1. an old lady, usu. as pej.; also attrib.
|An Evening’s Love I i: The Whisking of a Silk-Gown, and the Rash of a Tabby-Petticoat, are as comfortable Sounds to these rich Citizens, as the Chink of their Pieces of Eight.|
|Four for a Penny 3: He playing the Pimp, lodges the Tabby-petticoat and Russet-breeches together in the same Bed of Lavender.|
|Jealous Wife II ii: I am not sorry for the coming-in of these old tabbies, and am much obliged to her ladyship for leaving us to such an agreeable tête-à-tête.|
|Burlesque Homer (3rd edn) 246: This made th’ old tabbies swear they’d never / Fall out, but live good friends for ever.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Life’s Vagaries 23: A variety of gambling tabbies, honourable black legs, and rickety children.|
|Poor Gentleman II ii: How these tabbies love to be toaded!|
|Bucktails (1847) IV iv: Silence, you old Tabby – d’ye see this? (Holds a pistol).|
|Life in Paris 235: Nor looked my Tabby so / When my old wife was young.|
|Yellowplush Papers in Works III (1898) 282: Efry old tabby and dowyger at my Lord Bobtail’s turned up the wights of their i’s when they spoke of him.|
|Bell’s Life in Sydney 2 Dec. 2/7: It seems that the tabbies were considerably puzzled how to circumvent the fair one.|
|Glasgow and Its Clubs 351: Every old tabby in the town was heard lamenting the deep degeneracy of modern times.|
|Reynolds Newspaper (London) 24 Mar. 5/2: He writes amatory epistles to an old tabby.|
|Cruel London I 36: Talk of women! – why, men are as frivolous and full of gossip and scandal as the tabbies at a West End kettle-drum.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Jan. 7/4: Her ladyship had not had time to talk with toadies or to be katooed to by tabbies.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 2 Aug. 14/1: A Melbourne journalist was sent to ‘do’ a Mothers’ Meeting in Collingwood, a gathering of the rich and quasi-scientific tabbies, to preach at the poor and ignorant.|
|Leeds Times 3 Feb. 6/4: These people would have slandered us by saying [...] very nasty things, you know, such as Spitfire Tabbies.|
|More Gal’s Gossip 1: Only the most impulchritudinous pollies and mediaeval tabbies still cling to the powder-puff.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 3 Apr. 1/1: Tabby-cat afternoon teas.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 12 Feb. 1/1: Those spiteful tabbies who were not pretty enough to be cast as fairies, etc.|
|Eddy 90: ‘The tabby!’ broke out Laura [...] ‘Don’t you mind the shocking old cat, Louise.’.|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 6 Aug. 2nd sect. 9/1: They Say [...] That a lot of croquet and tabby cat soirees will not now be bossed by the ambitious madam.|
|diary 13 Mar. [Internet] On opening pocket (it was sewn) little slip of paper inside. ‘To the wearer of this coat may God bless and keep you and wishing you a safe and speedy return’, then follows address in Stoke on Trent of a tabbie.|
|Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 19 Dec. 3/1: Dearly beloved Blokes and Tabbies, — Before I ’op off I want to drum yer that I'm ‘butcher’s ’ook’ over certain ’appenings in this joint during the past week.|
|Arrowsmith 56: The old tabbies, and the beastly old men, always telling the same old jokes.|
|Shearer’s Colt 138: All the old tabbies on the ship will be at that table.|
|Body in the Library (1959) 138: ‘Funny old Tabby,’ thought Dinah.|
|Jimmy Brockett 14: I picked a good-looker for a secretary. It added to your prestige. Most of the blokes had plain-looking tabbies, a bit long in the tooth.|
|West Coast Stories 158: Those old tabbies!‘The North-west Ladies’|
|Lily on the Dustbin 96: ‘Then,’ mum continues, ‘I “ran into” dear old Mrs Jones.’ ‘That old tabbie!’ dad snorts [...] ‘That old perambulating ragbag!’.|
|Lingo 57: ‘Tabby’ has a longer history in British and US slang as a term for an elderly spinster.|
2. the female pubic hair and genitals [play on cat n.1 (2a)].
|Festival of Anacreon Pt II 49: Dolly could never see where was the harm, To suffer her master to keep tabby warm.et al.|
3. a young woman, esp. an attractive one.
|Real Life in London I 228: Met at every corner — Snuffy Tabbies, and Boosy Kids.|
|Soldier Songs from Anzac (1916) 21: When you get back to Australia [...] An’ your tabby runs to ’ug yer, / You’ll feel inclined to duck.‘The Sniper’|
|Aussie (France) X Jan. 14: Variously called by the male species ‘The Tabbie,’ ‘The Bint,’ ‘The Cliner’ and ‘The Skirt’. [Ibid.] XII Mar. 6/1: I nearly did me block on a bonzer tabby I met over there.|
|Gippsland Times (Vic.) 2 Nov. 5/2: A tabbie wot wud pull yew on / Wud wanter be well potty.|
|(con. WWI) Soldier and Sailor Words 275: Tabby, A: A girl.|
|Sl. Today and Yesterday 287: It’s time I struck a sweet job. In London, for preference; there I can have a mag to a tabby.in Partridge|
|Central Queensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld) 1 Aug. 8/2: I’ve danced with decent sheilas, and waltzed with some good sorts, / Have hopped with pretty tabbies, some proper, some good sports.|
|Courtship of Uncle Henry 73: No wonder Thompson tried getting fresh with the social tabbies.|
|Shiralee 122: The silly cow, makin’ up to the tabbies and that.|
4. (Aus./US Und.) a prostitute.
|Moods of Ginger Mick 17: An’ the tabbies pitch the weary johns a tale, / ’Ow they orl is puffick ladies ’oo ’ave not bin pinched fer munce.‘Duck an’ Fowl’ in|
|Lang. Und. (1981) 117/1: bladder. An unattractive prostitute. Also [...] tabby, tart, tomato, each expressing varying degrees of unattractiveness.‘Prostitutes and Criminal Argots’ in|
the tendency to act as a querulous, interfering old woman.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Feb. 4/4: Is some one […] not going to take the old party in tow and prevent an untoward termination to such troublesome tabbyism?|
a meeting of evangelists and their congregations at Exeter Hall, London.
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.|
a party consisting only of women.
|Ringrove II 222: These Euphrosynes who are so very pleasant while two or three marrying men are hovering about them, that if they ever deal in a commodity the reverse of wreathed smiles, they be not liberal in exhibiting them in what they call a tabby party.|
|Sl. Dict. 317: Tabby party a party consisting entirely of women, a tea and tattle gathering.|
|Belfast News Letter 17 Sept. 6/2: Threeold ladies who were returning from a tabby party, not having taken too much punch, but [etc.].|
|Father Rhine 96: ‘A tabby party!’ whispered Schultz across to me [...] and I really blushed for him; married men grow so brutal in those ways!|