Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jacket n.

1. [17C–19C] (US) the human skin; usu. in phrs. below.

2. [mid-19C] a sheepskin.

3. [20C+] (W.I.) refs. to illegitimacy [the jacket ‘dresses up’ a man and thus confers respectability on the child].

(a) a child fathered by a woman’s lover rather than by her husband.

(b) any child who has no ‘official’ father.

(c) a man who accepts the role of father to a child he knows is not his; thus wear a jacket for, for a man to accept a child as his own.

4. [1930s+] (US Und.) ext./fig. uses.

(a) an arrest followed by an order to leave a town or city.

(b) the police/prison file on a criminal, recording previous convictions etc; one’s criminal record.

(c) a reputation, usu. bad; thus fruit jacket, a reputation as a homosexual.

(d) a witness to a crime.

(e) a jail sentence.

(f) a military service record.

5. [1960s+] (US) a condom.

6. see yellow jacket under yellow adj.

In phrases

dust someone’s jacket (v.)

see under dust v.1

fit someone for a jacket (v.)

[1950s] (US) to threaten someone with an arrest and prison sentence.

fruit jacket (n.)

see sense 3b above.

give someone a jacket (v.)

[20C+] (W.I., Jam.) for a married woman to conceive and bear a child by her lover and pass it off to her husband as his.

hang a jacket on (v.)

[1950s+] (US prison) for one inmate to accuse another of informing.

lick someone’s jacket (v.) (also pepper someone’s jacket) [lick v.1 (1)]

[18C] to thrash, to beat up.

line one’s jacket (v.)

[17C–early 19C] to fill one’s stomach; either with food or drink.

punk jacket (n.) [punk n.1 (3)]

[1990s+] (US prison) a reputation for cowardice.

put someone on the heavy jacket (v.)

[1980s+] (N.Z.) to ostracize.

rat jacket (n.) [rat n.1 (1)]

[1970s+] (US prison) a reputation as an informer.

snitch jacket (n.) [snitch n.1 (3)]

[1960s+] (US Und.) a reputation as an informer.

thrash someone’s jacket (v.) (also pudding someone’s jacket)

[late 17C–early 19C] to beat, to thrash.

under one’s jacket

[19C] (US) in one’s stomach.

up one’s jacket

[mid–19C] (UK Und.) infuriating.

wet one’s jacket (v.)

[early 19C] (US) to get drunk.