Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cuff n.2

[the practice of pencilling debts in shops or bars on a celluloid cuff]

(US) credit, both lit. and fig.

[US]F.W. Benteen in Benteen-Goldin Letters 12 Feb. (1991) 248: ‘No limits’ is apt to make pretty steep [poker] game, and it was [...] no ‘cuff’ went.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 45: He seemed to be all cuff where Danny was concerned.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 273: He was a good friend of Terry’s, with plenty of cuff where the kid was concerned.

In derivatives

cufferoo (adj.) [-eroo sfx]

(US) free; also as n, one who obtains services for free.

[US]News (Frederick, MD) 15 Feb. 4/7: Food or drink ‘on the cuff’ is on the house — gratis. And a ‘cufferoo’ is an influential individual to whom waiters don’t give checks.
[US]J.H. O’Hara Pal Joey 72: It was not a spending party, strictly cufferoo.
D. Kilgallen Voice of Broadway: 17 Jan. [synd. col.] Those tie-ups are for me but no cufferoos — little Arline gets cash.
J. Hatlo They’ll Do It Every Times 18 Jan. [synd. cartoon] He’s been riding these pools on the cufferoo since the Dempsey-Firpo fight.

In phrases

on the cuff (orig. US)

1. on account, on credit; thus put on the cuff, to give credit, to ask for credit.

[UK]Hall & Niles One Man’s War (1929) 183: Elaine is a charming person who takes care of aviators and ‘writes it on the cuff’ as we say.
[US]A. Baer Two & Three 6 Jan. [synd. col.] Now it’s seven dollars cash and seven on the cuff.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 18: They start in on the cuff, in the red and in hock.
[US]Army and Navy Register (US) 18 Nov. 3/2: ‘Jawbone,’ the equivalent of the civilian’s ‘put it on the cuff’.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 45: The only way of getting enough for the horses was finding a friend to put it on the cuff.
[US]‘William Lee’ Junkie (1966) 88: Look, boys, I’m a little short. You don’t mind putting this one on the cuff, do you?
[US]G.V. Higgins Friends of Eddie Coyle 164: Big fancy Jew-type car, four hundred dollar suit [...] the whole bit and he wants me to make a hit on the cuff.
[US]G. Wolff Duke of Deception (1990) 233: He stayed ten days, put everything on the cuff, even his amphetamines.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 193: Hoping I could con Gene’s landlady into putting me on the cuff until payday I went with him to his boarding house.

2. for free.

[UK] in Vanity Fair (N.Y.) Nov. 134: ‘On the cuff’ is ‘on the house’ or ‘free.’.
[US] C.W. Willemse A Cop Remembers 141: Mrs. Torri had a restaurant there with a famous cuisine that brought to her table [many customers] — also cops, but mostly on the cuff for they made themselves helpful and she paid them in kindness.
[US]H.A. Smith Life in a Putty Knife Factory (1948) 183: You get all the restaurants and nightspots you want, on the cuff.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 163: Truck-drivers who transport them, deliver them to madames or macks along the route, in return for fun on the cuff and ten bucks.
[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 102: A beat-up guitar that he had bought for [...] twenty-four haircuts on the cuff.
[US]A. Brooke Last Toke 85: ‘Last high you gets on the cuff,’ Redwood told him now.
[US]S. King It (1987) 39: Instead of going back to Portland when his three weeks on the cuff were over, he found himself a small apartment.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 117: It’s a one-hour operation. He’s gonna do it on the cuff, no charge.

3. (N.Z.) excessive; usu. as a bit on the cuff [? rhy. sl. = SE rough].

NZEF Times 16 Nov. 8: A bit on the cuff, that sort of thing [DNZE].
[NZ]McGill Dict. of Kiwi Sl. 32/2: cuff phr. on the cuff excessive or unfair or inappropriate... ‘Steady on, old boy, that language is a bit on the cuff.’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. [as cit. 1988].
swing the cuff (v.)

to obtain on credit or for free.

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 29: An’ anytime you’re broke and wanna swing the cuff for a round of drinks mention my name – an’ you’re in right.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

cuff-and-collar brigade (n.) (also collar and cuff brigade)

1. (Aus.) office workers; thus the respectable middle-class.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Jan. 25/3: [She] has helped many a struggling protégé of the cuff-and-collar brigade in many cashful ways.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 5 Feb. 1/1: Her pronounced cuff-and-collar preferences have caused deep wrath is the workshops [and] her oil-grimed admirer offers to job any two Johnnies to stamp his superiority.
[Scot]Dundee Eve. Teleg. 29 Nov. 4/3: The parties who have taken advantage of these unsuspecting women [...] are what one would recognise as being respectable. [...] in vulgar language they belong to what is known as the ‘cuff and collar brigade’.
[UK]Dly Herald 9 July 4/3: In the course of writings by Labourists and Socialists one [...] sees phrases which can only be characterised as sneers at the ‘cuff and collar brigade,’ — the clerks.
[UK]Western Times 20 Sedpt. 14/5: The average middle class man [...] is shunned by the so-called upper classes, and referred to by the horny handed sons of toil as the cuff and collar brigade.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 15 July 5/2: There were the large percentage of the population of the country —the backbone of the country — the men they knew as the collar and cuff brigade.

2. a dandy, or one who poses as such.

[UK]West Briton & Cornwall Advertiser 1 Nov. 4/3: Ferdy Fullobounce had deigned to honour a seaside hydro with his exquisite presence. He was a perfect ‘filbert,’ a true sample of the ‘cuff and collar brigade’.
cuffs and collar (adj.) (also collar-and-cuffs, cuff and collar) [as opposed to more casual attire]

(Aus.) middle-class, prissy, pernickety.

[UK]Sporting Times 22 Feb. 3/1: Up comes a toff, all cuffs and collar, and a pane o’ glass in his eye.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Men Who Made Australia’ in Roderick (1967–9) II 7: There’ll be royal times in Sydney for the Cuff and Collar Push, / There’ll be lots of dreary drivel and clap-trap.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 4 Oct. 13/2: One 16-stone hog [...] was informing the boss [...] that ‘there’s too much side about her. She’s a collar-and-cuffs tart, she is. Threatened to throw the tea over me for speaking a word to her.’.
cuffs and collars (n.) (also collars and cuffs)

a ref. to pubic hair that matches the colour of the visible hair; thus ostensibly proving that a woman is not dyeing her hair.

[US]L. Sanders Pleasures of Helen 170: [H]er wispy triangle was blond, and it was nice to show men that her collar and cuffs matched.
[US]R. Price Blood Brothers 11: ‘She a blonde or brunette?’ [...] ‘Neither, orange.’ ‘Orange! Jesus Christ. Cuffs and collars?’ ‘Cuffs and collars.’.
[US]‘Joe Block’ The Flasher n.p.: ‘I see you're a natural redhead,’ he remarked. ‘You have the collar and muff to match’.
[[UK]T. Lewis GBH 16: [I]t was three months before I discovered her hair was not its natural colour].
Capital Radio 23 Jan. [London radio] She’s blonde in the pictures but somehow I don’t think the collars and cuffs match.
‘Weather Girl Showdown’ at 🌐 Y’know, darling, I just love the red hair, but I can’t help but wonder if cuffs and collar don’t match, if you get my drift...
[US]D.D. Brazill ‘Lady and the Gimp’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] ‘Wasn’t she a blond?’ ‘Yeah [...] but the collars and cuffs didn’t match’.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 243: Hominy posed [...] with the blackfaced women of Nu Iota gamma. ‘Do the curtains match the naps?’ Hominy said drily.
cuff-shooter (n.) [his continual ‘shooting’ of his cuffs]

a clerk.

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 100/2: Well, what if I am a coster? I earns a dollar (5s.), where a blooming cuffshooter don’t make a ’og (1s.).