Green’s Dictionary of Slang

jacket n.

1. (US) the human skin; usu. in phrs. below.

2. a sheepskin.

[UK]Hants. Advertiser 14 June 5/1: Marlow said he had got some jackets (a slang word for sheep skins), and had sold them.

3. (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.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
Jah Lrics Dict. [Internet] Jacket - Bastard; a child that is raised by another father. (Usually from the wife cheating on someone else and the father never knowing).

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

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.

(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.

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 27: Jacket a man who unknowingly accepts the social responsibility of fatherhood for a child not thought to be his genetic off-spring: u. a fi ’im jacket that.

4. (US Und.) ext./fig. uses.

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

[US]St Paul Globe (MN) 3 June 5/6: ‘What’s Jimmie Butler’s graft now?’ ‘Jimmie’s a stall for a dip. Him an’ his partner got a jacket last week [...] they were run out of town by the police’.
[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 19 Oct. 5/1: A ten-spot in the bandhouse from the beak when the worst should have been a jacket (an order to leave town).

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

[US]D. Maurer Big Con 299: jacket. 1. An entry in the police records which may stand against a criminal if he is picked up on another charge, so called from the folder or ‘jacket’ in which the entry is filed.
[US]N. Algren Neon Wilderness (1986) 21: We’ll get a jacket for you one of these days.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 109/1: Jacket. 1. (P) Any case-history folder in the central record office.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 241: The kid in your cell’s got a jacket [...] a freak jacket.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 25: I’ve seen both good and bad in your jacket.
[US]Jackson & Christian Death Row xvii: A jacket, to the officials, is an official record packet.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 22: Jersey state police got a fat jacket on him.
[US]T. Dorsey Florida Roadkill 204: Two criminal jackets and mug shots came up on her screen.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 9: Jimmy, you have no criminal jacket, no arrest record.

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

[US] A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Hot potato jacket, a chiseling, selfish, worthless person .
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 32: Make em [i.e. lies] about young skunks you scored on. Maybe you can ease from under the freak jacket you’ve been carrying.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 110: If you get a jacket as a punk, you’ll have that wherever you go.
[US]Jackson & Christian Death Row xvii: To the inmates, jacket means a reputation.
[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 226: Everything you do parlays to the next day. All your life. And that’s the jacket you got to live with.
[US]J. Ellroy Silent Terror (1990) 67: If a ‘fruit jockey’ made a sexual advance toward you, ‘wail on his head’ [...] because if you didn’t ‘put him straight,’ you would acquire a ‘fruit jacket.’.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 148: I thought you were trying to put a fag jacket on me.

(d) a witness to a crime.

[US]D. Maurer Big Con 300: jacket. A tip-off, or a witness to a crime who may testify later.

(e) a jail sentence.

[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 24: They’d gotten a one-to-life jacket on him for the second [murder].

(f) a military service record.

[US](con. 1964–73) W. Terry Bloods (1985) 33: He’s a major. He’s reading my jacket, and he’s looking with his glasses at me.

5. (US) a condom.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US]R.A. Wilson Playboy’s Book of Forbidden Words.
[UK]A. Wheatle Dirty South 35: Mum always said to me not to trust no girl and wear a ‘jacket’ at all times.

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.)

(US) to threaten someone with an arrest and prison sentence.

[US]N. Algren Chicago: City On the Make 76: Be in court with it [police bribe] at nine tomorrow or we’ll pick you up without it ’n fit you for a jacket.
fruit jacket (n.)

see sense 3b above.

give someone a jacket (v.)

(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.

[WI]cited in Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage (1996).
hang a jacket on (v.)

(US prison) for one inmate to accuse another of informing.

[US]F. Elli Riot (1967) 171: Don’t be hangin’ a bum jacket on the guy. Skinny’s a good head.
[US]T. Thackrey Thief 361: That’s a rough fucking jacket you’re hanging on Murf.
[US]Maledicta V:1+2 (Summer + Winter) 264: An inmate hangs a jacket on another convict by accusing him publicly of being an informer.
D.T. Ruiz Blue Mexican 247: You gonna let me sit and then hang a jacket on me. I know how you guys operate.
lick someone’s jacket (v.) (also pepper someone’s jacket) [lick v.1 (1)]

to thrash, to beat up.

[UK]Fielding Tom Jones (1959) 507: I’ll teach thee to father-in-law me. I’ll lick thy jacket.
[UK]Bridges Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 20: You must promise me that you / Won’t lick the rascal’s jacket now.
cartoon caption (illustrating a horsewhipping) I’ll pepper his jacket.
line one’s jacket (v.)

to fill one’s stomach; either with food or drink.

[UK]R. Cotgrave Dict. of Fr. and Eng. Tongues n.p.: Il s’acoustre bien. He stuffes himself soundly, he lines his jacket thoroughly with liquor.
[UK]R. Nares Gloss. (1888) I 445: jacket. To line one’s jacket, to drink deeply.
put someone on the heavy jacket (v.)

(N.Z.) to ostracize.

[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 198: Kapua [...] had been put on the heavy jacket by the Maoris in the can, and was sitting at a table all by himself.
rat jacket (n.) [rat n.1 (1)]

(US prison) a reputation as an informer.

[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 275: We always used a code name and he didn’t get a rat jacket behind it.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Jacket: Central File. Label. To be marked as a snitch or informant. ‘He has a rat jacket.’.
T.J. Riccio Busted! 96: It’s truly amazing how easy it is for some asshole coward who’s afraid to confront an inmate they don’t like to just put a ‘Rat Jacket’ on a guy and then sit back.
snitch jacket (n.) [snitch n.1 (3)]

(US Und.) a reputation as an informer.

Issues in criminology I 216: If a person carries a ‘snitch jacket’ in the joint, he is usually given the choice of being ‘punked’ (turned into a homosexual) or being killed.
[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2 43: Snitch jacket, n. An informer.
Tucson Dly Citizen (AZ) 22 Sept. 4/1: Any inmate can put a snitch jacket on another, and [...] a prisoner will get extra canteens from a snitch by not carrying out a threat to put a snitch jacket on him.
[US]Jackson & Christian Death Row 115: That’s the worst thing you can come down to the penitentiary with – a snitch-jacket.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 21: With his snitch jacket, he wouldn’t last a week [i.e. in jail].
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 43: He measured me for the snitch jacket and slipped me snugly inside.
thrash someone’s jacket (v.) (also pudding someone’s jacket)

to beat, to thrash.

[UK]T. Brown Saints in Uproar in Works (1760) I 74: Dark nights will come, and then I’ll substantially thrash your jacket for you.
[UK]N. Ward Rambling Fuddle-Caps 7: Let my Follies alone, Or I’ll Pudding your Jacket as bad as my own.
[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas II i: Quick, bundle up your packet, / For fear this beggar meet you / And thrash your jacket.
[US]J. Neal Brother Jonathan II 49: I’ll thrash your jacket for you.
under one’s jacket

(US) in one’s stomach.

[US]W.A. Caruthers Kentuckian in N.Y. I 188: I’m flambergasted! if that ain’t what I call goin the whole cretur, he’d go to Congress from old Kentuck as easy as I could put a gin sling under my jacket.
up one’s jacket

(UK Und.) infuriating.

[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 76: This last remark was too much for the chummy’s donna; it was all up her jacket; it was a gooser with her nibbs.
wet one’s jacket (v.)

(US) to get drunk.

[US]N.-Y. Enquirer 11 Jan. 2/2: I am blessed with a tippling husband . . . [who locks me up] whenever he intends wetting his jacket.