldier over me. I’m not quite such a fool.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 167: Just try to [...] play the old soldier with him and there was no man in Dartmoor Prison more up to every move than the old Marine.
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple II 247: If you and your two friends think of coming what is vulgarly called the old soldier over me [etc.].
[UK]Daily News 3 Mar. in Ware (1909) 87/1: A great amount of imposture was practised by means of the ‘old soldier’ dodge upon the Duke of Wellington during the latter part of his life. To ‘come the old soldier’ is in some quarters still a familiar expression signifying the practice of an artful trick, and the ‘old soldiers’ after Waterloo were so numerous and so pestered the Duke of Wellington that he was fain to hand over all applications for alms to the Old Mendicity Society.
[[US]G. Davis Recoll. Sea-Wanderer 74: Mr. Williams was very much discontented at the way in which the captain was 'sogering' below, putting upon his officer's shoulders double duty and the entire responsibility of the voyage].
[US]‘Frederick Benton Williams’ (H.E. Hamblen) On Many Seas 309: The mate jumped on me for sojering in the halyards.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 351: Don’t you ever try and come the old soldier over me.
[US]F. Norris McTeague (1958) 323: You soldiered me out of that money once, and played me for a sucker, an’ it’s my turn now.
[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 164: The horse soldiered on me something scandalous, so that I was generally about fifteen minutes late.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 118: When I’ve been soldierin’, and try to run in a stiff bluff instead of the real goods, he looks as disappointed as if I’d done something real low down.
[US]H.A. Franck Zone Policeman 88 268: Then there was Bridgley, who had also once displayed his svelte form in a Z. P. uniform to admiring tourists, but was now a pursuer of ‘soldiering’ Hindus on Naos Island.
[UK]Lichfield Mercury 4 May 5/2: When a man attempts to take undue advantage over another he is said to be ‘coming the old soldier’.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 61: Come The Old Soldier [...] To attempt to shirk anything. To try to bluff someone.
[US]W. Edge Main Stem 90: He soldiered on the job, leaving to Slim and me nearly the entire burden of the heavy rods.
[US]W.R. Burnett Iron Man 105: You been soldiering on me, Coke.
[UK]G. Ingram Cockney Cavalcade 282: You can’t come the ‘old soldier’ with me. I know you too well.
[US]C. Rawson Headless Lady (1987) 17: But no soldiering, understand. If you cross me up -.
[US]W.R. Burnett Little Men, Big World 97: They’d take your money and then soldier on the job.
[UK]G. Kersh Fowlers End (2001) 97: This is our new manager, Mr. Laverock. Look at ’im, and ask yourself is this the kind of person to come the old soldier with.
Haisman & Lincoln ‘The Web of Fear’ in Dr Who [TV script] Scene xiii: Don’t try to come the old soldier with me, lad!
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 204: Tin soldier (a) To be impertinent or obstructive, as in ‘don’t come the old tin soldier with me!’.
[UK](con. WW2) T. Jones Heart of Oak [ebook] Now I knew what Tansy and Bert meant when they described somebody who worked shoddily or slowly as ‘a blinking soldier’ or as ‘coming the old soldier’.
posting at www.bbc.co.uk 3 Mar. [Internet] Now now lad dont come the old soldier, you can be excused cleaning my boots for two weeks send Ron in to do it.
come the Paddy (v.) [Paddy n. (1)]

to hoodwink, to deceive.

[Aus]J. Furphy Rigby’s Romance (1921) Ch. viii: [Internet] ‘Rats!’ says Parryo [i.e. Pharaoh] . ‘Gorstruth!’ says he, ‘did you think you’d come Paddy over me? Won’t wash no (adj.) road.’.
come the possum over (v.) [stereotype of the cowardly, dissembling possum]

to pretend to be ill or even dead.

[US]E. Kirby Among Pines 189: He seems well enough, sir; I believe he’s coming the possum over mother [DA].
come the raw prawn (v.) (also come the raw pommie, come the uncooked crustacean, cop the raw prawn)

(Aus.) to act resentfully or unpleasantly, to be rude.

[Aus]Salt: Army Education Jrnl 25 May 8: Don’t come the raw prawn, don’t try to put one over me .
[Aus]S.L. Elliott Rusty Bugles I i: He’d better not come the raw prawn on us.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 328: Coupla bastards come the raw prawn over me on the last lap up from Melbourne and I done me last bob at Swy.
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 22: Don’t you come the raw prawn with me neither mate or I’ll flatten you.
[Aus]B. Hesling Dinkumization or Depommification 48: I’m not coming the raw pommie over you.
[Aus]J. Murray Larrikins 30: Don’t come the raw prawn with me.
[Aus]H. Lunn Behind Banana Curtain 43: [Ch. title] Copping the Raw prawn.
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 43: Raw Prawn: If someone ‘comes the raw prawn’, one has behaved in an extremely offensive fashion, hence, ‘Don’t come the bloody raw prawn with me, mate.’.
[UK]K. Lette Foetal Attraction (1994) 123: I’m sick of you coming the raw prawn.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 50: come the uncooked crustacean Cause trouble, often by attempting to dupe. A variant on popular Australian phrase ‘come the raw prawn’. Often negative use, don’t come the uncooked crustacean, meaning don’t try to fool me. ANZ.
[UK]Guardian 10 July 3: Don’t come the raw prawn with me.
come the roots over (v.)

(US campus) to defeat by trickery.

[UK]Times 23 Jan. 2/1: A well known merchant on J street was yesterday charged by a teamster with coming ‘roots’ [of all evil!] over him to amount of $30 [DA].
[US]L.H. Bagg Four Years at Yale 46: Roots, tricks. Used only in the phrase, to ‘come the roots over’ a person, that is, to get the better of him by some trick or deceit.
[US]H.L. Wilson Somewhere in Red Gap 327: Some silly game he tried to come the roots over folks with.
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]

to pretend to great wealth.

Farmer & Henley Dict. Sl. 111/2: To come the Rothschild, to pretend to be rich.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 244/1: ca. 1880–1914.
J. Gardner Return of Moriarty 57: A relatively young whore, Mary Jane Kelly, who sometimes came the Rothschild about her past, calling herself Marie Jeannette Kelly.
come the tin man (v.) [SE tin, petty, worthless, counterfeit (as opposed to precious metal) + man]

1. to deceive, to bluff.

[Aus]Aus. Town and Country Jrnl 3 May 16: The most curious slang in the world is that of South Africa. If anyone tries to impose on him , or play him a trick, he is trying to ‘come the tin man’ and will be told to ‘voetsak’.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 244/1: C.20.

2. to make oneself a nuisance.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 244/1: C.20.
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]

of a prostitute, to pretend to be suffering from phthisis or pulmonary consumption.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 244/1: C.19 † by 1891.
come the ugly over/with (v.) [SE ugly, unpleasant]

to make threats, to menace.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 244/1: from ca. 1870.