1. (orig. US) the least appetizing, poorest, most run-down and poss. dangerous area of a city or town; often as armpit of the nation/universe; also in phr. rough as a docker’s armpit.
|in Current Sl. IV:3–4 (1970) 12: Armpit of the nation, n. Las Cruces (New Mexico).|
|Tracks (Aus.) Dec. 3: If some smart-arse asks you what it’s like to live in the arsehole of the country, ask them how the armpit is going [Moore 1993].|
|London Embassy 40: It was a John Baldwick, living in some armpit in east London.|
|(con. 1968) Reckoning for Kings (1989) 319: What a fucking armpit this is.|
|(con. 1990s) A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 359: Stockwell Park Estate looked as rough as a docker’s armpit.|
2. (orig. US) used similarly of a place, e.g. a nightclub or café.
|Guntz 86: She’s a stripper in this way out filthy little armpit of a night club.|
|A Steady Rain I i: I don’t want you going back to that armpit of a bachelor pad and sticking it to a bottle of Schnapps tonight.|
3. (US campus) an unpleasant individual.
|CUSS 72: Armpit An obnoxious person.et al.|
|in The Final Days 231: ‘The armpit of humanity,’ he called Nixon.|
(UK Und.) to cheat an accomplice out of his share of the proceeds.
|Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 167/2: To put a fellow up to his arm-pits – to cheat a companion out of his share of the plunder.|
SE in slang uses
(orig. US) consumed by, overwhelmed by.
|N.Z. Parliamentary Debates 925: I hope my friend, when he is up to his armpits in mud, will remember that the vestibule is a work of art.|
|Great Magoo 127: sam: Dough? weber: Up to his nipples.|
|Newsweek LXXXI 333: A paunchy local Leo, round face glistening with sweat, had been up to his armpits in the free lunch.|
|Ninja 158: Christ, she was up to her armpits in shit.|
|It (1987) 37: He was up to his tits in bills and there was no way he could see out of the red ink.|
|Growing Rich 215: See how Angela’s sandwich business went if she was up to her armpits in kids.|
|(con. 1945) Touch and Go 82: Annie is up to her diddies in debt.|
|Black Tide (2012) [ebook] Bitch wanted Frank done. In it over her tits.|
|Herald (Scotland) 27 Jul. [Internet] [He] will reveal evidence that shows Baird, originally from Helensburgh, was ‘up to his armpits’ in top secret work for the government during the war years.|
(UK Und.) to confine one’s criminality to such activities that would be classed as petty larceny, bringing a maximum sentence of seven years transportation, rather than hanging; thus work above the armpits v., to commit crimes that could lead to one’s execution.
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 225: arm-pits: To work under the arm-pits, is to practise only such kinds of depredation, as will amount, upon conviction, to what the law terms single, or petty larceny; the extent of punishment for which is transportation for seven years. By following this system, a thief avoids the halter, which certainly is applied above the arm-pits.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Metropolitan Mag. 14 330: He’s a poor crawling wretch, who works under the armpits, to be banded, and hour’d up in a swimmer all his best days, and then to be tatted.|