Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tasty adj.

1. pleasant, admirable, well-dressed [such clothes are ‘delicious’, but note SE tasteful].

[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Farmer 23: I shall be so tasty this Summer; round my neck a charming thick Barcelona Handkerchief, [etc.].
[UK]Sporting Mag. Sept. VI 335/1: Behold his dashing son, and tasty wife, / And view his no less tasty daughter’s life: / Eager they follow every silly mode.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 180: [This] rendered Primefit the ‘go’ for a tasty cut, best materials, and first-rate workmanship.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 25 June n.p.: One of them sports a very tasty pair of whiskers [...] the other has what is termed a ‘goat’ or whiskers under the chin.
[US]Manchester Spy (NH) 5 Oct. n.p.: They wear a neat and tasty uniform.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville Digby Grand (1890) 291: Welcomed as ‘our best customer,’ ‘the tastiest dresser in the West End.’.
[Ire]C.J. Kickham Knocknagow 201: ‘She has all the latest fashions, miss,’ said Nelly, ‘after coming from Dublin. But she was always tasty.’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Apr. 16/1: Miss Harriet Hodge, who was a most indefatigable little dancer, looked nice in pink and cream; [...] and a fair young lady and a cream veiling skirt with ruby velvet bodice was tasty.
[UK]Sporting Times 27 Feb. 5/4: Shifter was calling cabs outside the pavillion in a tasty uniform.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 11 Oct. 2/4: A tasty shirt of many stripes.
[UK]T.W.H. Crosland ‘The Bold Militiaman’ in Absent-Minded Mule and Verses 14: Fine fellows for parade, / Done up in tasty tunics / An’ sashes an’ gold braid, / An’ loved by all the slaveys, / An’ cough-drops at their trade.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 20 Jan. 1/1: A tasty typewriter with a coaxing wink.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 142: Gimme one o’ the red ties, ’long with the collars. They’re real tasty, an’ red’s my favorite shade.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 13 Mar. 2nd sect. 9/1: They Say [...] That a pair of tastily-designed swimming trunks will be included in the souvenirs.
[Ire]K.F. Purdon Dinny on the Doorstep 76: Sure, how could you but like it! [...] It’s that nate and tasty!
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 151: Shabby genteel. She used to be a tasty dresser.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Brakeman’s Daughter’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 499: Along comes a very tasty-looking young doll.
[Can]R. Service ‘Bessie’s Boil’ in Bar Room Ballads (1978) 675: So Misses goes off togged up tasty.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 337: You got to go out a bit tasty.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 39: tasty – Approval; you are being agreeable about something you dig.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 19: Very tasty [...] I’m glad I left the dirty raincoat at home.
[US]L. Berney Gutshot Straight [ebook] A très tasty silk dress the same shade as her eyes.

2. sexually alluring, attractive; of an object, salacious; also used adverbially (see cit. 1989).

[UK]Sporting Times 3 Jan. 1/3: She was tasty enough to make any heart burst.
[UK] ‘’Arry and the [...] Lady Cyclists’ in Punch 15 June 285/3: One tasty young thing wos in tears.
[UK]Tresor & LeBrunn [perf. Marie Lloyd] Among My Knick-knacks 🎵 Every picture that I find / Of a rather tasty kind / I put it in my drawer among my knick-knacks.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 31 Jan. 1/1: The tasty rag-tackers mashed two master mariners.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘A Polyglot Policeman’ Sporting Times 1 Apr. 1/4: There’s the parlour-maid at number six, a tasty joint from France.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 12 June 2nd sect. 9/1: They Say [...] That the bio man threatens to show no more tasty-tart films [...] That private views of Parisian hot stuff happenings won’t even be seen through smoked glasses.
[UK](con. 1923) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 50: H’m, he’s going to be quite tasty in a couple of years.
[UK]F. Norman in Sun. Graphic 20 July in Norman’s London (1969) 18: It is generally thought that the young birds are very tasty indeed!
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 34: She wasn’t looking a bit tasty.
[UK]S. Berkoff East in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 57: Tasty verily.
[UK]T. McClenaghan Submariners I iii: He’s a tasty bit of skin, eh, sir?
[UK]T. Lewis GBH 145: ‘I’d have to be blind not to realise how tasty she was’ .
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Mar. 10: tasty babe – someone with extremely good looks, either male or female.
[UK]M. Amis London Fields 93: Half the time she’s coming on dead tasty. And I mean sorely in need of it.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 93: Jesus Nicky, only the best bit of . . . ’scuse me Nicky she ain’t only the tastiest looking bird in town.
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 7: I got the sweetest tastiest chick in the borough.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Coorparoo Blues [ebook] ‘What’s she look like then?’ ‘Very tasty’.
[UK]J. Meades Empty Wigs (t/s) 146: After high tea I went to find the tasty young dish.

3. of a person, smart, sharp; often as tasty geezer; or prob. criminal; thus tasty villain, a known criminal.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 19 June 2nd sect. 10/3: He fought a hot 10 rounds with Jimmy Walsh, a ‘tasty’ Bostonian.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Little Boy Blooey’ in Ten Story Sports July 🌐 A guy laboring under the tasty title of Ape Anderson, the champ of the state.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell Plays Solomon (1976) 24: Some of the tastiest villains in London had promised faithfully that I’d wake up with my knees nailed to the floor.
[UK]M. Newall ‘Sir Gawayne and the Grene Knyght’ in Indep. Weekend Rev. 26 Dec. 1: With many tasty geezerez gotte up in good geare.
[UK](con. 1960s) Guardian Weekend 2 Apr. 23: Reggie Elms was a tasty geezer.
[UK]N. ‘Razor’ Smith Raiders 236: Chucky knew his way around a gun and had been trained in unarmed combat [...] so he was a bit tasty.
[UK]Times 15 Sept. 🌐 Here they come, the mythical London criminals — a little bit tasty, cheerful, forgivable, well-dressed, great with the one-liners.

4. of a thing (usu. some form of criminal plan), valuable, worthwhile.

[US]T. Thursday ‘Twin Lose or Draw’ in Popular Sports Spring 🌐 Instead of grabbing my usual seventy-five per cent, plus all expenses, which are always tasty, I merely took fifty per cent.
[UK]A. Payne ‘All Mod Cons’ Minder [TV script] 3: Oh yeah, very tasty ...
[UK]N. Barlay Curvy Lovebox 125: Tasty, goes Lendon thinkin’ through the balance sheet.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 59: ‘How much you say she’s holding?’ Tony whispered [...] Mac explained that he didn’t know for sure, but it looked like a tasty wad.
[Aus] F. McCarthy ‘Some Protection’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] The bread crumbs had been easy when Mac had run a tasty job in his old career.
[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 35: If somebodyt offers ye a wee tickle n it looks tasty, then aye.

5. extreme, excessive.

[Scot]T. Black ‘Eat Shit’ in Killing Time in Las Vegas [ebook] Miami Mike carried two Buds back from the bar, he swayed a little — nights with old Eddie from the block could turn pretty tasty.