Green’s Dictionary of Slang

airedale n.

also airdale
[horseracing jargon airedale, a worthless racehorse; note Wilstach (1924): ‘Leo Donnelly had his foot stepped on by a Jew on 42nd St. and said, “Hey there, you airdale.” Asked why he called him an airdale he said: “he was hairy, dirty and cute.”’]

1. (US) an unattractive man.

[US]Edwardsville Intelligencer (lL) 14 Sept. 4/4: The Flappers’ Dictionary [...] Airdale: A Homely man.
[US]News-Chron. (Shippenberg, PA) 29 Oct. 4/3: Jack, the parlor leech crashed a party at Mary’s house. She’s some inkwell but before she got through with that airdale he sure was blotto .
[US]M. West Babe Gordon (1934) 28: ‘Listen, airedale,’ she said, ‘if I want you I’ll whistle for you.’.

2. (US) a racing horse.

[US]H.C. Witwer Yes Man’s Land 154: ‘I told you to lay off them airedales!’ he growls. ‘Cheez, anybody that gambols on horse races is about ready to cut out paper dolls.’.

3. (US) a fool, a worthless person, a pest.

[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 7/2: Don’t be an airdale – Rebuke for fickleness.
[US]W.R. Burnett Dark Hazard (1934) 61: Sit down, Turner [...] Don’t be an airedale. Sit down.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 17/2: Airedale. One who is fawningly loyal, as a dog to a master. ‘I ain’t playin’ the fall guy (one who takes sole blame) on this rap (charge). What do I look like, an airedale?’.

4. (US Und.) a trustworthy friend.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]H. Corey Farewell, Mr Gangster! 276: Airedale – a dependable pal.

5. (US Und.) a guard or watchman.

[US] ‘Und. “Lingo” Brought Up-to-Date’ L.A. Times 8 Nov. K3: AIREDALE: A special guard.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

6. (US) usu. pl., a foot [play on dogs n.1 (1)].

[US]J. Archibald ‘No Place Like Homicide’ in Popular Detective Apr. [Internet] With those airedales you could clean up stamping out grass fires.

7. (US Und.) one who runs errands for bootleggers or drug sellers.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).