Green’s Dictionary of Slang

tin n.

1. in context of its metallic qualities.

(a) money, esp. silver.

[UK] ‘The New Police’ in Bell’s Life in London 25 Oct. 2/5: I laughed fit to split my sides; for, thinks I, he’s lost his tin.
[UK]W.H. Smith ‘Thieves’s Chaunt’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 121: But because she lately nimm’d some tin, / They have sent her to lodge at the King’s Head Inn.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 25 Feb. 3/3: Mr Percy Simpson [...] called at Jennings’ Committee Rooms with brass in his face and no tin in his pocket.
[UK]G.W.M. Reynolds Mysteries of London II (2nd Ser.) 275: Such a lot of tin, and so easily got!
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 29 Sept. 3/1: His customers fell off; tin was hard to get in.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Young Tom Hall (1926) 54: D’ye think that old griffin of a governor of his would have forked out the tin?
[US] ‘How Sally Hooter Got Snake-Bit’ in T.A. Burke Polly Peablossom’s Wedding 67: Having sold his crop of cotton an’ fobbed the ‘tin,’ forth sallied Mike with a ‘pocket full of rocks’ and bent on a bit of a spree.
[UK] ‘Sunday Trading Bill’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 115: If you have got the tin, sir, / To raise a baked joint for our dinner.
[Aus]Melbourne Punch 20 Nov. 4/1: ‘Proposals for a New Slang Dictionary’ [...] PEWTER.—Noun. Brads, rhino, blunt, dibbs, mopusses, browns, tin, brass, stumpy, &c.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor III 201/1: This young chap had some tin, and he kept me.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 19 July 3: £3 in ‘hard tin’ and ‘bub and grub’ to the tune of seventy bob.
[US]Chicago Trib. 25 Sept. 6/6: ‘Don’t forget to send me plenty of pocket money. A fellow can’t do without “tin” here’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on the Turf’ Punch 29 Nov. 297/1: My guvnor, he swears he don’t twig, wants to know where the manhood comes in / But the ’orses has got all there is, and the rest’s a low scramble for tin.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 4 Oct. 14/3: [headline] The Thirteen Tramps who are Tirelessly Treading the Tanbark for Tin.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 11 Dec. 3/3: Motto for the Australian Eleven— Score a win / And collar tin.
[UK]Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday 3 May 2/3: Don’t talk such bosh, / The colour let’s see of your tin.
[UK]W.S. Gilbert ‘Story of Prince Agib’ Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads 116: Gave them beer, and eggs, and sweets, and scent, and tin.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Influence and Conviction’ Sporting Times 25 Jan. 1/2: If the Tories think they’ll win through their influence and ‘tin’ / They are nourishing an idiotic fiction.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 2 Sept. 7/5: And he and his ‘fresh’ English mates did up their ‘bally tin’.
[US]Irving Jones ‘De Hottest Coon in Town’ [lyrics] Craps dat is my game ... A sporty coon, I’ve got de sand, And likewise got de tin.
[UK]E.W. Rogers [perf. Vesta Tilley] The Daily Male [lyrics] On ’Change he drops his tin / For like the popular ‘Daily Mail’ / He’s always taken in.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 16 Jan. 1/7: Them’s the blokes wot’s got the tin.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Pursuing the Subject’ Sporting Times 28 Jan. 1/4: No doubt she’s an old maid with no attraction but her tin!
[UK]Magnet 27 Aug. 7: I want you to lend me a little tin until my postal order comes.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Joy Ride’ in Backblock Ballads 102: An’ who’d refuse a drop o’ booze / When pals is flush o’ tin?
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 7: His old fellow made his tin by selling jalap to the Zulus or some such swindle.
J. Masefield Box of Delights Chapter 1: You’ll have to lend me some tin, for my purse is gone. I haven’t a tosser to my kick.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 84: ‘Smash, dough, fiddlies, coin, tin, hay, oot, shekels, sponduliks,’ said Gordon. ‘I’m still the highest paid member of this company.’.
[NZ]G. Meek ‘Wool, Wether And Wine’ Station Days in Maoriland 75: When he ambled in with his hard earned tin.
[UK]‘Frank Richards’ Billy Bunter at Butlins 84: Better make sure you’ve got the tin to settle with the driver.

(b) (US) a trifling amount of money.

[US]D. Runyon ‘Neat Strip’ in Runyon on Broadway (1954) 608: Goldstein pays Rose Viola four hundred dollars per week, and this is by no means tin.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 338: We net close to a hundred grand a year apiece. That ain’t tin.

(c) (US) a police officer’s or sheriff’s badge [its main component; thus those gifts and favours – free meals, drinks – obtained by showing one’s official badge].

[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/5: Here are a few more terms and definitions from the ‘Racket’ vocabulary: [...] ’tin,’ money, a detective’s badge.
[US]M.C. Sharpe Chicago May (1929) 229: The ‘Loot’ pulled back the lapel of his coat and showed his tin; and, such is the majesty of the law, all the officials stepped aside.
[US]C. Woolrich ‘Dilemma of the Dead Lady’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2007) 60: Fowler palmed his badge at him [...] ‘The tin always wins.’.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Coffin for a Coward’ in Hollywood Detective Dec. [Internet] ‘And gun this skate,’ I added, flashing my special tin. ‘I’m on police business.’.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 71/1: Flash the button or tin. To exhibit a badge, genuine or counterfeit, of any law enforcement agent, especially in extortion rackets.
[US]E. Hunter ‘See Him Die’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 101: Donlevy [...] making like a big wheel, with his tin pinned to his coat so everybody could know he was a cop.
[US]H. Ellison ‘The Man with the Golden Tongue’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 72: Matthew glanced quickly at the tin.
[UK]K. Bonfiglioli After You with the Pistol (1991) 332: ‘Flash the tin,’ I said in my Bogart voice.
[US]R. Campbell In La-La Land We Trust (1999) 200: Why the hell is it they look at your tin and let you do whatever you want?
Online Sl. Dict. [Internet] tin n 1. badge carried by law enforcement officials. (‘Show me some tin.’).
[US]R. Price Lush Life 295: I think you have a serious problem. I think at the very least you just lost your tin .
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 360: I flashed my tin at the courthouse entrance.

2. in senses of a container, i.e. a SE tin can.

(a) (US) a drink.

[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 32: A man ran in and whispered something to the big mate, and then the men all took a ‘stiff tin’ and with oaths and curses started to go to your daddy’s cabin.

(b) (US) a small container of opium.

[US]Wash. Post 3 July 3/1: This Victoria hop’s been dribblin’ inter New York [...] at the rate of 50 tins a week.
[US]F. Williams Hop-Heads 110: Opium of a fair Mexican grade wholesales on this side of the border for $90 a tin in five tael tins of less than half a pound quantity.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 120: The Chinese dealt with dope fiends mainly and secured property worth thousands of dollars for a few ounces of cocaine or morphine or a tin of ‘mud.’.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[Aus]I.L. Idriess Opium Smugglers 242: ‘Heavens! Thousands of pounds?’ ‘It’s worth £20 and more a tin,’ said Dick. ‘A tin only about the size of a mustard tin.’.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 241: tin A small amount of opium.
[US](con. 1930s–40s) Courtwright & Des Jarlais Addicts Who Survived 298: I paid forty-five dollars for a tin of opium in 1940. I threw that much away when I used to buy three tins for five dollars.

(c) a one-gallon can of alcohol.

[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.

(d) (drugs) 28g (1oz) of marijuana [the selling of marijuana in measures based on the size of a popular brand tobacco tin; the use for cocaine may be a misinterpretation].

[US]Lannoy & Masterson ‘Teen-age Hophead Jargon’ AS XXVII:1 30: TIN, n. About a pound [sic] of marijuana.
[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1959) 120: ‘Do you go for it?’ The Wolf asked. ‘If I’ll go for it I’ll take a tin.’.
[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).

(e) (US) a few grains of cocaine.

[US]Chapman NDAS.

(f) (US campus) beer.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 7: tin – beer, in any quantity.
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 63: A ‘beer’ is called [...] tin because it comes in cans.

In compounds

tinman (n.) [sense 1 above; ; cit. 1832 may be a lit. tinsmith; the context is a prizefighter patronized by the nobility]

(UK sporting) a very rich man, a millionaire.

[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 261: [note] The swell tinman, hooper, was one of those ‘playthings’ of the great; and [...] he became pampered, insolent, and mischievous.
[UK]Referee 14 Nov. in Ware (1909) 246/2: Too many of the big swells found profit in the Tinman to allow him to pass into retirement while able to earn winnings for them if conditions were modified for his benefit.
tin wife (n.)

(US) a police officer’s wife.

[US]J. Flaherty [title] Tin Wife.
[US]Chapman NDAS.

In phrases

do one’s tin (v.)

(Aus.) to spend all, one’s money.

[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘Nocturne’ in Rose of Spadgers 55: Listen – on the square – / I’ve done me tin. I’m bottle-green, dead broke.
in the tin

(Aus.) in trouble, in a tight spot.

[Aus]P. Kerry Cobbers A.I.F. 13: Then young Johnny swam in slowly, an’ ’is face wus one big grin, / As he menshuned ter the breakers, ‘Whacko, Serg.! Yet in the tin!’ [AND].
[Aus]G. Farwell Surf Music 40: ‘Be two months before we’re crushing...’ ‘Plenty o’ time.’ [...] ‘All right for you [...] If I don’t get some sugar soon, I’ll be in the tin.’ [AND].
jink one’s tin (v.) [SE jink, to rattle with a metallic sound]

1. to pay out money.

[UK]J.F. Mitchell ‘Jimmy Johnson’s Holiday’ [lyrics] He tried to look just like a dook, As he passed thro’ the wicket; The train got in, he jinked his tin, Then went away to dine.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. to rattle one’s change.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
kick the tin (v.)

(Aus.) to make a financial contribution, esp. to buying a round of drinks.

[Aus]J. O’Grady Aussie Eng. 53: ‘Kick the tin’ [...] when it’s your turn to buy a round of drinks .
[UK]Sun. Tel. (Sydney) 30 May 34/2: When A.L.P. president Bob Hawke was appealing for money to help pay the Federal election campaign debt of $300,000, the N.S.W. Labor Party was claiming it could not afford to ‘kick the tin.’ [GAW4].
[Aus]R. Beckett Dinkum Aussie Dict. 32: Kick the tin: To donate to a worthy cause especially to the widow of someone who has just kicked the bucket.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

tin soldier (n.)

a prostitute’s client, usu. middle- or upper-class, who doesn’t want sex but only to act as a servant or ‘slave’ to the prostitute.

[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 204: Tin soldier [...] A voyeur-type male, usually of middle- or upper-class background, who voluntarily acts as a prostitute’s ‘slave’ or companion for no apparent reward (prostitutes’ slang).
[UK]D. Seabrook Jack of Jumps (2007) 174: ‘He brings me stuff. He helps me. He’s my tin soldier.’ Which has a much nobler ring to it than ‘prostitute’s runner.’.
tin roofer (n.) [rhy. sl. = spoofer n. (1)]

(US) a confidence trickster.

[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 96: Do I look like a tin-roofer or a smooth-spieler.
[Ire]P. Howard The Joy (2015) [ebook] He’s just an auld tin-roofer who robs fifty quid and adds two or three noughts onto the end of it ’cos he wants people to like and admire him.
[Ire]P. Howard PS, I Scored the Bridesmaids 204: [...] which leads to a focking debate, roysh, with Ciara [...] basically calling me a tin-roofer.
tin-kettle (v.)

(Aus.) to assault, both verbally and physically.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 23 Dec. 4/7: They are going to tin-kettle a Chow [...] for wanting to marry a half-caste gin.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 21 July 4/7: He got a rough vocal tin-kettling / As he fled from that fluent-tongued flock.

In phrases

that ain’t tin

(US Black) phr. emphasizing the importance of something under discussion.

[US]Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 16 May 20/1: The opus [...] makes upwards to five grand a week profit [...] And brother that ain’t tin.
yard of tin (n.)

a horn, esp. in hunting or coaching.

[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown at Oxford (1880) 55: Tom [...] heard the notes of the yard of tin, which Blake managed to make really musical.
[UK](con. 1835–40) P. Herring Bold Bendigo 87: The sportsman with the yard of tin pushed it through the flap of the booth and blared back a reply.