Green’s Dictionary of Slang

row v.1

[row n.1 ]

1. to rouse up by making a noise.

[UK]Loiterer 21 Feb. 23: Racket rowed me up at seven o’clock – sleepy and queer but forced to get up to make breakfast for him [OED].

2. to attack or assail a person in a rough manner.

[UK]Loiterer 14 Nov. 258: We [...] looked into every coach, rowed the waggons, examined both the boxes, the roofs, and the baskets .
Loiterer 13 Feb. 340: ‘Let’s row him, Racket,’ exclaimed a third; upon which they unanimously turned their horses against me .
[UK]‘A Pembrochian’ Gradus ad Cantabrigiam 113: To row a room; to break the furniture.
[UK]C.M. Westmacott Eng. Spy I 158: Rowing a fellow was considered good sport.

3. to make a row or disturbance, to quarrel noisily or heatedly; thus rowing n.

L. Gurney in Hare Gurneys of Earlham (1895) I 66: After scolding, rowing, bickering, fixing and unfixing, we all agreed to go .
[US]Harvardiana III 98: Flushed with the juice of the grape, all prime and ready for rowing.
[US]B.H. Hall College Words (rev. edn) 396: rowing. The making of loud and noisy disturbance; acting like a rowdy.
Adelaide Obs. (SA) 24 Sept. 2/6: For a scolding he always comes in far a wigging, / A rowing, a jawing, a lipping, or rigging.
[UK]J. Greenwood Little Ragamuffin 215: Your stepmother was out in the alley, rowing with Nosey Warren’s wife.
[UK]J. Greenwood Dick Temple I 190: We rowed, and Joe began to show his true breed.
[UK]J.K. Jerome Three Men in a Boat 209: I do not blame Montmorency for his tendency to row with cats.
[Aus]K. Mackay Out Back 188: Blast yer, weren’t yer rowing too, you neddy?
[US]J. London People of the Abyss 32: I’ll tell you wot I’d get on four poun’ ten — a missus rowin’, kids squallin’.
[Ire]S. O’Casey Plough and the Stars Act II: No rowin’ here, no rowin’ here, now.
[US]D. Hammett ‘The First Thin Man’ in Nightmare Town (2001) 383: If you can’t play cards without rowing I wish you’d stop.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 146: They rowed like hell. If it wasn’t one thing, it was the other. Nag, nag, nag, like a pair of fish hags.
[UK]G.F. Newman Villain’s Tale 49: He remembered he used to worry a bit when his parents rowed, tried to help them make the peace, felt uncomfortable when they didn’t.
[UK]C. Newland Scholar 41: When he wasn’t rowing, he was an intelligent and well-mannered child.

4. to scold or criticize a person angrily or severely, to take sharply to task; thus rowing n.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. XV 110/2: Rowed the cut of Bluster’s coat – bad taylor.
J. Palmer Like Master (1811) I 212: Helen will row you well, when she sees you, if you are not as good as your word .
[UK]Navy at Home II 18: On his first coming on board, Mr. Shroud hadrowed him, for getting into the boat at all without orders.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall I 84: Mrs. Jorrocks jumped all at once into active pursuits [...] rowing the gardener, and nailing and training up rose trees.
[UK]F.W. Farrar Eric I 111: Oh! he’s been rowing us like six o’clock.
[UK]H. Kingsley Hillyars and Burtons (1870) 103: He has drowned himself, after the rowing you gave him last night.
[UK]L. Troubridge Life amongst Troubridges (1966) 87: Marie got rather a rowing for having gone.
[UK]E.J. Milliken Childe Chappie’s Pilgrimage 9: My sire will ‘row’ me vigorously, / My mother sore complain.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer III 205: Just as if he was rowing a fellow for awkwardness in saddling his horse.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘The Push’ in Moods of Ginger Mick 38: ’E rowed wiv ’em, an’ scrapped wiv ’em, an’ done some tall C.B.’s, / An’ ’e lobbed wiv ’em on Egyp’s sandy shore.
[UK]A. Brazil Madcap of the School 13: [I]t was an open secret that she had a sneaking weakness for Raymonde. ‘The Bumble Bee rows Ray, but she likes her,’ was the general verdict.
[UK]E. Raymond Tell England (1965) 89: Then we both get rowed by prefects.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (1984) 992/2: from ca. 1825.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 67: When the old man starts rowing me, I sometimes lose my temper.