Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jew v.

also jew down, ...out
[racial stereotyping; the cheater need in no way be Jewish]

1. to cheat financially; also to haggle; thus jewing.

[UK]C. Harding Diary 29 Apr. in Egotistigraphy (1866) 79: He is a country clergyman; and, from his Jewing disposition, I should judge he had more taste in tithes than pictures .
L. Dow Dealings of God (1849) 189/1: If they [the Jews] will Jew people, they cannot flourish among Yankees, who are said to ‘out-jew’ them in trading .
[UK]R. Barham ‘The Brothers of Birchington’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1847) 267: Is that the way you’d Jew one?
[US]Durivage & Burnham Stray Subjects (1848) 45: The Yankee landlord [...] immediately commenced to ‘jew’ him.
[US] in N.E. Eliason Tarheel Talk (1956) 279: I Jewed old Galloway down to 1.50 for ploughs.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 213: Little Mo Isaacs, of Jewin Street.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 36/1: They then sets to work Jewing away as hard as they can, pricing up their own things, and downcrying yourn.
[US]G.W. Whitman in Civil War Letters 25 Feb. 88: They will jew me out of my chance.
[US]Congressional Globe 7 July 5340/1: This bill supposes that Congress [...] is ready to commence jewing down the pay of its General [DA].
Calif. Flush Times cited in Schele De Vere (1872) 495: Jew, to, colloquially known in England as meaning to cheat, is here often used in the sense of haggling, bargaining. ‘Don’t you think the old hunks wanted to jew me down to three hundred dollars?’ .
[Aus]Ovens & Murray Advertiser (Beechworth, Vic.) 10 Jan. 3/3: [H]e was one of that race of Jews against which the very instincts of all civilised and uncivilised nations of the earth are enlisted — so much so, that the very word ‘Jew’ became a by-word for cheat, and to be ‘Jewed’ is [...] synonymous with the vernacular to be ‘cheated’.
[US]Chicago Trib. 14 Oct. 8/2: The prices [for lodging] asked vary — the lodger being generally asked as much as it is thought he will give. If he jews, he will get it for comparatively little [DA].
[US]‘Mark Twain’ Life on the Mississippi (1914) 390: There’s one thing in this world which a person don’t ever try to jew you down on. That’s a coffin.
[US]F. Norris Vandover and the Brute (1914) 228: I jewed him down [...] from twenty-five thousand I brought him right down to, say, eight thousand.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 192: They scold, ‘jew,’ and fight one another while the trade is progressing.
[US]Paducah Sun (KY) 9 Dec. 3/2: Although he may say he doesn’t mean anything of the kind he does, and is only trying to ‘jew you down’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Sept. 16/2: And all the trackers near and far / For his chain-lightning used to come. / It was the apple of his eye, / A fearsome home-brewed ‘Knock-me-down,’ / He used to make it on the sly / To Jew the customs folk in town.
[US]L.W. Payne Jr ‘Word-List From East Alabama’ in DN III:iv 324: jew, v. To beat down in price. ‘I tried to jew him but he wouldn’t jew’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Dec. 28/2: Liners – nothing! [...] Tramps – tramps, old weevily tramps, and then he tried to jew ’em.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 305: Usually the restaurant keeper jews the tramp down to ten cents, and they part, well pleased, and both ahead of the game.
[US]E. O’Neill letter 2 Dec. in Bogard & Bryer Sel. Letters (1988) 267: Harry jewed Crane down to that.
[US]N. Algren ‘So Help Me’ in Texas Stories (1995) 16: I tol’ him he could get most of them for six bits if he jewed them down a little.
[US]F. Warnick Dialect of Garrett County, Maryland 9: Jew down, v.phr., endeavour to purchase an article for less than originally asked for it (Slang) [DA].
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 273: He gave me a look when I says to jew them, but he didn’t let on he was one.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Final Shtick’ in Gentleman Junkie (1961) 19: Don’t let him Jew-you-down.
[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 34: They’re here to jew us out of our share!
[US]N. Heard Howard Street 45: The damned niggers wanted to jew the price down and then stay on all night.
D. Mamet American Buffalo (1994) 153: Like when he jewed Ruthie out that pig iron.
[US]G. Wolff Duke of Deception (1990) 14: They hornswoggled my grandfather – Jewed him down, as a relative put it.
[US]S. King Christine 118: Her sticker price was just a tad under $3000, but he ‘jewed em down’, as he put it, to $2100 with the trade-in.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 12: Jews have long objected to the use of Jew (down) as a verb.
[UK]J. Mowry Six Out Seven (1994) 443: Y’all gonna try an jew me down like you done with your little friend’s eye?
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 108: When the time’s right, Littell will jew those dagos down and get you your hotels at rock-bottom prices.
[US]P. Gourevitch Cold Case (2002) 157: They agree to split the difference. ‘Old-fashioned expression – we Jewed ’em down.’.
[US](con. 1970) J. Laurence Cat from Hué 571: Anybody stupid enough to get jewed out of New York [...] they deserve Death Valley.
[US]J. Stahl I, Fatty 206: You get in a Jew business, you’re going to get jewed.

2. in fig. senses of cheat, fool, e.g. in a sporting competition.

[UK]Bell’s Life in London 9 Aug. 3/2: Charley was floored ‘in good order,’ which convinced the spectators that Ikey was not easily to be ‘Jew’d’.