Green’s Dictionary of Slang

hookem-snivey n.

also hook ’em snivey/snivy, hookum-snivey
[abbr. of hook and snivey (with nix the buffer) n.]

1. (Irish) a blow.

[Ire] ‘Larry’s Stiff’ Luke Caffrey’s Gost 6: As de Pole-lice was coming among us; / Dey taught for to kick up a dusty, / And to take poor Larry from us; / But one got chalk on de phiz, / anoder a hook’em snivy on de back, and den dey set to dir pumps, as if dey were pursued by de gost of de brave Tomy Fox.

2. a trick or deceit, spec. a contrivance for undoing the bolt of a door from the outside; a device to help with putting on boots.

[UK]M. & R. Lovell Edgeworth Essays on Irish Bulls 129: With that I ranged them fair and even with my hook-em-snivey – up they go.
[US]J.C. Neal Pic-nic Sketches 25: I want a pair of them ’are hook-em-sniveys, vot they uses in the shops [...] I must get my boots on somehow.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 156: HOOK-UM SNIVEY [...] a piece of thick iron wire crooked at one end, and fastened into a wooden handle, for the purpose of undoing from the outside the wooden bolt of a door.
[UK]Sl. Dict.

3. nobody.

[UK]Sl. Dict. 194: Hook um snivey [...] Sometimes used as an irrelevant answer by street boys. As, ‘who did that?’ ? ‘hook um snivey’ ? actually no one.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 154/1: Hookum snivey (Street). Nobody.

4. used as a derog. nickname.

[UK]London Standard 1 Dec. 4/5: He knew the defendant Jolit by the name of ‘Hook’em Snivey’.
[UK]Paul Pry 29 Jan. 4/3: Hook’em Snivey, to employ his time better than in writing slang verses. Ability prostituted is more deplorable than being born an idiot.
[UK]Derbys. Times 26 Oct. 4/1: I think I shut up ‘Show No Favours’ and his friend, ‘Hookem Snivey’.

In phrases

play hookem-snivey with (v.) (also play hookum-snivvy)

to deceive, to trick.

[UK]A. Binstead Pitcher in Paradise 155: He lives that Truth may die; but let me tell you ’bout how he’s played hookum-snivvy with me!
[UK]E. Phillpotts Miser’s Money 120: No man plays hookem-snivey with me twice.