Green’s Dictionary of Slang

croak v.2

[the death-rattle]

1. (also croak it) to die; also in fig. use (see cit. 1981).

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc.
[UK] ‘The Fine Young Common Prostitute’ in Cuckold’s Nest 42: She died, [...] And the jury said, she croaked through eating / Too much stinking meat.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 68: One of her mots brought home a swell well blunted, and they worked the hocus dodge on him; vell, the dose vos too multa, and the swell croaked.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 3 Apr. 6/2: Vy, blow me, if he dident turn up his blinkers (eyes) like a croaking quacker (dying duck), and said, ‘if you doesn’t give hover, I’ll get my mother to mill your napper (punch your head).
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 24 July 3/2: She also intimated that Mrs W.’s first husband ‘croaked’ (whatever she meant by the term) from lack of tenderness.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 7/2: ‘Turn it up’ whoever has got it [i.e stolen money], or by heavens some one will ‘croak’ for it.
[UK]E. Greey Queen’s Sailors I 287: She says her missis av bin werry dicky and likely to croak.
[UK]Dundee Courier 4 July 7/5: Poor beggar to go and croak in quod.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 15: ‘[T]he cat licked the pizened milk and croaked’.
[UK]East London Observer 4 Feb. n.p.: Hundreds, too, of slaved dead beats, / All, all stone broke, / Perambulate the Brisbane streets, / Fit, fit to croak.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 July 18/2: ‘Am I goin’ to croak, Doc?’ / ‘Not if you keep the bandages right.’ / ‘And if I take ’em off I’ll peg out, eh?’ / He nodded.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 330: Did Bud croak down in Texas, dead sartain?
[US]Ade People You Know 89: ‘Hully Chee!’ exclaimed the Artist. ‘He’s Croaked’.
[UK]Marvel 16 June 558: It would have been awful if that poor little beggar had croaked.
[UK][perf. Vesta Tilley] I Know My Business [lyrics] ‘P’r’aps you’d like a nice cigar.’ / Lor, when I put it on, I felt that I should croak.
[US]J. Lait ‘Charlie the Wolf’ Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 29: T’ree days ago dat lion’s lioness croaked.
[US]H.C. Witwer Kid Scanlon 356: I got a man here that’s liable to croak any minute – this ain’t no time for comedy!
[UK]Kipling ‘Propagation of Knowledge’ Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 229: Any more of ’em been croakin’ lately, Beetle?
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Brain Goes Home’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 228: If [...] he happens to croak, we are in a very tough spot.
[UK]J. Cary Horse’s Mouth (1948) 109: Nice bit in the papers if you croak in my bed.
[US]S. Bellow Augie March (1996) 508: Take it easy. Nobody’s going to croak.
[UK]I. Fleming Diamonds Are Forever (1958) 142: We’re going to [...] go on finding out until the guy croaks.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 40: He worked [...] in the morgue, and this nice lookin young head croaks so he throws a hump inner.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 159: The dude in the hospital croaked.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 2: croak – figuratively, to die: ‘I was so embarrassed I could have croaked’.
[UK]J. Sullivan ‘Sleeping Dogs Lie’ Only Fools and Horses [TV script] When you tell her her Dookie-Wookie’s croaked it she’ll have twins!
[US]Tarantino & Avery Pulp Fiction [film script] 57: If she fuckin’ croaks on me, I’m a grease spot.
[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 30: ‘You respect the guy?’ ‘Yeah, for holding things together after the old boy croaked.’.
[US]C. Hiaasen Nature Girl 210: One time a guy almost croaked on me in bed.
[UK]K. Richards Life 80: Of course they all croaked before then.

2. to kill, to murder; thus croaking, n., a murder; croak artist, n., a murderer.

[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 316/1: Croak, to murder.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 21 July 3/2: [He] did threaten to astound, astonish, bunt, batter, crush, croak, damage, destroy, eat, embowel, fake,flog, grass, gall, harass, hammer, injure, impinge, jam, job, kill, knock-out, larrup, lick, mummyfy, murder, nail, nauseate, unify, obliterate, pound, punish, quiet, quench, rush, roast, settle, splfllicate, tear-to-atoms, terrify, ’ug, ’umbug, velt, vip, wiolute, wanquish, xasperate, xtinguish, and yoke-up the Zany.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: It is a corpus coraking concern, sure enough.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 259: Jiggered if I don’t think that crack on the head croaked him.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 14 Sept. n.p.: Bill Mortimer (in for attempting to ‘croake’ officer Williams’.
[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: If he had his ‘shooting-iron’ with him he would ‘croak the bloody sucker’ who ‘bounced’ him.
[UK]Dundee Courier 22 Sept. 7/4: I’d croak one of you tyrants, and be strung up, and have done with it.
Ledger (Noblesville, IN) 14 Aug. 6/2: ‘I hear they are about to “croak” a man’.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 391: But they can never croak us all, anyhow. We’re too strong for that, thank God!
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 60: Gee, Pug’d croak me ef he knowed I was doin’ this.
[US]E. O’Neill The Web in Ten ‘Lost’ Plays (1995) 67: What did yuh croak him for?
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Crusaders’ in Chisholm (1951) 80: ‘Jist now,’ sez Brannigan. ‘Spike Wegg’s in smoke. / Oh, jist concems a cove ’e tried to croak.’.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 410: One who kills, croak artist, a blood, bump-off guy.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 170: I croaked him because he was slandering the best woman that ever stood in two shoes.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Young Manhood in Studs Lonigan (1936) 192: If somebody hasn’t croaked that kike by this time, they ought to.
[UK]Whizzbang Comics 67: I guess her skipper reckons he’s croaked Cyclone Carson, but he’s going to find out his mistake before very long!
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 186: Is he finished? Did I croak him?
[US]A.S. Fleischman Venetian Blonde (2006) 219: She knocked me out of the will years ago. Figured I might croak her for it.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 28: I think you just croaked the big moron.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 107: Let’s say the doctor croaked Vicky.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 10: Why’d you croak him then, man?
[US]T. Dorsey Hurricane Punch 88: I didn’t croak that dude at the Skyway.

3. as croak oneself, to commit suicide.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 61: Go and croak your ugly self, you half bred pig!
[US]S.F. Call 1 Feb. 5/3: ’Course, I could a’ croaked myself, an’ the whole thing ’ud ’a’ been off.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 110: He can tell you how many birds has croaked themselves.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 265: He croaked himself on account he couldn’t live with the way he looked.

4. (US campus) to fail an examination or a course [fig. use of sense 1].

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 30: croak, v. i. To flunk.