Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pipe v.1

[SE pipe, to play a pipe]

1. to talk; esp. as pipe out v., to start talking, to interrupt; hit the pipe v., to inform.

[UK]Fletcher Chances II i: I say cut his Wezand, spoil his Piping.
[UK]Jack Randall’s Diary 31: It may appear affectation in one so intimate with Mr. R. as myself, to come piping in with my lamentations.
[UK]Comic Almanack Oct. 65: Just stow your magging, for you’ve piped enough.
[UK]Comic Almanack Sept. 237: ‘Stop, Mr. Ferguson,’ pipes a young gentleman of about thirteen.
[UK]G.A. Sala Quite Alone III 142: ‘Hush, hush!’ piped the schoolmaster.
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Life on the Mississippi (1914) 264: Otherwise one would pipe out and say [etc.].
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 154: Without stoppin’ a minute, he pipes out, ‘You’re to include this in the parcel goin’ to Captain Moppit to-night’.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘First in the Field’ Sporting Times 29 Feb. 1/3: ‘I’m not joking—’ ‘No, of course not, you are not Joe King, I know, / Any more than I’m Joe Miller,’ piped the merry beak.
[US]T.A. Dorgan ‘Daffydills’ in El Paso Herald (TX) 8 Sept. 8: They pulled like fury. ‘Steve has found it’ they piped.
[UK]Chuckles 10 Jan. 1: ‘Hip-pip-pip-hoo-RAY! I feel like doing the hornpipe, I do!’ piped Breezy Ben.
[US](con. 1918) J. Stevens Mattock 248: If youse pipe a word to that runt [...] you’ll go to Leavenworth!
[Ire]S. O’Casey Within the Gates ii: Oh, piping out of you the same old rot that I’ve heard a thousand times – mother, work, and thrift!
[Ire](con. 1890s) S. O’Casey Pictures in the Hallway 26: Johnny’s Ma had piped out of her that Johnny’s Da always held by Shakespeare as the greatest writer of all time.
[US]H. Miller Sexus (1969) 140: ‘I’m glad you said that,’ piped MacGregor.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 153: Whitey the punk would start singing. He’d pipe the lot of them into the electric chair.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 144: An old switchman off a Katy caboose [...] popped his knob out the window and piped toothlessly, ‘What’s going on out there?’.

2. to weep; thus piping n. and adj., crying.

R. Sanderson Works II (1854) 45: Neither John’s mourning nor Christ’s piping can pass the pikes.
[UK]Mme D’Arblay Diary and Letters (1904) I 238: No more piping, pray.
[UK]C. Dibdin [song] Why, what’s that to you if my eyes I’m a piping, A tear is a comfort, d’ye see, in its way [F&H].
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 102: He’s got too smacking a splice of the devil in him to pipe for such a trifle as the death of a litle silly blackamoor boy.
[UK] ‘True Bottom Boxer’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 93: With ogles and smellers, no piping and chiming.
[UK]Marryat Snarleyyow I 106: Oh, what’s the use of piping, boys, I never yet could larn, / The good of water from the eyes I never could disarn.
[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair I 225: It is quite common to see the women present piping, sobbing, sniffing, hiding their little faces in their little useless pocket-handkerchiefs.
[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue 25: pipe v. To weep. ‘She is piping her eye.’.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]J. Astley Fifty Years (2nd edn) II 149: He burst out crying, and [...] you can do nothing at any game with a party who pipes his eye.
[Aus]Camperdown Chron. (Vic.) 19 Nov. 2s/6: Emily was piping her eye and I was dead beat.
[UK]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 28: He ‘could do wiv a bit o’ pipin’ just the same’.

3. to breathe heavily, through exertion, e.g. in a prizefight.

[US]N.Y. Eve. Post 10 July 2/4: Neate was piping and openmouthed.
[UK]Annals of Sporting 1 Jan. 58: 5th and 6th [rounds] Was a kind of cessation of hostilities; tired and piping caused no go; no mischief done.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 4 Feb. 2/2: He was piping like an old pair of bellows.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 15 July 2/2: Ruggy, although piping, stepped up boldly.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 45: Gaynor, although piping, was confident.
[UK](con. 1820) Fights for the Championship 61: Both piping a little [...] both went down.

4. (US black) to sing.

[US]P. Beatty White Boy Shuffle 67: Anita O’Day, she could pipe.

In phrases

pipe the stem (v.) [stem n. (1)]

(US) to beg in a city’s main street.

[US]G. Milburn ‘Gila Monster Route’ in Hobo’s Hornbook 159: They had piped the stem and threw their feet, / And speared four bits for something to eat.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]I.L. Allen City in Sl. (1995) 41: The phrase on the stem is hobo jargon for walking the main street of a town, sometimes panhandling and begging, or, as they said, mooching the stem or piping the stem.
stretch a pipe (v.)

see separate entry.

take a pipe (v.)

to cry.

[UK]J. Hogg Wool-Gatherer 155: Ah, he’s coming, poor fellow – he’s takin a pipe to himsel at the house-end [...] his heart can stand naething – it is as saft as a snaw-ba’.