Green’s Dictionary of Slang

queer n.

[SE queer, odd/queer adj.]

1. a hoax, a confidence trick; thus play the queer v., to hoodwink.

[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 15: Cunning – Queer.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford II 265: There’s some swell cove of a lord gives a blow-out to-day; and the lads, dear souls! think to play the queer on some straggler.

2. (also queer stuff) counterfeit money.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 30: Then we go and fisk the Blunt, and gee if none is quare.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 193: The Duke and the ‘Dealer in Queer’.
[UK]A. Thornton Don Juan in London II 406: That Jew is a dealer in base coin. [...] Regular markets in various public and private houses are kept by the principal agents, who receive the white and yellow queer, as it is called.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY)1 Oct. n.p.: He sports a ‘fummy’ covered with ‘farnies,’ a ‘ticker,’ and a ‘dummy’ filled with queer .
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 105: Dealers in queer, passers of bad money.
US Police Gazette 14 May 4/3: A ‘shover’ named Flynn, [...] obtained a quantity of ‘queer’ and went with it to Mrs. Beemer’s house and left it on her table [DA].
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 7 Sept. n.p.: Jim Colbert, their outside partner, furnished them with the ‘queer’ to play with a greenhorn.
[US]Galaxy (N.Y.) May 656: But the more seductive and general way is to have the order come unaccompanied by any money, whereupon the ‘queer’ is ‘forwarded C.O.D. by express, packed in small boxes so as to defy detection’.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 358: Gentlemen, I don’t want no fightin’ at this’ere game, nor no ‘queer’ played in on me. Steal everybody’s checks but mine, and now, ye d—n rascals, pitch in!
[US]Trumble Man Traps of N.Y. 28: A passer of ‘queer’ would rush into a store with a ten dollar note.
[US]Atlanta Constitution 21 Dec. 9/1: There has been some [illegible] shipments of ‘green goods’ from Chicago and other cities [...] and there is an overproduction of the queer stuff and a consequent drag on the market.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 240: He hardly ever uttered the spurious coins himself [...] and, consequently, seldom had any ‘queer’ about his person.
[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 396: QUEER, THE: counterfeit money.
[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 94: The only grafts that ever really flourished, as the papers say, was the Tenderloin, the gamblin’ joints, an’ the queer* [*Green-goods].
[US]H. Hapgood Autobiog. of a Thief 249: A poor old ‘dago’ grafter, a queer-maker.
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 224: That’s the punkest piece of queer I ever saw.
[US]‘The Lang. of Crooks’ in Wash. Post 20 June 4/3: [paraphrasing J. Sullivan] Counterfeit money is bad dough or queer stuff.
[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Poet and the Peasant’ in Strictly Business (1915) 77: ‘What’s his line?’ [...] ‘The queer, I guess.’.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 304: Queer, The — counterfeit money.
[US]J. O’Connor Broadway Racketeers 68: He [...] only wanted to print what could be sold, as he didn’t want to carry any of the queer West with him.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 185: A girl, named Brown, was brought in for passing the queer (false money), and helping to make it. In other words, she was convicted of both counterfeiting and uttering. [Ibid.] 260: Laying down the Querre (usually called ‘The Queer’), comes from the French argot, and means false or counterfeit money.
[US]‘Goat’ Laven Rough Stuff 194: This fellow had already done time for what they call ‘making queer’, that is passing counterfeit silver dollars and fifty-cent pieces.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 5 Apr. [synd. col.] Immigration men collected a phoney money-passer [...] in a midtown swank spot. He’d get good money from the cashier and switch your change into ‘queer.’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 324: Queer, Counterfeit money.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 228: They rapped all night about that perfect ‘queer’.

3. soot; thus dealer in queer, a chimney sweep.

[UK]P. Egan Key to the Picture of the Fancy going to a Fight 20: [W]hy should not the Flue Faker enjoy the pleasures of a mill [...] ‘Vy,’ says the dealer in queer [...] ‘I does the best to arn an honest penny’.

4. a look (on one’s face); a look (at something).

[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie I tab.I v: Won’t Mrs. Deacon let me have a queer at her phiz?

5. an eccentric.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 10 June 3/2: They have a stock company of all the ‘queers’ in the profession [and] a manager [...] whose chief business seems to be to prowl the dark halls of the ‘Grand Opera House’ (in Brooklyn) with a ghoulish vacancy In his glare and a mental vacuity most bewildering to the daylight world.
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 195: That queer you and jinx met the other night. Hasn’t she got a Cadillac?
[Ire]J. Ryan Remembering How We Stood 69: The definition of an Irish ‘queer’ is supposed to be ‘a man that prefers women to drink’.

6. a homosexual, usu. male, occas. female.

Queensbury letter 1 Nov. in Ellman Oscar Wilde (1987) 402: I write to tell you that it is a judgement on the whole lot of you. Montgomerys, The Snob Queers like Roseberry & certainly Christian hypocrite Gladstone.
[US]Journal Hist. Sexuality V 593: Fourteen young men were invited [...] with the premise that they would have the opportunity of meeting some of the prominent ‘queers,’ [...] and the further attraction that some ‘chickens’ as the new recruits in the vice are called, would be available.
[US]J. Conroy Disinherited 214: He backed away suspiciously, thinking I was a queer.
[UK] (ref. to 1920s) L. Duncan Over the Wall 277: There was even a little room [...] where the ‘fairies,’ ‘pansies,’ and ‘queers’ conducted their lewd practices.
[US]J.E. Dadswell Hey, Sucker 96: queer ... a person with subnormal sex ideas.
[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 172: Maybe I’m a queer, but for me you don’t have no more sex appeal than a turtle.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 93: Girl queers breed at Wellesley.
[UK]‘Raymond Thorp’ Viper 12: Clubs for queers and lesbians and every other kind of pervert.
[US]Kerouac On The Road (1972) 71: When a queer approached me in a bar john I took out the gun and said, ‘Eh? Eh?’ What’s that you say?
[UK]F. Norman Bang To Rights 32: There is of course plenty of queers who are always willing to accommodate you.
[Aus]‘Geoffrey Tolhurst’ Flat 4 King’s Cross (1966) 46: ‘I can get someone else to do it. Not a crazy little queer who wants to make holes in my nose and fill them up with green stones’.
[UK]T. Keyes All Night Stand 119: Bunch of bloody queers, that lot.
[US]D. Goines Dopefiend (1991) 266: The queer was too wrapped up in buying women’s clothes.
[UK]T. Lewis Plender [ebook] [T]he muscle and the informers and the queers and the brasses and the conmen.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 26: I didn’t know what queers were.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 127: I think he’s a queer, because he hates women.
[UK]Guardian G2 15 Mar. 4: I’ve got the queer from Gay News next.
[UK]Observer Mag. 25 July 14: A bit of knifework from the National Front, who singled him out as a ‘Fucking Jew Queer’.
[UK]N. Griffiths Grits 232: Ey, Ikey mun, tell Mags yer about em fuckin queers.
[US]P. Cornwell Last Precinct 369: Lucy’s quit her job so she don’t get fired because she’s a smart-ass queer.
[US]C. Carr Our Town 268: The Kluxer announced [...] ‘It says in the Bible, shoot ’em,’ so, he concluded, ‘if you shoot queers and race mixers, you got His blessing.’.
[US]T. Pluck Boy from County Hell 63: [T]he seamen said they should roll some queers.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 604: Girls got off with girls for want of men [...] They were lesbians at heart just as men were queers at heart if his school and his regiment were anything to go by.

7. (US Und.) a heterosexual who enjoys non-standard sexual practices.

[US]Murtagh & Harris Cast the First Stone 152: A new girl can hardly believe she’s hearing and seeing straight. Like me and the first queer I got just two days after I began in the business.

8. (Aus.) a fool, a simpleton.

[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 237/2: queer (quince) – somebody who is stupid.

9. (US campus) one who works (overly) hard.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 179: Queer A person who studies a great deal.

In compounds

queerbait (n.)

an effeminate young boy who attracts, or is supposed to attract older male homosexuals; thus as v., to seek out a homosexual encounter for money.

[US]A. Reiss in Cressey & Ward Delinquency, Crime, and Social Process (1969) 997: Most of my friends queer-bait, but I don’t [...] Ain’t no sense in queer-baitin’; I don’t need the money that bad.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 29: She knew he wouldn’t go with her while the others were there, fearing the jeers of queerbait.
[US]P. Cornwell Body of Evidence (1992) 247: One of the queerbaits from the restaurant she wrote about in her letters is dying of AIDS even as we speak.
[US]G. Pelecanos Way Home (2009) 203: I’m a big man [...] but I look like queer bait next to them ABs.
queer-basher (n.)

one who specializes in beating up (and usu. robbing) male homosexuals.

[US]J. Rechy Rushes (1981) 28: He disarmed a ‘queer-basher’ ready to lash with a chain at a cowring man.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 10: The rain had washed all the baby prostitutes and twangy boys, the chicken hawks and queer bashers, the gonifs and petty grifters off the four corners of Hollywood and Vine.
[UK]A. Higgins ‘The Bird I Fancied’ in Helsingør Station and Other Departures 127: The Couch and Hound [...] patronized by queers and queer-bashers.
[UK]D. Jarman letter Smiling in Slow Motion (2000) 18: HB has made himself a one-off T-shirt – it says: ‘Queerbashers’ above a photograph of him brandishing a machine-gun; below it the legend: ‘Come and Get It’.
[NZ]W. Ings ‘Trolling the Beat to Working the Soob’ in Int’l Jrnl Lexicog. 23:1 58: Those who operate on the streets and in public toilets are especially prone to attack from queer bashers (men who derive pleasure from assaulting perceived homosexuals).
queer-bashing (n.)

the beating up (and usu. robbing) of male homosexuals.

[[US]W.B. Miller ‘Gang Delinquency’ in Short Gang Delinquency and Delinquent Subcultures (1968) 140: A concern over homosexuality [...] is manifested by the institutionalized practice of baiting ‘queers’ often accompanised by violent physical attacks].
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 198: Queer bashing Assaulting male homosexuals either for gain or for perverse pleasure.
[UK]M. Gee Meg 218: I used to do some queer-bashing myself.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[UK]Observer Screen 30 Jan. 6: Any boy that didn’t respond positively to PE became the subject of a bullying that was queerbashing by any other name.
[UK]Guardian G2 19 Aug. 3: I am too old and sanguine by nature to be disturbed by this unseen queer-bashing.
Guardian Culture on Line 1 July 🌐 The line about a friend getting beaten up by queer-bashers was true.
queer-rolling (n.) [roll v. (3a)]

the beating up (and robbery) of homosexual men; thus queer-roller, one who does this.

[US]Lavender Lex. n.p.: dirt:–Hoodlums, tramps, pill pushers, leaches, and sometimes renegade homosexuals; Prospective queer-rollers.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 198: Queer rolling Robbing male homosexuals.
queersman (n.)

one who makes or distributes counterfeit money.

[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 15 Oct. n.p.: Call for their wine, pay for it in what is called queer by the queersmen [...] a term applicable to counterfeitr oney by those who dabble in the article.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 63: Fred Biebush steadily followed the traffic of the ‘queersman’ in the west and southwest.

In phrases

push the queer (v.)

(US Und.) to pass counterfeit money.

Jansas City Sun 1 Dec. 1/1: There is ‘Hoodwinking’ [...] ‘BullCon,’ ‘Heifer Dust,’ ‘Pushing the Queer’ and a score of other vulgar ‘supplants’ of the world deception.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 168/1: Push queer. To pass counterfeit money.
shove the queer (v.) (also pass the queer, pitch the queer)

to pass counterfeit money.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 42: I am passing quare Blunt; putting off bad Money.
[US]Commercial Advertiser (N.Y.) 10 Sept. 2/2–3: [He] was seen to take out of his pocket and put down a pocket book [...] One entry ran somewhat as follows:-- ‘N. York, Aug. Rec’d of the Old Man, 300 queers. 6th Shoved -- -- 5. 8th Shoved -- -- 10.’ Hays [...] said, that by queer, among the fraternity, was meant counterfeit money, and the same as cogniac. 300 queers, or cogniac, would therefore read, in English, 300 dollars. By shove [...] was meant to get off a bad bill, without detection.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 79: ‘Shove queer,’ pass counterfeit money.
[US]Night Side of N.Y. 64: ‘Shoving the queer’ is the craft expression for circulating spurious money.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 91: He had seen him and others ‘shoving the queer’.
[US]L.A. Newcome Post Office Burglars of the Shawangunk Mountains 98: He stated that he had been arrested several times for various offences, the last time — in detective parlance — for shoving of the queer, or in other words, for passing counterfeit money.
[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 3 Dec. 17/7: ‘Shoving the queer [...] means to pass counterfeit money.
[UK]Sporting Times 11 Jan. 1: He was Promptly Given Into Custody for Attempting to Shove the Queer.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 73: Shove Queer, pass bad money.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: The man who utters it [...] may be either a boodle carrier, a snide-pitcher, or a shovel pitcher while the operation itself is to pitch or to shove queer.
[US]H. Hapgood Autobiog. of a Thief 37: He told us about ‘shoving the queer’.
[US]J. Lait ‘Canada Kid’ in Beef, Iron and Wine (1917) 175: Shovin’ two-bit queers—‘Silk’ Tavannes, the silk-lined terror o’ the rural boob.
[US]C.S. Montanye ‘The Man Who Never Forgot’ in Detective Story 17 Dec. 🌐 A waiter, who made passing the queer a side issue.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 414: Shoving queer – passing false currency.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[UK]J.B. Booth Sporting Times 24: The Old Gentleman [...] was Promptly given into Custody for Attempting to Shove the Queer.
[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl. 37: passing the queersee ‘shoving the queer’.
[US]T. Thursday ‘You Gotta Have Luck’ in Popular Sports Jan. 🌐 The clerk examines the tenner and finds it is a counterfeit. As you know, we’ve had quite a bit of queer shoving in town lately.
[US] ‘I Was a Pickpocket’ in C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 76: He told us about ‘shoving the queer’.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 817: shoving the queer – Passing counterfeit money, checks or money orders.