Green’s Dictionary of Slang

ring v.

1. in senses of change, alteration [fig. use of abbr. SE phr. ring the changes].

(a) (UK Und.) to change a good coin for a counterfeit.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 41: Ringing of Neds or Sixes. Putting off bad Guineas and Thirty-six Shilling Pieces [...] The Sharper has a quare Ned or Six ready to change, so keeps the good, and gives the bad one to the Flat.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Sept. 4/7: The orrange-n’-lemonade [sic] bloke [...] rung a cronk ’arf caser onter ’im.

(b) (also ringer) to change, to alter; thus ringing castors, changing hats, typically by going to some public place, stealing an expensive hat from where it has been deposited and leaving a cheap one; ring togs, to change clothes.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 30: The ringing Toggs and Seats; that is, changing great Coats and Saddles.
[UK]Whole Art of Thieving [as cit. 1753].
[UK] ‘Flash Lang.’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 18: Passing bad money, ringing blue bit.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 262: ringing castors: signifies frequenting churches and other public assemblies, for the purpose of changing hats, by taking away a good, and leaving a shabby one in its place; a petty game now seldom practised.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1812].
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. 28: Ring – to exchange one article for another.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open [as cit. 1835].
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 82: RINGING CASTORS, changing hats.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 30/1: I ‘slung’ the ‘wire’ his travelling bag, and he ‘rung’ himself by taking off his light travelling overcoat. [Ibid.] 72/2: Thinking there might be some one ‘put on’ by means of the Telegraph, Joe and I ‘rung togs,’ and agreed to meet separately at Wallace’s Hotel.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Mollie Matches’ in Sandburrs 45: When I was d’ pick of d’ swell mob, an’ d’ steadiest grafter that ever ringed a watch or weeded a leather!
[US]F.H. Tillotson How I Became a Detective 95: Ringer – To disguise.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 181: The [...] dummy case containing the one to be ‘rung’ for the bank case.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 194: ring up To alter stolen goods’ appearance; to disguise.

(c) to desert, i.e. a lover.

[UK] ‘A Chaunt by Slapped-up Kate and Dubber Daff’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 46: I’ve buss’d and been nutty on fifty young biddies, / And ring’d them as oft as you see.

(d) (UK Und.) used of individuals or groups, to substitute, to swap.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 5/1: Some who were good at ‘stalling’ for the ‘dip’ in a ‘push’ were ‘rung’ for others who were used to ‘fly-dipping’.

(e) to substitute cards.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 111/2: The ‘crib’ had been ‘rung’ by moochers, and nineteen— i.e. ‘shise’ — the consequence.

(f) (UK Und.) to be disturbed in the act of a robbery, and thus having to flee without the goods.

[UK] in Cornhill Mag. in DU (1968).
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 434: There’s such a thing as perfeshional pride, and if we sh’d ’appen to get rung or pinched, I sh’ldn’t like ter ’ave it brought agen me that I’d coopered the job.

(g) to cheat.

[UK]A. Binstead Gal’s Gossip 56: An angry Jaquemart mob on whom he has tried to ring a Knight of the thistle argument in lieu of settlement.

(h) (US) to illegally substitute a horse for another in a horserace.

[US]Wash. Post (DC) 14 Aug. 4/1: The charge of participating in the ringing of a horse [...] ‘They’ll ring ’em as long as they race ’em,’ remarked a grizzled veteran of the [...] gee-gees.
[US]cited in Wentworth & Flexner DAS (1975) 428/2: ‘He was afraid to attempt ringing’ [...] ‘Barrie had rung Aknahton as Hickey at Bopwie.’.

(i) to substitute crooked dice.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 262: He was ringin’ in his own!

(j) (US Und.) as ring up, to assume a disguise.

[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl. 57: You had better ring up (disguise) so he won’t make you.

(k) to alter a car for the purposes of using it as a getaway vehicle, hold-up van etc, or for reselling it to an unsuspecting customer.

[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 135: It [i.e. a car] is used for [...] ‘ringing’ (occasionally it is held in reserve some distance from the crime so that the robbers can swiftly ‘switch’ from their own car).
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 98: Rex hadn’t bothered to ring the number plates as the van wasn’t going to be used on the day of the actual job.
[UK]N. Dunn Poor Cow 13: We was driving down the Bayswater Road in this ringed Mercedes and suddenly the law was after us, pulled us in and lifted the bonnet to see if the motor was ringed.
[UK]P. Fordham Inside the Und. 91: Stealing to sell [...] involves complete ‘ringing’.
[UK] in R. Graef Living Dangerously 54: I started ringing motors — changing the motor numbers.
[UK]Guardian 23 Dec. 4: A white van pulled up at one of the bank entrances and took away large amounts of cash. The van [...] had been ringed.

(l) (UK Und.) to pretend.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Viva La Madness 59: He’s ringing it that it was his idea for Ted to get me back on the firm.

2. (Aus.) to be the most successful shearer in a shed. [ringer n. (1a); ult. SE ring the bell, to win a victory].

[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Shearing at Castlereagh’ in Man from Snowy River (1902) 136: The man that ‘rung’ the Tubbo shed is not the ringer here, / That stripling from the Cooma side can teach him how to shear.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Boss’s Boots’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 321: You’d have to ring a shed or two to feel as Bogan felt.
[Aus] ‘Flash Jack from Gundagai’ in ‘Banjo’ Paterson Old Bush Songs 27: And once I rung Cudjingie shed, and blued it in a week.
[NZ] (ref. to 1890–1910) L.G.D. Acland Early Canterbury Runs (1951) 380: A really fast shearer, one who could ring most sheds.
[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 63: To ring the board is to prove the most expert shearer in a shed.
[NZ]G. Meek ‘A Clean Slate’ Station Days in Maoriland 90: He’d stepped up when the shearin’ roll was read, / And bogged in with Ball and Burgon and had rung the Bunga shed.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 193: Even now I could shear them with the best / There’s many a shed I’ve rung in the west.
[Aus]J. Dingwall Sun. Too Far Away 37: First shed he’s ever rung in his life, and now he’s walking around like his shit don’t stink.

3. (Aus.) to be sucessful in non-shearing contexts.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 Feb. 4/8: At last luck paid their will — / I do not know who ’rung’ it’.

4. to open and then steal the contents of a cash register [the ring of the ‘no change’ key on an old-fashioned till].

[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 20: Buddy was caught ringing a cash register in a five-and-dime store.

In compounds

ring job (n.) [job n.2 (2)]

(UK Und.) a car that has been ‘ringed’, i.e. has had its identification changed for illicit resale.

[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 19: [The BMW] was ditched inside a mile. Expensive ditch, you could see it wasn’t lifted that night. Probably a ring job though.

In phrases

ring in

see separate entries.

ring it on (v.)

see separate entry.

ring the changes (v.)

see separate entry.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

In phrases

ring a tatt into (v.)

see under tat n.2

ring one’s chimes (v.) (orig. US)

1. to excite one’s attention, to enthuse.

R. York Edge of the Moon 65: But she hadn’t connected with anyone who rang her chimes. Until Jack Thornton. She’d gone to bed fixated on the man.

2. to have or give an orgasm.

E. Minger Teddy Bear Heir 94: That broad [...] snuck into his bedroom and [...] rang his chimes, cleaned his clock . . . ah, you get my drift.
Holstein & Taylor Your Long Erotic Weekend 180: Does she like it when I do that? [...] That didn’t go over so hot, but this other thing really rang her chimes.

3. to pressurize.

[US]G.V. Higgins Rat on Fire (1982) 85: If their wives weren’t coming down after them it’d be the cops or some sonbitch wanted to ring their chimes for them.
ring one’s tail (v.) [ringtail n.2 (2)]

(Aus.) in a game, to surrender, to give in .

[Aus]Baker Aus. Lang. 89: To ring one’s tail, to be cowardly (the terms ringtail and possum-guts for a coward show that the origin is the possum).
[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 238/1: ring your tail – give up.
ring someone’s bell (v.)

see under bell n.1