1. to quiz or ridicule, to puzzle.
|Festival of Anacreon (1810) 51: No boy of my age could talk louder, / Crack a joke, tip the wink, or a droll story tell, / Of my cleverness none were prouder: / So thinks I it’s better not following plow, / To try with these youths to queer low folk.et al. ‘Knowing Joe’|
|Collection of Songs II 182: Your natty sparks and flashy dames / How I do love to queer, / I runs my rigs, / And patters, and gigs, / And plays a hundred comical games.‘The Waggoner’|
|Sporting Mag. Dec. VII 163/1: A sheepish flat I can queer and bam.|
|Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: To Queer. To puzzle or confound. I have queered the old full bottom; i.e. I have puzzled the judge.|
|Sporting Mag. Jan. XIII 233/2: For Tom was a wit [...] / And he’d queer the old putt, for his long-winded grace.|
|Heir at Law II ii: Pish, now you be queering a body.|
|‘The Rage’ Jovial Songster 19: Be’t to bam, or to hoax, or to queer, or to quis, / Or howe’er in the ton you are flashing.|
|Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1796].|
|Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 272: Come now Jeanie, ye are but queering us.|
|Real Life in London I 67: Queering the clergyman at his father’s table.|
|‘Nocturnal Sports’ in Universal Songster II 180/2: The beak [...] queered us vith his law-grammar, haxing hus demmed cramp questions ve couldn’t hunderstand.|
|Complete Jest Book 262: He had gloriously queered old full-bottom.|
|‘The Four & Ninepenny Hat’ Dublin Comic Songster 102: But of all the wonders of the day, / That queer each sage and flat [...] Is the four and ninepenny hat, sirs.|
|New and Improved Flash Dict.|
|It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 245: You may bully him and queer him till all is blue, and he won’t budge.|
|Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 111: He had a way of getting out of the dilemma by what he called ‘queering his opponent’.|
|Dry Hustle 12: She paused, waiting for my eyes to stop queering.|
2. to impose on, to swindle, to cheat; thus queer a flat, to hoodwink a gullible victim.
|View of Society II 128: The man commences the practice of the art of Queering the woman who takes money.|
|Walsingham IV 277: Fine news! – I’m dished – done up. The sharps have queered me.|
|‘The Young Prig’ in Musa Pedestris (1896) 83: There no queering fate, sirs .|
|Don Juan canto XI line 147: Who in a row like Tom could lead the van, [...] Who queer a flat? Who (spite of Bow-street’s ban) On the high-toby-spice so flash the muzzle?|
|‘Smith’s Frolic’ inII (1979) 62: Then up a dark alley I went with my whore / Ma’am thought of my bit for to queer me was sure.|
|‘Life of a Vagabond’ inII (1979) 64: Hocussing cocknies, queering flats.|
|Land Sharks and Sea Gulls II 4: You’re a good un, Timmins at queering the flats.|
|Scamps of London II iii: I’ll queer them yet.|
|in Punch ‘Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug’ 31 Jan. n.p.: In the dayrooms the cuffins we queers at our ease, / And at Darkmans we run the rig just as we please.|
|Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 196: ‘To queer a flat,’ to puzzle or confound a ‘gull’ or silly fellow.|
|Swindon Advertiser 11 Nov. 4/1: I taught ’em [...] how to slip out of one’s skin, and another slip in [...] And, if copped, to queer the jug by making up a mug.|
|‘’Arry on Himself’ Punch 21 Dec. in (2006) 6: But you’ll only queer flats in that fashion, the sharp sort is bound to be fly.|
|Sporting Times 3 May 3/1: But it was rough on Curtis to queer him at the most critical moment.|
|Marvel 12 Nov. 6: Don’t you queer the biz, where’s the jooils, Foxy?|
|(con. 1920s) Studs Lonigan (1936) 411: I had a job [...] all fixed up a couple of years ago. And that louse queered it thinking he could get it.Young Manhood in|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 187: queer a flat To swindle; to cheat; to defraud.|
3. to spoil, to put out of order.
|Collection of Songs II 183: Ball plunges, and paints him all over with mud, / Queers his stockings, and spoils the beau!‘The Waggoner’|
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang.|
|London Guide 142: This mode is not taunting the distress of others: it is nothing more or less, than queering the attempt of a bold beggar to impose upon your softness.|
|Commercial Advertiser (N.Y.) 19 May 2/5: Our readers are not used to such scientific expressions as — ‘close-enough-in’ — ‘giving a rattler on the chest’ — ‘hit well left and right, and one of his peepers queered’ — ‘giving a hit which crimsoned well,’ &c. &c.|
|Paul Clifford I 130: Queer my glims, if that be n’t little Paul!|
|Swell’s Night Guide 64: He [...] split upon him, when he crack’d a crib. / And had him pinch’d; and quodded, too [...] Swore – he, the deed had stagg’d. So queer’d Bill’s council, and got Billy lagged.|
|Gay Life in N.Y. 88: A noted pugilist who ‘queered the ogles’.|
|Life and Adventures of a Cheap Jack 218: The disease – consumption – ‘was queering him’.|
|Referee 26 May n.p.: Why should not our non-professor’s little game be queered? [F&H].|
|Sporting Times 18 Jan. 1: She unexpectedly queered him by saying—‘Well, at any rate, the flea you complained of this morning was caught off me’.|
|S.F. Chron. 6 June 11/5: De lampers stood ’round till dey got wise to de joint, an’ dey didn’t do a t’ing but queer me marks.|
|In London’s Heart 84: If he was to come in while we was on the premises it might queer the thing altogether.|
|Truth (Perth) 1 Oct. 4/7: If he’s badly ‘narked’ at that, / You may know, / That the ‘bally koshermen / Queered the show’ .|
|Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) 17: He could always ‘queer’ a game in some specious manner, if he were pushed too far.|
|This Side of Paradise in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald III (1960) 241: Food is what queered the party.|
|Green Ice (1988) 41: That queered the suicide gag.|
|Farewell, My Lovely (1949) 238: That queered it.|
|(con. 1948) Flee the Angry Strangers 45: I don’t want no Dills Hotel whore queerin the joint fer all the respec’bul faces.|
|Felony Tank (1962) 66: Might as well get it over with [...] before this little jerk wakes up and queers the whole deal.|
|You Flash Bastard 34: An empty shop two doors along. If they queer the jeweller’s security system, then go in through the basement.|
|(con. 1921) A Star Called Henry (2000) 313: She’s queering things for the rest of us.|
|‘Animated Dominoes, Dice’ at Old and Sold [Internet] Any professional crap shooter’s game was queered if the quicksilver expanded and fell out [of crooked dice].|
4. to act in an odd manner.
|Musa Pedestris (1896) 96: Vhy, then you swore you would he kind / But you have queer’d so much of late.‘Flashey Joe’ in Farmer|
|Ladies’ Man (1985) 4: My stomach queered and I couldn’t do another sit-up.|
5. (UK und.) to rob.
|Flash Mirror 6: Queering of a Duff Shop. — Going into an eating house, calling for a go of soup, prigging the knives and forks, pocketing the saltcellars [and] seizing a roll of duff, and paddling off scot-free.|
6. (UK Und.) to pose as.
|Mysteries of London III 66/1: His jomen [sic] Mutton-Face Sal, with her moll-sack queering a raclan, stalled.|
7. of a person, to spoil the reputation of, to spoil someone’s efforts or opportunities.
|Melbourne Punch ‘The Lay of the Lags’ 14 Mar. 1/1: Then when all the bobbies blewed are, / We can buz and rim a billy, / None to pall the trick and queer us, / Sending us to stun on skilly.|
|‘’Arry [...] at the Grosvenor Gallery’ Punch 10 Jan. 24/2: Give yer my davy it queers / A snide ’un to trot round these rooms.|
|Maggie, a Girl of the Streets (2001) 47: Well, look-a-here, dis t’ing queers us! See? We’re queered!|
|Powers That Prey 21: See all the trouble he’s givin’ us. He’ll queer the whole of us if we don’t get him.|
|Varmint 88: I’m disgraced [...] It’s all over – all over. I’m queered – queered forever!|
|Our Mr Wrenn (1936) 231: Good Lord, suppose Istra ‘queered’ him at Mrs. Arty’s!|
|Manhattan Transfer 191: If there’s one thing that’ll queer you in this town it’s this labor stuff.|
|Flirt and Flapper 81: Flapper: He had returned to see me — but Lollie’s queered him again — and he’s going to Mexico.|
|Cool Customer 285: He doesn’t know enough about my game to queer it.|
|Big Con 147: You can [...] see that no one gets to him to queer the deal.|
|Rumble on the Docks (1955) 189: Imagine this little bitch trying to queer her deal with Brindo!|
|Warriors (1966) 21: Look at that; he queering you with a look.|
|Garden of Sand (1981) 431: She tried to talk to Jacky with her eyes, warning him not to queer the setup.|
|Chicken (2003) 32: It’s my theory that she really wants to be with a woman, but I’m not about to tell her that. Don’t want to queer a good thing.|
8. (US) to cause trouble for.
|Taking the Count 284: Smith never lets up on a fellow that dogs it [...] He’ll queer you and chase you out of the business.‘The Revenge of Kid Morales’ in|
9. to sexually abuse.
|Gaudy Image (1966) 40: ‘I thought so! [...] Been here a week and queered every guy on the place.’ She swung her broom madly.|
|in Sweet Daddy 118: They go getting a hard on for you and trying to queer you.|
|Queens’ Vernacular 88: anal intercourse [...] queer a person (hetero sl).|
|Ship Inspector 85: Conker had had to stuff his own hands into his pockets to stop The Barrel feeling him up. ‘He tried to queer me,’ Conker said. ‘I think we should at least tell the newspapers.’.|
10. to highlight the homosexual aspects of a given form of creativity, e.g. painting.
|Guardian Online 6 Feb. [Internet] At the beginning [Hockney’s] art was a queering of British abstraction [...] a ticker tape of toilet graffiti, cottaging and sex in the shower.|
see under act n.
to get or give a black eye.
|Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).|
|Sporting Mag. Jan. XXIII 216/2: George gave him so violent a blow in the eye, or, in the technical phrase, so queered his ogle.|
|Morn. Post 29 July 3/5: In the 15th round his ogles were queered, his teeth chattered, and his head was dunned.|
|Bk of Sports 171: Cain would have given Abel a good milling, perhaps queered his ogles, or spoiled his box of dominoes, but they would have been found next morning supping porridge.|
|Vocabulum 71: ‘The bloke queered his ogles among the bruisers,’ he had his eyes blacked by the pugilists.|
1. to spoil someone else’s efforts, usu. deliberately; occas., see cit 1890, to ruin an object or place.
|Swell’s Night Guide 47: Nanty coming it on a pall, or wid cracking to queer a pitch.|
|Melbourne Punch ‘City Police Court’ 3 Oct. 234/1: The Mayor.– Prisoner at the bar [...] you are done for a ramp. I’ve queer’d your pitch and crab’d your game: and take care you don’t die in a horse’s night cap.|
|Circus Life and Circus Celebrities 278: Any interruption of their feats, such as an accident, or the interference of a policeman, is said to queer the pitch.|
|Chequers 8: Don’t go and queer his pitch.|
|‘’Arry on the ’Oliday Season’ Punch 16 Aug. 74/3: Wy, they’d queer the best pitches in life, if they kiboshed the Power of the Quid! There’s Venice.|
|Sporting Times 4 Feb. 1/4: The culprit, convinced / That his pitch had been queered, kept provokingly cool.‘A Dual Ownership’|
|Master of Crime 108: Within half-an-hour the old butler would be back with the dog, and probably queer my pitch for the night.|
|Rocky Road 49: ‘I say, old man,’ he said, ‘I’m sorry we queered your pitch.’.|
|Down Donkey Row 168: So. That’s the game is it. Righto, mister Coster Dick, I’ll soon queer your pitch.|
|Coast to Coast 228: I wished I’d gone after Winch at lunch-time and smashed him up, queered his pitch for a while.‘Short Shift Saturday’ in Mann|
|Sparkling Cyanide (1955) 88: Why should he queer his own pitch?|
|Sel. Letters (1992) 245: I certainly don’t want to queer your pitch as an editor.letter 24 July in Thwaite|
|Skyvers I ii: cragge: What has swearing got to do with football? brook: But it might keep you off the side yet you go on doing it. You queer your own pitch don’t you?|
|Gumshoe (1998) 102: Someone meant to queer the pitch for Straker.|
|Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 113: Wayne’s imploring look, his plea to Bomber not to queer his pitch.|
|Guardian Media 18 Oct. 6: To look at it selfishly, they’re queering my pitch.|
|Outlaws (ms.) 12: We don’t ask for nothing from them and we don’t take nothing. We’re not queering no one’s pitch.|
2. (Aus.) as queer the...to behave badly, to ‘go off the rails’.
|Rose of Spadgers 36: I’ve never queered / The pitch in eight long years.‘Termarter Sorce’|
to cause trouble for someone.
|Chimmie Fadden 70: I was tinking dat if I snook, dat it would queer Miss Fannie’s game, and I wouldn’t queer Miss Fannie’s game if I had t’ set up a funeral stid of a wedding.|
|Snare of the Road 83: Have a heart and don’t queer my game, Tom.|
(US Und.) to break out of jail.
|‘Flash Lang.’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 19: I have queered the quod, I have broken out of prison.|
to escape the gallows.
|Heart of Mid-Lothian (1883) 239: I think Handie Dandie and I may queer the stifler for all that is come and gone. [Ibid.] 308: If the b--- queers the noose, that silly cull will marry her.|