Green’s Dictionary of Slang

slope v.2

[SE let’s lope or slope, to move obliquely; note Schele De Vere, Americanisms (1872): ‘The term came first into use here, when the new State of Texas offered a ready asylum to unfortunate speculators, dishonest creditors, and even escaped criminals, so that the words Gone To Texas (G. T. T.) meant to be gone to the American Alsatia, and the act of going so far “down South,” became known as sloping. It implied, virtually, that the sloper had cheated his creditors, plundered a bank, or robbed his employers. The precise meaning of the word has been elucidated in the statement that “a mean fellow does not slope, he sneaks or slinks away; but the scoundrel, bold and unabashed, when defeated, slopes to parts unknown”.’ This may be so, but the founding of Texas in 1845, and use from 1827 (as slope off) invalidates this as origin]

1. (orig. US) to leave, to move off.

see below slope off
[US]Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) 8 June 2/3: He has left town — gone — decamped — evacuated — sloped — absquatulated — cut dirt — Swartiwouted.
[US]Commercial Advertiser (N.Y.) 22 Aug. 2/4: The rascal dropped his prize and ‘sloped’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 12 Feb. 2/6: The ‘other lady’ and the coloured gentlemen had sloped.
[US]T. Haliburton Nature and Human Nature I 273: So slope, if you please.
[UK]H.S. Brown Manliness 17: He never goes away or withdraws, but he ‘bolts’ – he ‘slopes’.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 7/2: I wasn’t there when the peelers come, cos I sloped before.
[Aus]Ballarat Star (Vic.) 18 Mar. 1/5: Some persons seem to have regarded the occurrence of this calamity as a convenient opportunity for what, in the expressive language of slang, is called ‘sloping’.
[Aus]Hamilton Spectator (Vic.) 7 Jan. 1/7: A young gentleman gets into ‘little difficulties,’ [...] He fears he will have to ‘absquatulate,’ ‘ missle,’ ‘ slope,’ ‘ cut’ ‘ dodge,’ ‘make tracks,’ ‘make himself scarce,’ unless the governor ‘shells out’.
[US]M. Thompson Hoosier Mosaics 125: Made me pray. Heard train a coming. Took me to swamp. Tied me and sloped. Lord but I’m glad to see you all!
[UK]J. Read [perf. J. Read] ‘All for Her’ 🎵 I sold the home, and her machine / Then with a blessing, and the quids, I sloped and left the thirteen kids.
[UK]R. Rowe Picked Up in the Streets 231: Mother Brimstone sartinly did slope pretty quick when she caught sight o’ me.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 5: Slope - To get away.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 21 June 58/3: A butcher [said] if he found any shoulders sloping off from his place, it would be bad for some people.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 58: Well, my old pot switched with the cook, my old donah, and then she had to slope the kitchen and go to his carsey over the stables.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Conroy’s Gap’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 30: He sloped across to the Queensland side.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 353: Then he ‘sloped’ once more.
[UK]Marvel 12 Nov. 5: The papers is sellin’ orl right, but Spider’s sloped [...] ’e’s garn away.
[Aus]‘Dryblower’ ‘His Quest’ in Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Apr. 4/7: There’s one goes down at night-time when the stoney-brokers slope.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Play’ in Bulletin (Sydney) 16 July 47/1: Aw! Fate me foot! Instid of slopin’ soon / As ’e was wed, off on ’is ‘oneymoon, / ‘Im an’ ’is cobber, called Mick Curio, / They ’ave to go / An’ mix it wiv that push o’ Capulets.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 122: Git there before the Twenty-fifth. Slope!
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 525: Remember Tommy, ’im an’ the tart? – ’e sloped agen.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 205: Jim gave Him half a wink to slope.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 239: I’m sloping soon, but I won’t forget you.
[UK]R. Milward Apples (2023) 62: [W]e sloped towards Henry Taylor Court and the scruffy bungalows.
[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 36: Me, Broonie n Addison sloped as soon as the [...] bell went.

2. to cheat, e.g. a publican, a shopkeeper; to avoid payment.

Golden Age (Queenbeyan, NSW) 14 Aug. 3/3: [W]ould he hear anything about molasses the storekeeper, being victimized, owing to sloper ‘levanting’?
[UK]Barman & Barmaid 12 July 4/2: Who once heard of us fighting? No one — we slope, and good business too!
[Aus]Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 143: SLOPE slang to clear out without paying one’s debts; mostly applied in boarding houses.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 27 Aug. 16/4: Chow storekeeper wasn’t a bad sort; he let us have tucker and paid for our licences. Two or three had tried to slope him – they were unsuccessful – and we were on the same lay. [...] 27 Aug. 17/1: We slunk away in silence – we were too full up to speak; / For though we ‘sloped’ the butcher and the grocer-man, we found / We had earned – for all our toiling – only half-a-quid a week.
[UK]S. Murphy Stone Mad (1966) 188: Sure Danny Melt there will tell you how we sloped a publican in Claremorris.
[Ire](con. 1930s) M. Verdon Shawlies, Echo Boys, the Marsh and the Lanes 61: There’s great sport in trying to slope the publican, cheat him out of a drink or two.

3. (US Und.) to escape from prison.

[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 167: My advice to you is to slope and forfeit your bail, unless you want to enter into negotiations with the district attorney’s office.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 405: Flight. Escape – ditch out, blow, bolt, give police the raspberry, scoot, spring a man, hot foot, slope, flagged.
[US]V.W. Saul ‘Vocab. of Bums’ in AS IV:5 344: Slope—To [...] break jail.

4. to leave one’s lodgings without paying.

[UK]S. Murphy Stone Mad (1966) 190: What beats me [...] is why ye had to shave off ye’re moustaches in order to slope in the middle of the night?

5. (Scots teen) to abandon, to desert, to ‘leave in the lurch’.

[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 63: Yi cannae slope yir troops at times like these.

In compounds

slopeout (n.)

(US) anything seen as easy to perform.

[US]H. Selby Jr ‘Tralala’ in Provincetown Rev. 3 74: It would be a slopeout. Just be sure to pick a live one.
[US]Current Sl. III:3.

In phrases

do a slope (v.)

to leave, to escape.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 15 Oct. 4/7: Frank Fogerty, who escaped from Fremantle Gaol [...] has done a slope.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 25 Aug. 4/4: Another culled [i.e. coloured] person from the steamer Charon did a slope at Fremantle the other day.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 47: You do a slope, cully.
slope about (v.) (also slope around)

to wander around.

[Aus]Wagga Wagga Advertiser 23 Oct. 4/2: The old girl is always sloping about sketching.
[US]T. Hampson diary 26 Nov. 🌐 Our clearing of the wounded still has to be done mostly at night, so there is a good deal of slack time to slope about in.
[US]‘Mae West in “The Hip Flipper”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 92: She moped and sloped around the casting offices.
slope off (v.) (also do a slope, slope out)

(orig. US) to leave, esp. surreptitiously.

National Banner (Nashville, TN) 20 Jan. 4/4: I jist sloped off towards the waggon [...] and give old Ball a cut.
[US]T. Haliburton Sam Slick in England II 16: He slopes off with his head down.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall I 276: [note] Sloping off, was a new term to us for the old trick of bolting without paying the rent; and perhaps it may be so to the reader.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 19 Oct. 1/2: Another city man has [...] folded up his blankets and done the Pacific slope.
[UK]W. Pett Ridge Mord Em’ly 263: Don’t try any sloping off to Australia, my gel.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Arthur’s 5: Arthur will then quietly remove the offender’s cup and half-consumed sardine, and order him to ‘slope off’.
[UK]Marvel 17 Apr. 17: Shot at sight and sloped off, like a mad skunk.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 323: Then sloping off with his five quid without putting up a pint of stuff like a man.
[US]W.D. Overholser Buckaroo’s Code (1948) 28: Now will you slope out of here?
[UK]Galton & Simpson ‘The Poetry Society’ Hancock’s Half-Hour [radio script] Hiya doll, how about you and me sloping off down the pub?
[UK]C. Wood ‘Prisoner and Escort’ in Cockade (1965) I iii: Go on – slope off.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 168: She reckons [...] he’ll slope off last thing.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 336: With a shudder, he’d rear up, fling on a mack and, Keith assumed, slope off down the drinker.
[Scot]I. Welsh Trainspotting 272: Renton and Kelly stay for one drink, then slope off together.
[UK]N. Barlay Crumple Zone 65: Then they’re sloping off down Golborne.
[Scot]I. Welsh Glue 89: We’re oaf, Billy, Carl n me headin one way n the rest slopin oaf thir ain weys.