Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dead man n.

1. [late 17C+] (orig. milit.) an empty bottle.

2. [late 18C–19C] a baker; ‘Properly speaking, it is an extra loaf smuggled into the basket by the man who carries it out, to the loss of the master.’ (Hotten, 1864).

3. [late 19C] a scarecrow, esp. when made in the trad. manner of old clothes stuffed with straw.

4. [1930s] (Irish) a weekly insurance collector, whose policy pays off when one is dead.

5. [1980s] (N.Z.) any large object (a baulk of timber, a steel stanchion, a lump of concrete etc) used as an anchor for hawsers, guy-ropes etc.

6. see dead president under dead adj.

In phrases

down among the dead men

[mid-19C] very drunk.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

deadman choppers (n.) (also deadman teeth) [choppers n. (2)]

[1960s–70s] (US black) false teeth.

dead man’s arm (n.)

[1980s+] (N.Z.) steamed (currant) roll pudding.

dead man’s ears (n.)

[1980s+] (N.Z.) stewed dried apricots.

dead man’s hand (n.) [the lawman Wild Bill Hickok (1837–76) was allegedly holding a hand of aces and eights when he was gunned down]

1. [mid-19C+] a poker hand of mixed aces and eights or jacks and (red) sevens or eights.

2. [1960s] bad luck.

dead man’s head (n.)

[1980s+] (N.Z.) a round, steamed plum pudding, eaten hot or cold.

dead man’s leg (n.)

1. [1980s] (Aus.) meat-loaf.

2. [1980s+] jam roly-poly.