Green’s Dictionary of Slang

quill n.1

1. the penis.

[UK] ‘Panders, Come Awaye’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) III 34: Dodson is not ill, yeett hath she beene a deale-her; / the fault was in his skill, who knew not how to appease her / with his quill.
[UK] ‘The Long Vacation’ in Farmer Merry Songs and Ballads (1897) IV 138: When Inns of Court-Rakes, / And Quill-driving Prigs, / Flock’d to St. James’s, / To shew their long Whiggs.
[Ire]‘Sally Mac Gee’ in A. Carpenter Verse in Eng. in 18C Ireland (1998) 513: I scorch’d his quill [...] / Which makes him to think of Sally M’Gee.
[UK]‘The Gentleman’s Pen & the Lady’s Ink-Stand’ in Libertine’s Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) I 144: Then press it tightly with your hand, / And the quill once more erect will stand!

2. (US) in pl., money.

[US]Long-Island Star 9 Feb. 2/5: Heroic Act!!! On Tuesday afternoon, the 24th inst., a dashing blade of our town, having plenty of the quills, as he terms them, and being what is called spirited and independent.
[US] in J.P. Hambleton Biog. Sketch of Henry A. Wise 426: Sam and his wife [...] married each other for money, at first, or for ‘quills’ as they say. But alas! [...] they found each other perfectly featherless!!!

SE in slang uses

In compounds

quill-driver (n.) (also quill-jigger, quillpusher)

1. (also quill-wolloper) a journalist; thus drive a quill, quill-driving, working as a journalist.

[UK]Wkly Jrnl or British Gazetteer 7 Feb. 1275/1: Every mercenary Quill-driver, from the most harden’d Ecclesiastical Knight of the Post to the nauseous Writer of that disingenuous History of six Days, the Mists Weekly Journal.
[UK]Middx Jrnl 11-13 Aug. 2/2: Why then so inveterate against the poor quill-driver? [...] when all the world knows that invention is his whole mystery.
[UK]Hants. Chron. 19 Aug. 3/4: Her Royal Highness has since been plentifully bespattered by the most dextrous hackney quill-drivers.
[Aus]Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.) 6 July 3/4: , I take the liberty (if a Quill driver, consistant with Botany-bay notions of gentility, may make so bold) to offer a few remarks.
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz 1 Sept. 16/2: This cured the quill driver’s rage.
[UK]Bon-Ton Gaz. 8 Feb. 33/1: It would be as well, John, to stick more at home, and watch the quill-driving concern.
[US]N.Y. Sporting Whip 18 Feb. n.p.: She expects to be brought to be bed a young quill-driver shortly.
[US]Gleaner (Manchester, NH) 12 Aug. n.p.: [She] is accomplished in allt he fine arts and science (especially) quill driving.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 62: Some quill driver, in his odd come shorts, / Says, ‘Nice people, have the nastiest thoughts’.
[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 15 Nov. n.p.: Every spooney in the country, who drives a quill for his salt and taters, and blows his own tin horn [etc].
[UK]Newcastle Jrnl 19 May 6/1: We have still got the bliss / To hear ‘Peter Dick’ from each quilldriving ‘prig’.
[US] in M. Lewis Mining Frontier (1967) 217: D--n it, old quill-driver, you must come and take a drink with me.
[UK]Sportsman 6 May 2/1: Notes on News [...] [A]uthors working very hard and honourably [...] who can’t help thinking what they will get for it when [...] Quilldriver junior wants a pair of boots.
[US]Spanish Fork Press (UT) 22 Aug. 2/1: Our brother quilldriver of the Dutch Flat (Cal.) Enquirer.
Graydon & Coote [perf. Alfred Vance] ‘Covent Garden in the Morning’ 🎵 I’ve a friend named Bill, who drives the quill.
[US]Leavenworth Wkly Times (KS) 18 Feb. 2/1: If Mr King wishes to sue us for libel [...] we will send Quill-pusher Hine to meet him.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Jan. 2/3: Last week, in the shooting and fighting, the southern editors had the call. Now the western quill-driver comes to the front.
[UK]Bristol Magpie 5 Apr.12/2: [W]hat a self-conceited, presumptious lot of quill-drivers these New York dramatic press-men must be!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Apr. 20/1: The writers in a newspaper office in Melbourne had a vigorous hunt for a Russian lately. [...] and with the view to cribbing a little local colour, an intelligent quill-driver was sent out to talk the situation over with one of the Russian residents of the city.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Apr. 7/1: Then (modestly alluding to himself, of course,) the Boree quill-wolloper says [...] ‘Fellow soldats, and men of Bank-Vale, Boree Creek, and the adjacent districts [etc.]’.
[US]West Appeal (St Paul, MN) 11 June 1/2: The more recent Loup City tragedy enacted by Editors Richardson and Willard should serve as a warning to certain [...] filth slinging quill-pushers.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Sincerest Form of Flattery’ in Punch 20 Sept. 144/2: Your favour to ’and in doo course, as the quill-drivers say.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 14 Jan. 4/5: The quill-driver feared that good Civil servants were getting scarce.
[UK]Wilkie Bard [perf.] ‘Bruvver Jim’ 🎵 Oh, ’e’s’ got a job as ‘horfis’ boy at seven bob a week / And they’re teaching ’im the way to drive a quill.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 71: You’ll be told by a lot of quill-drivers [...] that boys are sent to Eton to be made gentlemen.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 May12/2: Next morning the quill-driver set about blacking his boots, when the Bishop insisted on saving him the trouble. [Ibid.] 15 Dec. 7/4: Many of these men I knew when I was quill-driving for the same company.
[UK]R.C. Lehmann Conversational Hints 202: Don’t you be alarmed, old quill-driver, they’ll never run a strike of that kind for more than a day.
[US]Bourbon News (Paris, KY) 11 Aug. 7/3: The President of the Kentucky Press Association [...] has named for his associates a number of the most wideawake young newspaper men [...] it will provide a genuine reunion of the quill-pushers.
[US]Richmond Climax (KY) 29 Sept. 5/1: A very important meeting of Eighth District newspaper men will be held [...] and it is important that every quill-driver be there.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 13 Feb. 2nd sect. 7/5: Pressmen are now barred from atttending' executions at the Fremantle gaol; but it seems that. the banning of the quill-drivers is quite absurd under the present rules and regulations.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 May 1st sect. 1/1: They Say [...] That now the joke is exposed his quill-driving friends make life a misery.
[[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 15 Mar. 12/2: The Mob has wondered for a long while how it is Edgar Can buy ham rolls Saturday nights. It is trucking flour after his eight hours driving the pen that does it].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 16 July 36/3: Isn’t it time something was done to protect the out-o’-work quill-driver from the snares of the billet-monger? The procedure of this harpy is like this.
[US]Beaver Herald (OK) 18 June 1/1: He will serve as chief quill-pusher.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘A Letter to the Front’ in Moods of Ginger Mick 87: Orl you boys will show wot you are worth / An’ punch a cow on Yarra Flats or drive a quill in Perth.
[US]Clinch Valley News (Jefferson, VA) 15 Sept. 2/4: Some day a quilldriver from our Appalachian regions may [...] get up to the land of the Hub.

2. a clerk, thus quill-driving, working as a clerk.

[UK]J. Winstanley Poems 245: The Quill-drivers too, try what they can do, / To praise him in White and in Black, Sir.
[UK]Public Advertiser 3 Sept. 1/4: The Author [...] will not condescend to reply to some petty-fogging Quill-driver who has been hired to answer his very spirited Epistle.
[UK]Morning Post and Dly Advertiser 10 Mar. 2/4: Drunkenness itself could not excuse [...] the mushroom vanity of a hackney quill-driver in a silk grown.
[UK]Whitehall Eve. Post 27 Dec. 1/4: A body who, from the Chief Justice down to the quill-driver, can [...] turn out not less than three hundred thousand effective writing men.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Quill driver [...] a scribe, or hackney writer.
[UK]True Briton 4 Aug. 4/2: This gentleman [...] happening to want an understrapping quill-driver, did me the honour to take me into his service, and the next day saw me perched upon a great high stool.
[UK]Bury & Norwich Post 4 Aug. 2/2: A hearty breakfast [...] eventually cured the quill-driver’s supposed wounds.
[UK]P. Hawker Diary (1893) I 13 Aug. 79: A pettifogging attorney, who was alone writing [...] The quill driver had scarcely strength to support himself.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 1 Aug. 2/3: An equally young driver of the quill repaired to an excellent auberge in the High-street.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 180: I was introduced to Mr. Asgrave [...] and after a long conversation [...] I became one of his quill-drivers.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 18 Nov. 4/5: Some slight differences have occuted [...] between a certain ‘quill driver’ and an assistant to a sporting ‘ragman’.
[Ire]Dublin Eve. News 6 Oct. 2/5: He was for enforcing the rate [...] and leaving time to work out a conviction in the pugnacious quill-drivers who resisted the rate.
[UK]Paul Pry 1 Jan. n.p.: It would be much better for him to do a little quill-driving in his father’s office.
[UK]Sam Sly 12 May 2/2: The above-named quill driver, alias the Would-be Gent, not to think so much of himself.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 18 Oct. 3/3: [heading] The Excitable Quill-Driver and the Colonial Secretary.
[UK]‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue 27: quill-driver n. A lawyer’s clerk. Gen.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]M. Davitt Leaves from a Prison Diary I 45: If I am not back in a jiffy, old quill-driver, my employer, will be after me.
[US]Dly Herald (Brownsville, TX) 23 Jan. 4/3: The young quill driver audaciously claimed that a majority [...] were unionists.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 64: Quill-drivers, office clerks, etc.
[US]Spanish Fork Press (UT) 4 Oct. 3/4: They have chosen knights of the yard-stick, a quill-pusher, and a lawyer [...] and propose to place these men to make your laws.
[UK]Star (Canterbury) 24 Apr. 2/5: All the quill-drivers in the world seemed just then to have made Melbourne their headquarters.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 July 13/1: [T]he chemist and doctor of doubtful reputation, and the female who always ends by being charged with having caused the death of one Susan Quilpusher, by the illegal use of an instrument, reap a harvest accordingly.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 15 May 1/1: Employees of the W.A. Bank were to get a good thing after the last divided [and] the quill jiggers comforted themselves with visions of big bonuses.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 29 July 1/1: The Governor’s Speech was delivered by an anaemic quill-driver.
[[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 22 Sept. 4/7: I’m driving a gold-nibbed fountain pen].
[US]‘Weldon Hill’ Onionhead (1958) 263: Blanket-ass, the quill-pusher!‘’.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 11: Instead, he replied mildly to the overweight quill-driver, ‘If it’s rabies, that’s Animal rescue.’.

3. (UK Und.) a poet.

[UK]Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser 20 Mar. 1/4: Whether the author may [...] ‘remain a ‘broken-winded quill-driver’ [...] we will candidly say, that the poetry is too good for the subject .
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 108/2: Attic cove, poet, see quill driver.

In phrases

pure quill (n.) (also the quill) [? a perfect SE quill or feather]

(US) something that is excellent or flawless.

[UK]C.B. Lewis Sawed-off Sketches 23: There’s hairs of six different colors sticking in the splinters, and those blood stains are the pure quill [OED].
[UK]N&Q 23 Sept. 248/1: One of your correspondents [...] states that the expressions, ‘the cheese’, ‘pick of the basket’, &c., although now almost obsolete on this side of the Atlantic, are still to be heard in America. The expression ‘the pure quill’, having a similar meaning, I have often heard used in Canada and in the States.
[US]Perrysburg Jrnl (Wood Co., OH) 12 Jan. 5: Nothing but the pure quill goes in the H. A-S. Cigar.
[US]Goodwin’s Wkly (Salt Lake City) 6 Apr. 4/2: The pure quill in wiseness regarding the elasticity of steel, Norseman Lund, has got the experts on the subject.
[US]DN IV. 327: That tobacco is the pure quill.
[US]Van Loan ‘Excess Baggage’ in Score by Innings (2004) 396: I’ve read somewhere that the way of a man with a maid is queer [...] but for the pure quill in queerness it ain’t one-two-three with the way of a maid and a dozen men.
[US] ‘Fifth Ozark Word List’ in AS XIII:4 Dec. 314/2: pure quill n. The genuine product, unadulterated and undiluted.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 142: Their psychology [...] is not the quill. [Ibid.] 146: A convincing story which they believe for the pure quill.
[US]N. Algren Walk on the Wild Side 126: ‘This stuff is so good a feller can’t hardly bite it off,’ Dove told Luke. ‘It’s the pure quill.’.
[UK]T. Pratchett Monstrous Regiment 308: His sergeant’s sash was the pure quill of redness.