Green’s Dictionary of Slang

pusher n.

1. in commercial senses.

(a) (US) a salesman, often defined by occupation.

[US]Ade Fables in Sl. (1902) 194: Father-in-Law took Gus into the Firm, saying that he had needed a good Pusher for a Long Time.
[US]‘Hugh McHugh’ Down the Line 68: ‘Oh, you droll chap!’ said the pickle pusher.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 6 Feb. 2/5: He was lovely — just a dandy / Gipps-street pusher — nothing more.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Oct. 14/4: Fruit inspectors, statistical police, Afghan hawkers, sewing-machine pushers.
[US]G.T. Fleming-Roberts ‘The Silenced Partner’ in Ten Detective Aces Oct. 🌐 Marshal Lindsey hobbled into the corner drugstore to say hello to the all-night soda pusher.
[US]C. Bukowski Erections, Ejaculations etc. 150: Look, Burkett, you’re a pusher. As a pusher you’re great. Why don’t you sell mops or insurance or something?

(b) (US tramp) the foreman on a construction site.

[US]Labor World (Duluth, MN) 3 Aug. 3/3: Let a boy be [...] quick and handy, some foreman is si sure to pick him out when he needs another man. The ‘pushers’ have their eyes open.
[US]V.W. Saul ‘Vocab. of Bums’ in AS IV:5 343: Pusher—Construction job foreman.
[US]‘Dean Stiff’ Milk and Honey Route 212: Pusher – The straw boss. One in charge of the job.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 813: pusher – Boss of a working gang, who pushes the work along.

(c) (US Und.) a bank teller; a cashier.

[US]Number 1500 Life In Sing Sing 263: Pink had me framed and it was like finding rags to the pusher.

(d) (Aus.) an outstanding example.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 1 Jan. 8/3: But the father of the offspring / Were a pusher of a lout, / Who was not no good for nothin.

2. a young woman, esp. a flirt or a prostitute; see also square pusher

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 25 Nov. 7/4: Little Lizzie were a pusher, / One of the misfortunate class; / Wot as walks out of a evenin’, / Wot they calls ‘out on the grass’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Dec. 43/2: ‘What’s her name?’ / ’Oh, I forget,’ said Dusty. ‘A tall, good looking pusher she was.’.
[US]F. Hurst ‘A Petal on the Current’ in Humoresque 87: A girl don’t have to make a pusher out of herself to have beaus.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 231: Pusher: [...] A young woman friend:— The soldier’s perambulator-pushing nursemaid companion in garrison towns when walking out, first probably suggested the name.
[UK]J. Curtis They Drive by Night 100: Uninteresting bloody pusher this. Doesn’t have much to say for herself.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 185: pusher [...] a prostitute.
[UK](con. WWII) B. Aldiss Soldier Erect 19: Nelson and his pusher took the chance to sneak away.

3. in Und. uses.

(a) (Aus.) a petty thief or confidence trickster.

[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 12 Apr. 9/3: But the wust of all them pushers / Are the klnchin buttoners / Who goes trailin round the streets.

(b) a prizefighter, a boxer.

[US]‘The Lang. of Crooks’ in Wash. Post 20 June 4/1: [paraphrasing J. Sullivan] A shaming pusher or a jabber is a prize fighter.

(c) (drugs, also pusherman) one who sells drugs; usu. in his ‘small-time’ or ‘retail’ role as opposed to the wholesale dealer n. (3)

[US]J. O’Connor Broadway Racketeers 252: Junk Pusher—A peddler of narcotics.
[US]L. Berg Prison Nurse (1964) 27: The first move he made was to send his ‘pushers’ to work on the kids in the north.
[US]I. Shulman Cry Tough! 103: Dope refiners, cutters, pushers [...] they too had to obey.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 42: People took advantage of his kindness [...] taking their cash to some other pusher.
[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 46: Danny was a very reliable pusher. You couldn’t call his deals huge, but you could always rely on him for quality.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 96: The small-time pushers, the teaheads, the sad panhandlers.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 118: You’re a junkie, uncle. Or worse, a pusher.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 30: ‘Ginsburg even buzzes all the pushers time the fuzz steps foot on the elevator’.
[US] Curtis Mayfield ‘Pusherman’ 🎵 You know me, I’m your friend, / Your main boy, thick and thin / I’m your pusherman.
[Oth]D. Marechera House of Hunger (2013) [ebook] [I]t [i.e.a block of flats] housed a motley rabble of single persons, junkies, dope-pushers, frightened old age pensioners, unemployed men and women.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 22: That’s so these junkies they are making down here don’t go up there and sock it to those pushers.
[US]W.T. Vollmann Whores for Gloria 115: At the corner of Turk and Jones the pushers were pushing.
[US]N. Green Angel of Montague Street (2004) 53: Lot of people hang out down here [...] drug pushers, head cases, kids playing hooky.
Al-Jazeera (UK) 20 Feb. 🌐 Off line pushers also seem unaffected by the ban.
[US]J. Ellroy Widespread Panic 28: He ratted of pushers and celebrity quiffs.
[Ire]L. McInerney Rules of Revelation 219: [A] fella who said he’d boxed the head off me at a house party five years back; he didn’t like ‘pushers’.

(d) (US Und.) a distributor of counterfeit money.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.

(e) (US gay) a man who runs a string of homosexual male prostitutes.

[US] (ref. to late 1950s) B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 112: During the late ’50s [...] Those who managed hustlers [i.e. male homosexual prostitutes] were referred to as landladies and sweet ladies if female while male counterparts were pushers or steerers.

4. (Aus.) a pushchair.

A.W. Upfield Murder Must Wait (1958) 47: Alice paused to note with disapproval the several prams and pushers parked in an alcove.
[Aus]D. Martin Hero of Too 311: Lacy was standing there, too, looking proud, with Charlie in his pusher.
Aus. Women’s Weekly (Sydney) Aug. 21/1: Pushers (push-chairs to the Poms), the collapsible chair on wheels for conveying small children, is a stroller in N.S.W. and Queensland [AND].

5. (drugs) as an implement.

(a) a thin stick, typically a chopstick, used to pack a cocaine pipe.

[US]T. Williams Crackhouse 40: There are also tools – a wooden ‘pusher’ made from a chopstick.

(b) a metal hanger or umbrella rod used to scrape residue in crack cocaine stems.

[US]ONDCP Street Terms 17: Pusher — Metal hanger or umbrella rod used to scrape residue out of crack stems; one who sells drugs.

In compounds

pusher-up (n.)

(UK police/und.) that member of a pickpocket team who jostles the vcitim but does not actually pick the pocket.

[UK]P. Hoskins No Hiding Place! 191/2: Pusher-up. Man who jostles pedes¬trians for pickpocket.

In phrases

square pusher (n.) [square adj. (1)]

1. a young woman, usu. respectable; thus square-pushing, courting.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Slang & Its Analogues V 332: square pusher = a girl of good reputation.
[[UK]A. Crowley Snowdrops from a Curate’s Garden 32: Her square push beggars description [...] Gaping like the crater of some active volcano, with a constant stream of gleet oozing from the raw and meaty orifice].
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[UK]W. Muir Observations of Orderly 229: A few other slang words which I have come across in the hospital, and which seem to me to bear the mark of the old army as distinct from the new are: [...] ‘push,’ ‘pusher,’ or ‘square pusher,’ a girl.
[UK]N&Q 12 Ser. IX 344: Square-Pusher. A ‘perfectly correct’ young woman who for once indulges in flirtation. [Ibid.] 425: Square Pushing. Carrying on a flirtation.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 268: Square Piece: A respectable young woman [...] Also Square Pushers. [...] Square Pushing, To Go: To ‘walk out’ with a girl.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 108: ’Ullo, Bourne! Goin’ square-pushin’?
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 134: ’E wouldn’t bother, though, too busy square-pushing, taking the girls out, see.
[UK](con. 1914–18) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier.
P. Meade Born to Trouble 92: I met [...] Corporal Percy Locke who was ‘square pushing,’ that is, courting steadily, somebody’s lady’s maid. In army parlance, she was his ‘square pusher,’ or ‘square tack’ .

2. a boyfriend.

[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 411: And says the one : I seen you up Faithful place with your squarepusher, the greaser off the railway, in his cometobed hat.