Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ticker n.1

[the regular ticking or beating]

1. a watch, occas. clock (see cite 1983).

[UK] ‘Battle’ in Fancy I XVII 404: The President of the Daffy Club held the ticker.
[UK] ‘The Bawdy-House Row’ Black Joke 7: She had drawn a Gentleman’s cly, / Of his gold ticker and seals so sly.
[UK]Flash Mirror 6: Starring the Glaze. — Thrusting your mawley through a jeweller’s shop front, and paddling with a ticker, a fawney, or any other article.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 22 Jan. n.p.: The better to ease you of your ticker and appendages.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 8 Aug. 3/3: Wright admitted that they had no means of disposing of his ticker .
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 358: Dicky, too, had looked at his ticker, thinking he had done enough.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 22 Jan. 3/2: I bounced her till she turned up three sovs and the ticker.
[UK]‘A Harrassing Painsworth’ in Yates & Brough (eds) Our Miscellany 23: Smiling Sammy, a ‘queer cuffin,’ who had taken more vipes, fogies, tickers, sneezing-traps, and readers, than any man of his day.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Story of a Lancashire Thief 9: I was looking out for tickers then.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 16 Nov. 3/1: [He] went into a watch and jewelry store [...] and asked to see a ‘ticker,’ a gold one of course.
[UK]Five Years’ Penal Servitude 243: What! try it on to sling my hook after a few foulchers and tickers when I knowed I’d 300 quid safe? — not I.
[UK]Sporting Times 10 Apr. 3/3: The next day they fined me a fiver, / Which I maskined my ticker to pay.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 43: He put up his handsome watch and chain [...] and, as he was playing in hard luck, I soon had the ‘ticker.’.
[UK]J. Astley Fifty Years (2nd edn) II 270: I [...] never gave a thought to the safety of my ticker.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 4 Nov. 5/5: And he handles ‘wipes’ and ‘tickers till a charge they ’gainst him prove.
[UK]E.W. Rogers [perf. Vesta Tilley] The New Policeman [lyrics] I thought I’d have his watch, but just my luck, he’d got no ticker.
[UK]Marvel XIV 12 June 344: Yer might erblige a bloke by a-tellin’ ’im ther correct time be yer ticker, sir.
[Aus] ‘It’s Only a Way He’s Got’ in ‘Banjo’ Paterson Old Bush Songs 85: He drew my ticker from my fob, / And bolted like a shot.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘At the Cross Roads’ Sporting Times 29 Oct. 1/3: Neither lady, nor gent, nor his ticker were there.
[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 31 Jan. 12/2: [of a clock] The the ticker only showed three minutes past 8.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 404: Winding of his ticker.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Good Luck is No Good’ in Federal Agent Nov. [Internet] I wind my watch [and] I put the ticker under my pillow.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 60: I’ll see that you knock a scoff, ace-deuce around the ticker.
[UK]J. Phelan Tramp at Anchor 109: The boys gets his ticker, wallet an small keys!
[US] ‘The Pool-Shooting Monkey’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 31: A Elgin ticker with a solid gold band.
[UK]A. Sillitoe Start in Life (1979) 57: This bobbin-ticker makes more noise than Big Ben.
[Aus]J. Byrell (con. 1959) Up the Cross 13: He took a dekko at the cop shop’s ticker. ‘It’s only ten to seven’.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 25 Aug. 1: The favourite tough-guy ticker is the Rolex Daytona.

2. (US campus) one who recites by rote, but with no knowledge of the text.

[US]Harvardiana III 123: If any ‘Ticker’ dare to look / A stealthy moment on his book.
[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 460: ticker. One who recites without knowing what he is talking about.

3. the human (or animal) heart.

[[UK]Annals of Sporting 1 Feb. 133: He pretended to drop his head, as though his ticking-machine had ceased to beat].
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 188: Ticker.– [...] The heart.
[NZ]Eve. Post (Wellington) 19 Dec. 19/6: They sent me ole ticker a racin’ and buzzin’ under me braces.
[UK] (ref. to 1920s) L. Duncan Over the Wall 151: My ticker turned a double-somersault, and my worst hunches came true.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 150: You think maybe it was just his ticker give out?
[UK]C. MacInnes Absolute Beginners 199: I usually surprise myself by staying calm — however much my ticker’s pounding there inside.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 158: His ticker ain’t icy enough to pimp on this track.
[US](con. 1949) J.G. Dunne True Confessions (1979) 339: Open and shut. Bang bang. Two in the ticker.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 188: It’ll be the kidneys or liver that kill me, if the ticker doesn’t go first.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 190: [of a racehorse] [H]e soon showed ’em the size of his ticker. He romped in at his come-back event, then won six out of 12 starts.
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 17: Bustin’ their dodgey fuckin’ tickers for nothin’.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 31: Arthritis, gout, a gimpy spine, and bad ticker.
[US]G. Phillips ‘Slicers’ Serenade of Steel’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] I came in to comfort my distraight friend and he was so upset, his ticker gave out.
[UK]Guardian Weekend 23 jan. 21/2: He never looked that well — he said he had a ‘dodgy ticker’.

4. (Aus./US) courage.

[US]D. Runyon ‘The Old Doll’s House’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 61: He has plenty of ticker.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 223/1: Ticker. 1. Heart; nerve; boldness.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 226: Come on [...] Show a bit of ticker.
[Aus]M. Coleman Fatty 89: People said there were a whole lot of stars but no ticker.
[UK]Guardian Sport 25 Aug. [Internet] Justin Langer waits by the boundary, applauding Stokes before shaking his hand. The Aussies know class and ticker when they see it.

5. (US Black) in pl. hours, minutes; unspecified time.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 10 Feb. 7/1: Having a few full tickers on my lead before I picked up on my slave [etc].

In phrases

mug’s ticker (n.)

(UK Und.) a piece of worthless jewellery or a fake Swiss watch.

[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 194: Mug’s ticker See Patacca.
nail the ticker (v.)

(UK Und.) to steal a watch.

[UK]H. Lemoine ‘Education’ in Attic Misc. 116: To nail the ticker, or to mill the cly.
[UK] ‘Sonnets for the Fancy’ in Egan Boxiana III 622: [as 1791].