Green’s Dictionary of Slang

old cock n.

also old cocker, old cock-sparrow. old cocky
[cock n.2 (1), underpinned by cock n.3 (1)]

1. a man, often but not invariably old; esp. as a term of affectionate address.

[UK]Massinger Unnatural Combat I i: He has drawne bloud of him yet, well done, old Cocke.
[US]A. Hamilton Tuesday Club Bk III in Micklus (1995) 38: A Jolly old cock, of Surly aspect and few words, but gifted with an excellent musical voice.
[UK]Sham Beggar I i: What have you been a Sailor, old Cock?
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Jealous Wife III ii: Ha, ’squire Ruffet too! You jolly old cock, how do you?
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 10: Don’t fear a knock / A-cross your lanthern-jaws, old cock.
[UK]F. Pilon He Would be a Soldier II ii: Well, father, you sent for me: now, what do you want, my old cock?
[UK]G. Colman Yngr Iron Chest I ii: Like a chicken, under the wing of such a tough old cock as myself!
[UK]Sporting Mag. Feb. XV 270/2: Aside your great coat, my old cock, you would lay.
[UK]J. Wetherell Adventures of John Wetherell (1954) 11 Apr. 261: ‘Adieu my Brothers! Vive Louis dix huit,’ says the hearty old cock.
[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 2nd series 23: Tom, my old cock, lend us your finger.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 84: You are a jolly Old Cock [...] and I cannot refuse you anything.
[UK]Dickens Pickwick Papers (1999) 586: Do you alvays smoke arter you goes to bed, old cock?
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 15 Jan. n.p.: We are much obliged to you, old cock.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 3 Dec. n.p.: The ‘swells’ [...] burst in on the old cocks, who were all well corned.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 24 Dec. n.p.: ‘Shut up! old cockey [...] what do you know about war?’.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 75: Well, Toby, my rare ’un, how goes times with you, old cock?
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 25 Sept. 3/1: You’re a Jew, my old cock.
[UK]Fast Man 4:1 n.p.: I at the hour appointed trudged off to meet the old cock in the shovel-hat.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ G’hals of N.Y. 133: ‘And now, ole cock,’ he continued.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Oct. 126/1: ‘Old cock! I will make you sing small tomorrow’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Ask Mamma 368: Come, then, old cock.
[UK]H. Kingsley Hillyars and Burtons (1870) 270: Reuben would sometimes call him ‘old cock’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Facey Romford’s Hounds 23: Very cheery and jolly the old cocks were [...] talking enthusiastically of the sport.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 147: ‘Ain’t that so, old cock?’ asked Simpson, slapping him on the back with his open hand.
[US]W.H. Thomes Bushrangers 420: The old cock was in Melbourne, a lookin’ for yer, and a huntin’ up things.
[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter II 296: ‘I’m not going to say anything before that old cock [...] he’d be piping all to the world’.
[UK]Cremorne I 2: You, my blasé old cock, who [...] have no appetite for our goodly fare.
[UK]Bristol Magpie 15 Feb. 3/1: The ‘old cock on the stairs’ sole name, / By which to low and vulgar fame, / The weird old man was known.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Apr. 10/2: A jolly old cock [...] rolled up, and grabbing the knight’s palm in his own, he shook it until the owner turned pea-green with suppressed thankfulness.
[UK]R. Barnett Police Sergeant C 21 68: Well done, old cock.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 27 May 1/6: See here, old cock, if you thinks as you’re comin’ to a religis entertainment [...] you’re mistaken.
[UK]Harrington & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] He knows a Good Thing When He Sees It [lyrics] My dear Uncle Sam is a jolly old cock / Who knows a good thing when he sees it.
[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 182: ’Ow’s that strike you, ole cock?
[UK]Gem 17 Oct. 10: ‘Cheer up, old cock!’ said Wally.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 Nov. 4/7: Pig’s body ter them blokes [...] you come along er me, old cock.
[UK]Dagger [London] Dec. I 4/1: He says, ‘Muggins,’ — I says, ‘That’s me, old cock.’.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 20: The gang was mightily pleased with my report and map—all except one old cock, who said he never knew any good to come of any business which women were mixed up in.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 73: That’s all right. Harry, me old cock.
[UK]B. Bennett ‘The Lights of London’ in Billy Bennett’s Fourth Souvenir Budget 24: An old cock pointed to a fat one.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 219: Why, Dagwood, old cock, we lie dead, more or less, every five minutes from the time the nurses smacks our backside.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 156: Courage, Wooster, old cock.
[Aus]‘Nino Culotta’ They’re a Weird Mob (1958) 46: Dennis said, with a very affected English accent, ‘What he means, old cock, is that your stomach requires nourishment.’.
[UK](con. 1920s) D. Holman-Hunt My Grandmothers and I (1987) 127: Blimey, old cock, it ain’t ’alf ’eavy.
[Aus]F.J. Hardy Outcasts of Foolgarah (1975) 13: Job and finish has been the order of the day since Adam was a lad, me old cock-sparrer.
[US](con. 1940s) E. Thompson Tattoo (1977) 72: I really pasted that old cock.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 45: ‘Excuse me, squire,’ I said. ‘Sure me old cocker.’.
[UK]T. Paulin ‘Martello’ in Liberty Tree 51: ...must hatch a snifter: Ciao now, old cock.
[UK]J. Osborne Déjàvu Act I: Couldn’t hear you, old cock.
K. Lucas ‘All my life I’ve wanted to be a Barrow Boy’ in Obfuscation News Apr. Issue 20 [Internet] No my old Cock Sparrow, but Rob gave me this lovely roll of Purple cloth and it seemed a shame not to use it.

2. (US prison) a veteran prisoner.

[US]D. Pearce Cool Hand Luke (1967) 68: Some of the Oldcocks went home. Some more Newcocks drove up.