1. (Aus./US prison) a cell.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Mar. 10/1: The rev. brudder replies subsequently in the Rum, and admits that he was lumbered in Launceston because he was poor, and was reduced to sharing a tank and cadging for grub with another Christian.|
|Cincinnati Enquirer (OH) 28 Nov. 19/3: Since then no quarrelsome drunk or lazy bum has escaped a night in the tank.|
|S.F. Call 17 May 2/2: The boys [...] were arrested [...] and locked up in the ‘tanks’.|
|My Life in Prison 30: I glanced at the number on the cell door. It was 34 – 34 Tank.|
|Hop-Heads 25: Whenever I get a ‘jolt’ in the can (county jail) they make me ‘kick out’ my habit in the ‘tanks.’.|
|We Who Are About to Die 8: The trusties [...] brought up a man from the big tank to be my cell mate.|
|Texas Stories (1995) 82: Jesse was the bad man of the tank.‘El Presidente de Méjico’ in|
|Men of the Und. 325: Tank, A prison cell.|
|Forgive Me, Killer (2000) 61: Maybe three or four days in the tank will change your mind.|
|Thief’s Primer 123: He and the other officer [...] were arrested for rape. Put them in the same tank with me.|
|No Beast So Fierce 95: I don’t remember the case number. It’s up in the tank.|
|Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 155: [They] cart them all off to the nearest wal-shop (which is at Darlo) where they are booked and slung in the tank.|
|Mr Blue 46: The tanks were racially segregated for the most part.|
|(con. 1964–8) Cold Six Thousand 13: DPD pulled these three guys, bums or something, out of a railroad car [...] We’ve got them in the tank.|
2. (Can./US prison) a holding cell.
|Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 187: Tank.– The general cage for prisoners in a county jail, or the hall in which they are permitted to exercise.|
|Pearls Are a Nuisance (1964) 101: The only reason you ain’t in the tank upstairs is they’re not sure.‘Finger Man’ in|
|Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 225: Females of all shapes and sizes [...] were milling hysterically around the jammed women’s tank.|
|Long Good-Bye 44: Cell No. 3 in the felony tank has two bunks, pullman style, but the tank was not very full and I had the cell to myself.|
|Essential Lenny Bruce 68: It’s just like in the tank, like four, five, six people in the cell there.|
|(con. 1960s) Black Gangster (1991) 276: With that many in the tank, somebody’s got to start singing.|
|Homeboy 47: They didn’t have Rooski, calling him out of the tank proved that.|
3. (Aus./N.Z. Und.) a safe, thus tank-opener, a safe-breaker.
|In the Blood 143: To ‘open tank’ I yearn, ‘screw in’ or ‘make a turn.’.|
|Truth (Brisbane) 1 Jan. 18/2: There is the tank-opener — safe blower — hold up man, burglar, and common thug.|
|Sun. Herald (Sydney) 8 June 9/2: If the crook has robbed a safe he says he has ‘blown a tank.’ According to Detective Doyle, the expression ‘tank car’ is used to describe a motor car used for the purpose of safe-breaking.in|
|‘Screwsman’s Lament’ in Encounter n.d. in Norman’s London (1969) 67: Now things was very dodgy, like the tank being very low, / So we drank down our pigsear, and crept out to have a go.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 26 Apr. 46: To a professional safe-breaker a peter is a safe or tank. It derives from the fact that in the convict days bank vaults were not only built in the same shape as prison cells but constructed from the same sandstone blocks used to build the prisons.|
|Big Huey 255: tank (n) A safe.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 25: blow a tank Dynamite a safe open. From c1920. [Ibid.] 208: tank A safe, from c1932. Used in phrase blow a tank to open a safe with explosives.|
4. (Can./US prison) a prison, a prison wing.
|DAUL 220/1: Tank. [...] 2. A small local jail.et al.|
|Bounty of Texas (1990) 216: tank, n. – dormitory- type living quarters for convicts.‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy|
|Joint n.p.: The ‘keeper’ does not prepare the fish ahead of time for the ordeal that awaits them in the tank . . . new fish who do not learn immediately how to swim will undergo a devastating initiation rite [R].|
|(con. early 1950s) L.A. Confidential 286: I put Bill McPherson in the tank for you.|
5. an isolation cell.
|in Hellhole 34: She was taken to the ‘tank’ which is where they allowed narcotics addicts to sweat out their withdrawal symptoms.|
6. a bank; also attrib.
|Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 34: Once the lolly was in the tank the firm was off and running.|
|(con. 1950s–60s) in Little Legs 197: tank bank.|
|Layer Cake 90: You’ve helped me out with tank money in the past.|
|Outlaws (ms.) 91: There’s this little crew [...] who’re just pure grafters. They’ll come back from London with tank.|
|Viva La Madness 17: I realised I would require tank money.|
8. see tank town n.
(Aus./N.Z. Und.) a safe-cracker.
|‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xli 4/2: tank: A safe. People who specialize in robbing tanks are naturally known as tank men.|
|Hangover 87: By profession he’s a tank-artist [...] That’s what they used to call a cracksman.|
|He who Shoots Last 1: You tank blokes sure make lots a blues. [Ibid.] 259: tank blokes Safe blowers.|
|Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 49: Tank Man Safe Robber.|
|Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Tank. A money safe. [Ibid.] Tank man. Safe breaker.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 208: tank A safe, from c1932. Used in phrase blow a tank to open a safe with explosives. ANZ underworld extensions to the craft of tank artist/tank blower/tankman.|
(US Und.) an area set aside to provide protective custody for effeminate homosexuals or lesbians.
|Underground Dict. (1972) 65: daddy tank [...] Prison cell where lesbians are isolated from the rest of the prisoners.|
|Palm Beach Post (FL) 2 Oct. 8/1: At Sybil Brand institute [a woman-only prison] there is a separate cellblock for women who come in wearing pants or looking maculineit is rferred to as athe ‘Daddy Tank’.|
|L.A. Wkly 30 Apr. 28/1: Should she wear enough patently female clothing to avoid being tossed in the Sybil Brand Daddy Tank if busted?|
|Prison Sl. 10: Daddy Tank A segregated prison cell block reserved for lesbians or feminine homosexuals, protecting them from other inmates.|
|Sydney Morn. Herald 11 Oct. 200/2: ‘daddy tank’ A jail cell reserved for lesbians.|
(US) the police station holding cell into which arrested drunks are placed.
|S.F. Murders 264: The day a police reporter had to pick him out of the collection in the drunk tank [OED].|
|Cell 2455 3: He was placed in a drunk tank.|
|Young Wolves 123: I won’t play patty-cake with the police department. They and their god-damned drunk tank.|
|Getting Straight 85: We start fighting in the street and we end up in the drunk tank.|
|Erections, Ejaculations etc. 371: They let me out of the drunktank where they all slept on boards.|
|et al. Alcoholism 393: It may be argued that the drunk tank serves to incapacitate the intoxicated person in that it keeps him out of circulation for some time.|
|Little Boy Blue (1995) 207: the drunk tank [...] full of punk winos with d.t.’s and shit.|
|Rivethead (1992) 91: It would be like having a guy in the drunk tank asking to switch spots with a loser on death row.|
|Cimarron Rose 32: The men in the drunk tank were fed first, then Lucas Smothers, who had been moved into an isolation cell by the showers.|
|Glass Houses 41: You go to the drunk tank, they take your wallet and your other stuff and hold them until you’re let out.|
|Split Decision [ebook] He’d wake up in a druink tank tomorrow with the worst headache he’d ever had.|
(Aus.) to urinate.
|Tales of the Honey Badger [ebook] I decide to duck out [of the tent] to empty the tank.|
a holding cell in which homosexuals are segregated from the general population.
|Glitter Dome (1982) 165: They have me in the sissy tank with all the other gay people.|