Green’s Dictionary of Slang

king n.

1. (Aus./US) a respected figure, e.g. in a prison, or the leader of a gang of larrikins; also attrib.

[[Scot]J. Hogg Justified Sinner 166: He [an academic rival] [. . .] left the school for several months [...] and I stood king of the class].
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 6 Nov. 5/3: The man who is, by the consent of his fellows, the best shearer, both as to quantity and quality of the work done, is called the ‘King of the Shed,’ and through him all general orders are given.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 8: Name [i.e. ‘Forties’] originated with a gang in Sydney under ‘Dixon the dog hanger,’ ‘King of the Forties’ .
[UK]Blackburn Standard 25 June 6/5: A youth who is known to the police as a ‘king’ of scuttlers, and who has served a long imprisonment for scuttling, was charged with disorderly conduct.
[Scot]A. Pratt ‘“Push”’ Larrikinism in Australia’ in Blackwood’s Mag. July 27/1: For more than a quarter century before that time larrikinism had flourished almost unchecked, and all the larger Australian cities had suffered under a curious species of tyranny exercised by bands of reprobates who, under the leadership of ‘kings,’ were leagued together in secret communities called ‘pushes,’ for the purpose of warring more or less openly upon the reputable classes of society.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 149: Pretty soft for you, George, who never took a chance in your life, to be mixed up with a regular king of crooks.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 18 Nov. 8/4: They [i.e. a larrikin gang] are ruled by a King and if you ask them anythiing they tell you to ask him.
[US]Phila. Eve. Bulletin 5 Oct. 40/4: Here are a few more terms and definitions from the ‘Racket’ vocabulary: [...] ‘King,’ a leader of a group of ‘barons’.
[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 57: Llew Jones [...] once a bookmaker’s clerk, and now a two-up king.
[US]J. Fishman Sex in Prison 94: If a prisoner is called before the warden the others will demand that he tell them on his return what the ‘king’ wanted to know.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 67: That hotel was lousy with perverts. [...] I damn near sent a telegram to old Stradlater telling him to take the first train to New York. He’d have been the king of the hotel.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 48: I’m king wherever I go.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 26: I, who was supposed to be the King Con, didn’t even know he was in stir.
[Aus]D. Ireland Glass Canoe (1982) 186: Someone saw her at the races with a man who’d been a king at the prison where he’d spent years, one of those heavies whose names the other ex-prisoners never allowed themselves to even whisper outside.
[Aus]G. Disher Deathdeal [ebook] [I]nstalling security gear for cocaine kings, tax dodgers, bent union bosses and bikie gangs.
[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 72: ‘One of the kings went to jail or somethin’, and someone killed him [...] a Blood killed him or somethin’’.

2. the best, usu. used with a suitable n. or v., as -king sfx .

Adams & Jonghmans [perf. Charles Godfrey] [song title] ‘Masher King’ [...] Dwiddle and dwaddle and dwawl / I’m a rick-ity, rack-ity, trick-ity, track-ity / The finest mashah of all.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 9 June 4/7: There were squatters from Sydneyside and butter kings from Vic.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 23 Aug. 9/3: Rex G., the butt king [...] has taken on a 2-inch clay [pipe].
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 25 June 6s/8: A Barrack-street Sausage King exhibited in his window an enormous pig.
[Scot]Eve. Teleg (Dundee) 14 Nov. 8/2: Oh, he’s a sport and a man about town. King of Broadway, some call him.
[US]W. Winchell On Broadway 1 Jan. [synd. col.] Smith Brothers, the cough drop kings.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 121: Harry’s the King of the Coloured Chalks, not oil painting.
[Aus](con. 1915) J. Holledge Great Aust. Gamble 97: When the A.I.F. sailed away for Gallipoli, the two-up king of the Army was Joe Dempsey. He ran huge schools wherever they landed.
[US]R.D. Pharr S.R.O. (1998) 72: ‘One of the biggest numbers bankers we had’ [...] ‘A former Harlem numbers king’.
[Aus]B. Wannan Folklore of the Aus. Pub 38: The notorious ‘Blueskin’, also known as ‘King of the Crimps’.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 43: I’m the king of the caddies, the greatest fucking looper who ever packed a bag.
[UK]S. Berkoff West in Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 94: Mike the King of N16.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 45: Jeff Purvis, undisputed king of press agents.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Leaving Bondi (2013) [ebook] [G]iving Sydney’s talkback kings a run for their money.
[Aus]Betoota-isms 170: Kawasaki King [...] Hot-headed rural male with a penchant for fangin’ dirt bikes and energy drinks.

3. (gay) a masculine lesbian.

[US]Homosexuality & Citizenship in Florida 24: Glossary of Homosexual Terms [...] king: Same as dike .
[US]Guild Dict. Homosexual Terms 26: king (n.): The outstanding lesbian in any certain area.
[US] in S. Harris Hellhole 232: Rusty [...] speaks from her own point of view, as a king and also as a top ‘merchant’. [Ibid.] 260: She’s a fool ever to have fallen for her or any other bulldyke king in the House of Detention.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 70: king [stud] (les sI = lesbian potentate).
[US]Maledicta VI:1+2 (Summer/Winter) 132: King (old term for diesel dyke, like tom).

4. (US black) a term of address.

[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 king Definition: informal greeting, as from a Caucasian towards a Negro; used to acknowledge the others’ presence, w/o seeming disrespectful Example: What’s shakin’, king?
[UK]Observer (London) New Rev. 19 Feb. 9/3: ‘You lot, my young black kings. You can do this as well’.

5. see king hit n.

In compounds

King’s books (n.)

a pack of playing cards.

[UK]Leeds Mercury 18 Apr. 4/5: ‘The King’s Books’ [...] The pack is often spoken of as a ‘book’ and the King’s Books, when prepared by card-sharpers.
king daddy (n.) [sense 2 above + daddy n. (6)]

(US teen) the very best of a person, place or thing; thus the female counterpart queen mama n.

‘Snark’s Top 10 in Anime, Action, Sci-fi, Kung-Fu, and Comedy’ 11 Aug. 🌐 Blade Runner is without a doubt the all time king daddy of sci-fi noir films.
king puller (n.)

(N.Z. prison) one who belives theself to be more important than they are.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 101/1: king puller n. a person who believes he holds power when he does not.
King Rat (n.)

(Aus.) a much admired person.

[Aus]B. Oakley Salute to the Great McCarthy 84: Next day, McCarthy’s King Rat at the office. Melbourne is a football town, and half the population come round to touch his hand.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

king’s picture(s) (n.) (also pictures of his majesty) [the royal features as engraved or printed on money]


[UK]T. Randolph Muses’ Looking Glass IV iii: Tell her, Plus, she must have the Kings Picture too.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: King’s Pictures, c. Money.
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Harris’s List of Covent-Garden Ladies 92: A brace of King’s pictures is her usual expectancy.
[Ire]J. O’Keeffe Wild Oats (1792) 19: I carry my purse of gold in my pocket [...] there’s twenty pictures of his majesty.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 132: Don’t spoil the King’s picture by touching it.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 84: [He] pulled out a sovereign, and hastily putting it into the Old Thatchpate’s hand, observed, ‘Don’t you love the King’s picture?’.
[UK]‘Alfred Crowquill’ Seymour’s Humourous Sketches (1866) 132: Here, mate — here’s a picture of hiis royal majesty — giving the sailor alongside a new guinea.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 42: King’s or Queen’s Pictures, money.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: A sovereign is [...] a goldfinch, a dragoon, a king s picture, a poona, or a thick ’un.
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 4 Feb. 5/6: Money in general is known as: The Actual, Coliander Seeds, [...] Hard, John Davis, King’s Pictures, [...] Nonsense, Oil of Angels, [...] Rowdy.
king’s row (n.)

(US black) a state of material success.

[US]D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam News 8 Feb. 20: The Big Face had to let the homies in the king’s row lay their larceny.

In phrases

draw the king’s picture (v.)

see under draw v.4

king of the ring (n.)

(Aus.) a ‘leviathan’ bookmaker.

[Aus]J. Holledge Great Aust. Gamble 70: It was Thompson’s proud boast that he was not only ‘King of the Ring,’ as he called himself, but Australia’s only fielder patronised by Royalty [ibid.] 88: Last of Australia’s old-time ‘kings of the ring’ was Andy Kerr, of Sydney, known as the ‘Coogee Bunyip’ .