Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cly n.

also clie, cligh
[? cly v.]

1. money.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Cly, Money . . . Let’s strike his Cly, let’s get his Money from him; also a Pocket. Filed a Cly, Pickt a Pocket.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 204: Cly, money.
Life and Glorious Actions of [...] Jonathan Wilde 26: A Servant is sent up to know [...] if he has the Cly thick upon him, viz. good store of Money.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 31 July [Internet] [He] pull’d out all the † Cole they had in their Cly, which amounted to sixteen § Ridges.
[UK] ‘The Potato Man’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 54: A moll I keep that sells fine fruit / There’s no one brings more cly.
[UK]G. Parker Life’s Painter 141: I have done one cull twice for his cligh and bit; if you’ll hold his smiters up, and I should see him again to-morrow, I’ll do him out and out.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]W.E. Henley ‘Culture in the Slums’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 181: Strudwick he makes me flash my cly.

2. (also cloy, clye) a pocket, also a purse or wallet.

see sense 1.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Cly, a Pocket.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 204: [...] Filed a cly, i.e., picked a pocket.
[UK]Defoe Street Robberies Considered 31: Clie, a Pocket.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 8: He push’d the Woman down; Rawlins snatch’d her Pocket [...] Branch was taken into Custody, when Rawlins and he hyk’d off with the Cly.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 30: The Files go before the Cull, and try his Cly; and if they feel a Bit, cry Gammon.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[Ire]Both Sides of the Gutter part II 11: I lugs out my cly.
[UK] ‘The Flash Man of St. Giles’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 74: She pick’d up the flats as they pass’d by / And I mill’d their wipes from their side clye.
[UK]Sporting Mag. June IV 180/2: No grunters in the clye.
[US]H. Tufts Autobiog. (1930) 293: Touching a cly signifies robbing a pocket.
[UK] ‘A Leary Mot’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 77: For he valued neither Cove nor Swell, for he had wedge snug in his cly.
[UK]D. Haggart Autobiog. 25: The screaves were in his benjy cloy.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 221: The little mot [...] is trying it on Jerrys clie.
[UK] ‘The Song of the Young Prig’ in C. Hindley James Catnach (1878) 171: Frisk the cly, and fork the rag.
[UK] ‘The Cly-Pecker’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 38: As these palls were at snooze, this old bawd pick’d the cly.
[UK]‘The St Giles’s Flash Man’ in Facetious Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 250: [as a.1790].
[UK] ‘Poll Newry, The Dainty Flag-Hopper’ in Gentleman’s Spicey Songster 30: O! have you not heard of Poll Newry, / Who lives in the hundreds of Drury; / Beware of her eye, for many’s the cly, / She has shook in the hundreds of Drury.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 206: For I am the gal for a fake and a cly, / And I lush til the dew is falling.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 26 Feb. 1/4: So I gets [...] these ere crabs, watch, and togs, so I’m a Svell un vith a caser in this ere cly.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open 103: Cly or cle, a pocket.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: For cleaning out clys his forks they vas made.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 69: S’elp me! if a mauley like that there ain’t worth a jemmy a day to a kenobe at wiring. Why, they’re just made for hooking a fogle out of a clye.
[UK]Story of a Lancashire Thief 9: There was Hammer Bill, always on the look-out for what he could stow in his cly.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 19 Oct. n.p.: Another bloke found that someone had been through his ‘cly’.
[UK]J. Diprose London Life 80: I’ve got a teviss (shilling) left in my clye (pocket).
[UK]Exeter & Plymouth Gaz. 15 Oct. 6/4: The business will put a ‘quid’ or a ‘thick un’ or a ‘James’ in their ‘clyes,’ that is, if the ‘bossman’ hasn’t been ‘coopwered’ (i.e. spoilt — learnt wisdom).

In compounds

cly-faker (n.)

a pickpocket; thus cly-faking, faking the cly, pickpocketing.

[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 386: The Cly-faker or Pickpocket.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 212: [He] muttered something about ‘upstart, and vulgar clyfakers being admitted to the company of swell tobymen’.
[UK](con. 1703) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) 21: The best cly-faker of ’em all couldn’t have done it better.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 11 Oct. 59/2: Jack Roach, the celebrated pickpocket, [...] arrived here on Monday with two other ‘cly fakers’ and ‘tilers’.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 1 Nov. 91/3: [A] splendid long cloth cloak, which he had assumed [...] for the purpose of facilitating his ‘clyfaking’ operations.
[UK]‘A Harrassing Painsworth’ in Yates & Brough (eds) Our Miscellany 28: I bear a message to King Cly-faker, to Prince Crib-cracker — in a word, to Blueacre!
[UK]‘Song of the Ticket-of-Leave Man’ in Newry Examiner 21 Jan. ?/1: Crib-cracking or faking the cly, / Or tipping a taste o’ garotte.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 17 Mar. 3/3: Mr Tanner indignantly repudiated the insinuation that he had been ‘cly-faking’.
[UK]Morn. Post 18 Dec. 3/3: I took up with one as faked clys out o ’church.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 6/2: Here are to be found ‘mobs’ of ‘chat-pitchers,’ ‘cly-fakers,’ ‘bursters,’ ‘snyde-pitchers’ (‘snyde,’ bad money), ‘picking-up mobs’ and their ‘blokes’, etc., etc.
[US]Cairo Bull. (Cairo, IL) 5 Nov. 2/3: [from The Graphic, London] My cracksmen all and natty kids, / Clyfakers and the rest.
[UK]Star (Guernsey) 23 Feb. 4/2: Clyfaking, diving, or pickpocketing [...] is in our day abandoned to children .
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 4 Nov. 5/5: In spring the sharp clyfaker awake to every move, / And he handles ‘wipes’ and ‘tickers till a charge they ’gainst him prove.
[UK]C. Whibley ‘The Switcher’ A Book of Scoundrels 209: He died, as he was born, an expert cly-faker.
[UK]Northern Whig 12 Sept. 8/6: I’d blanked it on the cly-faking lay at Kempton [races] so got a brief and took the rattler to Richmond.