1. advantage, luck, resource.
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|(con. 1840s–50s) London Labour and London Poor I 259/2: That’s my cokum (advantage).|
|, ,||Sl. Dict.|
2. knowledge, cunning; thus do the cocum, fight cocum, being cunning, artful, usu. in illegal contexts.
|Era (London) 7 Sept. 11/4: The youth who is surnamed Adam, in consequence of the depth of his cocum.|
|Man of Pleasure’s Illus. Pocket-book n.p.: [I]f you do the coakham, and tumble to the slum, you may fake the duck in rumbo style.|
|Vulgar Tongue 9: cocum [...] To fight cocum, to be wary.|
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 119: ‘To fight cocum,’ to be wily and cautious.|
|gloss. in Occurence Book of York River Lockup in (1999) 36: I have got the yacks so do not come to fight cocum.|
|Sl. Dict. 124: Cocum shrewdness, ability, luck; “Jack’s got COCUM, he’s safe to get on, he is,” ― viz., he starts under favourable circumstances; “to fight COCUM” is to be wily and cautious.|
|Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 37: It was necessary to use a little judgment, and instead of attempting to fight them it would be far better to ‘fight cocum’.|
|Queenslander (Brisbane) 10 Mar. 21/1: We have the ‘cokum’ to appreciate the selectors’ usefulness.|
|Newcastle Courant 9 Sept. 6/5: With the aid of his friends and his own ‘cocum,’ he made his peace with his mistress.|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 16 Nov. 1/1: [T]he success he attains is solely attributable to the bit of ‘kokum’.|
|Williamstown Chron. (Vic.) 26 Nov. 2/3: Mr Badman showed some ‘kokum’ when he decided to leave the Stardrift horse in the care of Bob.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 6/1: Very few honest people entered this house, as it was a well known resort of the Leeds ‘cross’ [...] and that it was bad ‘cocum’ to go there.|
|Cumberland Mercury (NSW) 8 Oct. 6/6: Nobbs showed his usual ‘kokum’ in leaving the chair before the ‘fun’ began on Saturday.|
|Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 28 Nov. 1/1: It proves them as not having sufficient cokum not to know when they are making first-class omadhauns of themselves.|
|Guardian 6 Mar. [Internet] Common cokum [...] meant Tessa Jowell telling her husband long ago that ‘I have to comply with these ministerial code provisions – is there anything I need to know?’.|
4. (also kokum) deceit, entrapment; thus give someone kokum, to deceive.
|Portland Guardian 27 Oct. 2/7: Is the old fellow going to surprise us, and is it all ‘cokum’ about his leg? Spare my days, he gallops — yes, gallops.|
|Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 92: KOKUM-KID-TAFFY: leading or coaxing on, giving him kokum.|
5. (S.Afr. Und., also chochem) a thief, usu. an intelligent one.
|Crime in S. Afr. 106: A ‘chochem’ is a thief or crook who considers the risks involved in a robbery.|
to act in an artful, cunning manner; to deceive.
|Magistrate’s Assistant (3rd edn) 445: play cocum To be cunning, wary, or sly.|
|Referee 26 Apr. 1/2: The best show [...] unless a lot of the pulling-up division were playing cokum – was that of Ptolemy [F&H].|