Green’s Dictionary of Slang

frisk n.1

also frisking
[frisk v.2 ]

(orig. UK Und.) a search.

[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 142: If any of us was to come in by ourselves and should happen to take a rum snooze, you’d snitch upon us, and soon have the traps and fix us, in putting a lap-feeder in our sack, that you or your blowen had prig’d yourselves, though we should stand the frisk for it.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 1 June 3/1: Mr. Lovett, thereupon took the liberty of having a frisk over Phillips’ person, and [...] found a bulky sample of Mr Armstrong’s cutlery in bis outside pocket.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 7/2: All eyes seeming to turn towards ‘Dublin Joe’ he ‘tumbled’ to the ‘rachet’ and offered himelf first for the ‘frisk’.
[US]News & Courier (Charleston, SC) 14 Apr. 18/1: There was a cop [...] and he took it, too, that I was all for a hurry frisk and he jumped up and gave me the arm twist.
[UK]D. Lowrie My Life in Prison 25: After a thorough ‘frisk’ I was escorted to the photograph gallery.
[US]H.A. Franck Zone Policeman 88 140: We [...] gave them and their baggage such a ‘frisking’ as befalls a Kaffir leaving a South African diamond mine.
[US]A.J. Barr Let Tomorrow Come 41: I’m packin’ a heater, see, an’ I don’t wanta stand no frisk.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 17: When I’d got the purse, I passed it on straight away to another pal [...] so if the woman did accidentally feel me taking her purse, and if I was grabbed by the crowd, I could stand a frisk (search).
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act I: I steered him into a side street where it was dark and propped him against a wall and gave him a frisk. [...] I picked twelve bucks offa him.
[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 385: It was Timmy who told of the frisk, the pinch by two red-necked bulls.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Thompson South of Heaven (1994) 31: He gave us as good a frisk as I’ve ever seen.
[US]R. Sabbag Snowblind (1978) 244: In Colombia [...] the airline frisk has become a matter of policy.
[US](con. 1940s–60s) H. Huncke ‘Johnnie I’ in Eve. Sun Turned Crimson (1998) 117: I don’t want a bust, nor can I stand a frisk — I got a stick of pot in my pocket.
[UK]M. Dibdin Dark Spectre (1996) 26: Now they would strip-search us, do a rectal frisk and pack us off to the state pen.
[UK](ref. to 1963) K. Richards Life 119As for the frisk, when I read that, I thought, ‘Even then?’ [...] Frisked for no reason at all: .
[US]T. Dorsey Riptide Ultra-Glide 224: Catfish [...] entered with hands raised again, and turned around for the frisk.

In phrases

on the frisk

working as a pickpocket, i.e. ‘searching’ the pockets / bags of strangers.

[UK]‘The Lively Kid’ in Rake’s Budget in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 87: The lively kid on the frisk has gone / And God knows where you’ll find him.
skin frisk (n.)

(US prison) a strip search.

Oregon Dly Jrnl (Portland, OR) 6 Dec. 9/3: A ‘skin frisk’ was held at the county jail yesterday.
[US]S.F. Call 9 Oct. 3/2: Indicted Physician subjected to ‘Skin Frisk’ on his arrival at Portland Jail.
Oregon Dly Jrnl (Portland, OR) 7 Oct. 11/2: [She] produced a pint of moonshine from her clothing when police sent for a policewoman to give her a ‘skin frisk’.
[UK] (ref. to 1920s) L. Duncan Over the Wall 168: I was given a skin frisk, with no words of explanation.
(con. 1970) Ottowa Jrnl 13 Sept. 10/2: Prisoners staged a revolt [...] to protest ‘skin frisks’ in which they were stripped and searched.
[Can]Chilliwack Progress (BC) 6 Nov. 15/2: Skin frisks of inmates [...] are carried out by male staff.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 99: Skin Frisk An old term used to mean a strip search of an inmate.