Green’s Dictionary of Slang

prick v.2

SE in slang uses

In compounds

prickamouse (n.)

(US) an insignificant, paltry person.

[US]P. Wylie Generation of Vipers 96: Poops and prickamice of every description have got themselves public offices, fortunes, and even for what passes for literary reputations. [Ibid.] 145: Down with brother love! Down with psychology that teaches these manners are not voluntary but autonomous! Up, the ravening prickamouse! Heil, Housepainter!

In phrases

prick in the wicker for a dolphin (v.) [ext. image based on SE wicker, i.e. the basket]

to steal loaves from a baker’s basket.

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: pricking in the wicar for a dolphin stealing loaves from baker’s baskets when they are in public houses.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 3 Apr. 6/2: Billy [...] minds ye dosent blab to mother about Joey pricking the vicker for a dolphin (stealing bread from a basket) ven doughy (the baker) was piping (looking) through the glaze (window) at the pictures.
prick the garter (n.) (also prick the belt, prick the girdle, pitch the nob, pricking at/in...)

(UK Und.) a gambling and cheating game, in which a garter or belt is folded and held out to the punter, who bets that by pricking with a pin they can hit the place where the material is folded; almost inevitably they fail and lose their money.

[UK]Thief-Catcher 22: There is another Class of Thieves, who travel the Country with Lotteries, Dice-Cloths, and Totum-Boards, and who play at a Game called Pricking at the Belt, and, by such Means, draw in great Numbers of ignorant, unthinking People for divers Sums of Money.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 42: I’m for the old Nobb; pricking in the Belt.
[UK]Sporting Mag. June II 181/2: The turf, E.O., the hazard table, dropping, false dice, hustling in the hat, and pricking in the belt are [...] too well known.
[UK]Whole Art of Thieving 8: [subhead] The Art of Old Nobb, called Pricking in the Girdle.
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 297: fast and loose. A cheating game, whereby gipsies and other vagrants beguiled the common people of their money. It is said to be still used by low sharpers and is called pricking at the belt or girdle.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 69: Downey coves, who [...] are not up to the art of writing or that of pricking the garter.
[UK]W.A. Miles Poverty, Mendicity and Crime; Report 118: Parsons, who can play ‘prick the garter’, soon got a mob and soon found betters.
[UK]H. Cockton Valentine Vox 515: They were standing at a ‘prick in the garter’ table, at which a gentleman had a long piece of list, which he wound round and offered any money that no man could prick in the middle.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 340: Finest sportsman in the world [...] play dominoes, prick i’ the belt, or thimble-rig.
[UK]Newcastle Guardian 20 Aug. 3/3: The chaplain remarked that their knowledge chiefly referred to the mysteries of ‘wee pawns,’ ‘thimblerigging’ and ‘prick the garter’.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 77: PRICK THE GARTER, or pitch the nob, a gambling and cheating game common at fairs, and generally practised by thimble riggers. It consists of a ‘garter’ or a piece of list doubled, and then folded up tight. The bet is made upon your asserting that you can with a pin ‘prick’ the point at which the garter is doubled. The garter is then unfolded, and nine times out of ten you will find that you have been deceived, and that you pricked one of the false folds. The owner of the garter, I should state, holds the ends tightly with one hand [...] [Formerly] it was termed pricking at the belt, or fast and loose.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 8/1: ‘Prick the Garter’ [...] is rather a seedy game, and ‘seedy blokes’ in general they are who drive it — ‘romoneys,’ ‘chanters,’ ‘padding-ken keepers’ and low ‘fly-my-kites’.
[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 346: There was the gentleman with the ‘little pea,’ and ‘prick the garter,’ and roulette, and dice, and cards.
[UK]W. Hooe Sharping London 35: Prick the Garter, a gambling trick by which a piece of list, being doubled and rolled up tight, is made to change its centre or loop at the will of the sharper, when the flat attempts to prick in the centre with a pin.
[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 219: A race meeting is the assembling ground for thieves, prize-fighters [...] practisers of ‘pricking the belt’.
[UK]J. Bent Criminal Life 18: ‘Pricking the Garter’ is also a very old trick amongst gamblers.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 147: The bug-eyed slanderer who averred that I occasionally pricked the garter.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 215: These race-course crooks, such as the Housey House or Box-and-Ball artists, the Prick the Garter and the Spinning Jenny Mob, couldn’t exist if people weren’t so eager to make easy money.
prick-(the-)louse (n.) (also prick the clout, louse snapper) [SE prick, i.e. the needlework + the lice that accrued to clothing]

a tailor; also attrib.; thus prick a louse v., to work as a tailor.

[UK]Dunbar ‘Justis Betuix the Tailyeour & Sowtar’ in Laing Poems (1834) I 54: Betuix a Tailyelour and a Sowtar, A pricklous and ane hobbill clowtar.
[UK]Tom Tyler and his Wife (1661) in Farmer (1908) 56: You pricklouse knave, you!
[UK]Depositions Court Durham (1845) 322: ‘Pricklouse that thou arte.’ Wherunto the said George made aunswere, ‘Thou art a tantarband and a tantarbawde whore’.
[UK]Greene Defence of Conny-Catching 60: I knowe thee farewel good honest pricklouce.
[UK]Weakest goeth to the Wall line 420: I am the fag end of a Tayler; in plaine English a Botcher: and though my country men do call me pricklouse, yet you Flemish Boore shal not call me nit.
[UK]Rowlands Night Raven 9: My choller tells thee, th’art a botching slaue, Thy Iourny-man, a very pricklowse knaue.
[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 34 17–24 Jan. 268: A one-ey’d Tool-man, called a Taylor, being sore troubled with a Hunting Wife, that would nether let him lick his Thimble, nor winde up his Bottom in quiet, but would follow him open-mouth’d, calling him drunken Roague, Nitty-breech’d Roague [...] Prick-louse Roague.
[UK]Mercurius Democritus 24-31 May 27: A pittifull Prick-Louse living in Seacole-street [...] set up a pimping Chandlers shop.
R. L’Estrange Fables of Poggius (1692) CCCLIV 320: There happend a Grievous Quarrel once betwixt a Taylor and his Wife. The Woman in Contempt of his Trade called her Husband Pricklouse.
[UK] ‘The Northern Ladd’ in Ebsworth Roxburghe Ballads (1893) VII:1 171: The next a Taylor was so fine, with slash, and slits, and cap-a-pee / [...] / He whispering told me he would mend a slit I had to my content, / But saucy Prick-louse did offend, so to be stitch’d I’se not consent.
[UK]D’Urfey Comical Hist. of Don Quixote Pt 2 V i: This sneaking Louse-snapper, Snip here, ran away with the Flask.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Prick louse, a Taylor.
[UK]Answer to the Fifteen Comforts of Whoring 7: Some prick-louse Taylor strutting up will come / With whom for want we’re forc’d to comp’y, / for one poor two pence wet, and two pence dry.
[UK] in D’Urfey Pills to Purge Melancholy VI 293: Says Prick-Louse my Jewel, I love you most dearly.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 38: The Prick-louse [...] offere’d such beastly actions to Sukey Haws.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]W. Toldervy Hist. of the Two Orphans I 164: [to a tailor] Marry come up, Mr. Sauce-box, I should not of thought of this assurance from you, cried Betty, [...] mind your louse-pricking, and scurvy shaving.
[US]‘Andrew Barton’ Disappointment I v: Nae mair my hoose wil be a resaptacle for thieves, ye prackloose [sic] sins o’ hoores!
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Pricklouse, a taylor.
[UK]Burns Answer to a Poetical Epistle in Works (1842) 253: Gae mind your seam, ye prick the louse, An’ jag the flea.
[UK]Merry Tricks of Leper the Taylor 18: There was a barber which always plagued Leper calling him a Prick-the-Louse.
[UK](con. 17C) W. Scott Redgauntlet (1827) 63: It’s Gil Bobson, the souple tailor frae Burgh. – Ye are welcome to Scotland, ye prick-the-clout loon.
Portfolio (London) 19 Nov. 59/1: Vindication of Tailors [...] It is ungerous and unwise to ridicule any set of men on account of their profession [with] the nick-name of ‘Goose,’ ‘Prick-a-Louse,’ ‘Billy Button’ and fifty other degrading epithets.
[UK]Life and Death of Robert Kirkwood 13: It was a prick-louse, a son of Crispin, who composed this stanza.
[UK]Dundee Courier 12 Apr. 2/6: Mr Cuffay, who is a London ’prick-the-louse’ [...] talks as familiarly of guns and daggers as if they were his needles and goose.