Green’s Dictionary of Slang

moll n.

[dimin. of proper name Mary, reinforced by the early 17C criminal Moll Cut-purse, immortalized in Middleton & Dekker’s play The Roaring Girl (1611)]

1. [17C+] a woman, usu. a promiscuous one.

2. [17C+] a prostitute [now survives only in Aus. use].

3. [early 19C+] a girlfriend; esp. in gangster’s moll, a gangster’s female companion.

4. [mid-19C] (UK Und.) a landlady, a proprietress, the ‘lady of the house’; usu. ext. as moll of the crib, moll of the drum.

5. [1920s–70s] (US) an effeminate male homosexual.

6. [1960s] (S.Afr.) a female Teddy Boy.

7. [2010s] (Aus.) an unpleasant woman.

8. see molly n.1 (1)

In derivatives

molled (up) (adj.)

1. [mid-19C] followed or accompanied by a woman.

2. [mid-19C] sleeping with a woman other than one’s wife; thus moll it up v.

molling (adj.)

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) pertaining to women.

In compounds

moll buzzer (n.) [buzzer n.1 /worker n.1 ; note Goldin et al., Dict. of American Und. Lingo (1950): ‘The theft is accomplished in the following manner: An accomplice, known as the buzzer, accosts a victim and asks to be directed to a given place in the neighborhood. The destination is so chosen that the victim must turn her back to the carriage to point. The purse-snatcher now advances from the direction which the victim is facing and deftly seizes the purse. The victim seldom discovers her loss until the thieves have disappeared. Premature discovery requires the buzzer, feigning solicitude, to block pursuit and delay any outcry until the snatcher has escaped.’]

1. [mid-19C+] (UK/US Und./police, also dame buzzer, moll buzzard, moll worker) a pickpocket or a beggar who specializes in women as victims; thus moll-buzzing n. and adj., purse- or bag-snatching; by ext., any minor thief; buzz a moll v.

2. [late 19C–1930s] (US Und.) a female thief, pickpocket or beggar.

moll hook (n.) [hook n.1 (2a)]

[late 19C–1910s] a female pickpocket.

moll-hunter (n.)

[late 19C–1900s] a womanizer.

moll-knuck (n.) [knuck n. (1)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a female pickpocket.

moll sack (n.) [SE sack, lit. ‘woman sack’]

[mid-19C] a handbag; a market basket.

moll shop (n.) (also molly shop) [shop n.1 (3)]

[20C+] a brothel.

moll-tooler (n.) (also molley, moll-tool) [tooler n.1 ]

[mid–late 19C] a pickpocket who specialises in female targets; usu. female.

mollwhiz (n.) [whiz n.4 (2)]

[1930s] (US Und.) a female pickpocket.

moll-wire (n.) [wire n.2 ] [mid-19C–1930s]

1. a pickpocket who specializes in robbing female victims.

2. a female pickpocket.

In phrases

bury a moll (v.)

[mid-19C] to run away from one’s mistress.

like old molls at a christening (adj.) (also like an old moll...) [1960s+] (N.Z.)

1. noisy, verbose.

2. in a state of confusion.

moll of the cross (n.) [cross n.1 (4)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a girl or woman of the Underworld.

Moll’s three misfortunes (n.) [the phr., while appearing in manuscript in Grose’s own working copy of the 1785 edition (in the British Library), was not transferred into any of the published versions of the Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue; its first appearance in print is in Partridge DSUE (1937)]

[late 18C] a proverbial phr. defining the misfortunes as ‘broke the [chamber-] pot, bes[hi]t the bed and cut her a[r]se’ (Grose, 1785).

posture moll (n.)

[early 18C] a prostitute who specializes in stripping and adopting sexually arousing positions before her customer; cites at 1787 refer to a man and woman adept in differenmt sexual positions.

square moll (n.)

[mid-19C] an honest woman.