1. a spendthrift, a wastrel.
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Fork is often Rakes Heir, or after a scraping Father comes a scattering Son.|
|New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|, , ,||Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. n.p.: A fork is also used for a Spendthrift.|
2. (UK Und.; 1940s US) a pickpocket.
3. (orig. UK; US black) usu. in pl., the fingers, esp. the middle and forefingers.
|Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 242: forks the two fore-fingers of the hand; to put your forks down, is to pick a pocket.|
|Autobiog. 12: The keek cloy is easily picked. If the notes are in the long fold, just tip them the forks; but if there is a purse or open money in the case, you must link it.|
|Heart of London II i: Such fine forks as you have for frisking a cly.|
|Tait’s Edinburgh Mag. VIII 220: My forks were light and fly, and lightly faked away [F&H].|
|Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: For cleaning out clys his forks they vas made.|
|,||Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.|
|Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 118/2: I instantly drew out my ‘forks,’ and in doing so got entangled in the fringe of her shawl.|
|Sl. Dict. 168: Forks, or grappling irons fingers. Costermongers and other clumsy feeders have a proverb which seems to justify their taking bones and choice morsels in their hands during the progress of a meal. It is, ‘Fingers were the first forks;’ sometimes varied to ‘Fingers were made before forks.’.|
|Sl. Dict. (1890).|
|Newcastle Courant 2 Sept. 6/5: He dropped his forks into the pockets of his fellow travellers.|
|A Book of Scoundrels 210: ‘My forks,’ he boasted, ‘are equally long, and they never fail me.’.‘The Switcher’|
|N.Y. Times 23 Sept. in Unforgettable Season (1981) 242: Leaving you with your dexter fork extended in the air.|
|Sharpe of the Flying Squad 330: forks : Fingers.|
|‘Jiver’s Bible’ in Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.|
|Norman’s London (1969) 39: He might therefore stick his fork into some unsuspecting guest’s outer.in Sun. Graphic 23 Nov. in|
|Signs of Crime 184: Forks Fingers.|
|Sl. and Sociability 81: Metaphors include forks ‘fingers’ lemon ‘light-skinned black woman’ and piano ‘section of spare ribs’.|
4. usu. in pl., the hands.
|‘The Honour of the Family’ Town Talk 10 July 111: Nothing’s too hot or heavy for those forks of yours to carry.|
|Licensed Victuallers’ Gazette 9 Feb. n.p.: Up they came briskly with shining mugs, shook hands, then stepped back a pace or two, put up their forks, and the spectators were hushed into silence, for they saw the battle was about to begin [F&H].|
|A Pink ’Un and a Pelican 179: You kin git yer forks in on Mr Berkeley Seymour proper.|
|They Die with Their Boots Clean 122: I can use me forks a bit, but nothing like ole Bullock.|
|Und. Nights 168: I read the story through then stuck the linen in Andy’s fork.|
|in Little Legs 194: fork hand.|
5. the crotch; thus ext. as the penis.
|‘Fat Bacon’ in Luscious Songster 5: He pulled out his fork, and he tipt her some pork.|
|Swell’s Night Guide 35: Many of the French importations [...] attract hither many of the French cruizers stationed on the coast of St. James, Regent-street. [...] Though the swell snob, who is always up to his fork in leather, has measured most of these ‘polley wooes,’ as he classically terms them, he says you can hardly tell the difference, in the dark, between the French kid and the good English calf.|
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
|Ulysses 490: (He sticks out a flickering phosphorescent serpent tongue, his hand on his fork.).|
|Look Long Upon a Monkey 191: Stringy hit the deck, curling into a ball, his head tucked on his chest, elbows close to his sides, wrists crossed in front of his fork.|
|All Looks Yellow to the Jaundiced Eye 58: There are sounds coming from his open mouth that could very well come from from someone after getting a woeful kick in the fork.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Fork. The crotch.|
|(con. 1960s) Smokey Hollow 162: They’d catch up on girl cyclists wearing slacks and yell ‘emptyfork’ and the girls would screech back ‘Take more than youse to fill it’.|
|posting at www.terrypratchettbooks.com 10 July [Internet] My next ‘Oook’ will be followed by a kick in the fork!|
|Truth 353: He took the steps, and he kicked the man in his fork, it was not worth it.|
6. (Aus.) a jockey.
|Rough Wallaby 210: A jockey was a ‘fork’, his whip a ‘flute’.|
(Aus.) to work as a prostitute; the ‘fork’ is the juncture of the legs and thus the vagina.
|Burn 5: Mary might have hawked the fork when I was away.|
|Glass Canoe (1982) 74: Later she hawked the fork, but she still wanted to be in love with me.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Fork. The crotch. As in ‘hawks her fork’, ie a woman who sells sex.|
|Llama Parlour 106: Well, I’ll just go and hawk my fork down on Hollywood Boulevard.|
|Lingo 49: Baker presents a breathtaking variety of historical and contemporary argot of convicts, wizzers, traps, wallopers, hardheads, con artists, prostitutes (those who hawk the fork), [...] and assorted thieves.|
see put one’s bones up under bone n.1