Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dive v.

1. to pick a pocket; thus diving n., picking pockets; thus diving hooks n., the hands in the context of pickpocketing [the plunging of one’s hand into another’s pocket or purse; thus the name of the celebrated pickpocket Jenny Diver].

[UK]Middleton Black Book line 741: I give and bequeath to you [...] especially the sixpenny rooms in Play-houses, to cut, dive, or nim.
[UK]Jonson Gypsies Metamorphosed 8: Using your nimbles in diuing the pocketts.
[UK]R. Davenport A New Tricke to Cheat the Divell III ii: Some cunningly dive into Pockets, whistlers, others lifts.
[UK]Wandring Whore III 7: There’s my sister [...] who div’d, and pickt by her own acknowledgement, nine pieces of Gold out of a Cullies pocket at one clap, a bagg of silver as long as her arm (almost) at another clap.
[UK]Head Art of Wheedling 109: He dives into their pockets, and sends them home pluckt.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 7 July n.p.: It was said, that some of the Diving Gang should declare, That they would go no more to Church, because many of them had had such ill there of late, but henceforth they would haunt the Quakers Meetings, and nip their things without controul.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 26 Apr. Burkin’s Hand was seen diving into her Pocket; but she had conveyed what Money she found to another Person that run away, and nothing was found: .
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit 187: They always have in their Gang some one dextrous at diving or picking of Pockets.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Noted Highway-men, etc. I 252: He industriously applied himself to Diving, that is, to pick Pockets.
[UK]J. Thurmond Harlequin Sheppard 16: Ye Fellows of Newgate whose Fingers are nice, / In diving in Pockets, or cogging of Dice.
[UK]C. Johnson Hist. of Highwaymen &c 338: He soon got into a Gang of Pick-pockets [...] Going once, with three or four of these Diving Sparks, to Guildford.
[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 7 Nov. 9/2: Barefoot endeavoured to dive into the left Pocket of his Breeches, but with the Struggling, pulled out his Shirt, before she could get to his Pocket; at length she got out of his Pocket a Money-bag which contain'd 35 s.
[UK]Dyche & Pardon New General Eng. Dict. (5th edn).
[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 9 Dec. 7/2: The woman in a velvet cloak [...] had picked a gentlewoman's pocket [...] The people observed my gentlewoman in black-velvet, and observed her attempting to dive a second time.
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 78: Lumpers [...] have been expelled from the society of their brethren for being unable to scamp, prig, or dive.
[UK] ‘A Song Made by a Flash Cove’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 21: Our trade of diving doth fail, / My blowen has chang’d habitation.
[US]Gazette of the US (Phila.) 2 Mar. n.p.: Thus I have seen a thief [...] / Slink all so kindly ’mong the gathering crowd, / And in their pockets use his diving hooks.
[UK] ‘Song No. 25’ Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: Her fortune at diving, did fail.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK] ‘Sonnets for the Fancy’ in Egan Boxiana III 622: And while his flaming mot was on the lay, / With rolling kiddies, Dick would dive and buz.
[UK]Chester Chron. 15 May 3/1: William White, charged with diving into the pocket of Wm. Jones [...] and easing him of his fogle.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: For cleaning out clys his forks they vas made! / And diving to Tom was oney a trade.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 118/1: Knowing I had not ‘dived’ since we left London, I felt a conscious innocence.
[US]H.L. Williams Joaquin 4: The English when ‘chummed’ together, might be overheard remembering in slang certain pocket-diving and crib-cracking feats.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[UK]Pall Mall Gaz. 2 Dec. 9/1: ‘Diving,’ ‘buzzing,’ ‘cly-faking,’ or more decently and intelligibly, [...] pocket-picking.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 12 May 12/1: ‘I wuz just after gettin’ out of the band house fer divin’ a lush’’.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 59/1: Dive. To place one’s hand in a victim’s pocket.

2. (orig. US, also dive into it) to perform cunnilingus.

[US] ‘Hotel Sl.’ in AS XIV:3 Oct. 239/2: to dive To indulge in unnatural intercourse.
[US]G. Legman ‘Lang. of Homosexuality’ Appendix VII in Henry Sex Variants.
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 12: dive (v.): To practice cunnilinctus. Also: [...] dive into it.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 139: to tongue the clitoris and vulva. Syn: dive.

In compounds

diving lay (n.)

(UK und.) pickpocketing.

[UK]Select Trials ‘Thomas Beck for Robberies’ Apr. 356: Prisoner. this Evidence is a very scandalous Fellow, my Lord. [...] He has been upon the Diving Lay with Peter Buck.

In phrases

dive a muff (v.)

(orig. US) to perform cunnilingus.

[US]Dickinson & Gers ‘Dive! Dive! Dive!’ [lyrics] Dive! Dive! Dive! / No muff too tuff. / We dive at five.
[US]Mondo Erotica ‘Sex-Porn thesaurus’ [Internet] CUNNILINGUS: barking at the ape, [...] dive a muff, eating at the ‘y’.
dive for black pearls (v.)

(US) to perform cunnilingus on a black woman.

[US]E. Torres After Hours 129: He had his face between her legs. Divin’ for black pearls, no doubt.
dive into it (v.)

see sense 2 above.

SE in slang uses

In phrases

dive for pearls (v.)

(US) to work as a dishwasher.

[US]Day Book (Chicago) 20 June 28/1: You do not even have to find pearls when you dive. All you have to do is be an ordinary dishwasher.
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 299: He won’t gimme nuthin’ to eat less ’n I dive for pearls (wash dishes) in the kitchen.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 52: When you say ‘dive for pearls,’ I know you mean a job washing dishes.
dive into the sack (v.)

see under sack n.