Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shop n.1

1. a place, a place of business, any place where one pursues one’s occupation, e.g. a brothel.

[UK]Hickscorner Avii: Mary I kepte a fayre shoppe of baudrye I had three wenches that were full praty Jane true and thryfties and wanton Sybble.
[UK]Robin Goodfellow, His Mad Pranks and Merry Jests E1: They set up shop in Hunny lane, And thither flies did swarme amine, Some from France, and some from Spaine, Train’d in by scurvy Panders: At last this hunny pot grew dry, Then both were forced for to flye To Flanders.
[UK]Whores Rhetorick 28: I will allow you some months, as many as may seem necessary to render you perfect in the qualifications [...] before you may be permitted to open your Shop.
[UK]W. Oxberry Actress of All Work 5: My cousin acts all the great parts at the Lunnun show-shop.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Jorrocks Jaunts (1874) 238: I’ll send my ’osses [...] through my friend Sir William Jolliffe’s fields to the other side of your shop [i.e. a turnpike].
[UK]Dickens Nicholas Nickleby (1982) 87: ‘There,’ said the schoolmaster [...] ‘this is our shop, Nickleby.’.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Handley Cross (1854) 196: ‘You’ve got a werry good shop here — capital shop I may say,’ said he, surveying the rich orange silk furniture and gilding of the room.
[US]D. Corcoran Picking from N.O. Picayune 63: ‘I am, thou art, he, she, or it is,’ said Persse, launching at once into the sea of his vocation [i.e. school-teaching], and taking the tone of his language from the ‘shop’.
[UK]Thackeray Vanity Fair I 215: I’ll set him up in a shop.
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes II 59: Now, when will you two gents come up to my shop to ’ave a family dinner?
[UK]T. Taylor Ticket-Of-Leave Man Act III: Portland’s an odd shop to take an office messenger from.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 228: SHOP, the house of Commons.
[UK]Sporting Times 16 Aug. 7/2: Ben Soutar, late of the Gaiety, has not long been out of a shop; he goes and superintends Mary Anderson’s show at the Lyceum.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Apr. 6/4: Drew was for many months in London without a ‘shop,’ and the wonderful appearance he kept up earned him the title of ‘the mystery.’.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 201: Jonathan’s place was getting a deal more custom, now [...] and came to be known as a pretty comfortable shop.
[UK]R. Barnett Police Sergeant C 21 58: This is my shop. I’m second boots, I am.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 5 May 5/6: [of a pub frequented by criminals] It was called the Emu and was a red-hot shop for the old hands to gather at and go through their performances which ranged from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 129: Will be with you in ten minutes. Meanwhile have a look round the shop.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 119: My old shop, the Spree Theatre.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 17 Oct. 2/4: His prospects brightened considerably when he got to a ‘shop’ with Nance O’Neil and the prospects of a long and lucratiuve engagement.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 20 Feb. 1/4: [of a bookmakers] All the time he’s partin’ lively / On a dead ’un for the shop.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 110: I got me studio [i.e. a boxing gym] here, an’ me real-money reg’lars that keeps the shop runnin’.
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. xv: Am I going back on the stage. Well, I should hope so, dear. What do you think I would do with myself if I didn’t have to beat it to the shop at least once a day.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Dec. 11/1: Things are quiet in the Adelaide ‘shops.’ [i.e. theatres] At the Royal, Anderson’s co. is saving ‘The Bushwoman’ [...]. At the Tivoli the sisters Macarte have come in, with their Lotus-land scene.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 16 Mar. 11/4: [of a womens’ club] It [...] / Are a private swellish shop / All for wlmmen; where they easy / Any time can quiet drop.
[US]Atlanta Constitution 29 Aug. 42/3: The gambler who wanted to keep his ‘shop’ open [...] would inclose a generous amount of currency in an envelope.
[NZ]‘Anzac’ On the Anzac Trail 200: ‘Quinn’s Post’ was always a rotten shop for bombs.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 358: They’ve elected Silva, dean of the Winnemac medical school. That’s your shop, isn’t it?
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 364: You’d soon show ’em what yous worth as a fitter, and be boss of the shop in no time.
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Lead With Your Left (1958) 39: There was over a grand in electrical equipment in the ‘shop’ [i.e. an illicit still].
[US](con. 1920s) Gladys Duffy Warden’s Wife 139: When he and my father settled down to talk shop, it was always my father’s shop they discussed.
[Aus](con. 1940s–60s) Hogbotel & ffuckes ‘Lulu’ in More Snatches and Lays 65: Some girls work in factories / And some girls work in stores; / But Lulu works in a dockside shop / With forty other whores.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 240: Ran a nice clean shop up the stadium.
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Straight and True’ Wire ser. 3 ep. 5 [TV script] So what brings you to our shop [i.e. police office].
[US]Simon & Burns ‘Straight and True’ Wire ser. 3 ep. 5 [TV script] You tell them to move down here and set up a shop [i.e. a drug-dealing centre], and they will.
[US]Simon & Zorzi ‘Unconfirmed Reports’ Wire ser. 5 ep. 2 [TV script] It wasn’t my call to suspend the investigation, Jimmy. That decision came from your shop.

2. (UK Und.) a prison [note that shop v.1 (1) actually predates the n.].

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Shop c. a prison.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 26 July 13/3: A respectable and honourable hangman, as a rule, keeps clear of the ‘shop’ except when he is actually hanging, and seeks rather to cultivate the harmless dicky-bird or to grow the refreshing violet, and to find his delight in the simple works of nature.
[US]Flynt & Walton Powers That Prey 202: I stayed there a year, an’ got to be one o’ the boss kids o’ the shop.

3. a public house.

[UK]E. Morris Secret in Sporting Mag. May XIV 69/2: A score of us sent in our resignation [i.e. from a club] and took our mutton quietly at another shop.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 262: It was a ‘poor shop’ indeed, that did not produce some little amusement.
[UK]Thackeray Newcomes II 87: There’s a capital shop round the corner.
[UK]D.W. Barrett Life and Work among Navvies 61: ‘Brighton George’s’ wife keeps a ‘quiet shop’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 July 24/1: Teddy Knight’s reported ‘crock,’ ‘cripple’ &c., Prince Carbine [...] scooped the big thing of Rosehill meeting, Saturday. Well backed in ‘shops’ all day Friday and Saturday morning, when long odds were available, a big load was placed on the course, consequently the ‘close’ crowd behind the operations landed a big stake.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 6 Sept. 29/1: When I strikes a pub. one morning – ’twas a dirty shop, an’ rough – / An’ has a drink, an’, like a fool, I flashed me blanky stuff.
[Ire]Joyce ‘Counterparts’ Dubliners n.p.: O’Halloran had money, but neither of the other two seemed to have any; so the whole party left the shop somewhat regretfully.

4. a cookshop.

[UK]‘’ in Rum Ti Tum! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 161: A lady [...] / kindly ask’d if I would treat / Her to something nice to eat; / [...] / We sought a shop.

5. as play on sense 1, a winning place in a horse-race.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Jan. 2/5: Harris pulled his mount from second to last as they headed for home, and [...] finally landed Perplex into second ‘shop’.

6. an act of shopping.

ManchesterOnline.co.uk 27 Sept. [Internet] And one boutique worker, who chose to remain anonymous, said: ‘Believe me. I know stuff that would rock the game. I’ve seen England players miss training to go for a shop!’.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

shop bouncer (n.) [bouncer n.1 (6)]

1. a thief who steals from shops while distracting the merchant’s attention with his argumentative bargaining; thus shop-bouncing, shoplifting.

[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 165/1: Shop Bouncing – shoplifting.
[UK]Rochdale Obs. 24 Dec. 6/2: Shopliftig or ‘shop bouncing’ is performed in various ways.

2. a thief who poses as a respectable customer and while buying a cheap item, steals a more valuable one.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 92: SHOP BOUNCER, or shop lifter, a personal generally respectably attired who, while being served with a small article at a shop, steals one of more value.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[UK]Sl. Dict.
shop cop (n.) [cop n.1 (1)]

a security man working in a shop.

[UK]J.J. Connolly Layer Cake 98: Half of them end up as shop-cops, long hours, moody uniform, patrolling the booze aisle down the supermarket.
shop-dropper (n.)

(Aus.) one who delivers goods, liquor etc. from a market or store to retailers.

[Aus]Courier-Mail (Brisbane) 26 Nov. 2: ‘Shop-droppers’ are truck owners who buy large quantities of fruit and vegetables at the market and sell them to shopkeepers in and around Brisbane .
[Aus]Sun. Mail (Brisbane) 12 Feb. 18: The suppliers—known as ‘shop-droppers’—have been operating for several years .
shoplift (n.)

see separate entry.

shop-sneak (n.) [sneak n.1 (1b)]

(UK Und.) a sneak thief who lurks near a shop, waiting a chance to steal some goods.

[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 19: A Shop-Sneek, one that watches an oppertunity to get into the Shop and steal the Goods.
[UK]Whole Art of Thieving [as cit. 1718].
[UK]Hants. Advertiser 8 Mar. 6/2: William Heath, known to the police as a ‘shop sneak,’ was charged with stealing a waistcoat from the door of Mr Gamin’s general shop.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 104/1: So well is the ‘push’ of this place known to the ‘fawney hunters,’ ‘shop sneaks,’ &c. of the metropolis that upon every such occasion tribes of such small fry make their way down here.
Sth Wales Dly News 28 Oct. 4/7: A Shop Sneak punished for stealing an overcoat value 10s.
Ilford Recorder 7 Apr. 5/6: [headline] Shop Sneak Sentenced to three Months.
[UK]W. London Obs. 9 Feb. 3/2: Shop Sneak Thief [...] charged with stealing.
shop teeth (n.)

(Irish) false teeth, dentures.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 1 Aug. 12/1: In one, a man betook himself to the city hospital suffering from severe internal pains caused by swallowing a set of shop teeth. He could only be persuaded that the doctors [...] were right when somebody hastened to the institution with the eaters he had mislaid at home.
[Ire]Share Slanguage.

In phrases

all over the shop

1. in chaos, in a mess [SE in 20C+].

[UK]Leeds Mercury 28 July 3/6: Everybody here all over the shop.
[UK]Pall Mall Gazette 29 July 1/2: Formerly, the authorities associated with our fisheries were ‘all over the shop’, if a vulgarism of the day be permissible.

2. everywhere; thus knock all over the shop, to beat severely.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 288: In pugilistic slang, to punish a man severely is ‘to knock him all over the shop’.
[UK] ‘’Arry at a Political Pic-Nic’ Punch 11 Oct. 180/1: The latest new lay’s Demonstrations [...] For they’re at them all over the shop.
[UK]Sporting Times 26 Apr. 6/1: [heading] ALL OVER THE SHOP.
[UK]Chelmsford Chron. (Essex) 21 Aug. 6/5: In the dormitory at night the old fellow ‘cursed and swore all over the shop,’ and kept the other inmates awwake.
[US]Ade More Fables in Sl. (1960) 113: After the Visitor went away there would be Language all over the Shop.
[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 16: It wasn’t any cheap hang-out, either – nothing but silk rugs on the floor and parlor furniture all over the shop.
[UK]Wodehouse Psmith in the City (1993) 111: The fur was flying all over the bally shop.
[US]E. Pound letter May in Paige (1971) 135: Williams, Loy, Moore, and the worser phenomena of Others, to say nothing of the highly autochthonous Amy (all over the bloody shop) are much more in the ‘news’.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 708: Their damn guns bursting and booming all over the shop especially the Queens birthday.
[UK]J.B. Priestley Good Companions 634: We’ve been all ower t’shop.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 68: Don’t mess about hitting him all over the shop.
[UK]J. Maclaren-Ross Of Love And Hunger 159: Greenfly fell dead all over the shop. Regular massacre.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 221: I was manipulating paper all over the shop in my cinemas, trotting and bus companies and could get away with it, by hang, while my credit was good.
[UK]E. Bond Saved Scene vi: There’s little pieces all over the shop, nothin’ a do.
[Aus] in K. Gilbert Living Black 144: I’ve lived ‘n worked in Melbourne, Sydney, I’ve been all over the fuckin’ shop.
[UK]P. Barker Blow Your House Down 80: But it isn’t to say he picked her up there – she was all over the shop.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 116: Gods and goddesses all over the shop.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 99: A feelin I cant put my finger on of her bein shagged all over the shop, stuffed floor to ceilin, wheelbarrowed along the hall an back, seen to upstairs, downstairs an over my ladys chamber pot.
[UK]J. Cameron Hell on Hoe Street 170: Forensics all over the shop. They even dabbed for fingerprints.
come to the wrong shop (v.)

to make a mistake, esp. in the context of asking the wrong person or going to the wrong place to get one’s desires.

Court Mag. III 21/1: ‘I am come to borrow thirty pounds off you’ [...] ‘Then you have just come to the wrong shop, my Launcelot’.
[UK]Dickens ‘The Drunkard’s Death’ in Slater Dickens’ Journalism I (1994) 467: And what does he want? [...] money? meat? drink? He’s come to the wrong shop for that, if he does.
Reading Mercury (Berks.) 14 Oct. 3/2: Mr Eyre remarked that they had come to the wrong shop for that, and collared Harper, and gave him a smart thump on the head.
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 52: You’re come to the wrong shop, I tell you.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Mar. 8/4: My child, you have come to the wrong shop. This is the Steam Laundry [...] you want [...] the ragmill.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 21 July 6/6: You have come here for blackmailing but you have come to the wrong shop. Not a penny can you extort from the Company or myself.
[UK]Essex Newsman 11 July 1/3: Davies said, ‘You have come to the wrong shop, I don’t make a book — I only receive an occasional [betting] slip and mopney’.
[UK]Western Times (Exeter) 4 Nov. 3/5: The visitor found he had come to the ‘wrong shop’ and was dismissed with a curt contempt.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. (Devon) 21 May 2/2: ‘You have come to the wrong shop,’ said the Magistrate’s Clerk [...] when Mrs Westcott [...] aplied for an ejectment order.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 14 Oct. 15/4: ‘I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong shop,’ I said, laughing.
[UK]K. Waterhouse Soho 63: Wrong shop, mate. I don’t know a soul in London. [Ibid.] 135: I have a row with Simon, wally that he is, right, and got back totally arsed, so if it’s social chit-chat you’re looking for, Ali, you’ve come to the wrong shop, right?
keep to one’s own shop (v.)

to mind one’s own business; to be quiet.

[UK]Globe (London) 19 Sept. 4/6: He was ‘undermining her karacter’ by giving out that she’d got three months in quod for ‘cat skinning’ . Would the magistrate send a constable to tell Pat Murphy to keep to his own shop.
shut up (one’s) shop (v.)

1. (also close (up) shop) to stop, usu. talking.

[UK]G. Gascoigne in Chalmers Eng. Poets II 571: Beautie shut up thy shop [i.e. mouth] .
[UK]Middleton Women Beware Women II ii: If your art / Will take a little pains and second me – / As any wench in Florence of my standing, / I’ll quite give o’er and shut up shop in cunning.
[UK]Court and Times Charles I II 21: If it go on thus, the Commissioners may shut up shop [F&H].
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Ode Upon Ode’ Works (1794) I 431: Such princes [...] very soon, to reputation dead, their idle Laureats, faith, might shut up shop.
[US]T.G. Fessenden ‘Delicate Ditty’ Poems 163: I’ll even stop,/ And shut up shop [...] But would you wish / To taste a dish / Of stinking fish, / Go, read the songs of Little!
[UK] ‘Life In London’ Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 10: The death-hunters have made a stop, / No business they are doing; / The grave-diggers have shut up shop.
[UK]Thackeray Yellowplush Papers in Works III (1898) 376: Though I should never be tired of talking, praps the public may of hearing, and therefore it’s best to shut up shop.
Bristol Times 18 Mar. 4/2: Let all masters of hounds, in a country where foxes are scarce, ‘shut up shop’ till [...] next October.
[UK]F.E. Smedley Frank Fairlegh (1878) 278: I may as well shut up shop at once.
[UK]London Standard 20 May 5/4: Hush-a-by Punchy, shut up your shop [...] / When the wit’s gone, the Whigs will say ‘Nay;’ / Down will go Punchy for ever and aye.
[UK]Pall Mall Gazette 29 Oct. n.p.: Our mercantile marine would shut up shop [F&H].
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 28 Feb. 9/2: Anti-Cackle. Why raise beer tax? Don't dare to. Better shut up shop and shoot moon .
[UK]Dover Express (Kent) 11 Nov. 4/4: When remonstrated with by the Rev. John Maull, the minister he replied, ‘Well, sir; if you’ll shut up your shop, I’ll shut up mine!’.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard God’s Man 296: He’s going to shut up shop one of these here fine days and file his petition.
[US](con. 1918) J.J. Niles Singing Soldiers 95: Dis here war will be over in ’bout two weeks? I mean, will we be shuttin’ up shop and goin’ home?
[US]J. Dixon Free To Love 216: That evening, when Cathleen ‘closed shop’ for the day.
[UK]Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 79: When she has had what seems a sufficient number of children, other women are sure to say to her: ‘Going to shut up shop now?’.
[US]H. Gould Fort Apache, The Bronx 103: All the legit criminals closed up shop for the day as press and detectives roamed the area.
[Ire](con. 1920s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 244: Part of my brain went on strike, shut up shop.

2. (also shut up shop-windows) to go bankrupt.

[UK]J. Ray Proverbs (2nd edn) 89: A Bankrupt. [...] He has shut up shop-windows.
[UK]A. Griffiths Fast and Loose III 177: If everyone went on as Lord Wingspur does we should soon have to shut up shop. [...] money is very tight and hard to get.
shut up someone’s shop (v.)

to kill someone, to murder someone.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 10661: late C.19–early 20.