Green’s Dictionary of Slang

croaker n.1

[? the harsh, miserable croaking of ravens, supposedly ominous birds; + croak v.1 ]

1. a congenital pessimist.

[UK]Bastwick Litany I 20: A malignant and corrupt lineage and brood of Crokers .
[US]Franklin Memoirs (1840) I 24/1: There are croakers in every country, always boding its ruin .
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Croaker. One who is always foretelling some Accident or Misfortune: an Allusion to the Croaking of the Raven, supposed ominous.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.:
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 59: Croaker — one who never abstracts himself from the ills of life, and conjures up imaginary ones.
[UK]R.B. Peake Devil In London II ii: Curse that old croaker.
[UK]Disraeli Sybil Bk IV 7: Sloane always was a croaker.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 15 Nov. 2/3: [heasdline] Supply of Labour for the Croakers.
[UK]C. Kingsley Westward Ho III 297: Spoil sports! The father of all manners of troubles on earth, be they noxious trade of croakers!
[US] in R.G. Carter Four Brothers in Blue (1978) 28 Dec. 215: It would hush forever those vile home croakers who ‘knew it would be so’.
[UK]E.K. Wood Dene Hollow I 209: ‘How’s she?’ ‘She? Well, I’d not like to be a croaker, Squire Arde, but I’m afraid we shan’t have her long among us.’.
[UK]Tamworth Herald 12 Oct. 4/6: Cropakers. Of what use to society [...] are those people who persist in looking upon the dark side of things?
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 July 9/4: Though a few ‘croakers’ prophesied a failure, the result was a most brilliant success, financially and otherwise.
[UK]Shields Dly Gaz. 5 Mar. 2/5: Croakers [...] pull a long face, give a series of portentous sighs, and solm,enly deliver themselves of the cant that never [...] was England so sore bestead as now.
[US]Columbian (Bloomsbury, PA) 25 Aug. 4/5: A man whose every look proclaimed him a chronic croaker.
[UK]M. Williams Round London 21: Those croakers who say you cannot grow flowers in towns can never have seen Hyde Park in June.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Stranded Ship’ in Roderick (1967–9 II) 179: And the croakers say, when a man is down, with a shrug and a know-all glance, / O he’ll never get out of the gutter again, he has done with every chance.
[US]O. Strange Law O’ The Lariat 107: Now come an’ drown yore sorrows, yu old croaker.
[UK]Yorks. Eve. Post 10 Mar. 8/5: The Croakers. Cricket pessimists are already beginnning to talk as though the Test matches against Australuia were half lost .

2. a whiner or whinger.

B.H. Smart Practice of Elocution 142: Croaker. Indeed what signifies what weather have in a country like ours. Taxes, rising, trade falling [...] Frenchmen swarming into it to eat us up and pervert our morals and relgion.
[US]J.F. Cooper Pilot (1824) III 243: Away with ye, old croaker!
[UK]Dickens Martin Chuzzlewit (1995) 650: ‘Presence of mind, you old croaker, presence of mind!’ cried Jonas with a harsh, loud laugh.
[US]Broadway Belle (NY) 6 Nov. n.p.: Croakers may blow as much as they please about ‘hard times’ and all that sort of thing.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 3 Jan. 14/3: [headline] THE TEMPERANCE CROAKERS [...] [T]otal abstinence papers may shriek annually in cold water articles [etc].
[UK]W.S. Gilbert ‘The Discontented Sugar Broker’ Fifty ‘Bab’ Ballads 86: I hate to preach – I hate to prate – / I’m no fanatic croaker.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 3: Croakers - Timid and grumbling persons.
[US]S. Crane in N.Y. Journal 25 Oct. in Stallman (1966) 163: The old croakers on the corners are men who have mistaken the departure of their own youth for the death of the Tenderloin.
[UK]G.B. Shaw John Bull’s Other Island Act III: Come on, you old croaker! I’ll shew you how to win an Irish seat.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Nov. 11/4: Croakers to the contrary, the old kindly feeling between master and man still retains the spark of vitality.
[Aus]G.H. Lawson Dict. of Aus. Words And Terms 🌐 CROAKER – A complainer.
[US]S. Henry Conquering Our Great Amer. Plains 221: These voluble doubters are commonly called old croakers, backbiters, ‘bellyachers.’.
[UK]H.E. Bates When the Green Woods Laugh (1985) 282: You stand there, you croaker, and tell me it’s going to be heated?

3. (US) one who talks too lengthily and too loudly.

[UK]Satirist (London) 17 June 197/2: But ’twas too plain, of froth and air / The little thing was full, Sir / [...] / So on that day was not received / One of the tribe of Croakers.
Satirist & Punch (Boston, MA) 1 Feb. 59/2: One of those croakers [...] who plays the deacon ‘in our church’.
[US]R.W. Brown ‘Word-List From Western Indiana’ in DN III:viii 547: croaker, n. One who talks loudly and too much.
B. DeVoto Year of Decision 310: They had become resentful of croakers, called him a Puke, and moved on [DA].

4. a beggar.

[UK]H. Brandon Dict. of the Flash or Cant Lang. 162/2: Croakers – beggars.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 3: Croakers - Beggars.

5. (US) one who backs out of undertakings they have promised to perform.

[US]letter q. in Wiley Life of Johnny Reb (1943) 148: I have a profound contempt for all men croakers who are hunting easy places a home to avoid the dangers of the battlefield.
[US] ‘Central Connecticut Word-List’ in DN III:i 7: croaker, n. [...] one who backs out of an undertaking.

6. an informer.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 62: croaker [...] a stool pigeon.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.