Green’s Dictionary of Slang

mace v.

[mace n.]

1. to sponge, to swindle.

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: mace to cheat.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]P. Egan Key to the Picture of the Fancy going to a Fight 14: Jew rampers, who are endeavouring to mace the Swell Benjamins.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 306: To swindle a gentleman, did not sound a crime, when it was called ‘macing a swell.’.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 61: MACE, to spunge, swindle, or beg in a polite way.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[UK]Sl. Dict.
Dly Gaz for Middlesborough 28 Aug. 3/2: Fancy him being so soft as to give the jay a quid back out of the ten he’d maced him of.
[UK]W.E. Henley ‘Villon’s Straight Tip’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 176: Fiddle, or fence, or mace, or mack; / Or moskeneer, or flash the drag.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 48: Mace, to sponge or swindle.
[UK]A. Morrison Child of the Jago (1982) 101: Him as maced the bookies in France an’ shot the nark in the boat.
[US]K. McGaffey Sorrows of a Show Girl Ch. xii: Wilbur [...] told me to mace every John I came across on the road for as many [tickets] as he would stand for.
[UK]D. Stewart Dead Man’s Gold in Illus. Police News 10 Apr. 12/1: ‘You’ve been doing a bit of macing [...] you’ve worked a bit of stiff’.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 260: I could never mace – bamboozle – the fences wi’ one hand, while I kep’ a stew o’ mysteries, running to thousands and thousands – all to be split up small among a everlasting daffy o’ the boys – with the other.
[US]Lincoln (NE) Daily News 2 Aug. 3-A: Many a good tap would come acrost f’r de macer if he wasn’t gittin’ maced so of’n by zobs dat he knows, dressed-up rummies, dat sink de pick into him ev’ry time he goes out t’ take de air.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak 96: Mace – to get something for nothing [...] to steal or cheat.

2. to fail to pay one’s debts; thus give (something to someone) on the mace, to obtain goods by persuading the shopkeeper to extend credit that one has no intention of paying.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 252: mace: to mace a shopkeeper, or give it to him upon the mace, is to obtain goods on credit, which you never mean to pay for.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue [as cit. 1812].
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn) 171: ‘Give it him (a shopkeeper) on the mace,’ i.e., obtain goods on credit and never pay for them; also termed ‘striking the mace’.
[UK]Temple Bar xxiv 535: Macing means taking an office, getting goods sent to it, and then bolting with them; or getting goods sent to your lodgings and then removing [F&H].
[US]Cincinnati Enquirer 7 Sept. 10/7: Mace, Bilk, Give, Roast, Skin—Are all synonymous to the verb ‘to beat,’ and are terms that have been felt by many hotel-keepers, saloonists, boarding houses, &c., as they are about the only terms they could ever get out of some of the graceless scamps of the profession, who ‘flew’ without liquidating the claims against them.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Unexpected Places’ Sporting Times 8 Mar. 1/3: The rattler how ingeniously he maces; / He’s angelic in appearance, but this very sudden clearance / Shows that angels visit unexpected places.
[US]Sun (N.Y.) 19 Feb. 28/1: ‘Macing’ a car is the term for a purchase by the dealer from an individual upon a small cash payment and a series of notes which he has no intention of meeting.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks 6: Mace (or maced): Goods obtaoined on credit with no intention of paying.

3. (US) to beg or demand (usu. money) from.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 252: mace: [...] To spunge upon your acquaintance, I by continually begging or borrowing from them, is termed maceing, or striking the mace.
see sense 1.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 6 Oct. 2: A bum by the name of Moore maced him for some money.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 10: ‘A guy comes in here [...] an’ maces me for a drink’.
[US]D. Runyon ‘The Defence of Strikerville’ in From First To Last (1954) 12: We’d maced about everyone we could think of.
[US]Sun (NY) 24 Feb. 8/3: Waiting to mace somebody for the price of uppercuts and chicory at Jimmy’s.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 146: He had seen the Ponies come scooting into the Home Chute, and then he had hurried in to mace his Bit from Ikey.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 332: macing: Getting something for nothing.

4. (UK Und.) to avoid paying one’s train fare.

[UK]C.G. Gordon Crooks of the Und. 226: To ‘mace’ or ‘jim,’ according to them, is to travel by train without paying fare.

In phrases

mace the rattler (v.) (also dodge the rattler) [rattler n. (1)]

to travel by train without buying a ticket.

[UK]Sporting Times 25 Oct. 2/1: ‘I see that you have been macing the rattler again’ is the characteristic greeting of the Shifter. ‘Do you want to part with the briefs?’.
[UK]Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 30 May 4/6: Sharpe, a bookmaker’s clerk from London, attempted to [...] ‘mace the rattler’ from Liverpool to London [...] but he was caught.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 3 Feb. 6/1: None of this class of racegoer had occasion to ‘Mace’ his way home on Australia’s disastrous Anniversary Day, because Randwick is so close to the city and walking is healthy.
[UK]Binstead & Wells A Pink ’Un and a Pelican 58: Far be it from me to suggest that they had recourse to the painful and vulgar expedient of ‘macing the rattler’.
[UK] ‘Yiddisher Sporting Chronicle’ in Baumann (1902) cxvi: It vhas a case of macing the rattler on the home journey.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 10 Mar. 1/1: The days of the [railway] ticket-scalp shark are numbered [and] the bloke who ‘maces the rattler’ is likewise in for a hot time.
[UK]F.D. Sharpe Sharpe of the Flying Squad 332: macing the rattler: Defrauding the railway.
W.B. Taylor One More Shake 43: The unfortunate ones, who wait and hope without success at the stations, ‘mace the rattler’. They use out-of-date or slightly obliterated short-distance tickets in order to get by the ticket inspectors on the gate.
[UK]Thieves Slang ms list from District Police Training Centre, Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwicks n.p.: Dodge (or mace0 the rattler: Travel without paying rail fare.