Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bloomer n.2

[blooming adj.1 + SE error]

1. of an individual or object, a fake, a fraud.

[UK]Sporting Times (London) 15 Feb. 3/1: ‘Buy the old bloomer a trumpet, if ’e can’t ’ear straight!’.
[UK]letter in Sporting Times 6 Sept. 3/2: E sez with any luk i wil git the old blumer worned orf the Eath .
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 130: A Promissory Note that was a Bloomer to begin with.

2. (orig. Aus.) an error, a slip; usu. in phrs. go/make a bloomer, come a bloomer.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 31 July 17/4: [H]e seems to have made a ‘bloomer’ in more ways than one.
[UK]D. Sladen in Barrère & Leland Sl., Jargon and Cant I 140/1: Bloomer (Australian), prison slang for a mistake. Abbreviated from the expression ‘a blooming error’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 14 Jan. 6/6: However we do make bloomers at times.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 116: ‘I ain’t workin’ de odder evenin’ on account o’ me mitt not havin’ rounded to from de bloomer I made in de road race’.
[UK]Castling & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] That Was a Bloomer 🎵 you believe all that you see you fall into a net / Then - to use a sporting phrase - you’re on a bloomer.
[Aus]S. Aus. Register (Adelaide) 11 May 5/1: Among the words [...] which called forth enquiring interjections from Mr Justice Holroyd were [...] ‘bloomer’ (meaning an error).
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Mar. 11/4: Our Vernacular / Teacher: ‘What is the meaning of mistake?’ / Young Australia (eagerly): ‘Pleassir, bloomer!’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 30 Aug. 11/3: What shocking ‘bloomers’ (from a smoking-room point of view) women often do make when they venture into print, simply because of their comparative ignorance of male argot.
[UK]Illus. Police News 7 Apr. 13/3: The other replied, ‘You’ve made a bloomer.’ The witness then arrested Woodford. When Police-Constable Boulding seized Hales that prisoner exclaimed, ‘You’ve mode a ‘bloomer’.
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 112: ‘But, my boy, you yourself admit that the dog is worthless.’ ‘No, I don’t, then,’ said Deuce. ‘That’s where you come a bloomer, that is.’.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Mar. 4/7: His pedantic rhetoric, or whatever ‘Chaffy’ calls his idiomatioc bloomers.
[UK]Sporting Times 22 Feb. 1/5: Only once did I know him to go a bloomer.
[UK]Magnet 29 Feb. 8: Have you made some fearful bloomer?
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 69: ‘You’ll pardon me, young fellow-me-lad, but I’ve bin’ comin’ a bloomer over the broomstick!’ ‘Weddin’?’ says he.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 29 July 3/2: But they never make a bloomer / Picking out a fancy gall.
[US]J. Lait ‘Pics’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 255: We have made him somebody, and he has turned out a bloomer because he cannot live up to our specifications.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Black Gang 426: It was a pretty full-sized bloomer on his part, wasn’t it — pooping off the old bomb?
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 531: ‘Mistake!’ roared the man [...] ‘They’re making the biggest bloomer I ever heard of.’.
[UK]‘Leslie Charteris’ Enter the Saint 24: The triumphant sleuths of Vine Street [...] had to release you with apologies. Doubtless they’re swearing to make up for that bloomer.
C. Drew ‘Shakespeare Harry’s Runner’ in Bulletin 27 June 50/2: ‘Sure you made no bloomer?’ ‘Certain,’ says the scout. ‘I checked me watch this mornin’’.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 33: Blimey, there he’d gone and made a bloomer.
[UK]G. Fairlie Capt. Bulldog Drummond 239: I did nothing — except make a bloomer.
[UK]Wodehouse Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 19: I may have made a bloomer and left you with a wrong impression.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 791: bloomer – An error.
[UK]Guardian G2 22 Sept. 5: That is where you make your bloomer.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 22 Jan. 20: The British Museum makes an uncharacteristic bloomer.

3. a complete failure, a disaster; thus pull a bloomer, to be a complete failure.

[UK]Mirror of Life 25 May 10/2: The Jackson and the Corbett show / Is doomed to be a ‘stumor.’ / For at the club which Jem despised, / And which Bill Brady criticised, / They’ve made the fight a ‘bloomer’.
[US]B. Fisher Mutt & Jeff 13 Dec. [synd. strip] Mutt made a bloomer writing out a proposal for me yesterday.
[US]V. Rappe 5 Sept. q. in 15 Sept. 2021 🌐 I’ll go up there [i.e. a party hosted by Fatty Arbuckle], and if the party is a bloomer I'll be back in twenty minutes.
[US]H.S. Truman letter 11 Feb. in Poen Letters Home (1984) 79: The N.O.T. is getting bigger every minute, even if we did pull a bloomer at Topeka. There’s no alibi for that, we were simply licked.
[US]C. Rawson Headless Lady (1987) 34: Last season was a bloomer [...] and the grift’s a sort of insurance.
[US]W.L. Alderson ‘Carnie Talk’ in AS XXVIII:2 114: bloomer, n. Synonymous with blank (a failure).
[US](con. 1930s) R. Barber Night They Raided Minsky’s (1968) 263: The bloomer ‘Desire Under the El’ was forgotten.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 791: bloomer [...] a failure.

4. (US) a joke; thus pull a bloomer, to make a joke.

[US]C.H. Darling Jargon Book 27: Pulled a bloomer – a joke.

5. (US Und.) a safe that proves to be empty.

[US]J. Sullivan ‘Criminal Sl.’ in Amer. Law Rev. LII (1918) 890: An empty safe is called a ‘Bloomer’.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 397: Bloomer. An empty safe.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 31: ‘They cracked a box, but it was a bloomer,’ merely means the cracksmen forced open a safe, only to find it empty.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 29/2: Bloomer. Any criminal venture that nets profit in negligible amount—usually, the result of misinformation; an empty safe; a penniless victim.

6. (US) something or somewhere valueless.

[US]D. Hammett ‘The Scorched Face’ Story Omnibus (1966) 84: This cellar looked like a bloomer. We were wasting time here.