Green’s Dictionary of Slang

dive n.1

(UK Und.)

1. (also dives) a pickpocket; an act of pickpocketing [dive v. (1)].

[UK]A Gentleman Instructed 139: We might see a Dives transformed into a Lazarus, a Lord into a Laquay.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 34: Going upon that Lay, Susan made a Dive into a Gentleman’s Pocket.
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 143: One of them runs before the person into whose pocket they intend making the dive.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 30: When [ladies] wore pockets with hoops, scarcely any operation in the light finger trade was easier than the dive, or putting in one’s hand.
[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 104: I determined to have a dive; I got my forks in the cloy.
[UK] in Egan Bk of Sports 146: My moll oft’ tips the knowing dive / When sea-crabs gang the stroll.
[US]A. Greene Glance at N.Y. II i: He made a dive for his pocket-book, but couldn’t make it out.
[UK]Manchester Courier 12 Feb. 11/5: he was making a professional dive into the pockets of an unsuspecting housewife.
[UK]Isle of Man Times 23 July 2/1: he made a ‘dive’ at one of the ladie’s pockets.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.

2. a thief who stands outside a house or shop, inside which is a small boy who throws out goods that have been stolen [? he dives to catch the falling goods/the goods ‘dive’ from the window].

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: A dive, is a thief who stands ready to receive goods thrown out to him by a little boy put in at a window.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.

3. (orig. US, also diveroo) the voluntary losing of a fight by a boxer, presumably at the behest of a criminal bettor [he ‘dives’ to the canvas].

implied in take a dive
[US]R. Chandler ‘Guns At Cyrano’s’ in Red Wind (1946) 220: Some gamblers tried to scare him into a dive.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 203: Jones had agreed [...] to accommodate us with a diveroo in the third. [Ibid.] 210: No dive, no dough.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 192: He never talked about dives.
L. Schecter Jocks 231: [of the 1965 Ali-Liston fight] What it [i.e. Liston’’s knockout] really looked like was one of the quickest and most ungainly dives in the history of boxing.

In phrases

take a dive (v.) (also dive) [one lit. + fig. dives to the canvas] (orig. US)

1. (also high-dive) in boxing, or any competition, for a fighter (or other player or team) deliberately to lose a fight or competition (cf. go in the tank under tank n.1 ).

[[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 32: Mr. Rodel crossed bats with Gunboat Smith one night uptown and in the first three rounds took five dives].
[US]A. Baer Two and Three 3 Feb. [synd. col.] The battle bugs smeared Fred with twelve grands and Fred dived like a frightened walrus.
[US]H.C. Witwer Smile A Minute 206: I could of trimmed you anyways. I was a fine simp to make a deal with you. Hurry up and take a dive, I gotta date.
[US]P. Gallico ‘The Yellow Twin’ in Goodstone Pulps (1970) 39/2: He agreed that Barney would take a dive somewhere between the seventh and ninth rounds.
[UK]J. Curtis There Ain’t No Justice 41: Put it to me to take a dive.
[US]D. Maurer Big Con 12: He has contracted with his employer’s fighter to ‘take a dive’ – pretend to be knocked out – in the tenth round.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Romeo’s Juliet’ in Sports Fiction Fall 🌐 If I don’t kayo Hawkins then [...] the boys will think I am a high-diving palooka.
[UK](con. 1939) R. Westerby Mad in Pursuit 172: Maybe they would make him take a dive again.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 191: I didn’t stay in shape. I had to take a few dives.
[US]J. Brosnan Long Season 148: I just waved at three pitches and sat down [...] ‘The game’s never over till the last man’s out, Broz,’ said Kellner. His tone of voice indicated a measure of concern for my having taken a dive.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 22: I heard stories that Jack was forced to take a dive.
[US]W. Ritchie in Heller In This Corner (1974) 19: Gans took a dive. It was a fixed fight.
[UK]A-Team Storybook 42: In a fairground bear wrestling act [...] the bear had started taking a dive around about the eighth.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
J.B. Holway Josh & Satch 189: [of baseball] What if players deliberately tried to evade the series, or take a dive to get it over quickly?
[UK]Guardian Sport 7 Feb. 7: La Motta [...] admitted taking a dive in return for a shot at the title.
[US]‘Jack Tunney’ Split Decision [ebook] ‘People might expect you to win. So, I want you to lose.’ Take a dive [...] I guess I deserved it.

2. (Aus.) to plead guilty.

[Aus]Camperdown Chron. (Vic.) 28 Apr. 6/3: If a conviction is inevitable, it sometimes softens the fall if one ‘takes a dive,’ — or literally, pleads guilty.

3. to faint.

[US]H. Ellison ‘Johnny Slice’s Stoolie’ in Deadly Streets (1983) 82: Man, I was ready to take a dive. I knew what this was. Court.

4. to fail.

[UK]Observer Mag. 24 Feb. 29: Maggie Thatcher will not ‘take a dive’ like Ted Heath.
take the high dive (v.)

to make a bet.

[US]S. Ford Shorty McCabe 9: When I figured up what a few saw-bucks would do for me at those odds, I makes for the track and takes the high dive.

SE in slang uses

In phrases