Green’s Dictionary of Slang

lamp n.1

[ext. use of SE]

1. an eye, usu. in pl.; thus queer lamp, a blind, sore or squinting eye; in cite 1904 used as nickname.

M. Drayton Nymphal IV in Chalmers IV (1810) 454/2: mert.: O let not those life-lightning eyes In this sad veil be shrouded. clor.: O, my Meretilla, do not praise these lamps, so dimly burning, Such sad and sullen lights as these Were only made for mourning.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Lamp. An eye. The cove has a queer lamp. The man has a blind or squinting eye.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1811].
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Heart of London III iii: I have seen this kid before! [...] yet I can’t swear to the person – my lamps must be queer.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 127: lamps. The eyes.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 14 Sept. 4: Dave [...] was met by a stinging hit on the left lamp.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 5 Oct. n.p.: I heard hom showing [...] the ‘fly-cop’ up, telling them [two pickpockets] ‘to keep their lamps lit for him’.
[UK]J.H. Carter ‘Our Member From Duck Creek Settlement’ Log of Commodore Rollingpin 221: Got his lamps on the White House — the President’s chair.
[UK]Punch 23 Feb. n.p.: And she tipped me a look from her lamps, as was sparklers and fair in a glow.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Jack Dunn of Nevertire’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 222: My lamps were turned to Yankee Land, for I’d some people there.
[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 4 Dec. 3/7: ‘Well,’ broke in Lamelamp O’Leary, glaring at Slob with his one eye.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 179: A cove as knew the value o’ using the lamps ’ee’d got in his ’ead.
[US]W.J. Kountz Billy Baxter’s Letters 34: Talk about lavish eyes. My boy! my boy! but this dame was there with the swell lamps. A hundred candle power easily.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 24 Oct. 1/2: I have been keeping my lamps on on St Clair for some time.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 6 Mar. 1/6: I planked him such a beauty / Just between his lamp and ear.
[US]‘Billy Burgundy’ Toothsome Tales Told in Sl. 68: He was a pugnacious little pest with protruding blood-shot lamps.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 128: I noticed the one-lamped knight.
[US]St Paul Globe (MN) 7 Aug. 27/2: ‘She’s a Romeo rag-ga, ain’t ta it?’ protested ‘Lamps’, the ‘Dago’, a handsome Italian boy with notable black eyes.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 2 June 4/8: O, I promise yer, ’is lamps was extry bright, / But I bluffed ’im when I started to recite.
[US]N.Y. Eve. Journal 25 Apr. in Fleming Unforgettable Season (1981) 53: He took one despairing glance [...] through one corner of his offside lamp.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 26 June 2nd sect. 12/7: Few can / Evade the lynxy lamps of ’Arry Mann.
[US]Van Loan ‘McCluskey’s Prodigal’ Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 257: A pair of lamps on him like two holes burned in a pink blanket.
[US]F. Packard White Moll 179: I was wonderin a minute ago how you were goin’ to keep your lamps on Pete and Marny from here.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 139: Lamps: Eyes.
[US] ‘Toledo Slim’ in Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 229: As I gazed into her lamps.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 331: He had his lamps on the copper.
[US]D. Runyon Runyon à la Carte 64: What about some kind of operation? I remember they take a bum lamp out of Joe the Goat.
[Aus]Cusack & James Come in Spinner (1960) 327: She was the only sheila around that didn’t look as though she ’ad a bad smell under ’er nose when she got ’er lamps on to me.
[US]W. Hopson ‘The Ice Man Came’ in Thrilling Detective Winter [Internet] She looked at me out of those blue lamps.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxiv 4/3: darkening of the lamps: Blackening of the eyes.
[UK]P. Boyle All Looks Yellow to the Jaundiced Eye 58: Blondie switches a pair of lamps on Shaybo that would shrivel your soul.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 191: Lamps Eyes.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US]J. Wambaugh Golden Orange (1991) 174: Buster turned on those thick-lashed lilac lamps of his.

2. in pl., spectacles.

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 165: I think you’ve got your piping-off lamps a bit twisted.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Dec. 39/2: Slip acrost an’ knock ’is lamps orf so as ’e won’t be able ter reckernise yer; put yer ’and through ’is pockets.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

3. (US) a look or glance.

[US]Broadway Brevities Dec. 50: Did you get a lamp at estelle Winwood’s new Britisher?
[US]Dunning & Abbott Broadway II. 250: Let’s take a lamp at him.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 102: Them uprights, ole man, were with it like milk and butter — one good lamp and you stammer and stutter.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 21: Now for a quick lamp over the slag.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 14: An old boiler was glauming him from a couple of tables away. What the hell he thought – he gave her the lamp to come and post her deaf and dumb on the seat.

4. in pl., the female breasts.

[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 99: A bust was a pair of [...] lamps.

In phrases

smoke (one of) someone’s lamps (v.)

(US) to give someone a black eye; thus smoked lamp n., a black eye.

[US]L. Pound ‘A Second Word-List From Nebraska’ in DN III:vii 547: smoke one of your lamps, v. phr. To black an eye. ‘He smoked his lamps for him.’.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 399: A black eye. Also called a ’smoked lamp’.

SE in slang uses

In phrases