Green’s Dictionary of Slang

fake v.1

[prob. fig. uses of SE feague + Ger. fegen, to furbish up, to clean, to sweep; or Ital. faccio, I make]

1. (also fake away, fake up) to cheat, to deceive, to swindle, to counterfeit; thus faked (up) adj., counterfeit, spurious.

[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds ‘House Breaker’s Song’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 122: Let Davy’s dust and a well-faked claw / For fancy coves be the only law.
[US]Flash (NY) 24 Oct. n.p.: Two lottery windlers who ‘fake away’ in Park Row.
[UK]New Sprees of London 3: I’ll introduce you to the [...] flash and slang Mots, Donners, and Cullies that's faking the slums on the cross.
[US]Broadway Belle (N.Y.) 29 Oct. 1/3–4: My knibbs has been faked by the napping cullys for being budgey, and, in default of tipping ten slums, I have been sherried in this quisby cap for ten days.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 425/1: This is a grand racket – the way he fakes them.
[Aus]M. Clarke Term of His Natural Life (1897) 248: ‘If you mean fake up that paper,’ returned Frere, unconsciously dropping into prison slang.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 May 10/2: He did not trot out the ague idea; but he mentioned in a casual sort of way that he was a prominent member of the Salvation Army, and the Bench passed the case on for seven days to allow the prisoner to leave Collingwood. We consider that statement of Alfred’s a clear proof that his ague dodge was faked up.
[UK]W.E. Henley ‘Villon’s Straight Tip’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 176: Suppose you screeve, or go cheap-jack? / Or fake the broads? or fig a nag?
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 16 Aug. 11/4: Last year France produced from grapes, 23,000,000 hectolitres of wine, and herself consumed 45,000,000 hectolitres, to say nothing of the exportations. In other words, she ‘faked’ [...] 40 or 50 millions of hectolitres.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 5: fake [...] to deceive; to trick.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 12 May 1/1: The mere faking up of the wages sheet is only a humorous trifle in the proceedings.
[UK]D. Cotsford Society Snapshots 179: By the way, I think ‘the boy’ was a bit faked up . . . don’t you?
[UK]Sporting Times 15 Apr. 2/4: Do the canaries an’ git put away for three months! Me! Me, as has stood in Club Row, Befnal Green, every Sunday mornin’ for the las’ fifty-seven years an’ never faked a bird in me pleadin’ natural!
[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 7 Sept. 12/3: ‘I’ve done the bloomin’ doll trick this time! Faked two knowin’ cards!’.
[UK]J. Buchan Thirty-Nine Steps (1930) 11: When I was left alone, I started to fake up that corpse.
[US]N. Anderson Hobo 41: It includes working at odd jobs, peddling small articles, street faking, ‘putting over’ old and new forms of grafts, ‘working’ the folks at home, ‘white collar’ begging, stealing, and ‘jack rolling’.
[US] in C.R. Cooper Here’s To Crime in Hamilton Men of the Und. 20: I don’t fake the customers.
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 49: There were no buyers. The district was ‘faked out’.
[US](con. 1940s) H. Simmons Man Walking On Eggshells 106: Raymond became a big thing around the neighborhood by making a fool of him with a football. One time Raymond faked Jimmy all the way up on top of the hood of a parked car. All the guys got a bang out of that.
[US](con. 1960s) D. Goines Whoreson 199: This was one bitch that was getting ready to get faked completely out of her whore boots.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 30: We don’t need to carry a felony for this fool. We just fake.

2. to shoot, to wound, to hit or cut; to poison.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 239: To fake a person, may also imply to shoot, wound, or cut; to fake a man out and out, is to kill him; a man who inflicts wounds upon, or otherwise disfigures, himself, for any sinister purpose, is said to have faked himself.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 157: Fake in the sporting world, means to hocus or poison.
[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: The sober friend [...] wants to know if they will never ‘let up on pop and gun business,’ and talk no more about ‘faking’ the ‘gin-millist’.

3. (Ling. Fr./Polari) to make, to do; to perform on.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 239: fake [...] also describes doing any act, or the fabricating any thing, as, to fake your slangs, is to cut your irons in order to escape from custody [...] to fake a screeve, is to write any letter, or any other paper; to fake a screw, is to shape out a skeleton or false key, for the purpose of screwing a particular place.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 50: I’ve stagged Fuzzy faking the block ornaments in Newgate-market.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 36: FAKE [...] to do anything [...] to make or construct.
[UK]Mayhew & Binny Criminal Prisons of London 6: The term ‘fake’ (to do anything) is merely the Latin facere.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]London Life 24 May 4/2: Schalkenbach [...] loves work. After he has faked his electro-organ during the evening at the Middlesex, he waits patiently till the audience has gone out [...] then he does a second performance, gratis, to two swells.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 78: Did you ever hear a fiddle faked finer?
[Aus]K. Tennant Battlers 309: The camps at Boswell were full of people who ‘faked’ or ‘dropped’ small articles: artificial flowers, belts made of kangaroo skin, brooches made of feathers, patent polishing powder—anything and everything to bring in ready money.

4. to steal, to rob.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 239: fake: To fake any person or place, may signify to rob them.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 18 May 3/3: All of whom were implicated in ‘faking away’ at the rustic’s ‘currency’.
[UK]T. Frost Circus Life and Circus Celebrities 279: ‘To fake,’ means, in the thieves’ vocabulary, ‘to steal’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Jan. 12/1: The piece, however, which brought Mr. Grundy the most notoriety was the ‘Glass of Fashion,’ a piece also ‘faked’ from the French, and intended to satirize Edmund Yates of the World.
[US]W.C. Gore Student Sl. in Cohen (1997) 5: fake. [...] to steal.
[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 143: Whate’er your little game, I fake it just the same.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Words from Northwest Arkansas’ in DN III:ii 135: fake, v. To steal. ‘We fake eggs every night and then roast ’em.’.

5. (US) to malinger by feigning illness .

[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 27: Faking, shamming.

6. to dress the hair, to make up the face.

[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Founded on Fact’ Sporting Times 5 May 1/4: We may grant that her features / Were ‘faked’.
[UK]Illus. Police News 30 Dec. 6/4: For veracity’s sake, I must own that they ‘fake,’ / Which is slang, I must tell you, for paint.

7. to pretend, to make up.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 2 May 9/1: You can always hear a good song with pleasure, and so, when Amery, or Brahman, or Porter ‘show off,’ with Nick (the best all-round nigger ‘faking’ man this side of Spitzbergen) to lead the accompaniment, you listen night after night, and applaud.
[US]R. Bolwell ‘College Sl. Words And Phrases’ in DN IV:iii 233: fake, v. To attempt to recite as if prepared.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 13: ‘What’s your front?’ he asks. ‘I’m fakin’ to come from Magdalena, Mexico.’.
[US]J. Fishman Bullets for Two 17: He told us he wanted to fake a kidnapping to have some fun with him.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 14: fakin’ it – [...] to bluff or pretend to be able to know something; you do not know what you’re doing so you improvise.
[US]J. Ridley Conversation with the Mann 44: We gotta fake how we eighteen.

8. (Aus. und.) to tamper with a key for use in a break-in.

[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 27: Faking, cutting off the wards of a key.

9. to fail to meet someone.

Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 fake v 1. to fail to meet someone at a designated location. (‘Don’t fake onfa me.’).

In compounds


see separate entries.

fake-man (n.)

(Aus.) a confidence trickster.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Feb. 18/3: Later the publican remarked to the monte-man: ‘That was a good snap, kiddin’ ’em I was buyin’, eh? Now, let’s have that four quid! [...]’ ‘Not much!’ said the fake-man. ‘Yer bought the blanky purses all right, and yer don’t get a stiver out of me!’.
fake-up (n.)

(UK Und.) a disguise.

[UK]D. Stewart Shadows of the Night in Illus. Police News 7 Dec. 12/3: ‘I [...] twigged two coves got up as navvies; very pretty fake-up it were’.

In phrases

fake a cly (v.) [cly n. (2)]

to pick or search a pocket, thus n. cly-faking, pickpocketing.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 231: Fake his clies, pals.
[Ire] ‘Nix My Dolly’ Dublin Comic Songster 3: No dummy hunters had folks so fly, / No knuckler so deftly could fake a cly.
[US]Flash (NY) 4 Sept. n.p.: He consented to accompany him on a ‘clyfaking’ expedition.
[UK]G. Borrow Lavengro II 29: ‘What do you mean by cly-faking?’ ‘Lor, dear! no harm; only taking a handkerchief now and then.’.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 24 Jan. 6/1: Drunken sailors [...] whose ‘cloys had been faiked’ by the aforesaid ladies.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 7 June 3/1: [heading] Cly-faking v. Cat-gut Scraping.
[US]Calif. Police Gazette 23 Jan. 2/3: Once more at liberty, he renewed his former habits, consisting of ‘cly faking,’ ‘going through lushes,’ and not staying in one place more than eight days, to avoid prosecution for ‘vagrancy’.
[UK]H. Kingsley Ravenshoe II 88: He goes out cly-faking and such. He’s a prig, and a smart one, too.
[UK]Wrexham Advertiser 4 May 3/6: The most successful demonstration [...] displayed by English pickpockets. In the act of ‘faking a cly’ they are unrivalled.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 2 Dec. 9/1: ‘Diving,’ ‘buzzing,’ ‘cly-faking,’ or more decently and intelligibly, [...] pocket-picking.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Sept. 6/5: He would never [...] have tried to raise the wind by ‘faking a cly’.
[UK]Ipswich Jrnl 10 May 4/5: In much the same spirit as Billingsgate Bess and Seven Dials Sal do when they hear that Bill the Burglar or ‘Cly-faking Charley’ has been acquitted.
Middx Chron. 4 Sept. 7/3: A bobby [...] suspected him of ‘faking a cly’.
fake a pin (v.) [pin n. (2)]

(UK Und.) to injure one’s own leg in order to obtain some kind of medical discharge or support.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 239: To [...] fake your pin, is to create a sore leg, or to cut it, as if accidentally, with an axe, &c., in hopes to obtain a discharge from the army or navy, to get into the doctor’s list, &c.
fake a poke (v.) [poke n.2 (2)]

(UK Und.) to pick a pocket.

[US]People 6 Sept. in Ware (1909) 127/1: He denied that when entering the music hall he was accused by a lady of picking her pocket, and further said that when called out he did not say he had never ‘faked a poke’ in his life.
fake down (v.)

(N.Z.) to carry out a crime.

C.R. Thatcher Dunedin Songster I 3: And to let all the Londoners see / How the new-comers here at night fake down: / Three blankets from Jones and Bird’s place, / Constituting what’s termed here a shake-down [DNZE].
fake it (v.)

to pretend.

New Amer. Mercury 10 500: Incapable of drawing character in its various detail, they foxily resort to faking it.
[US]H. Miller Tropic of Cancer (1963) 231: We were beginning to think she was faking it.
[US]J. Blake letter 2 May in Joint (1972) 51: Me on the bass drum. I’ll never learn to read music. Mostly I try to fake it, till Willie catches me.
[US]C. Brown Manchild in the Promised Land (1969) 90: Some of the counsellors were trying to make fun of Papnek, but they were faking it.
[Aus]Lette & Carey Puberty Blues 11: We had regular drawback lessons with Sue’s brother, but we were still faking it.
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 161: I’m fakin’ it [...] I been pretendin’ like it doesn’t hurt so bad.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 229: This here is Bucknaked / life expectancy of a fly / ready to die / so no time for faking it.
fake oneself (v.)

to injure or harm oneself for a criminal purpose.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 239: A man who inflicts wounds upon, or otherwise disfigures, himself, for any sinister purpose, is said to have faked himself.
fake on someone (v.)

(US black, west coast) to ignore.

[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 108: Fake on someone — to pretend not to see another.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 10: Faked on me: Broken promise; failure to act.
fake out

see separate entries.

fake the funk (v.) [funk n.1 (5)]

(US black) to pose as more sophisticated than one actually is.

B. Collins ‘Pinnochio Theory’ 🎵 Don’t Fake The Funk Or Your Nose Will Grow.
[US]Source May 55: That’s not real, that’s fakin’ the funk in the worst way.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 fakin’ the funk Definition: pretending to be a certain way in order to cover up your true self Example: Hey, I thought that nigga was down, but he was just fakin’ the funk the whole time.
fake up (v.)

see sense 1 above.

In exclamations

fake away (there’s no down)!

carry on! don’t stop!

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 239: fake away, there’s no down: an intimation from a thief to his pall, during the commission of a robbery, or other act, meaning, go on with your operations, there is no sign of any alarm or detection.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 177: Nix my dolly pals, fake away.
[UK]Comic Almanack July 275: Nix, my Dolly, pals, fake away – / Ni-ix, my Dolly, pals, fake away.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 325: Cut it my covey, fake away.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 36: ‘fake away there’s no down,’ go on, there’s nobody looking.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch ‘The Lay of the Lags’ 14 Mar. 1/1: So my tulips, shake the shiners, / Speel the drum and fake away.
[UK]‘Old Calabar’ Won in a Canter I 246: ‘Fake-a-way’ and ‘Nix-my-Dolly’ will be our second horses.
[UK]Marvel 12 Nov. 8: Now, my dolly pal, fake away!