Green’s Dictionary of Slang

conk n.1

also conc, conck, conch, conque, konk
[? f. Lat. concha, a shell, and Gk kogcha, anything hollow]

1. the nose; thus conk, conk(e)y,a nickname for one who has a large nose; thus conked adj., having a type of nose as specified.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Sussex Advertiser 11 Aug. 3/4: The sheeny hadone of his ogles closed and his conque damaged.
[UK]Pierce Egan’s Life in London 26 Sept. 5/3: [T]he Glazier, in groping for the konk of Bill (a member in which nature to each has been most bountiful), unluckily slipped one of his mauleys between his adversary’s grinders.
[UK]J. Bruton ‘My Mugging Maid’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 99: The flask that in her fam appeared / The snore that her conk betrayed, / Told me that Hodge’s max had queered / My mugging maid.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 21 Feb. 3/2: With finger on his conck and knowing jen, / And spoke, ‘Enough" — you’re a tight hand, my blade’.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 24 Feb. 1s/4: Look at that ’ere little ‘konk‘,— there an’t much of the Jew there? that nose ain’t my nose.
[UK] ‘The Costermonger & His Voman’ in Black Joke 39: His conk vos long and red and pimpled.
[US]Ely’s Hawk & Buzzard (NY) Sept. 6 n.p.: Gaynor made his one-two on Sam’s conck.
[UK] ‘Jack of Horslydown’ Flash Casket 58: Now let this dishclout grief be done, / That konk a fogle vants.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist 192: Conkey means Nosey, ma’am.
[US]Whip & Satirist of NY & Brooklyn (NY) 8 Jan. n.p.: [H]e met with a stopper on his konk.
[UK]H. Cockton Valentine Vox 214: He fancied it proper to put on his nose before he alighted from the cab. ‘Oh! oh! there’s a conk! there’s a smeller! Oh! oh!’ exclaimed about fifty voices in chorus.
[UK]Bell’s Penny Dispatch 8 May 2/4: A little blood was visible upon the konk of the Brum.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 13 Dec. 2/2: Hough soon let fly with his left, and delivered broad upon the conk.
[US]N.Y. Clipper 4 June 3/1: Jack sent in his one on English’s conk.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Victoria (Melbourne) 17 Oct. 4/1: [G]etting home lightly on Johnny’s conk.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Victoria (Melbourne) 18 Apr. 3/5: Kitchen went to work [...] with one-two on his opponent’s left peeper and conch.
Sporting Life (London) 17 Oct. 3/4: Tyler dashed out his left at Gilliam’s conk [...] Bill returned on Tom’s left listener.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 91/1: Why thou bee’st the broken ‘conked’ b—s that i youist to gie my ‘skilly’ tu i’ Wakefield stur.
[UK] in G.D. Atkin House Scraps (1887) 54: His ‘dexter ogle’ has a ‘mouse’; His conk’s devoid of bark.
[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter I 213: Conky Jim has advertised for to-night. In course he is fly.
[UK]Sporting Times 8 Nov. 2/3: Shifter’s nasal organ [...] has gained for him admiration [...] he has risen to conker.
[US]Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) 9 July 3/6: Prize Ring Slang [...] ‘claret jug,’ ‘conk,’ ‘nozzle,’ ‘snorer,’ ‘proboscis,’ the nose.
[UK]J. Greenwood Behind A Bus 95: It was the sort of nose to get in the way of a scratch [...] Bow-bridged or ‘conkey,’ as it is vulgarly termed.
[Aus] in Sydney Worker Feb. n.p.: Painted by him I am a narrow, bigoted, snuffle-busting son of a gun whose grog blossomed ‘conk’ gives the lie to his watery protestations.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 20 Oct. 11/4: Would I stand to be nailed on the conk with a bottle? Echo answers, ‘Nay, Nay!’.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 13 Jan. 6/4: The razorback conk that the Senor wears on the front of his counting-house.
[UK]Marvel III:53 2: Yer orter pay double fer that ’ere conk!
[US]Ade Knocking the Neighbors 88: She would fiddle around for an Opening and then Zowie!—right on the Conk.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 128: Talking about noses [...] a man came in here the other Sunday with about the handsomest things in conks I’ve ever handled.
[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 17 Sept. 9/5: Felt it was robbing the bookie. Looked at his cockatoo conk and it salved my conscience.
[US]N. Fleischer in Ring Nov. 10: conk, smeller, nozzle – The nose.
[US]S.J. Perelman Letter 9 Oct. in Crowther Don’t Tread on Me (1987) 5: One gent more bored than the rest lifts his conk from a glass of mixed schmaltz and pernod and says; ‘I’ll tell you, fella...’.
[UK]Observer 28 Aug. 8/5: Conk: nose.
[Ire](con. 1880–90s) S. O’Casey I Knock at the Door 226: Don’t be shovin’ your conk in where it isn’t needed or wanted or valued.
[UK]V. Davis Phenomena in Crime 34: His huge and bulbous pock-marked nose, ungenerously termed [...] a conk.
E. Newby Short Walk in Hindu Kush (1981) 198: What a great conk he’s got!
[Aus]B. Humphries Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 70: I once shoved that stuff [i.e. snuff] up me conk and me hankie turned brown.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 63: Who’s the geyser with the boozer’s conk?
[Ire]J. Morrow Confessions of Proinsias O’Toole 95: The hooky, droopy obstruction of his conk.
[Aus]Benjamin & Pearl Limericks Down Under 99: At all the wine shows / He would savour the nose - / And with only the tip of his konk up.
[UK]T. Jones Curse of the Vampire Socks 83: A conk like that is just / A drag.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Travel 19 Dec. 6: I had met [...] Nicolo who had an enormous conk of a nose.
[UK]D. Mitchell Black Swan Green 157: Mr Dunwoody’s face is fitted around his ginormous conk.

2. (UK Und.) an informer, a thief who betrays his accomplices [‘sniff things out’].

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

3. a policeman [‘sniff things out’].

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 249/1: ca.1820–1910.

4. the head; thus -conked, -headed; off one’s conk, crazy, eccentric.

[UK] ‘Gallery of 140 Comicalities’ Bell’s Life in London 24 June 1/2: For a farden I’d break your precious conk!
[UK]York Herald 3 May 4/3: I’m blow’d if I don’t sarve you out on your b—y konk.
[UK]Era (London) 26 Jan. 10/3: Weston commenced business with the left, which he [...] planted on his adversary’s conk.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 29 July 2/7: Morgan told a most piteous tale of the hard usage of the prisoner, or more strictly, of his stick, which was smashed into smithereens on his konk.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 15/2: At the next moment he let me have it over the ‘conk’ which sent me staggering.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 101: She’d yell murder when she’d jolt her conk. Eh? Don’t you cop dat: ‘jolt her conk?’ Why, dat’s bump her head.
[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden and Mr Paul 23: He skated in on clog shoes, bumps his conk on de carpet enough to give him a headache.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 6 Dec. 10/3: The superintendant preceeded me, a hard conked Scotchman.
[UK]Sporting Times 27 Aug. 1/2: That sort o’ bluff may go with some o’ the pin-head conks, but we know better.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 2 Aug. [synd. col.] And just then Dudley nailed him on the konk with a bottle of ink.
New Scimitar (Memphis, TN) 31 July 10/2: Golfing [...] Those who followed it for a pastime were comical in the conc — which is English for loose in the attic.
[US]O.O. McIntyre New York Day by Day 16 Sept. [synd. col.] I’m off to stop this buzzin’ in my conk.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 228: There’s a lot of [...] foreign slobs that need to be jollied into using their konks about these health biznai.
[US](con. 1914–18) L. Nason Three Lights from a Match 156: The truck driver was off his conk.
[UK]B. Ross Tragedy of Z 103: So much rotgut went to my conk.
[US]R.F. Adams Cowboy Lingo 35: Other slang names used [...] were ‘hair-case,’ ‘conk-cover,’ ‘lid’.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Coffin for a Coward’ in Hollywood Detective Dec. 🌐 She [...] started to bonk Bonham over the conk.
[UK]M. Allingham Hide My Eyes (1960) 154: There is something experimental down here or I should have my conk seen to.
[UK]H.E. Bates Oh! To be in England (1985) 382: What with one thing and another [...] and now the blow on the conk, he felt he couldn’t carry on.
[Ire](con. 1920s) P. Crosbie Your Dinner’s Poured Out! 160: They gave me a bang on the top of the conk, / That nearly made me cry.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 120: [A] gangly yearling with an oversize konk atop a broomstick neck .

5. a punch, usu. on the nose.

[UK]F. Norman Dead Butler Caper 62: A conk or two on the noggin is likely to knock more sense in than out.

6. intelligence; thinking.

[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.

In compounds

conk-buster (n.) [bust v.1 (1); all three meanings imply the straining of one’s brain] (US black)

1. an intellectual.

[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1008: Conk buster: [...] an intellectual Negro.
[US]R.S. Gold ‘Vernacular of the Jazz World’ in AS XXXII:4 277: conk-buster. An intellectual Negro.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

2. an intellectual challenge, a difficult problem.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 6 Aug. 11/1: Jack, your spiel was a conk buster and I don’t mean perhaps.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

3. cheap wine and liquor.

[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1008: Conk buster: cheap liquor.
[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 82: Most striking is the lack of terms for drinking and drunk. There are only 7 in 435: conk-buster, ink, King Kong, and kong all refer to cheap varieties of wine and liquor.
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 51: A bar called Sum Mo crowded wit Negroes drinkin conk busters.
conkpiece (n.)

(US black) the head.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 27 Aug. 11/1: Every time the idea cut through your conk-piece it gave you the creeps in your benders.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 30: Stinks like a corny trumpet with the ofay / Arrangement of the conkpiece.

In phrases

bust one’s conk (v.) [bust v.1 (1)] (US black)

1. lit. or fig., to go mad.

[US]Rosetta Howard ‘If You’re a Viper’ 🎵 You know’re high, everything is dandy / Truck on down to the candy store, bust your conk on peppermint candy.
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 9 Feb. 13: In your bunk at night you lay busting your conk, wondering whose got your gal in some Harlem honky-tonk.

2. to go to sleep.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 23 July 11/2: We leave you here to creep into our domicile [...] and bust our conks in slumberland.

3. to show one’s happiness in an emotional outburst.

[US]Herbert & Spencer Jitterbug Jamboree Song Book 32: bust your conk: something that will make you enthuse.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 218: Seventh cat: Mash me a trey gate, so’s I can go bust my conk.
[US](con. 1945) M. Angelou Gather Together In My Name 113: You truck on down to the candy store / And bust your conk on peppermint candy.

4. to work very hard.

[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 253: bust your conk (v.): apply yourself diligently, break your neck.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.