Green’s Dictionary of Slang

skin v.1

1. [mid-18C–1960s] (also skin out) to steal from.

2. [late 18C+] to thrash, to beat.

3. [early 19C+] (also skin out) to take all a person’s money, esp. in a gambling game.

4. [mid–19C+] (US) of people, to overcome completely; of objects, to surpass.

5. [mid-19C+] (also skin out, skin out of) to cheat or defraud someone of their money or other possessions.

6. [mid-19C+] to lower in price or value.

7. [late 19C] (US) to renege on one’s bills or debts.

8. [1900s] to take a note from a roll of cash.

9. [1910s] to pass off surreptitiously.

In compounds

skin artist (n.) [-artist sfx]

[mid–late 19C] (US Und.) a cheating gambler, a cardsharp.

skin-disease (n.) [? its deleterious effects or its (relatively) high cost, which will take all of the purchaser’s money]

[late 19C–1910s] fourpenny ale.

skinflint (n.)

see separate entry.

skin gambler (n.)

[1900s–50s] (US Und.) a cheating gambler.

skin game (n.) (also skin, skin racket)

1. [mid-19C+] (US) any form of gambling that is designed to fleece the uninitiated; also fig. use.

2. [1930s+] (US black) a card-game, spec. tonk or coon can.

3. attrib. use of sense 2.

skin house (n.)

1. [mid-19C–1900s] (US) a corrupt gambling establishment.

2. see also compounds under skin adj.2

skin joint (n.) [joint n. (3b)]

1. [1930s] (US Und.) a crooked casino or gambling house.

2. see also compounds under skin adj.2

In phrases

skin out (v.)

[late 19C] (US) to run off, to abscond.

skin the lamb (v.) [a play on SE fleece]

1. [mid-19C–1900s] of a bookmaker, to take bets on every horse in a race other than the winner; thus to make a substantial profit.

2. [mid–late 19C] to swindle, to hoax, to blackmail.

3. [1900s] to ‘fix’ a horserace.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

skin a louse (v.) (also skin a fart, ...flea,

[mid-19C+] (Aus./Irish) to be extremely mean and covetous.

skin and grin (v.) [skin n.1 (1e) + SE grin]

1. [1950s+] (W.I.) to laugh foolishly or ingratiatingly, to pretend to be friendly; thus skinning and grinning, laughing foolishly, pretending to be friendly.

2. [1990s+] (US black) to act in an openly friendly, happy manner.

skin one’s own eels (v.)

[mid–late 19C] to mind one’s own business.

skin one’s own skunk (v.)

[19C+] (US) in phr. let every man skin his own skunk, to keep private matters to oneself.

skin (one’s) teeth (v.) (also skin teet’) [the amount of gum revealed by such a broad, empty smile]

1. [late 19C+] (US/W.I.) to smile falsely, although one feels furious or embittered, to laugh cynically.

2. [1970s+] (W.I./UK black teen) to have a laugh or a joke with someone or at something, to mess around.

skin one’s thing (v.)

see under thing n.

skin out (v.)

1. [late 19C] (US) to produce, to show.

2. [1990s+] (W.I.) to enjoy oneself.

3. see sense 1 above.

4. see sense 3 above.

5. see sense 4 above.

6. see skin v.3

skin out of (v.)

see sense 4 above.

skin-the-pizzle (n.)

[mid-19C–1900s] the vagina.

skin the trade (v.)

[1910s] (US tramp) to ride the metal rods beneath a wagon.

skin through (v.)

[1900s–20s] lit. and fig., to slip through, to pass through narrowly, to get through something with a narrow margin.

skin up (v.) [20C+] (W.I.)

1. to overturn.

2. (also skin up one’s clothes, ...dress, ...oneself) of a woman, to expose oneself, esp. one’s buttocks, in an indecent manner.

3. see also sl. phrs. under skin n.1

skin up one’s face (v.) (also skin up one’s lip, ...mouth, ...nose) [the movement of the skin that is part of the grimace]

[1950s+] (W.I.) to make a grimace of displeasure, scorn or disapproval.

skin up with (v.)

[1950s+] (W.I.) to laugh foolishly and ingratiatingly.