Green’s Dictionary of Slang

snitch n.1

also snich, snitcher

1. a blow on the nose.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Snitch, [...] a Filip on the Nose.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Life and Character of Moll King 12: I’ll derrick, my Blood, if I tout my Mort, I’ll tip her a Snitch about the Peeps and Nasous.

2. (UK Und.) the nose.

[UK] E. Coles Dict.
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 115: Nose Snich.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 42: Snich; Nose.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Flash Dict.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[UK]S.O. Addy Sheffield Gloss. (Supp.) 54: Snitcher, the nose.
[UK]Nottingham Eve. Post 21 Dec. 3/3: If you hit him again [...] I shall flatten your ‘snitcher’.
[UK]W.S. Maugham Liza of Lambeth (1966) 6: I’ll swipe yer over the snitch if yer talk ter me.
[UK]A.N. Lyons Hookey 43: Yesterday, I met a country josser, / And I had him for his watch and chain. / On his snitch I gave him such a gosher.
[Aus]E. Dyson Fact’ry ’Ands 246: Lookin’ et that nose [...] ’Twasn’t in the nature iv things he could go on sustainin’ sich a snich.
[UK]Manchester Courier 18 Jan. 6/7: Jimmy skied one from the boundary [...] and on the rebound hit Snocker Green on the snitcher.
[UK]E. Pugh Cockney At Home 136: Ole Cockles fetches him one with his gingham right across the snitch.
[UK]G. Squiers Aerbut Paerks, of Baernegum 3: ’Ere, yo stop it off or I shall wipe yer one on the snitcher.
[Aus]Smith’s Wkly (Sydney) 20 Aug. 11/1: Slanguage [...] Parse and analyse the following: [...] ‘Bli’ me,’ sez I ‘a bloke out to cop yer on th’ snitch’.
[UK]J. Franklyn This Gutter Life 135: When he was gabbling about holidays I could have snatched him on the snitch!
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 79: A lovely big drip at the end of his snitch.
[UK]I. & P. Opie Lore and Lang. of Schoolchildren (1977) 175: ‘Snitch’ [...] and ‘boko’ for nose.
[UK]Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 30: Words used for it are ‘conk’, ‘hooter’ and ‘snich’.
[UK]D. O’Donnell Locked Ward (2013) 245: He put the head on Jake and bust his snitch.

3. an informer [snitch v. (1)].

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 128: He was a b—dy snitch, and that he would sarve him out—that he wished he might meet him out of St. Giles’s, and he would wake him with an Irish howl.
[UK]‘Jerry Abershaw’s Will’ in Fal-Lal Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 17: Said Jerry, I’m no snitch — from hypocrisy I’m free.
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 26 Aug. 4/5: ‘You’re a G-d d-d snitch! You’re snitching for Chief Deitsch’.
[UK]A. Morrison Hole in the Wall (1947) 145: Proper reg’lars on all that, paid square, ’ud be more’n I could make playin’ the snitch.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 17: These mugs [...] would croak a snitch in a holy second.
[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 188: The dirty snitch that got those fellows railroaded here for seven years.
[Aus]Mirror (Sydney) 31 Aug. 8/2: A reformed thief, no matter how much he has repented the evil of his ways, hates to be a ‘snitch’ .
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 193: The idee is fur all the private detective agencies [...] to toin in the names of the snitches they has workin’ amongst us.
[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 72: They knew who did it, but they didn’t want to be snitches.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 176: I ain’t no big snitch. I ain’t puttin’ the finger on guys.
[US](con. 1937) C. Chessman Cell 2455 93: The slips against the snitches, the rats, the escape-catchers and others of that breed, he left.
[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 66: Baby had heard indirectly that Conejo [...] had been a narcotics snitch.
[US](con. 1970s) J. Pistone Donnie Brasco (2006) 326: Find out. Whoever gives us the snitch, we’ll pay. Then we’ll whack out the snitch.
[US]Dr Dre ‘Let Me Ride’ [lyrics] Got the hollow points for the snitches.
[US]T. Fontana ‘Legs’ Oz ser. 3 ep. 3 [TV script] That cripple snitch bitch-ass nigger Hill, we got to whack his ass too.
[UK]G. Iles Turning Angel 376: Nowhere in the notebooks could I find a key to the identity of these snitches.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 165: He knew the code: snitches get stitches.
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 213: They’ve narrowed down their prime suspects to three potential snitches .
[US]Mother Jones July/Aug. [Internet] 9 percent of male inmates report being sexually assaulted behind bars, but given the anti-snitch culture of prison, the real number might be higher.
[UK]Times 25 May [Internet] [He] added that though he had decided to speak out ‘to protect our community’ he was nevertheless worried about being called a ‘snitch’.

4. attrib. use of sense 3.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 203: The folder was heavy with the snitch letters the warden had cited.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 36: Every day the captain gets a dozen snitch letters about those maniacs.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 28: Letting stick-up men slide for snitch dope.
[US]J. Stahl Plainclothes Naked (2002) 138: It was an old snitch trick—get them to think you’re humiliated, that you need them.
[US]C. Goffard Snitch Jacket 185: Let’s say you did this for the snitch money.

5. a contemptible person.

Barber Co. Index (Medicine Lodge, KS) 9 Mar. 1/5: A ‘snitch’ lawyer [...] hunts for a chance tobring damage suits [...] It doesn’t matter to the snitch how blameable the injured party is.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘Terms Of Disparagement’ in DN IV:iii 201: snitch, one who is petty, mean.

6. (US prison) a prisoner who curries favour.

[US]J. Kelley Thirteen Years in Oregon Penitentiary 35: The ‘head snitch’ (convict flunky) said the bot would not work.

In compounds

snitch-ass (adj.) [-ass sfx]

(US black) untrustworthy, tale-telling.

Sioux City Jrnl (IA) 23 Feb. 24/2: King scratched his prison name [...] on the door of his jail cell [...] and also inscribed ‘Shawn Berry is a snitch-ass traitor’.
[US]P. Beatty Tuff 118: The only people who want to become politicians are the third-grade snitch-ass hall-monitor types.
[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 154: What are you? [...] Some little punk-ass bitch? A snitch-ass punk whining and puling on his mommy’s titty!
Chicago trib. 28 May 10/1: Katz [...] called him a ‘snitch-ass bitch’.
snitchball (n.)

(US prison) any game played by those inmates, among them informers, who live in protective segregation.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 12: When inmates in the protective segregation unit of a prison are seen playing basketball or some sport, it is jokingly said they are playing snitchball.
snitch-box (n.)

(US prison) a box used both for institutional correspondence and for passing on messages that accuse fellow inmates of illegal activity.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 57: Snitch Box also Kite Box A box in which inmates put institutional correspondence. Often inmates use these boxes to deliver messages about illegal activities of other convicts.
snitch game (n.) [game n. (6)]

(US prison) obtaining information from inmates by threatening to falsely expose them as informers.

[US]St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO) 25 Sept. 11/2: The ‘snitch game’ of coercing informants was begun at the prison about the time of an inmate work strike in June 1976.
[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 226: Snitch game. It’s just as simple as it’s deadly. They coerce information from convicts by threatening to falsely expose them as informers.
snitch-kite (n.) [kite n. (3e)]

(US prison) a note passed by a prisoner, giving information to the authorities.

Battle Creek Enquirer (MI) 3 Nov. 9/2: ‘Kites’ are notes to prison officials [...] commonly referred to as ‘snitch kites’ — notes that inform on other inmates.
Korn & McCorkle Criminology and Penology 501: A threat from the inmates to send a ‘snitch-kite’—an anonymous note—to the guard’s superior officers explaining his past derelictions in detail.
[US]F. Elli Riot 86: ‘You’ve never written a snitch-kite, have you?’ [...] ‘Snitch-kite? Certainly not!’.
P.H. Robinson Would You Convict? 106: He could not protect himself from the latest threat because the mechanism for this, a ‘snitch-kite,’ would take several days to reach authorities.
snitch rag (n.)

a handkerchief.

[UK]H.G. Wells Babes in Darkling Wood 25: Can I borrow your snitch-rag, Gemini? [OED].
snitch tag (n.)

(US und.) an identification as an informer.

[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] ‘I’ll hang a snitch tag on you at Central Booking. You won’t make it out of Rikers’.

In phrases

snite someone’s snitch (v.)

see separate entry.

turn snitch (v.) (also turn the snitch)

to become an informer.

[UK] ‘The Dog and Duck Rig’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 80: She will surely turn snitch for the forty.
[UK] ‘Cant Lang. of Thieves’ Monthly Mag. 7 Jan. n.p.: He has Split or turned Snitch against his Palls, He has turned evidence against all his Companions.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 29 Aug. 3/2: Some of his former accomplices having, to use the Old Bailey phrase, resolved to turn snitch and blow the gaff.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 266: snitch to impeach, or betray your accomplices, is termed snitching upon them. A person who becomes king’s evidence on such an occasion, is said to have turned snitch.
[UK] (ref. to late 18C) Byron note to Don Juan Canto XI 149: The following is a stanza of a song which was very popular, at least in my early days [...] ‘She’ll surely turn snitch for the forty – / That her Jack may be regular weight’.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: To turn snitch, or snitcher; to turn informer.
[UK] ‘Lag’s Lament’ (trans. of an untitled cant poem) in Vidocq (1829) IV 266: I adwise you to nose on your pals, and turn the / Snitch on the gang.
[UK]W.N. Glascock Land Sharks and Sea Gulls II 112: I’m scragged if I doesn’t have my natural rights. Besides, didn’t Bill threaten to turn snitch?
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 68: Thunder me stupud! if she didn’t turn snitch on him.
[UK]Western Times (Devon) 21 Aug. 6/3: The man with the ‘white hat and four wheeler’ [...] may perhaps turn snitch and reveal his employers.
Illus. Police Budget 25 Feb. 7/2: Jim, act square by me [...] but by al the fiends in hell if you turn snitch you’ll find yourself [...] with your throat cut.
[UK]Morn. Post 9 Apr. 4/5: He [...] was captured as an accomplice of theives [...] and then turned snitch, squeaked, or blew the gaff.
Times (Montgomery, AL) 24 Sept. 4/1: In the alleged affair [...] Ormiston will be contemptible enough to turn ‘snitch’.
Tampa Trib. (FL) 7 Feb. 9/2: People will not cooperate in enforcement simply because they refuse to turn snitch on their neighbors.
[US]L.A. Times 4 Oct. 51/2: Like most informants, Ralph was eager to ‘turn snitch’ for the police rather than be sent back to prison.
[US]J. Ellroy Clandestine (1999) 165: Look, I could turn snitch for you [...] I know lots of people I could turn over. Dope addicts, pushers.
[US]Detroit Free Press (MI) 14 Oct. 11/6: [headline] Drug suspect slain. Some feared ‘Pope’ would turn snitch.
S. Brown Ricochet 420: He was scared because he knew of others who had tried to turn snitch and died for it.
Atlanta Constitution (GA) 27 Aug. B3/1: They don’t want defendants who turn snitch worrying that their deals might fall about.