Green’s Dictionary of Slang

trotter n.

[SE trot]

1. a foot, usu. in pl.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Trotters, Feet.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Life and Character of Moll King 12: I shall see my jolly old Codger [...] with his Day-lights dim, and his Trotters shivering under him.
[UK]J. Messink Choice of Harlequin I viii: The French, with trotters nimble, could fly from English blows, / And they’ve got nimble daddles, as monsieur plainly shews.
[UK]C. Dibdin ‘The Greenwich Pensioner’ Collection of Songs II 1: You are not old, nor made awry, / Nor do your shambling trotters ply, / As if by palsy shaken.
[UK] ‘Patrick O’Neal’ Jovial Songster 137: They bid me to mount, and be sure for to keep / Fast hold with my trotters for fear I should trip.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) III 101: The mauleys and trotters are tied; you could not do more to secure a regular workman.
[UK]‘Love without Mutton’ in Convivialist in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 12: I took to my trotters and marched up to town.
[US]E. Bennett Mike Fink 10/1: Well, ef it’s all up, I ’spect we mought as well start our trotters, boys.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 11 Nov. 3/2: Mr Soole [...] immediately cased the trotters of Thomas in a pair [of boots] which exactly fitted both head and heols.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 354: ‘Look at my trotters,’ he continued, pointing to his feet.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 129/2: This move caught the eyes of the ‘flamers’ on the floor, who staggered to their ‘trotters’ and surrounded Joe and me.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 21 Mar. 5/4: Say, mate, I suppose there’s no harm in my resting my trotters behind this yer wagon o’ yourn?
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 8 Apr. 3/7: Our Pretty Feet [...] This very knowing paragraphist, too, proceeds to account for our big trotters by the heat.
[UK]J.D. Brayshaw Slum Silhouettes 220: As fer ’is rahnd-the-’ouses, they ’ad a crease right dahn ’em, an’ bell bottoms that tumbled over ’is trotters a treat.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 24 Apr. 4/2: I can hear the clatter of their fast trotters whirling some bejewelled, painted Jezebel to riotous pleasure.
[UK]Marvel III:53 2: If yer’s on yer own trotters yer can pull up and poke yer nose into anythink.
[Can]R. Service ‘Bill the Bomber’ Rhymes of a Red Cross Man 150: I’m minus of a trotter.
[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 60: ‘She’s sho one ugly spade, but she’s right there with her Gordon Dry.’ ‘She ain’t got ’em from creeps to crown and her trotters is B flat, but her gin is regal.’.
[Aus]L. Stone Larrikin 16: I should ’ave trotters as big as yer own.
[UK]C. Day Lewis Otterbury Incident 61: Old ‘Bellyache’ came up and placed one of his trotters on the stool.
[Ire](con. 1890–1910) ‘Flann O’Brien’ Hard Life (1962) 33: Right well you know that I have the trotters wore off me going up the stairs of that filthy Corporation.
[Ire]J. Ryan Remembering How We Stood 29: The great man [...] waddled out in to the Harry Street night [...] as fast as his trotters could take him.
[SA]C. Hope Separate Development 67: The old trotters [...] should have been enough to keep me rooted to the spot all evening.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 300: Wobbly on his trotters [...] Park yer arse a mo, mush.

2. (also trotler) a fast horse or racehorse; usu. in pl. meaning horseracing in general.

[[UK] J. Hall Virgidemiarum (1599) Bk V 92: One peece pays her idle wayting man, [...] Or hires a Friezeland trotter [...] To drag his tumbrell through the staring Cheape].
[Ire] ‘De Kilmainham Minit’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 5: We tip’ed all our Gripes in a Tangle, / And mounted our trotlers wid speed, / To squint at de Snub as he’d dangle.
[UK]W.T. Moncrieff Tom and Jerry I iv: Seeing your natty gig an fast trotter at the door, as I passed, I couldn’t avoid popping in to welcome you back.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 106: Fast trotters, good horses, rum prads.
[UK]G.F. Northall ‘Momus’ Misc. 48: He [...] hired a trotter.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 July 15/1: ‘Ned’ Gregory is great on two subjects, my son ‘Syd.’ and ‘my trotter.’ [...] Ned’s trotter may need an introduction. Edward believes in having a horse useful as well as ornamental.
[UK]J. Buchan Mr Standfast (1930) 491: He has a hobby for half-baked youth, just as another rich man might fancy orchids or fast trotters.
[Aus] (con. 1830s–60s) ‘Miles Franklin’ All That Swagger 283: With the prize girl in his sulky, and the high-stepping trotter under it.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 26: Four deuce of groovy trotters.
[NZ]G. Slatter Gun in My Hand 63: The roar dies to an excited buzz [...] as the trotters come back to the birdcage.
[US]N. Pileggi Wiseguy (2001) 53: He was the brain who figured out how to increase the odds on the Superfecta bets at the trotters.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 10: What that cost me, I shoulda went the trotters.

3. (Aus.) a prostitute.

[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 19 Sept. 3/2: They called her a b— w—, the favourite waterside appellation for every trotter in petticoats.

4. a boiled sheep’s foot sold as a street food.

[UK]Globe (London) 15 Feb. 1/5: A favourite street delicacy of the present day is boiled sheep’s feet [...] ‘Trotters’ is their proper title.

5. a dancing person.

[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 31: All the other Trotters ducked to the Side-Lines and watched him burn up the Floor.

6. (UK Und.) a deserter from the armed forces.

[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 205: Trotter A deserter from HM Armed Forces.

In compounds

trotter-box (n.) (also trotter-case)

a shoe.

[UK]T. Hood ‘Sentimental Journey from Islington to Waterloo’ Works (1862) I 35: There passed however a young gentleman in very tight trotter-cases, but whilst his feet gave evident signs of suffering, I observed that his countenance was calm.
[UK]Reading Mercury 6 Apr. 4/5: A pair of stout Kersey Trotter Cases, carved to fit any pins, however dickey formed.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 179: He applied himself to a process which Mr. Dawkins designated as ‘japanning his trotter-cases.’ The phrase, rendered into plain English, signifieth, cleaning his boots.
[UK]Flash Mirror 18: Trotter cases, mud pipes and boot kivers, carved to fit any pins and turned out slap.
[UK]Dundee, Perth & Cupar Advertiser 19 Apr. 2/5: He appeared to entertain a supreme contempt for [...] both cap and trotter cases in all seasons.
[UK] advert in ‘Ducange Anglicus’ Vulgar Tongue (1857) 45: Mud Pipes, Knee Caps, and Trotter Cases, built very low.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 262: TROTTER CASES, shoes.
[UK]J. Greenwood Low-Life Deeps 54: Here’s a pair of trotter cases.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Dec. 6/5: Pull these stockings over your trotter cases. Be spry and mum.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Sl., Jargon and Cant II 375/2: Trotter boxes (popular) shoes.
[UK]F.W. Carew Autobiog. of a Gipsey 413: S’elp me never, I was down on the knuckle when I got there, and no herror – could cut my toe-nails without takin’ my trotter-cases horf.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 245: The potman [...] chalks a number on the breast of each coat, and a corresponding number on the soles of each of the men’s trotter cases.
[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 266: Bill Goodey sat there affectionately contemplating the sixteen assorted little trotter-cases, all black and polished.
[UK]Baumann Londinismen (2nd edn) 260/2: trotter-boxes.

In phrases

jab trotters (v.)

(Aus.) to travel with a pack.

[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Romance of the Swag’ in Roderick (1972) 501: Travelling with the swag in Australia is variously and picturesquely described as ‘humping bluey’, [...] ‘jabbing trotters’, and ‘tea and sugar burglaring.’.
shake one’s trotters (v.)

to move, to dance; thus trotter-shaking n., dancing, trotter-shaking crib, a ballroom.

[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 46: It is full time I was after shaking my beautiful trotters.
[UK]Flash Mirror 20: A trotter-shaking crib is added to the school, where shuffling and the straight fives, in a slap up manner, such as Cowtillions [sic], Pass the Sinks, [etc].
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 210: Jared had requested him over and over again, to bolt, mizzle, hook it, namhus, kut his lucky, shake his trotters, waggle his extenders.
[UK] ‘The Cadger’s Ball’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 148: The night arrived for trotter-shaking.

In exclamations