Green’s Dictionary of Slang

item n.

1. (US) a hint, an inkling, a piece of information, thus one who hints.

[UK]W. Perry London Guide.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 106: Item — a hint, wink, or sly notice. ‘It was I that gave the item that the traps were a coming.’.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 113: Items derives his name from looking at a party’s hand, and conveying to the opposition player what it contains by signs. This is Item’s occupation. A looking-glass is sometimes used, sometimes signs which mutes would only understand, and sometimes the signs are agreed upon and known only to the parties interested.
[US]J. O’Connor Wanderings of a Vagabond 472: I’ll gib yer his hand by de item. I’ll do it ef yer say so, marster John!
[US]N.Y. Spirit of the Times (N.Y.) in Bartlett Dict. Americanisms 218: [...] the minit yer get item that I’m back, set off for the cross roads .
T.B. Russell Current Americanisms 93: ‘To give an item’, is to signal information to a confederate unfairly.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 38: Items, in gambler’s slang, means the modes of conveyance by which one’s hand is made known to his opponent.
[US] ‘Central Connecticut Word-List’ in DN III:i 12: item, n. Information.
[US]J.D. MacDonald All These Condemned (2001) 61: It was one very hot item indeed. The girl had all the dope.

2. (US) a person.

[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 83: In pops this dowdy little item from Manhattan, Kansas.
[US]R. Barrett Lovomaniacs (1973) 51: David Strauss is suddenly a hot item.
[US]C. Stroud Close Pursuit (1988) 10: Woody Allen is saying this to some item he’s trying to hustle.
Online Sl. Dict. 🌐 item n [...] 2. a person whose positive attributes make them a coveted rarity. (‘That girl is quite an item. Good find, man.’).
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We Have No 52: He is a cool item, Leroy.

3. (orig. US) a couple.

[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 248: You and Kit are invited. You two are still an item, aren’t you?
Ted Yates ‘I’ve Been Around’ 18 Feb. [synd. col.] Nancy Taylor did wed W.O. Jenkins. We mentioned [...] that they were an item.
[US]D. Jenkins Life Its Ownself (1985) 58: I became an item with Rachel Watson.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 29 June 4: He and Demi were an item.
[UK]Z. Smith White Teeth 31: By the time the bell rang for end of school Monday Ryan Topps and Clara Bowden [...] were more or less an item.
[Aus]P. Temple Truth 311: Gary Moorcroft, Anna’s little friend, TV crime reporter, who asked whether they were an item.
[US](con. 1973) C. Stella Johnny Porno 323: You two live together? [...] Are you two an item I don’t know about?
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 263: Me n Nicksy are trying tae queen it up a bit, like we’re an item, a genuine homosexual couple.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Base Nature [ebook] Davie was cool about them being an item.
[Aus]C. Hammer Opal Country 70: ‘We were a bit of an item’.

In compounds

hot item (n.) [the exploits of such fashionable individuals provide items for newspaper gossip columnists]

(US) a couple having a romantic relationship.

Daily Beacon (Univ. Tenn.) 26 Feb. 2: Friend, hell! We used to be a hot item [HDAS].
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 247: Exley and Inez a hot item: kill four jigs, get the girl.