Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rip-off n.

also rip, ripoff

1. (orig. US) a fraud, a cheat, a disappointment; also attrib.

Report of the Special Senate Committee on Mass Media (Canada) 63: But the general pattern, we regret to say, is of newspapers and broadcasting stations that are pulling the maximum out of their communities, and giving back the minimum in return. This is what, in contemporary parlance, is called a rip-off.
[US]New Yorker 12 June 28: The Village is a rip-off [...] Nothing but junkies, perverts—it’s a bad scene.
[Aus]Tharunka (Sydney) 8 Nov 28/3: [A]ll their mouths agape to catch the filthy fucker flies that fly between the Union shithouse cafeteria and the Union President’s white elephant alternative ripoff shithouse cafeteria.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Nov. 4: rip – unfair treatment, a bad deal.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 45: I shoulda known this was a rip [...] A fuckin rip!
[UK]B. Geldof Is That It? 54: Three quid! For that! What a rip-off.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Boys from Binjiwunyawunya 295: The food [...] was atrocious. Almost inedible and a blatant rip-off.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 79: ‘Did she tell you she’s a Vicky?’ I nod. Sonia shrieks like a mynah bird. ‘The rip!’.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 350: Of course the [fruit] machines are a rip-off.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 5 Feb. 3: At £3.05 a pound they were a royal rip-off.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 94: One of them fucked off with one of the fellas off’ve the door. The rip.

2. an act of theft or robbery; also attrib.

[US]G. Shelton ‘Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.’ [comic strip] But . . . but the only place I know to score weed this time of night is . . . Ripoff Park!
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 106 ‘It’s a rip-off,’ Johnny whispered.
[US]D. Woodrell Muscle for the Wing 91: We’d have to cap him, then, or he’d snap to it after the rip.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 147: There had been a rip-off.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 112: Tourists reckoned they never understood the money or else it was bleeding British machines again. Turned round went out, just another rip-off.
[UK]M. Manning Get Your Cock Out 52: He spent a week or two searching around all the salubrious rock joints in Soho — The Intrepid Rat, The Shit and Shovel [...] The Rip Off and Buggery Club in Wardour street.
[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 28: Constant rip-offs, infighting, renegade big haul dope and money grabs, back-and-forth volleys of insults and gunfire.
[Aus] L. Redhead ‘Grassed’ in Crime Factory: Hard Labour [ebook] Driving around with a trafficable quantity [of drugs] anything could go wrong. Cops. A rip-off.

3. something stolen or plagiarized.

[US]L. Bangs in Psychotic Reactions (1988) 15: Ignorant people were still writing them off as nothing more than a Yardbirds rip-off.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 136: I walked through the streets of the housing development, a blatant ripoff of American values that nonetheless carried the essence of the Mexican ethos.
[UK]Guardian G2 23 Sept. 22: If that’s not a saucy rip-off of the blue parrot sketch, I’ll join the choir invisible.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 28 Jan. 12: Shadow Hours is a rip-off of every dark and pumping neo-noir film of the past 15 years.

4. (US prison) a physical attack.

[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 65: They were working up courage for a ripoff.

5. a thief.

[UK]Manchester Guardian Weekly 2 May 16: You have burn artists (fraudulent dope peddlers), rip-offs (thieves), and snitchers (police spies).
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: rip-off n. one who steals; e.g. Barry is a rip-off.

In compounds

rip joint (n.) [joint n. (3b)]

(US campus) any store that charges exorbitant prices to students.

[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 65: That jeans shop is a rip joint.
[UK]John Cooper Clarke ‘Beasley Street’ [lyrics] A rip joint shuts and opens up right down on Beasley Street.
R. Filip New & Sel. Poems 24: Walkers and hawkers and rip-joint owners.