Green’s Dictionary of Slang

kick-up n.

[kick up v.]

1. (orig. US) a dance, a party.

[US]Maryland Hist. Mag. III 116: We Collected the Girls in the neighbourhood and had a kick up in the Evening [DA].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Kick up. [...] a Hop or Dance.
[US]T.G. Fessenden ‘Rustic Revel’ Poems (1804) 17: See what lasses we can pick up For our famous village kick-up.
[US]T.G. Fessenden Orig. Poems (1806) 30: See what lasses we can pick up For our famous village kick up [DA].
[US]A.N. Royall Letters from Alabama 4 Jan. 125: I am opposed to all these new kick-ups.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1788].
[UK]Mr Mathews’ Comic Annual 22: Oh! what a kick-up, what a hubbub and devilry, / Is an Election, where all’s fun and revelry.
[US]Whip and Satirist of N.Y. & Brooklyn 12 Feb. 3/1: The Princess Julia [...] told him that the next time he gave one of his French kick-ups, not to throw out the rumor that it was to be a masquerade.
[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 142: The row and the bother, and the whole kick-up altogether, has made me alarmingly hungry.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘Corny Bill’ in Roderick (1967–9) I 113: He was the jolliest old pup / As ever you did see, / And often at some bush kick-up, / They’s make old Bill M.C.
[UK]Boy’s Own Paper 16 Feb. 306: That night a kick-up was given on board.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Sept. 1/1: The Harney send-off was as cold and frigid as frozen fish but the aftermath in the bar was, however, marked by a crimson kick-up.

2. an argument, a disturbance; esp. a prison riot.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Kick up. A disturbance .
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Odes of Condolence’ Works (1794) III 259: For your modest stiff-rump’d neighbours all – There’d be a pretty kick-up – what a squall!
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe London Hermit (1794) 60: Dang my buttons! here’s a fine kick-up.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1788].
[US]Morning Courier (N.Y.) 15 Oct. 2/4: police office. Justice Wyman presiding. As usual, a few assaults, batteries, larcenies, rows, kick-ups, &c. &c. &c.
[Ind]Bellew Memoirs of a Griffin I 206: ‘I have had ’noder kick ope with dat Bobberygunge talookdar: d—m fellow’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour 374: What a scrimmage, what a kick-up was there!
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1994) 573: Not at all caring for... the precious kick-up and row that will come off.
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple I 256: I did make a bit of a kick-up, and there was a damaged ’elmet or two.
[UK]‘Walter’ My Secret Life (1966) XI 2241: We’d better get home or there’ll be a jolly kick up.
[UK] ‘’Arry on a ’ouseboat’ Punch 15 Aug. 77/1: As to colour, and kick-up, our party was well to the front.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Mar. 13/1: Of the strike-leaders who were gaoled at Deniliquin for conspiracy during the last big industrial kick-up at Broken Hill, every single one [...] is now either an M.P. or a J.P.; and some of them are both.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 2 Mar. 11/3: You may bet there was a kick-up, / He did call her auful [sic] names.
[UK]Kipling ‘A Madonna of the Trenches’ Debits and Credits (1926) 259: ‘He’ll go off the handle in a second.’ ‘No, he won’t. It’s the last kick-up before it takes hold. I know how the stuff works.’.
[UK]B. Lubbock Bully Hayes 26: And weren’t there a kick-up next morning when they found the Otranto had sailed in the night!
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 116/2: Kick-up, n. 1. (P) Any deliberate defiance of authority, as refusal to work, a hunger strike, or other breach of discipline.