1. (also skin out) to steal from.
|Discoveries (1774) 10: We [...] stole out of the fore Parlour a large Portmanteau Trunk, and carried it into the Fields to skin it, i.e., to search it.|
|Morning Advertiser 21 Mar. n.p.: Sergeant Hiscock saw [the prisoner] skinning the sacks – that is, removing lumps from the tops and placing them in an empty sack [F&H].|
|Good Humor 177: Patsy Burns wants to shut down on a kid that’s bin skinnin’ him.‘Justice in a Quandary’ in|
|‘’Arry on Derby Day’ in Punch 1 June 258/1: The young ’un whose crib I succeeded to skinned the old bloke’s petty cash.|
|Sketch (London) 22 Feb. 18: ‘Them Jews they’ll skin yer if they kin’.|
|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 [...] then w’en I’ve give yer time ter skin ’im I’ll come runnin’ bravely ter the rescue.|
|Strictly Business (1915) 35: I’d hate for my mother to know I was skinning these weak-minded ones.‘Babes in the Jungle’ in|
|‘Over There’ with the Australians 65: It is a wonder those sailors didn’t cut our hair when we were asleep to stuff their pillows – they certainly skinned us as close as they could.|
|‘Ridin’ Up the Rocky Trail’ in Songs of the Cattle Trail 105: Old Jacob skinned his dad-in-law of six years’ crop of calves / And then hit the trail for Canaan in the night.|
|Und. Speaks n.p.: Skinning the poke, when pickpocket, after removing contents, gets rid of victim’s purse or wallet.|
|Men of the Und. 140: We skinned the boxes into our black bags.‘I Was King of the Safecrackers’ in Hamilton|
|Men of the Und. 325: Skin, To remove the money from a wallet or other receptacle.|
|Call Me When the Cross Turns Over (1958) 33: Went through all my pockets, just skinned me out.|
|World’s Toughest Prison 818: skinning a poke – Taking the money and other valuables from a stolen wallet.|
2. to thrash, to beat.
|‘Luke Caffrey’s Ghost’ in Chap Book Songs 2: Dey had de mob at dir back, / Who would, in a griffee, have skin’d him.|
|Idler Aug. 63: I’m sure that her parents would skin her, If they thought that she smiled on my suit [F&H].|
|Boy’s Own Paper 9 Feb. 294: Duncan will skin you if he knows of it.|
|Wildcat 29: If I catch any of you niggers shootin’ craps I’ll skin the livin’ hell out of you.|
|Family from One End Street 160: ‘I’ll skin you!’ cried Mrs Ruggles.|
|At Swim-Two-Birds 75: We’re goin’ ridin’ tonight [...] Right over to them thar rustlers’ roost, says I, before Tracey finds out and skins us.|
|Wooing of Beppo Tate 120: If you ever lay hands on her, I’ll skin you.|
|A Life (1981) Act I: If me ma and da walked in they’d skin me.|
|Crooked Little Vein 39: The Shark Bar [...] where they skinned anyone who complained about cigarette smoke.|
3. (also skin out) to take all a person’s money, esp. in a gambling game.
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 265: skin to strip a man of all his money at play, is termed skinning him.|
|Heart of London II i: We’ve skinned him clean.|
|Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. II 11: They can skin him better there than at Pat’s. Pat [...] hasn’t the heart to quite ruin a poor devil like Charley.|
|Reformed Gambler 165: They were determined to ‘skin’ him, without giving any further opportunity to those who might be inclined to prevent their designs.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 8/1: The ‘chat pitcher’ has ‘skinned’ him of every ‘mag’.|
|Mysteries of N.Y. 55: It is for all the world like gambling [...] Any one of them could make a better living on the square, but they couldn’t have the fun skinning people out of it, and the excitement of being in constant danger of discovery.|
|Hawkesbury Chron. (Windsor, NSW) 15 Sept. 4/1: So thoroughly they skinned him out, / No coin was left wherewith to shout / For alcohol!|
|Pink ’Un and Pelican 198: In less than twenty minutes they’d skinned ‘The Lout’.|
|Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 261: He dimly recollected hearing that two sets of dice were needed to skin people.|
|Abe and Mawruss 169: Skin a poor feller like Nathan, which he got a wife and child to support?|
|You Can’t Win (2000) 111: The tinhorn gamblers who skinned the railroad men on pay days and each other afterward.|
|H. Sucker’s Progress 264: A good-natured, warm-hearted man always ready to help the need or skin a sucker.|
|Horse’s Mouth (1948) 113: Are you coming on or are you going back on me after skinning me of twenty-three bob?|
|Riverslake 129: It’s a bad show when it’s left to a Balt to skin the blasted ring!|
|A Breath of French Air (1985) 221: That bill. It had very nearly skinned him out, he told Ma, very nearly skinned him.|
|Pairs and Loners 100: ‘What have they done, Mr Minto?’ ‘Skinned me,’ I said. ‘Shook me down for two hundred quid.’.|
|Truth 226: Successful divorce. Skinned the bloke.|
4. (US) of people, to overcome completely; of objects, to surpass.
|Charleston Mercury 9 Aug. 1/5: They were ‘skinning’ the soldiers of other regiments the ‘tallest kind’ [DA].|
|Barkeep Stories 20: ‘[T]alkin’ ’bout prize-fightin’ [...] dis one [i.e. a fight] skinned any scrap ever come off before in de world!’.|
|Lucky Seventh (2004) 265: He’s got a curve ball that skins anything I ever saw.‘Crossed “Signs”’|
|World I Never Made 100: Aw, I can skin you now.|
|Sundowners 208: I ain’t trying to skin you on this one.|
|Campus Sl. Nov. 5: skin – to prevail over an opponent.|
5. (also skin out, skin out of) to cheat or defraud someone of their money or other possessions.
|Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) II 40: We pocketed the crowns, touched at the kindness of Belle-Rose. He was soon, however, to skin us of them.|
|Biglow Papers (1880) 59: ‘Yes,’ sez Davis o’ Miss., / ‘The perfection o’ bliss / Is in skinnin’ thet same old coon,’ sez he.|
|G’hals of N.Y. 181: Wonder wot n’ thunder the gov’nor wants ter skin that mister Orson for; he’s a nice ole rooster enough.|
|Afoot and Alone 130: We waded into ’em, and skinned ’em out mighty sudden [DA].|
|Sydney Sl. Dict. 9/2: […] Chumpy is trying to fence a yack to a muff, or to play a skin game. […] Chumpy is trying to sell a watch to a simple one, or to skin him at cards.|
|Truth (Sydney) 1July 4/5: The ‘Herald’ has always been a liberal employer of labor, and never skinned its workmen.|
|Major in Wash. City 14: Jew merchants that skin us out of about all we have.|
|Hands Up! 119: Every inducement was offered Wooldridge, the pig puncher, to join Moore and Carter and skin Farley out of his money.|
|Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 178: I’m standing here taking quarters away from the public at large, skinning them.‘Canada Kid’ in|
|Man’s Grim Justice 44: I listened to the ‘con’ men tell how they skinned this sucker and that one.|
|Night and the City 103: You can’t bully ’em. Give them their heads, and they’ll skin themselves.|
|On Broadway 26 Nov. [synd. col.] Joe Marsala asked one show girl where she got her new fur coat. ‘I met a wolf,’ she said, ‘and I skinned him’.|
|Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 65: [She] tried to skin him for every penny he’d got.|
|World’s Toughest Prison 817: skin – To cheat or defraud.|
6. to lower in price or value.
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
7. (US) to renege on one’s bills or debts.
|Cincinnati Enquirer 7 Sept. 10/7: Mace, Bilk, Give, Roast, Skin--Are all synonymous to the verb ‘to beat,’ and are terms that have been felt by many hotel-keepers, saloonists, boarding houses, &, as they are about the only terms they could ever get out of some of the graceless scamps of the profession, who ‘flew’ without liquidating the claims against them.|
8. to take a note from a roll of cash.
|Cabbages and Kings 107: Henry skinned a twenty off his roll.|
|Confessions of a Con Man 139: I skin my roll and bet Louis a twenty.|
9. to pass off surreptitiously.
|Mr Dooley Says 103: A sergeant who was thryin’ to skin a pair iv fours down so that it wud look like a jack full.|
(US Und.) a cheating gambler, a cardsharp.
|(con. 1875) Gangs of Chicago (2002) 71: Colonel Wat Cameron [...] ran a square game until he was forced out by Gabe Foster and Ben Burnish, skin artists from St. Louis.|
|True Drunkard’s Delight 229: Of course, there is small beer or [...] skin disease.|
see separate entry.
(US Und.) a cheating gambler.
|Boss 273: Once them skin gamblers get a sucker on th’ string, they protect him same as a farmer does his sheep.|
|Men of the Und. 325: Skin gambler, A cheat.|
1. (US) any form of gambling that is designed to fleece the uninitiated; also fig. use.
|DA].Sunshine and Shadow in N.Y. 405: The square game [...] is played only by gentlemen, and in first-class houses; [...] the skin game [...] is played in all the dens and chambers, and in the thousand low hells of New York [|
|Galaxy (NY) July 61: In these ‘skin games,’ where everybody but the goose who is being plucked is in the confederacy of roguery, nobody keeps tally of the turns, and the victim at the close of the deal is ignorant whether there have been seventeen turns or half that number.|
|Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 13 Nov. 7/1: What are known as ‘square games’ are few and far between. The ‘skin racket’ is predominant and the ‘guys are worked for all they are worth’.|
|Sydney Sl. Dict. 9/2: Dick’s a broker, and has gone out snowdropping, and Chumpy is trying to fence a yack to a muff, or to play a skin game. Dick’s hard up, and has gone out to steal clean clothes (from clotheslines and hedges), and Chumpy is trying to sell a watch to a simple one, or to skin him at cards.|
|Wolfville 31: Thar’s my game goin’ every night reg’lar [...] It ain’t no skin game neither.|
|DA].Gentleman from Indiana vii: We been running no skin. [...] You gotter prove it was a skin [|
|Log of a Cowboy 251: There’s a deadfall down here [...] why, they have skin games running to fleece you as fast as you can get your money to the centre.|
|DN III:viii 589: skin-game, n. A scheme intended to deceive. ‘You can’t work your skin-game on me.’.‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in|
|Keys to Crookdom 125: The fabulously profitable profiteering ‘skin games’ practised on the government and upon the people.|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 800: It’s all, everything, has been turned into a skin game, and the Jew international bankers are running it.Judgement Day in|
|Shearer’s Colt 167: We ain’t goin’ to play no skin game on each other. We’re all gentlemen ’ere.|
|Trail and Timeberline Apr. 65/2: The Denver Post brands their plan a ‘skin game’ [DA].|
|Crazy Kill 109: He ain’t no numbers man. All he’s got is that little skin game.|
2. (US black) a card-game, spec. tonk or coon can.
|Mules and Men (1995) 51: Ah played skin wid de Devil for mah life and he winned [Ibid.] 123: Ah shot a man once up in West Florida, killed him dead for bull-dozin’ me in a skin-game.|
|‘They Raided the Joint’ [lyrics] Now some were playing blackjack, some were playing skin.|
|House of Slammers 89: The numbers were in, there was no games of Skin, / And boostin’ was in the deep freeze.|
3. attrib. use of sense 2.
|Wanderings of a Vagabond 221: This innovation created the greatest alarm among the skin-game sharpers there.|
1. (US) a corrupt gambling establishment.
|Galaxy (NY) July 61: There is hardly any position in which a man can be placed which is more trying to the nerves than to find himself alone in a ‘skin’ house, as the dens where cheating games are played are called, with a terse truthfulness that is in itself quite appalling.|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
2. see also compounds under skin adj.2
1. (US Und.) a crooked casino or gambling house.
|Und. and Prison Sl.|
2. see also compounds under skin adj.2
(US) to run off, to abscond.
|Mover County Transcript (MN) 17 Oct. 3/2: I could skin out yit an’ give ’em the slip.|
|Yarns of Bucko Mate 46: The mates stood watch that night to prevent the crew ‘skinning out’ before they were through with them.|
1. of a bookmaker, to take bets on every horse in a race other than the winner; thus to make a substantial profit.
|, ,||Sl. Dict. 232: When a non-favourite wins a race, ‘bookmakers’ are said to ’skin the lamb,’ under the supposition that they win all their bets, no person having backed the winner.|
|O.V.H. II 115: And a carefully roped and bottled animal, that dropped like a meteor upon the racing public for the Chester cup, ‘skinned the lamb’ for Mr. Bacon, landed every bet standing in his book.|
|Illus. Sporting & Dramatic News 30 May 3/3: Skinning [...] was as pleasant an operation to the backer who knew something, as skinning the lamb is to the modern bookmaker.|
|Sporting Times 13 Dec. 1/5: The glee of the backer when the bookie has not skinned the lamb.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 29 Aug. 6/4: [They] looked out upon the Flemington racecourse, saw Don Juan sailing in front of the field [...]. Then Semitic hats were sent into the welkin and Semitic songs of triumph reminded the public that the ‘lamb’ was once again deftly and scientifically ‘skinned.’.|
|Illus. Sporting & Dramatic News 5 July 17/3: Captain Nottage [...] returned [...] for the this season’s racing from the Mediterranean, after [...] skinning the lamb and spoiling the Egyptians.|
|Truth (Sydney) 10 Jan. 5/3: And I skins the lamb and collars the yield, the whole of the blooming day.|
|Pitcher in Paradise 62: Charles performed the highly satisfactory operation known as skinning the lamb. He had £2308, 10s field money in his book, and never wrote the winner’s name.|
2. to swindle, to hoax, to blackmail.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Sept. 5/3: ‘Better get shorn,’ remarked one rising metallician: ‘I’ll buy the fleece.’ ‘Thanks,’ replied the meek young man; ‘when I want to be fleeced this is the shed I will come to.’ And as he passed on the books thought that they had not ‘skinned the lamb’ that time.|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
3. to ‘fix’ a horserace.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Mar. 10/3: The place [...] / Is peopled now by men of sin / Who talk about the lamb they skin, / And jugginses who hope to win / Mere earthly crowns from Ikey.|
SE in slang uses
(Aus./Irish) to be extremely mean and covetous.
|Putnam’s Mag. Jan. n.p.: Old miser Dyser, skin a fly, sir, Sell the skin and turn the money in [F&H].|
|Penny Illus. Paper 20 Jan. 3/4: Of a mean person it was said: ‘He would skin a louse’.|
|Montrose, Agroath & Brechin Rev. 31 Jan. 2/4: Then he ‘wad skin a louse for the fat’ — and after that there are no more depths of avarice to be plumbed.|
|AS XIV:4 261: The stingy person is ‘as tight as bark on a tree,’ would ‘skin a flea for its hide and tallow’.‘Folk “Sayings” From Indiana’ in|
|Whiteoak Heritage (1949) 51: He’s like my father, I’m sorry to say [...] he’d skin a flea for its hide and tallow.|
|Leinster Leader 28 Sept. 3/3: They’d skin a louse for his hide an’ fat.|
|(con. 1920s) Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 219: That fella’d skin a fart.|
|Lily on the Dustbin 100: That ‘old chook’ up the corner shop’d ‘skin a louse for its hide’.|
1. (W.I.) to laugh foolishly or ingratiatingly, to pretend to be friendly; thus skinning and grinning, laughing foolishly, pretending to be friendly.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|
2. (US black) to act in an openly friendly, happy manner.
|Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 382: I saw Debbie’s family [...] skininn’ and grinnin’ and congratulating her.|
to mind one’s own business.
|DA].Beedle’s Sleigh Ride 36: Let every body skin their own eels [|
(US) in phr. let every man skin his own skunk, to keep private matters to oneself.
|Brattleboro’ Eagle (VT) 2 Feb. 3/2: He went to the Governor, and implored him to veto [the bill]. The [...] reply of Goevrnor Howard was, ‘Sir, let every man skin his own skunk. I’ll sign the bill’.|
|N.O. Crescent (LA) 16 Apr. 3/6: There is a droll Jack Downing and Sam Slick saying of ‘let every man skin his own skunks,’ meaning that he who has a disagreeable duty to perform need not to attempt to shirk it off on others.|
|Spirit of Democracy (Woodsfield, OH) 30 Oct. 2/3: Mr Webster once told a disitnguished enator that he ‘must ski his own skunk’.|
|Americanisms 55: The slang phrase, Let every man skin his own skunk [...] is a rather forcible version of the French proverb which recommends us ‘to wash our soiled linen in the family’.|
|Wilkes-Barre Times (PA) 15 Aug. 2/5: ‘In the language of the people [...] I’ll let the learned vice chancellor skin his own skunks’.|
|Marshall News Messenger (TX) 27 Dec. 1/1: ‘I have not got consolashun because of the fact that every feller had to skin his own skunk’.|
|L.A. Times 12 Feb. 14/1: Abraham Lincoln recalled many of his father’s earthy maxims [...] One of them was: ‘Every man must skin his own skunk’.|
|(ref. to 1813) Democrat & Chron. (Rochester, NY) 19 Nov. 16/5: In 1813, an anti-Federalist write, ‘We here, choose to let Mr Madison “skin his own skunks”’.|
|Noblesville Ledger (IN) 13 Mar. 4/4: ‘Lincoln said of opposition attempts to smear him: ‘In politics every many must skin his own skunk’ [...] Let geirge Bush skin his own South Xarolina skunk’.|
1. (US/W.I.) to smile falsely, although one feels furious or embittered, to laugh cynically.
|St Joseph Herald (MO) 27 Apr. 3/2: He skinned his teeth in a furious manner and did not do any more ‘kidding’.|
|Fairmount W. Virginian (WV) 12 Sept. 5/5: ‘Ginger’ just skinned his teeth at them and placed a beauty single in left.|
|Houston Post (TX) 3 Aug. 6/6: Old maid Tompkins [...] skinned her teeth at me and said, ‘Why, were in the world have you been, Patsy?’ I skninned my teeth back at her and said, ‘Why, where in the world do you suppose we’ve been?’.|
|Wash. Post (DC) 27 mar. 76/1: For a long time Sycamore sat conning the thicket [...] then he skinned his teeth in a vengeful grin and went back to get his horse.|
|Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA) 6 Apr. 2/1: The broad of our Gay Nineties / Eye-rolled her line of blather, / And giddily she skinned her teeth / And tee-hee-hee’d.|
|Minneapolis Star (MN) 4 Jan. 64/2: He lifted his shooting iron, and skinned his teeth.|
|Press & Sun Bulletin (Binghampton, NY) 5 Nov. 9/5: ‘You’d better be our next president,’ said an elderly woman [...] Rockefeller skinned his teeth and said [etc].|
|Growing Up Stupid Under the Union Jack 8: Big boys, the school prefects and the masters [...] jeered and ‘skinned’ their teeth at me.|
|Harder They Come 230: Jus’ a sing to ’imself an’ look pon de bicycle an’ skin ’im teeth in a big smile.|
|(con. 1979–80) Brixton Rock (2004) 78: Juliet skinned her teeth.|
2. (W.I./UK black teen) to have a laugh or a joke with someone or at something, to mess around.
|Scholar 292: They wouldn’t let ’em out so quick if they weren’t charged [...] Dem man don’ skin teet’ y’know.|
|(con. 1979–80) Brixton Rock (2004) 198: Floyd became aware of the sniggering Brenton [...] ‘Why are you skinning your teet’?’.|
see under thing n.
1. (US) to produce, to show.
|Life amongst Modocs 44: Four aces! and what else? Skin ’em out, skin ’em out!|
|Thompson Street Poker Club 42: Mr. Williams proudly skinned out three jacks and a pair of kings.|
2. (W.I.) to enjoy oneself.
|Official Dancehall Dict. 48: Skin-out 1. to carry-on; enjoy oneself.|
3. see sense 1 above.
4. see sense 3 above.
5. see sense 4 above.
6. see skin v.3
see sense 4 above.
see under cat n.2
see under live rabbit n.
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
|Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 69: Cognée, f. [...] 2. The female pudendum; ‘skin-the-pizzle’.|
(US tramp) to ride the metal rods beneath a wagon.
|Morn. Tulsa Dly World (OK) 13 June 19/3: Skinning the trade — Riding rods or underneath the coach.|
lit. and fig., to slip through, to pass through narrowly, to get through something with a narrow margin.
|DA].Letters from a Self-Made Merchant to His Son 142: I would feel a good deal happier [...] if you would make a downright failure or a clean-cut success once in a while, instead of always just skinning through this way [|
|DA].Football without a Coach 57: The best a runner can hope for is a chance to skin through that opening before it ceases to exist [|
|Stealing Through Life 78: Take that room and I’ll skin through the next one.|
|Dispatch (Moline, IL) 9 Dec. 10/5: Just Skinning Through. Why should do more than try to get by? [...] I do not repent [...] the pursuance of the ‘skinning through’ plan I have followed. ‘Student’.|
1. to overturn.
|cited in Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).|
2. (also skin up one’s clothes, ...dress, ...oneself) of a woman, to expose oneself, esp. one’s buttocks, in an indecent manner.
|Tropic Death (1972) 36: I wuz jus’ gwine ask yo’ to len’ me a pinch o’ salt when dat chile o’ yours skin up she behin’ at me.|
|court record 9 Jan. in Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996) 512/1: You and I broke up because you always skinning up your clothes and behaving badly.|
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage 511/2: skin up (your clothes/dress/yourself) vb phr [...] [Of a woman] To throw the back of the skirt over the head while bending forward and exposing the buttocks as an act of coarse insult.|
3. see also sl. phrs. under skin n.1
(W.I.) to make a grimace of displeasure, scorn or disapproval.
|cited in Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).|
(W.I.) to laugh foolishly and ingratiatingly.
|Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.|