1. (UK Und.) a term used among highwaymen to signify that an individual is a friend and must not be hindered on their journey; usu. in phr. the music’s paid.
|Widdow III i: You must pay your Musick, sir Where ere you come.|
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Musick. It makes ill Musick, of any unwelcome . . . News. . . . The Musick’s paid, the Watch-word among High-way-men, to let the Company they were to Rob, alone, in return to some Courtesy.|
|New Canting Dict.|
|, , ,||Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Musick, the watch word among highwayman, signifying the person is a friend, and must pass unmolested.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
2. (Irish) the ‘tail’ of a coin [the ‘tail’ or reverse side of an Irish halfpenny or farthing bore the image of a harp].
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Essays on Irish Bulls 129: ‘Music!’ says he – ‘Skull!’ says I.|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
3. (UK Und.) a verdict of ‘not guilty’.
4. (US) amusement, fun, lively speech.
|Vulgarities of Speech Corrected.|
|Sydney Herald 26 Oct. 2/4: Mr Rennie gave an immense number of examples of similar slang [...] music, for ‘fun;’ a good hand, for ‘dextrous’ or ‘expert;’ peckish, for ‘hungry;’ sticks, for ‘household furniture;’ seedy, for ‘poor;’ spliced, for ‘married’.|
|Dict. Americanisms (2nd edn) 285: Jim is a right clever fellow; there is a great deal of music in him .|
|Americanisms 618: Music is in many parts of the Union used as a synonym for fun or frolic, and hence, perhaps, musical means, in New England at least, humorous, funny.|
|Century Mag. (N.Y.) 3907/3: Music, [...] diversion; sport; also, sense of the ridiculous [DA].|
5. (US) gunfire.
|[||(trans. M de Thevenot) Travels I 225: With that another Volley of great and small Shot: When this Musick had lasted about an Hour, they continually Firing, and our Boys caling to them [etc.] ].|
|Army Life of an Illinois Soldier 327: Have heard no ‘music’ today [OED].|
6. talking, esp. complaints or nagging.
|Bismarck (ND) Weekly Trib. 24 May 2/4: ‘Get out, you young vagabones,’ says the janitor [...] ‘Vagabone yourself,’ chimed Teddy, ‘an’ no music.’.|
|Manchester Courier 25 June 5: A Texas Mother-In-Law [addressing a policeman] Wanted to amperate my jaw, the little brassy whelp! [...] You had better find that son or thar’ll be music.|
|Illus. Police News 5 Oct. 12/2: ‘You’re too quiet, an’ I must git some music out of yer. I think this rope’ll make yer sing’.Shadows of the Night in|
|Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) 17: Then the old lady starts the music about how I never stay home.|
1. to deal stoically with a problem or difficult situation.
|Congressional Globe 4 Mar. Appendix 324/3: There should be no skulking or dodging — [...] every man should ‘face the music’ [DA].|
|Richmond (VA) Enquirer 27 July 4/3: Instead of [...] facing the music, the Whig coons thought it best to make as few tracks as possible.|
|Wanderings of a Vagabond 148: Here we are ole stud! Face the music!|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 10 Oct. 14/2: And the worst of it was that this prisoner on bail wasn’t possessed of that meekness and sense of decency which might reasonably have been expected to characterise a man about to face the music of a jury.|
|Houndsditch Day by Day 137: A rough injunction to his aged companion to ‘buck up and face the music’.|
|Magnet 7 Mar. 2: You’ll get off cheaper by facing the music at once.|
|Lonely Plough (1931) 256: It’s I who will have to face the music for those lost lives when the bill comes in.|
|AS II:8 353: When the people find out what you have done, you will have to face the music.‘Dialect Words and Phrases from West-Central West Virginia’ in|
|Coll. Stories (1990) 103: Precious, let’s chuck it and go back and face the music.‘Her Whole Existence’ in|
|Fabulous Clipjoint (1949) 15: I should get off, go home, and face the music. I’m just running away.|
|Sat. Night and Sun. Morning 65: He’ll just have to face the music.|
|Entertaining Mr Sloane Act II: You won’t abandon me? Leave me to face the music.|
|Hot to Trot 100: A lover can just [...] beat it; a husband has to face the music.|
|(con. 1940s) Second From Last in the Sack Race 42: My worst enemy couldn’t say that I am a man not to face the music when the chips are down.|
|Powder 346: He was going to call Celeste when he got to Boston, tell her everything, face the music and, if she blew him out, it would be no less than he deserved.|
2. to take one’s punishment.
|Works of William Shakespeare xxxiii: The bully rock is the man who does not give ground, who, in our slang phrase, ‘faces the music’.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 12 July 12/3: When you become engaged to a ‘lord,’ or the son of a lord, don’t rush round to the newspaper-offices [...]. The lord, or the lord’s son, may elect not to face the music.|
|Marvel III:55 10: They were in for it now, and must face the music.|
|Gem 23 Sept. 21: I’d rather face the music a hundred times than go around in a blue-funk like that.|
|(con. 1915) Behind The Green Lights 200: It was a good thing for Joe that he was caught. He faced the music and he’s free to-day.|
|Killing Time 171: So when we got to the prison Mr. Tom ask me if I was ready to face the music.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Come on, you can’t leave the poor old sod to face the music can you?‘To Hull and Back’|
|Guardian 8 Nov. 6: Jemima Khan faces music.|
(US gay/prison) to know what is going on.
|Queens’ Vernacular 169: read the music (’40s) to know the ropes-gaywise.|
SE in slang uses
1. a piano.
|Hard Cash I 178: But just you hear her sing, that is all [...] Just smiles and sits to the music-box.|
|Songs of a Sourdough 30: The kid that handles the music-box was hitting a jag-time tune.‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew’ in|
2. a guitar.
|Bound for Glory (1969) 250: ‘How’s it come ya ain’t packin’ yer music box with ya?’ ‘Hocked it last week.’.|
the reconditioning of musical instruments.