Green’s Dictionary of Slang

flash adj.

also flashy

1. senses based on display, ostentation.

(a) of a person or thing, ostentatious, showy; thus flash cove/girl, a man or woman showily dressed.

[UK]Mercurius Fumigosus 17 20–27 Sept. 147: Of the Flash, or bragging Fellow.
[UK]T. Baker Tunbridge Walks III i: I’me a Courtier, and Courtiers Smoke Gunpowder, for they are all Flash.
[UK] ‘Miss Roach and Jack Ran’s Parting’ Buck’s Delight 3: With a bunch of strings tied to each knee, / I thought no lad so flash as me.
‘Happy Jerry’ in Bullfinch 14: The best of smarts and flashy dames, / I’ve carried in my wherry .
[UK] ‘The Flash Man of St. Giles’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 76: For Nell and I now keep a gig, / And look so grand, so flash and big.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Mar. I 349: Never speak to an inferior [...] but in the most contemptuous language, and address yourself to these [...] in the true stile of a flash man (or street-walking bully).
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 222: Jerry [...] as he was now getting a little flash, tripped-up two of the Charleys, he said, without charging them ‘a halfpennny for it’.
[UK]‘Pity the Sorrows of a Poor Old Mot’ in Flash Minstrel! in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) I 104: When I go out, the flash coves shout, / And chaff, and kick, and beat me.
[UK]Dickens Oliver Twist (1966) 189: ‘Do you mean to say, my dear,’ remonstrated the Jew, ‘ that the women can’t be got over?’ [...] ‘No; not even by flash Toby Crackit,’ replied Sykes.
[UK] ‘When We Went Out A Shooting’ Rambler’s Flash Songster 37: Our flash girls in their best, / Were togg’d from top to toe.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 73: That chalky, white, bleached hand he is passing leisurely over his mouth to show the flash rings on his fingers.
[Aus]Satirist & Sporting Chron. (Sydney) 11 Mar. 3/4: If Mr C—y is not a little less flash with the odious strumpet he has attached himself to, since his brutal conduct drove his unfortunate wife to the Lunatic Asylum, we shall give him a place in the Satirist.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 63: Sally’s young man was a flash cove every inch [...] Togged out and out, flash beyond compare.
[Aus] ‘The Squatter Done Brown’ Heads of the People (Sydney) 🎵 Pray gents take warning by my fate, / Ne’er show off, nor be ‘flash’.
[UK]Paul Pry 27 Nov. n.p.: We advise L—and B—A—not to be so flash with the young chap that comes and talks with them on the steps of B—A—’s father’s chandler's shop.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 18 July 7/4: We knows all about yer hous and yer flash man and yer flash boy to [all sic].
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 10 Mar. 3/2: A flash individual of uncouth exterior.
[UK]Wild Boys of London I 25/2: ‘Who was he?’ ‘The flash un? A respectable sort of prig as does the high dodges.’.
[UK]Western Times 12 June 3/3: These functionaries [...] required those ‘biddies queer and flash’ to walk inside.
[US]A. Trumble Mysteries of N.Y. 15: [T]he dance-houses begin to disgorge [...] Flash men and flashier women inflamed with drink, reel out from their hot, tainted precincts.
[UK]Bristol Magpie 22 June 7/2: A ‘Public’ Exhibition — A flash barmaid.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 4: Flash - Showy, smart, knowing, fast.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 1: All the drinking and recklessness; the flash talk and the idle ways.
[UK]D. Sladen in Barrère & Leland Sl., Jargon and Cant I 368/1: [W]e saw a lot of ‘silver-tails.’ Them’s flash chaps, you know.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Shearing of the Cook’s Dog’ in Roderick (1972) 96: They’ll think me a flash man in Bourke with that theer darg trimmed up like that.
[UK]Wincott & Elen [perf. Gus Elen] ‘Down the Dials’ 🎵 And when we’ve got no cash, well we robs someone who’s flash.
[Aus](con. 1850s) Stephens & O’Brien Materials for a Dict. of Aus. Sl. [unpub. ms.] 38: The ‘flash’ rough of the city and also the ‘flash’ bushmen both considered an expensive cabbage tree hat one of the signs of ‘flashness’ which was often synonymous with ‘flushness.’.
[Aus]E. Dyson ‘At a Boxing Bout’ Benno and Some of the Push 122: In the first round Mike Brophy showed himself a flash fighter, and very fanciful in his movements.
[NZ]Truth (Wellington) 6 Apr. 6/5: A ginger-headed young man in a flash suit of clobber.
[Aus]F. Garrett diary 26 June 🌐 It was a flash hotel and was put out of bounds by the officers.
[Aus]‘Banjo’ Paterson ‘Three Elephant Power’ in Three Elephant Power 1: Barring a tendency to flash driving, and a delight in persecuting slow cars by driving just in front of them [...] he was a respectable member of society.
[UK]T. Norman Penny Showman 21: I gloried in being of a very flash appearance.
[UK]J. Curtis You’re in the Racket, Too 240: He had enough dough in his pocket now to make some of those flash Kosher boys sit up at a game of Chubb-house.
[UK]S. Jackson Indiscreet Guide to Soho 114: You will sometimes meet him being ‘flash’ in Soho’s drinking clubs [...] He talks tough Cockney, with a flavour of Yiddish, buys rounds of drinks, orchids for his girl, flips pound notes at waiters.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 81: But nothing flash, mind you, my boy. I like my associates to dress like quiet sober young business men.
[UK]N. Cohn Awopbop. (1970) 25: He was flash – he had four Cadillacs, a three-wheeled Messerschmidt, two monkeys, much jewellery.
[UK]Sun. Times Mag. 12 Oct. 26: He was sacked because they wanted someone younger and flasher.
[Aus] in K. Gilbert Living Black 148: Cunt, the wages he is on, what, fuckin’ $18,000 a year ’n a flash car.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett Real Thing 179: The flash car. The way you throw your money around. The fast talk. the slang.
[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] My dad used to say, ‘Think you’re Harry Strang?’ when we tried some flash riding.
[UK]N. Cohn Yes We have No 171: Not remotely hip [...] but loud and flash, full of juice.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 3 3: A pretty flash bloke who was just a bit too good-looking for his own good.
[UK]D. Seabrook Jack of Jumps (2007) 15: ‘The coloured man paid me with a £5 note. The bill would have come to 3/10d.’ Flash.
[UK]K. Richards Life 67: Loads of flash little sons of bitches would come down [...] to take the piss out of the art school students.
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] Despite his flash clothes, which got a few looks from the locals, he seemed quite at home.
[US]T. Piccirilli Last Kind Words 120: He eased by in a flashy sports car so well waxed that the rain slewed off and barely touched it.
[Scot]A. Parks Bloody January 55: Cooper’s boys [...] Bit too flash and a bit too thick.
[Aus]C. Hammer Silver [ebook] [H]e’d live on Nobb Hill, drive a flash car and eat fish and chips morning, noon and night.
[Scot]G. Armstrong Young Team 37: He’s a flashy bastard, drives a Mercedes and wears square-lookin suits, usually pin-striped.
[Scot]A. Parks May God Forgive 68: The inside of the house was as flash as the outside.
[US](con. 1962) J. Ellroy Enchanters 59: [A] new money/flash money neighborhood [...] Stewardess hives, fag pads, kept-woman domiciles.

(b) fashionable, smart, chic.

[UK]P. Egan Key to the Picture of the Fancy going to a Fight 9: [A] Sporting Man would be nothing if he was not flash.
[UK]High Life in London 10 Feb. 8/3: In the flash meetings [...] by the quietness and inoffensiveness of his manners, reconciles and composes the heterogeneous elements in which he is placed.
[UK] ‘Life In London’ Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 11: Up to a sharp, down to a flat, / Fly to all that’s flash, sir, / Come the slang and cant so pat, / That’s the way to cut a dash, sir.
[UK]advert for The Flash Mirror in Funny Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 34: Containing [...] a famous Guide to all the Flash Houses, Meeting Houses, Boozing Kens, and Snoozing Kens in London. An out-and-out Collection of Flash Toasts and Sentiments [...] An unqualled Coillection of Flash Sayings, Flash Doings, Flash Similies [sic], and Flash Jokes. A little patter on the mode of Dressing Flash, Looking Flash, Speaking Flash and Coming it Flash! [...] A curious budget of Flash Conundrums, Flash Anecdotes, Flash Letters, &c. [...] The whole faked out, laid down, and taken up for the benefit of his Pals, by a regular Slangsman.
[UK]Sinks of London Laid Open 66: He was dressed in one of those flash coats already described who full make, too, by no means diminished his breadth.
[UK]Paul Pry (London 15 Aug. n.p.: Jim H—, the flash taylor, of Free- school- street, and the pattern card of his own establishment.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 9/2: This style is considered ‘flash’ among the Yorkshire aspirants to ‘gunology’.
[UK]G.R. Sims Dagonet Ballads 79: I bought a new hoss with the money,—I wanted to be a bit flash.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 13 Dec. 14/1: Ada Montague, a name which was [...] hailed with acclaim in the flash bagnios [...] where she reigned as a queen.
[Aus]J.S. Borlase Blue Cap, the Bushranger 62/2: Hallo! Bungy, who gave you that flash shirt?
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 25: He was [...] telling the fast gents and flash women how he was captured by the savages.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 29: Flash, smart, knowing, etc.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 8 May 1/1: These flash mags can be seen every Monday morning coming from their cash providing Venuses.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘As Good As New’ Sporting Times 21 Jan. 1/4: [He] can swagger about like a bold one / In that flash suit of his.
[Aus]L. Esson ‘Jugger’s Out Ter-d’y’ in Seal (1999) 39: All the tarts iz waitin’ / Linin’ Little Lon, / In their flashest clobber, / Battlin’ ter git on.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 307: Playing cards, hobnobbing with flash toffs with a swank glass in their eye, drinking fizz and he half smothered in writs and garnishee orders.
[UK]S. Scott Human Side of Crook and Convict Life 228: You must look a bit ‘flash’ for this game — short skirts, high heels, and try a bit of ‘make up’.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 155: A real hot-looking bramah, a fine flash judy.
[UK]G. Kersh They Die with Their Boots Clean 27: For work, he wears his flash suits gone to seed.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 85: He told me his Mum had been some flash tart and his Dad a professor of mathematics.
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 56: The flash-people were bad for the empty-bottle business.
[US]C. White Life and Times of Little Richard 115: One of my best shirts. A flash shirt, a beautiful shirt.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 36: Both of us reckoned we were the flashest round the estate.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 73: Here I am with the flashest charlie at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and I go and blow it be being an idiot and an aleck.
[UK]N. Barlay Hooky Gear 129: All us anon geezers dream one thing. We dream to be flash cunts.
[Aus]N. Cummins Adventures of the Honey Badger [ebook] I’ve had a bit of a Captain Cook around the globe and I’ve seen some flash joints.

(c) (also flashy) cheeky; arrogant, boastful.

[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 44: The gineral has bin grately abused for an uppish temper, but [...] it’s oney a flashey one that gose off like powder, and cools rite away.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 7 Oct. 3/1: Poor Mick, although flash of words [...] when under he influence of the jovial god, had not a syllable to utter.
[UK]London Life 7 June 6/1: [T]he showy dressed damsels [...] maintain a running fire of ‘flash’ chaff with surfeited old dandies, and gay young sparks.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 27 July 5/1: I was flash as they make ’em at sweet seventeen.
[UK](con. WWI) E. Lynch Somme Mud 112: Longun wants to fight him [...] ‘And any more of you flash cows who seem so floppin’ well amused.’.
[US]J.E. Macdonnell Jim Brady 45: Whether he’s a flash bastard or not, he licked me.
[UK]F. Norman Fings I i: Well, this flash twirl come up to me.
[UK]P. Willmott Adolescent Boys of East London (1969) 150: One of you gets a bit flashy and shouts out, ‘Who are you screwing?’.
[UK]G.F. Newman Sir, You Bastard 58: If he gets flash, do him up with the insurance adjusters.
[UK]A. Payne ‘The Last Video Show’ in Minder [TV script] 47: That’s Freddy Dyer. Flash git.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 20 July 13: I used to be a right flash bastard.

(d) (Aus.) amorous, sexually forward.

[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 1 Nov. 6/3: They Say [...] That H K was very flash in the cab with Mrs H. Go easy, boy.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 5 Mar. 5/1: They Say [...] ‘Home and Dried’ is flash with his tarts.

(e) (Aus.) healthy.

[Aus]P. Temple Bad Debts (2012) [ebook] It was soothing work for someone not feeling all that flash.

2. in the context of the criminal and/or sporting worlds.

(a) belonging to or connected with the underworld.

implied in flash ken
[UK]C. Hitchin Conduct of Receivers and Thief-Takers 8: Do you believe the Flash Gaming House to be one principal Cause and Supporter of the wicked Transactions, contriv’d and carry’d on in your House.
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 21: We met with two Flash Horse Jockeys, to whom I sold the Bay Gelding.
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 29: Swindle, therein, is made to signify the same thing in Law-language which it did in Cant of Flash dialogue.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 12 Jan. 272/1: I want to know your flash name in short? — Joe Barber .
[US] ‘A Song, How a Flat became a Prigg’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 21: In a club Flash songs would sing.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Sept. XX 312/2: We became as merry as grigs, sung many flash songs.
[UK] ‘A Leary Mot’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 77: Rum old Mog was a leary flash mot.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 327: We have been so free and easy lately among the flash part of mankind.
[UK] ‘A Blow-Out Among The Blowen’ in Secret Songster 15: There was ev’ry flash blowen, and ev’ry flash man.
[US]N.Y. Sporting Whip 4 Feb. n.p.: Samuel O. Ackerman [...] known among the ‘flash boys’ as Charley Moisieen, incarcerated [on] twelve charges of extensive burglaries.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 27 Sept. 2/5: Sharp the barber, Kitty Wright, Lonsdale (her fancy man), Gipsey Maria (one of her favorite chickens), and Henry Edwards (a flash cabman) [...] made their appearance again before Messrs. Wyndeyer and Campbell, at [...] the Police Office.
[UK]New Swell’s Night Guide to the Bowers of Venus Frontispiece: Introducing Houses, West-End ‘Walks,’ Chanting Slums, Flash Cribs, and Dossing Kens, with all the Rowdy-Dowdy and hoFlash Patter of Billingsgate and St. Giles’.
[UK] in Punch ‘Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug’ 31 Jan. n.p.: But the lark’s when a goney up with us they shut / As ain’t up to our lurks, our flash patter, and smut.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 28 Dec. 2/3: Besides these establishments [i.e assignation houses] there are also a number of flash hotels , which are frequented by the ‘soiled doves’ and their mates.
[UK]J. Greenwood Seven Curses of London 138: That one with which ‘flash’ Jack, in the romance, pinned the police officer in the small of his back.
[UK]C. Hindley Life and Times of James Catnach 122: The letter-press matter consisted of flash songs.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie I tab.II ii: I got one of your Scotch officers [...] to give me full particulars about the ’ouse, and the flash companions that use it.
[UK]A. Griffiths Chronicles of Newgate 357: By insensible degrees he began to lose his repugnance to their society, caught their flash terms and sung their songs.
[NZ]Hawkes Bay Herald (N.Z.) 10 Sept. 3/3: This work is intended not as ‘a mere record of crime,’ as he expresses it, ‘or a contribution to “flash” literature’.
[UK]Marvel 17 Nov. 467: I’d have a rough time of it with that flash johnny.
[US]Wash. Post 11 Nov. Misc. 3/6: ‘Goniff’ is used when recalling a thief, among the flash denizens of the underworld.
[UK]Northern Whig 12 Sept. 8/6: Rabelais was adept in the ‘flash talk’ of his day.
[Aus]C.J. Dennis ‘A Holy War’ in Chisholm (1951) 76: Flash in ’is ways, but innercint in looks / Which ’e works well fer ’is un’oly ends.
[UK]R. Westerby Wide Boys Never Work (1938) 100: Looks like oner yore pals. You know, proper flash boy, an’ all.
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Banker Tells All 130: Many people who ‘bluff’ for a living, such as cheap-jack auctioneers, racing twisters and flash fellows, find my grafted stones are cheap.
[Aus]N. Keesing Lily on the Dustbin 104: Caricatures of larrikinesses (or ‘donahs’) of the 1890s–1900s period show the hats worn by them and other ‘flash’ girls.
[Aus]G. Disher Crosskill [ebook] ‘The flash boys are sniffing around, seeing what they can pick up’.

(b) expert, understanding what someone else means, ‘knowing the ropes’, esp. of the underworld.

[UK]C. Hitchin Conduct of Receivers and Thief-Takers n.p.: The Cull is flash alias that is he Associates himself with Thieves.
[UK]G. Parker Society and Manners in High and Low Life in Ribton-Turner (1887) n.p.: If they should happen to refuse a brother sharper who is flash to the rig, and has been a by-stander, his whack, are instantly snitched upon; that is, the Snitcher follows the loser, and asks him what he will give him (the Snitcher) if he puts him in the way of recovering his money.
[UK] ‘Drunk in the Night’ No. 26 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: The scouts all came up being flash to the rig.
[UK] Song No. 10 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: He’s flash to the cross roads and now makes a stand.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Flash. Knowing. Understanding another’s meaning. The swell was flash, so I could not draw his fogle. The gentleman saw what I was about, and therefore I could not pick his pocket of his silk handkerchief.
[UK]W. Perry London Guide 170: He never swore at all, nor was he flash to slang.
[UK]Byron Don Juan canto XI line 133: A thorough varmint and a real swell, Full flash, all fancy, until fairly diddled, His pockets first, and then his body riddled.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 8: Leaving his lordship almost as much in the dark [...] as if he had not been listening to the flash story of the chaffing helper.
[UK]C.J. Ribton-Turner Hist. of Vagrants 628: Your third rate class of sharpers, when they have won a sum of money, if they should happen to refuse a brother sharper who is flash to the rig [etc.].
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Colonial Reformer I 75: I was a young chap then and pretty flash, knowed my work, and wasn’t afraid of man, beast, or devil.
[US]A.H. Lewis Confessions of a Detective 202: He used the flash patter of his clan.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 161: Fords, because that’s what the flash boys were always into.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Class Act [ebook] ‘Henry Arnold James Umpton, sir! “Flash” to my friends. Too flash for my enemies, aha’.

(c) belonging to, connected with or resembling the world of ‘sportsmen’, esp. the patrons of the prize-fight ‘ring’.

[UK]P. Egan Key to the Picture of the Fancy going to a Fight 29: Mr George Kent, well known in the Sporting EWorld as a reporter of [...] the Turf, and for several well-written flash productions connected with the Prize Ring.
[US]American 2 Mar. 2/3: Sir — At an accidental meeting of some of the ‘fancy’ last evening, an article was read from your paper, which, as far as we could understand its foreign lingo, was a ‘flash’ petition to the legislature.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 70: [note] A Sporting Man would be nothing if he was not flash.
Derbys. Courier 30 Jan. 3: [T]he purchaser was assailed by the jeers, taunts, and coarse ribaldry of all the flash dealers he had to pass.
[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 10: The doors of the flash public-houses and oyster-rooms are letting out similar detachments of choice spirits.
[UK]R. Nicholson Rogue’s Progress (1966) 74: The game played then amongst the flash disiples of Dame Chance was ‘shaking in the shallow’ (tossing in a hat).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. 134: FLASH [...] ‘fast,’ roguish.
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 130: The speaker was one of the flash young gentlemen who haunt suburban billiard-rooms.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 16 July 30/3: It was never my habit to splash / In pink dissipation my cash; / With my pence as a child / I was modest and mild – / As a youthlet I never was flash.

3. (UK Und.) counterfeit; see also flash note

[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 555: The purse of course is found to contain counterfeit money—Flash-screens or Fleet-notes.
[UK]Suffolk Chron. 2 Sept. 1/6: She carried the [£10.00] note to a neighbour, who informed her it was a ‘flash’ one.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 Oct. 127/2: ‘You need not have bothered yourself,’ said Augustus yawning, ‘ they [i.e. bank-notes] are all flash: the real flimsies are in my left foot boot’.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Henry Dunbar 32: I said as they might be flash.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 163: flash also means ‘fast,’ roguish, and sometimes infers counterfeit or deceptive, and this, perhaps, is its general signification. As it is used by those who best understand it nowadays, the word means that which is not what it appears to be ? anything spurious, as jewellery and shoddy clothes.
[UK]Sporting Times 1 Nov. 1/4: Q. What is the national currency? A. [...] Hanover Jacks, snide white ’uns, duffing browns, flash flimsies, stumers, bits of stiff, kites, tombstones.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 7 Mar. 13/2: As for Osman Digger, if the flash fivers and the pitch about the legacy don’t fetch him, never call me Flymy any more.
[UK]Music Hall & Theatre Rev. 29Mar. 7/2: The bounder has got a new hat, the toothache, and a flash halfcrown which Wade has just declined to change.
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Old Regime 16: It was only a question of time for him to take to the ‘flash’ business again.
[UK]E. Pugh City Of The World 236: They don’t make anything flash in the way of copper. Wouldn’t pay.
[UK]C.G. Gordon Crooks of the Und. 35: I pulled the outside note from the roll, which was a flash fiver.
[US]G. Liddy Will 161: [T]he CIA had provided him with physical disguise and flash alias documentation in connection with one of his missions.

4. amoral, promiscuous.

[UK] ‘The Youth of the Garden’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 159: The youth of the garden she calls her flash man.
[UK](con. 1715) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) 122: Awake! — to be sure I am, my flash cove.
[UK]C. Reade It Is Never Too Late to Mend II 250: Out of the drawer the pedlar whipped a sealed packet [...] ‘Them that buy it – they will see!’ ‘Something flash?’ ‘Rather I should say.’ [Ibid.] 251: Didn’t he sell this to me for a flash story?
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 15/1: Flash songs are liked.
[US]Nat. Police Gaz. 21 Oct. 7/4: [headline] A Flash Theatre in New York Raided and the Performers Locked Up.

Based on ostentation, display

In derivatives

flashness (n.)

ostentation, showing-off.

[UK]Flash Mirror q. in National Standard of Lit., Science etc. I 355/1: Sloggers, or fighting men, ape the dress of the sporting swell, and in every thing resemble them, excepting the flashness of their gait, and the colour of their neck-rag.
[Aus]J. Henderson Escursions [...] in NSW I 126: Out of a spirit of bravado, or ‘flashness,’ as it is called, one of them actually used a pound note as wadding for his powder and shot.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 43/1: Charley, more for ‘flashness’ than anything else, at this time carried his ‘skin’ in his ‘tail’.
[Aus]J.B. Castieau Diaries 13 Feb./ (2004) 115: He displayed most stolid endurance without the slightest bravado or flashness & took his fifty lashes without a groan & scarcely a movement.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (2004) 122: It’s come just as I said, and knowed it would, through Starlight’s cussed flashness.
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Early Days 237: By my lights, my flash cove, I’ll have to take your flashness out of yer.
[Aus] in C. White Hist. of Aus. Bushranging 386: I lay blame on myself that I did not get up yesterday and examine the witnesses; but I thought that if I did so it would look like bravado and flashness.
[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 230: Drunkeness, the old taint of Australian ‘flashness’—the don’t-care-a-damn manner.
[Aus]J. Furphy Buln-Buln and the Brolga (1948) Ch. i: 🌐 I’m goin’ to take the flashness out o’ this psalm-singin’ beggar!
[Aus]C.E.W. Bean ‘Dreadnought’ of the Darling 315: You still occasionally hear of some solitary flickering outburst of the old pioneering ‘flashness’ in the West.
[Aus]R.P. Plowman Boundary Rider 263: And flashness is not approved of in the bush, especially in a parson.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 172: There are blokes who say that it’s only flashness that makes Jimmy Brockett use the phone so much.
[Aus]Oceania XXXIII 79: Charges of snobbery, or ‘flashness,’ or ‘stuck-upness’ can be levelled at a part- Aboriginal who tries to cut himself away [...] from his Aboriginal ties.
[US]Cashman & McKernan Sport in History 356: Some yelled: ‘Flash nigger’ and ‘That’s flashness’, referring derogatorily to Johnson’s showy manner.
[Aus]P. Carey Illywhacker 61: Only deriving pleasure from a loose-limbed flashness and not from any great demands on his skill or any pride in the final victory.
[UK]M. Binchy Lilac Bus 383: But no matter who had asked her to marry them her mother would have seen flashness and her father suspected insecurity.
[Aus]G. Cowlishaw Blackfellas, Whitefellas 183: The crudeness of expression challenges white interlocutors and also undermines the suspicion of flashness he attracts as a university graduate.

In compounds

flash cattle (n.)

(Aus.) wild or half-wild cattle.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 1July 5/4: Wild, or half-wild scrab cattle, called by stockmen ‘flash cattle’.
flash harry (n.) (also flash alf) [generic Harry; best known as the nickname of the conductor Sir Malcolm Sargeant (1895–1967) and as the spiv n. character played by George Cole (b.1925) in the ‘St Trinian’s’ films in the 1950s]

an ostentatious, loudly dressed and usu. ill-mannered man; also as adj.

[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 29 Jan. 🌐 THOMAS HUGHES (policeman, H 52) [...] I told him I wanted him concerning some jewellery from the West-end—he said, ‘I suppose it is the rings; I bought them of Flash Harry, in the Lane, for 4l’.
[UK]Herts. Guardian 17 May 5/5: Wilson [...] known at Liverpool and Manchester by the cognomen of ‘Flash Harry,’ has been convicted of fraud.
[UK]York Herald 17 July 5/4: Among those committed for trial [...] are Harry Capstick, alias ‘Flash Harry’.
[UK]Bucks Herald 5 May 8/4: James Alford, alias ‘Flash Harry,’ who escaped from Kirkdale Gaol yesterday, was arrested today.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 Oct. 8/2: The Georgia Minstrels have finished their Hobart Town season. Richardson, ‘Flash Harry,’ who took them there, made a dead loss.
[Scot]Dundee Courier 16 May 5/8: Onion was a bad character, and was known as ‘Flash Harry’ and ‘Fagin the Second’.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 16 June 8/4: Harley was removed by force from the dock [...] shouting that he ‘would do 10 pennyworth’ (10 years penal servitude) for ‘Flash Harry’.
[Scot]‘Flash Harry of Savaii’ in Chambers’s Jrnl 800: I and the native at the bow-oar [...] pulled for all we were worth, just as ‘Flash Harry’ dropped on one knee and fired.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Nov. 15/2: The arrival of the mail is an event in towns west of the Big Trickle, and if ‘Flash Harry’ were to sneak in unobserved, the populace would be down on him.
[UK]Liverpool Echo 26 June 8/1: Prisoner was known as ‘Flash Harry’, and he was a persistent thief.
[UK]J. Lees-Milne Ancestral Voices diary 14 June (1975) 68: ‘This is Lord Brocket.’ B. [...] beamed, bowed, and received the homage of a dozen demi-mondaines and and flash-alfs during an impressive hush.
[Oth]D. Marechera House of Hunger (2013) [ebook] And she immediately clashed with Flash Harry by exclaiming [etc].
[UK]Barltrop & Wolveridge Muvver Tongue 94: A stlylishly dressed individual is a ‘Flash Harry’.
[UK]R. Hewitt White Talk Black Talk 39: They walk along the street [...] don’t move out of the way. All along the street. Right Flash Harrys.
[UK](con. 1956) C. Logue Prince Charming 199: ‘Tynan’s a flash harry,’ he said. ‘You can’t count on him.’.
[UK]Observer 18 July 33: The jury would naturally tend to believe an upholder of the law rather than a Flash Harry.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 1 Apr. 49: I always think BMWs and Audis are posers’ cars, but this doesn’t look too ‘Flash Harry’.
[UK]D. Seabrook Jack of Jumps (2007) 274: He pointed at Vaughan [...] and said, ‘Look at Flash Harry.’.
[Aus](con. 1943) G.S. Manson Coorparoo Blues [ebook] ‘So Flash Harry here [...] kicks up a stink, then next thing he’s gone’.
[Aus]G. Gilmore Class Act [ebook] ‘Where’s Flash Harry then?’.
flash jack (n.) [generic Jack]

a dandy, a swell; also attrib.

[Ire]Cork Examiner 15 Mar. 4/5: Resembling a pick-pocket and being remanded [...] till your friends can [...] prove you are not Flash jack, alias Bunkem, alias the Mizzler, alias Jockey Wide O, alias Slippery Joe [...] alias Conkey Dick.
[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 292: Flash Jack, with his great throat encircled by a bird’s-eye ‘Kingsman’ of irresistible pattern.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Golden Graveyard’ in Roderick (1972) 343: Jim Bently — a bit of a ‘Flash Jack’.
[UK]Burnley Exp. 9 Apr. 4/2: Lord and Lady Easem are the leaders of a gang of burglars [...] In order to throw off suspicion ‘Flash Jack’ (otherwise Lord Easem) makes love to Dolly Miffin.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 16 Jan. 6/5: A show, flash-jack sort of a Chow.
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 5 Mar. n.p.: The other man [...] caught him by the shoulder. ‘Not this time, Flash Jack,’ he said. ‘Are you coming quietly?’.
[Aus] ‘Flash Jack from Gundagai’ 🎵 I can do a respectable tally meself whenever I like to try / And I’m known around the country as Flash Jack from Gundagai.
[UK]Hastings Obs. 15 Aug. 7/2: The crooks are led by ‘Flash Jack’, an expert with the throwing knife.
flashman (n.)

see separate entry.

flash piece (n.)

a promiscuous young woman.

[UK]Sam Sly 28 Apr. 2/2: How is [...] your little flash piece, Mary G——? Have you done her out of the half-a-crown a week?
[US]W. McFee Pilgrims of Adversity 415: Quite a flash piece, that; one of those Frenchy tarts you see round the opera house in Havana.
[UK]Punch CCLXXIV 482: They wheeled in a flash piece called Lomie for him not long ago but he welcomed her in much the same way as Henry the Eighth welcomed Anne of Cleves.
[UK]B. Franklin Social Policy, the Media and Misrepresentation 115: She’s not pretty and vivacious, she’s not a flash piece in miniskirt and leather jacket.
flash toggery (n.) (also flash(y) togs) [toggery n. (1)/togs n. (1)]

1. smart, if ostentatious clothes.

[UK]‘Nocturnal Sports’ in Universal Songster II 180/1: Had just tipped the cove o the ken a muzzler [...] but in my bolt knocked down an' tumbled over an old voman’s oyster-stall, rolled my flash-toggery in the mud.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Oct. 444/2: He entirely eclipses all other huntsmen I have at any time seen; and without the slightest appearance of slang or flash toggery about him.
[UK]Hereford Jrnl 16 Apr. 4/1: Brown, whose general ‘turn out’ was of superior character [...] Richmond being also attired in ‘flash togs’.
[UK] ‘Those London Mots’ in Bang-Up Songster 39: In flashy togs so fine array’d.
[UK](con. 1737–9) W.H. Ainsworth Rookwood (1857) 178: Soon then I mounted in swell-street high, / And sported my flashest toggery.
[UK]Leeds Times 28 Jan. 8/4: Osborne’s own taste [...] does not develop itself in flash togs, cigars, or slang sayings.
[UK]Era 28 Dec. 4/1: Travers pleased the audience [...] by impersonating the coster in the ‘flash togs’ who sings ‘My native land is Whitechapel’.
[UK] ‘Blooming Aesthetic’ in Rag 30 Sept. n.p.: A Sunday-flash-togs young man, / A pocket-of-hogs young man.
[UK]Blackburn Standard 27 Jan. 3/4: Probably to a policeman anyone not in rags or ‘flash togs’ is of a gentlemanly appearance.
[UK]Hull Dly Mail 17 Aug. 1/8: Tourist: Why are you sailors so fond of being tattoed. Old Sea Dog: Well, it’s just like you wearin’ those flash togs.

2. an official garment, denoting rank or attainment, to which one is not entitled.

[UK]Worcs. Chron. 17 Apr. 2/5: Hoods or gowns or other flash toggery which they vend with their contemptible paper diplomas.

In phrases

flash as a rat with a gold tooth (adj.) (also flash as a chinky’s horse, flash as a Chow on a red bike)

(Aus.) extremely ostentatious.

[Scot]A. Pratt ‘Push’ Larrikinism in Australia in Blackwood’s Mag. July 38/1: The larrikin who owns a horse, dog, or cat bestows upon his pet the most superlative attention and affection, in which respect he resembles Chinamen, who are also wonderfully kind to animals. An Australian street proverb has in consequence arisen – ‘Flash as a Chinkey’s horse; fat as a larrikin’s dog.’.
[Aus]Sun-Herald (Sydney) 27 Aug. 59: Eddie [Coogan] is the ultimate lurkman [...] as flash as a rat with a gold tooth [GAW4].
[Aus]Bulletin 25 Aug. 53: Most Press descriptions of Grassby over the years had seemed to focus rather unnecessarily on his clothing, implying snidely that he was as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.
[[Aus]R.G. Barrett You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 70: Sophia was grinning like a rat with a gold tooth].
[Aus]H. O’Connor letter to Greyhound Lines, Inc. 14 Aug. 🌐 Fine – but what is to stop your slimy lawyers – each flash as a rat with a gold tooth, I have no doubt – from claiming that this second suitcase is ‘inadequate packing.’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 79: flash as a Chow on a red bike Ostentatious. A West Coast saying going back to the goldmining era, when a ‘Chow’ or Chinese man on a red bike was unlikely, for the Chinese kept a low profile.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read Chopper 4 176: I’ll be the bloke in the front row looking as flash as a rat with a gold tooth.
flash up (v.) (US)

1. to produce, to hand over.

[US]E. Townsend Chimmie Fadden Explains 33: He flashed up a fiver.

2. of a woman, to dress showily, to use an excess of cosmetics.

[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 36: He was going to pretend to give the girl a break and, later, when he had got her flashed up good, start poncing on her.

3. to act in an exhibitionist manner.

[UK]T. McClenaghan Submariners II i: I’ve had enough from this lot without you flashing up.
half-flash and half-foolish

(UK Und.) a phr. describing one who exists on the fringes of the underworld and pretends to a far greater involvement than they actually have.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 245: half-flash and half-foolish: this character is applied sarcastically to a person, who has a smattering of the cant language, and having associated a little with family people, pretends to a knowledge of life which he really does not possess, and by this conduct becomes an object of ridicule among his acquaintance.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. 94/1: ‘What’s the matter with that dog’s eyes?’ quoth the master, who is, as often as not, half flash and half foolish.
quarter flash and three parts stupid (also quarter flash and three parts foolish)

a phr. describing a fool who claims to have a small degree of fashionable worldliness.

[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 183: Do not let it be said of you, sneeringly, that you are quarter flash and three parts FOOLISH!!!

Based on criminality

In compounds

flash beak (n.)

(UK und.) a corrupt magistrate.

[UK]Observer (London) 29 Nov. 4/2: The presence of these men was permitted by the flash beaks of the country.
flash blowen (n.) (also flash blone) [blowen n. (1)/blone n.]

(UK Und.) a dishonest woman; spec. a receiver of stolen goods.

[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 62: We fenced the dross-scout, drag, and chats with Mary Kidd, [...] a well known flash-blone.
[UK] ‘A Blow-Out Among The Blowen’ in Secret Songster 15: There was ev’ry flash blowen, and ev’ry flash man.
[US]J.F. O’Connell 11 Yrs in New Holland 42: Rossi’s eyes dilated, when a bellowser,* a flash blowen, entered, simpering and smiling to the audience.
[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 316/1: Flash Blowen, A dishonest woman.
flash boy (n.)

(UK Und.) a swindler.

[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 342: When a deplorable accident happens, such as a colliery explosion or the capsizing of a lifeboat, members of the ‘flash boys’ gang’ immediately seize the opportunity of getting up subscription books, apparently duly authenticated by some well-known personage [...] in aid of the widows and orphans.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 102: This Sartorelli bloke, and his flash boys and bookies, all plastered hair and pointed shoes, they puts cobs on me, they do.
flash car (n.)

(US police) a car driven by an undercover agent and which is consistent with his undercover persona.

[US]B. McCarthy Vice Cop 236: Vitaliano was sitting in a flash car [...] a biscuit-brown Thunderbird with wire wheels and a roadster roof—any pimp would be proud to drive it, and that was exactly what Vitaliano was pretending to be.
flash case (n.)

1. (also flash crib) a public house frequented mainly by criminals [case n.3 (1)/crib n.1 (6)].

[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 21: An Account of the Flash-Cases [...] Henry Andrewson [...] keeps a Case, and all the Traders in general use his House, he is an Old Thief.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 241: flash-crib, flash-ken [...] a public-house resorted to chiefly by family people, the master of which is commonly an old prig, and not unfrequently an old-lag.
[UK]G. Smeeton Doings in London 78: The victims of flash-cribs, and brothels.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 164: The flash cribs [...] the Irish rows in the neighbourhood of St Giles’s; the low but honest pot-house.
[UK]Crim.-Con. Gaz. 10 Aug. 266/3: [advert] Larks of London, or the Swell’s Guide to all the Flash Cribs, Harmonic meetings, Free and easies, Night Houses [...] the exploits of a Cove vot knows life.
[UK](con. 1724) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) 244: I’ve been to all the flash cases in town.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 197: ‘Softly lads, softly,’ whispered Rann [...] ‘we are not in a flash crib remember.’.
[UK]Yokel’s Preceptor [title page]A Joskin’s Vocabulary Of the Various Slang Words now in constant use [...] all the New Moves and Artful Dodges practised at the present day, in all the most notorious Flymy Kens and Flash Cribs of London!
[UK]H. Baumann ‘Sl. Ditty’ Londinismen (2nd edn) vi: Tell ye ’ow? Wy, in rum kens, / In flash cribs and slum dens, / I’ the alleys and courts, / ’Mong the doocedest sorts.

2. (US black) a satchel or bag that contains illegal drugs or any other contraband [SE case].

[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
flash chant (n.) (also flash chaunt) [chant n. (1)]

a song, or poem, filled with criminal slang.

[[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 241: flash-song a song interlarded with flash words, generally relating to the exploits of the prigging fraternity in their various branches of depredation].
[UK] Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Flash Chaunt. A song interlarded with flash.
[UK]Egan Finish to the Adventures of Tom and Jerry (1889) 242: He can throw off a flash chaunt in the first style; patter slang better than most blades in the town.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 62: The Fair Maid of Seven Dials – A Flash Recitation.
flash cove (n.) (also flash covess) [cove n. (1)/covess n.]

1. a thief.

[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 142: She shall stump up the rubbish before I leave her, or give me the address of her flash covey.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 3 Nov. 4/3: We shall see no more of their innuendoes [...] than of a flash cove who has caught sight of a police officer while drawing forth a countryman’s handkerchief.
[US]Ladies’ Repository (N.Y.) Oct. VIII:37 316/1: Flash Blowen, a dishonest woman. Flash cove, a dishonest man.
[UK]P.H. Emerson Signor Lippo 82: They were on the hunt for flash coves, of course.

2. a landlord or landlady, esp. of a criminal public house.

[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: flash cove the keeper of a house for the reception of thieves.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: Flash-cove, or covess The master or mistress of the house.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open .
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.

3. a receiver of stolen goods.

[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 58: We fenced the scout with a fellow named Alexander, an auctioneer and flash cove. [Ibid.] 62: We fenced the dross-scout, drag, and chats with Mary Kidd, [...] a well known flash-blone.
[UK]G. Kent Modern Flash Dict. Flash-cove, the keeper of a place for the reception of stolen goods .
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
flash cull (n.) [cull n.1 (4)]

(UK Und.) one who enjoys the society of the underworld.

[UK]C. Hitchin Regulator 19: The Cull is flash, alias that is he Associates himself with Thieves.
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxvii: A Flash Cull One that keeps company with Thieves.
[UK]Whole Art of Thieving .
[UK] ‘My Name Is Sam Dodger’ in Gentleman Steeple-Chaser 38: My father before me, he was a sly codger / And first introduced me to my flash pals.
flash dough (n.) [dough n. (1)]

(US Und.) counterfeit money, used in a confidence trick.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 71/1: Flash-dough. A roll of banknotes, often a wad of paper with a large note wrapped outside, used in confidence swindles to impress the victim.
flash drum (n.) [drum n.3 ]

1. a criminal lodging house; a tavern frequented by thieves.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum 33: flash-drum. A drinking-place resorted to by thieves.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 16/1: The first place we stopped at was Brighton [...] and knowing some ‘flash drums’ in the town, we made for them.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 29: Flash Drum, a thief’s tavern.

2. a brothel.

[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. (2nd edn).
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
flash gentry (n.)

thieves as a group.

[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford 168: Rarely have the gentry flash / In sprucer clothes been seen. [Ibid.] 294: On a row of shelves, were various bottles of the different liquors generally in request among the ‘flash’ gentry.
[UK]Barrère & Leland Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant.
[UK]J. Caminada Twenty-Five Years of Detective Life II 108: I used to [...] hang about the corners, watching the ‘flash gentry’ turn out for a walk, either on business or pleasure bent.
[US] in J.R. Bryer Fitzgerald the Critical Reception (1978) 234: I can’t just see the greatness of Gatsby. Like all the flash gentry, he was rather a bonehead.
flash girl (n.) (also flash hen, flash madam)

1. a prostitute.

[UK]Sporting Mag. Sept. XIV 327/2: Some flash-girl in the market.
[UK] ‘Sandman Joe’ No. 23 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: While turning of his head about, / He spied his flash gal Sally.
[UK] ‘Last Night the Dogs did Bark’ in Old Tom of Oxford Radical Harmonist 10: I thought myself cock of the game, / ’Til this tawdry flash-hen, devil fetch her, / Came over and knock’d up my fame.
[UK]‘The Merry Flash Girl’ in Rummy Cove’s Delight in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) III 100: Come equip thee, equip thee, my merry flash girl, / Through the streets lit with gas-light to stray.
[UK] ‘Love in the City’ in Bentley’s Misc. Aug. 131: That ’ere flash madam hit me in the withers.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 27 Nov. 22: He said he had thrown it down the water-closet—the water-closet—was searched, but no money found—he said a flash girl had pawned the other part of the property.
[UK]H. Goldsmid Dottings of a Dosser 81: ‘You’ve been drinkin’ at the Queen’s ’Ead and the Princess Alice,’ she shrieked. ‘You’ve been treatin’ yer flash girls, an you never offered me a drop.’.

2. a female thief.

[UK] ‘My Name Is Sam Dodger’ Gentleman Steeple-Chaser 38: [I] sported my flash girl [...] We both went a smashing, and did it up brown too, / And lots of bad silver we us’d for to pass.
flash house (n.) [SE house/house n.1 (1)]

1. a public house frequented mainly by the underworld.

[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 7: We reached within four Miles of Whitchurch [...] and lay at a Flash house.
[UK]Ordinary of Newgate Account 1 Apr. 69/1: He robbed a man at a house in Chick-lane, an old resort for such fort of people, called in their cant trem [sic], a flash-house.
[UK]Bacchanalian Mag. 42: At every Flash-house we’re known.
[UK]Kentish Gaz. 31 Aug. 2/5: Mr. Russell [...] occasionally resorts to the well known flash-house, in Moor-street, to listen to conversation ol those who resort there.
[Scot]Life and Trial of James Mackcoull 17: He generally passed an hour or two at a flash-house near the head of Drury Lane.
[UK]G. Smeeton Doings in London 39: It is a game in very great vogue among the macers, who congregate nightly at the flash-houses.
[UK]J. Grant Sketches in London 385: They were [...] notoriously in the pay of the keepers of flash-house, and other places for the concoction of schemes for the commission of crime.
[UK]Western Times 20 Aug. 3/3: If he lodge at the Rhinoceros, or the Vulture, or any other ‘flash’ house, his landlady is desired not to inform him that the ‘beaks’ will [...] call shortly.
[UK]Sinks of London Laid Open 9: Those equally instructive articles on [...] the Connection between the Thieves and the Flash houses.
[UK]C. Knight Cyclopeadia of London 268: ‘Bill Sparkes could patter flash ten times faster and funnier than that cove,’ said an élève of the flash-house.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 14 Apr. n.p.: A list of respectable shanties! ‘Flash’ houses positively not included.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum 33: flash house A house of resort for thieves.
[Aus]Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW) 23 July 4/1: The tragical event by which so many lives were sacrificed [...] and by which so I much consternation was created in the ‘flash houses’ of this city [...] will go far, woebelieve, to abolish the brutalizing practice of prize-fighting.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 29: Flash House, a rogue’s resort.
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 539: He and Captain Bolitho had unearthed Macdougall Bingham in a flash West-end house.
[Aus]Sport (Adelaide) 22 Mar. 12/1: They Say [...] That Jim W [...] has shifted into a flash house [...] and is too flash to work now.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

2. a brothel.

[UK]Satirist (London) 13 Nov. 254/1: Jerry Hawthorn, of the Flash house in Jermyn-street.
[US]C.A. Bristed Upper Ten Thousand 34: That is Mary Black who keeps the greatest flash-house in Leonard Street.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 420: You won’t get a virgin in the flash houses.
flash-Jack (n.) [jack n.9 (1)]

(UK Und.) a woman with connections to the underworld.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 44/1: He hung around the Equestrian, a public house [...] where the ‘flash-Jacks’ of that side of the Thames, frequented. Among them was one, a good-loking girl, named Polly Williams.
flash ken (n.) [ken n.1 (1)]

1. (also flash cane, ...kane) a criminal lodging house.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Flash-ken, a House where Thieves use, and are connived at.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 205: [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK](con. 1710–25) Tyburn Chronicle II in Groom (1999) xxvi: A Case, or a Flash Ken A House frequented by Thieves.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[US] ‘A Pickpocket’s Song’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 20: Day-light being over, / And darky coming on, / We all go to the Flash ken, / And have a roaring song.
[UK] ‘Drunk in the Night’ No. 26 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: We all bundled in to a flash ken to drink.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 7: My want of knowledge of the flash kanes, where I might fence my snib’d lays. [Ibid.] 33: We stopt in the house all day, which was a flash cane, kept by Robert Inglis.
[UK]Lytton Paul Clifford I 140: One Peggy Lobkins, who keeps a public-house, a sort of flash ken, called the Mug, in Thames Court.
[UK](con. 1724) W.H. Ainsworth Jack Sheppard (1917) 227: Blueskin would be at a flash-ken near the Chase.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 123/2: Flash ken, a house where thieves and vagrants resort.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 29: Flash Ken, a thief’s boarding house.
[UK]C. Whibley ‘Deacon Brodie’ A Book of Scoundrels 238: The thief, also, found him irresistable [...] the flash kens of Edinburgh murmured the Deacon’s name in the hushed whisper of respect.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: The haunt of such men is the padding-ken, a side pocket, a flash ken, or a flash panny.

2. a brothel.

[UK] ‘Ye Rakehells So Jolly’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 25: Ye rakehells so jolly, who hate melancholy; / And love a full flask and a doxy; [...] While we live, till we die, to some flash ken let’s fly.
[UK]R. Barham ‘Lay of St. Aloys’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 243: Those troublesome ‘Swells’ / Who come from the playhouses, ‘flash-kens,’ and ‘hells’.
[UK]New Sprees of London 8: Unless you can fight, and well too, never boast of your powers in any flash ken, or perhaps you may be called upon to exercise them.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 3 Dec. 43/1: Next when he strummed flash kens within, / A slave chained to the galley; / Operas, rag-time – through the din / He pined, till he cased his violin, / For his ‘piece’ in Cut-throat Alley.
flash kiddy (n.) [kiddy n. (1)]

a dandified young thief.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 248: kiddy: a thief of the lower order, who, when he is breeched, by a course of successful depredation, dresses in the extreme of vulgar gentility, and affects a knowingness in his air and conversation, which renders him in reality an object of ridicule; such a one is pronounced by his associates of the same class, a flash-kiddy or a rolling-kiddy.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[Aus]Colonist (NSW) 13 Aug. n.p.: John Elliott better known as ‘flash Kiddy Elliott’, was indicted for stealing, or receiving and knowing them be stolen several sums of money.
[UK] ‘The Blowen’s Ball!’ in Bang-Up Songster 4: There was thirty flash kiddies or more, / A couple to every w---e.
[UK]New Sprees of London 11: [A]s for clerks, apprentices, shopmen, and the like [...] attempting to dress like flash kiddies, they only make themselves fools.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 25 Nov. 2/5: I’ll have all such flash kiddies as you up when I catch an opportunity.
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ Robbery Under Arms (1922) 256: You’d better set up a night-school, Dick, [...] and get Billy and some of the other flash kiddies to come.
flash lady (n.)

(UK Und.) a prostitute.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 274: throw off to talk in a sarcastical strain, so as to convey offensive allusions under the mask of pleasantry, or innocent freedom; but, perhaps, secretly venting that abuse which you would not dare to give in direct terms; this is called throwing off, a practice at which the flash ladies are very expert, when any little jealousies arise among them.
flashman (n.)

see separate entry.

flash mob (n.) [mob n.2 (3)]

(orig. Aus. Und.) a gang of thieves or confidence tricksters (cite 1840 may refer to prostitution).

[Aus]Colonial Times (Hobart, Tas.) 10 Mar. 4/3: The Flash Mob at the Factory consists [...] of a certain number of women, who, by a simple process of initiation, are admitted into a series of unhallowed mysteries [...] With the fiendish fondness for sin, every effort, both in the Factory, and out of it, is made by these wretches, to acquire proselytes to their infamous practices.
[Aus]J.P. Townsend Rambles in New South Wales 231: These men were known [...] as the ‘flash mob.’ They spoke the secret language of thieves.
[UK]G.R. Sims Mysteries of Modern London 44: He doesn’t want him to fall into the hands of a rival gang. So he has put a spy on to watch, and inform him if any overtures are made to the ‘pigeon’ by any other members of the ‘flash mob’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
flash moll (n.) [moll n. (3)]

a thief’s female companion.

[UK] ‘Six Years in the Prisons of England’ in Temple Bar Mag. Nov. 534: ‘Hoisting’ [...] that’s a much better game, but it requires a fellow to be rigged out like a ‘toff,’ and they generally have a ‘flash moll’ with them at that job.
flash mollisher (n.) [mollisher n.]

a female criminal or habitué of the underworld; a prostitute.

[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 241: flash-mollisher a family-woman.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 210: He bid fair, in a short time, to become as prime an article [...] as either of the above heroes [...] to chaff with the flash Mollishers.
flash note (n.) (also flash screen, flash ’un)

1. a counterfeit banknote; see also sense 3

[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 18 Sept. 425/1: When I arrived at the Bull in Aldgate I had a two-penny flash note, which I had had for five or six years.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 17 Sept. 436/2: I found four flash notes in the prisoner's box, a bill for 395l., and some imitations of 2l. notes.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 555: The purse of course is found to contain counterfeit money—Flash-screens or Fleet-notes.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 3 July 686/1: I searched him and found a flash-note for 50l. in his pocket-book, and this pair of trousers in his hat;.
[US]N.-Y. Daily Advertiser 15 July 1/7: [headline] Flash Notes.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 26 Nov. 222: I took the prisoner at Chalton Fair, and found four handkerchiefs on him [...] a purse, a flash note for 5l., a pair of scissors, a knife, tobacco-box, and key.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 8 Apr. 886: [He] took this other purse from under a handkerchief, and gave it me—it had four bad sovereigns in it, and a 5l. flash note—I thought it was not right.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 29 Jan. 354: I afterwards searched him, and found two medals, one of the size of a sovereign, and the other of half a sovereign, and also a flash note.
[UK]Coventry Times 13 July 4/7: While holding a roll of flash notes in his hand, he pretended that he wanted to go out.
[UK]Sportsman 3 Jan. 2/1: Notes on News [...] [M]arked cards, loaded dice, and flash notes.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 24 Nov. 6: I went up and said to Anderson ‘I am a constable of the Metropolitan Police, and you have a flash note here’—he said ‘I don’t know what you mean’—I said ‘Oh yes, you do; no nonsense about it’.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 June 9/1: From his ‘mug,’ gait, and speech, it was easy to see that Redwood had more than a passing acquaintance with men who bought old lead from young larrikins, ‘smashed’ flash notes, and planned suburban burglaries.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 29: Flash [...] the reverse of what it appears, as ‘flash notes’.
[UK]B.L. Farjeon Betrayal of John Fordham 289: If Louis ’ad ’ad a chance of ’andlin’ the flash notes as I counted ’em out it’d been all up the orchard with us.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 30 Sept. 5/5: She were just a old procuress, / Allers after little gells. / Pays with flash ’uns; why? you wonder.
[UK]Marvel III:61 4: I wonder how soon our bearded friend will be arrested for uttering flash notes?
[UK]R.T. Hopkins Banker Tells All 51: All contained orders for flash or forged notes.

2. a piece of paper that at first glance looks like a banknote; a forged paper of any kind, e.g. licence, certificate.

[UK]Westmorland Gaz. 19 Jan. 2/5: The silly fellow readily caught the bait, handed opver his five sovereigns, and received in exchange — a flash note!
[UK]Cases [...] in the Court of King’s Bench 1837-8 536: There can be no doubt that a flash note would be admissible to prove the fraud.
[UK]Jurist 557/2: There is not a word about the prisoner having ‘knowingly’ passed off the flash note as a Bank of England note.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Henry Dunbar 32: He took out the little packet of bank-notes. ‘I suppose you can understand these?’ he said. The languid youth [...] looked dubiously at his customer. ‘I can understand as they might be flash uns,’ he remarked, significantly.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 19 Nov. 95: I took Main to the station, searched him, and found this flash note for 30,000l., these five medals imitating sovereigns, 14s. in silver, 4d. in copper, a purse, and a knife.
[UK]Illus. Police News 3 July 4/1: A flash note for £10 [...] and five £10 flash notes, two £5 flash notes.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 28 May 258: ’I have a 10l. note here,’ taking out what appeared to be a 10l. note, ‘if you can give me change for that?’ [...] — he did not open the note. (This was a flash note on the ‘Bank of Engraving’) .
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘Jackson’ Dagonet Ditties 111: At Epsom he passed a flash note in the ring.
[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 28 May 673: I saw him find this lady's card-case in a box there, and in it was this piece of crisp paper, which looks like a flash note—he handed it to me; it is really a sort of advertisement of a confectioner.
[Aus]‘Price Warung’ Tales of the Old Regime 9: Neither was Mr. Pounce ignorant of the process of manufacturing ‘flash ’uns’.
[UK]Marvel III:61 4: I wonder how soon our bearded friend will be arrested for uttering flash notes?
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 40/2: Flash note, a counterfeit bank note.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[NZ] (ref. to 1844) R.P. Hargreaves From Beads to Banknotes 40: The Debentures, popularly known as ‘government rags’, were given various nicknames such as [...] ‘flash notes’.
flash panny (n.) (also flash panney) [panny n.2 (1)]

1. a public house used primarily by criminals.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Flash Panneys. Houses to which thieves and prostitutes resort.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[UK]Lytton Pelham III 298: Why, you would not be boosing till lightman’s in a square crib like mine, as if you were in a flash panny.
[UK]‘The City Youth’ in Out-and-Outer in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 139: And in some flash panny he ventures for to sit, / Where he learns to patter flash.
[US] ‘Scene in a London Flash-Panny’ Matsell Vocabulum 102: The flash-panny was now in the full tide of successful operation.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc.
[UK]Sl. Dict.
[US]Trumble ‘On the Trail’ in Sl. Dict. (1890) 43: [as cit. 1859].
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 29: Flash Panny, a house of thieves.
[Aus]Argus (Melbourne) 20 Sept. 6/4: The haunt of such men is the padding-ken, a side pocket, a flash ken, or a flash panny.

2. a brothel.

[UK]Lex. Balatronicum n.p.: Next for his favourite mot the kiddey looks about, And if she’s in a flash panney he swears he’ll have her out.
flash roll (n.) (also flash money) [roll n. (2)]

a sum of money that is revealed as proof that a person, esp. a narcotics dealer or other criminal, is willing to do business; the money is ‘flashed’ before the client.

[US]Wash. Times (DC) 14 Sept. 10/3: Flash roll — Bills wrapped around apper to make a big showing; used by confidence men.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK]G.F. Newman You Flash Bastard 188: When Sneed had need of some monkey money for a flash-roll on a job [...] rather than risk losing ten-grand, which would have been very difficult to raise in the circumstances, he had gone to a friend in security with one of the big banks.
[US]R. Campbell Alice in La-La Land (1999) 14: You take the five, all I’ve got left is a flash roll.
[US]D. Simon Homicide (1993) 543: Showing off his flash money and telling everyone about how good is drug connections were.
[US]C. Hiaasen Native Tongue 285: There had been vague accusations of unprofessional conduct [...] something about a missing flash roll.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 83: [...] made everybody lie on the ground while Mel tied ’em up [and] took their flash roll.
[US]G. Yach Las Vegas... a Cops View 46: One, other incident, involved needing to get a large ‘flash roll’ of money late at night. The money was to be used to prove that we were big money people.
flashtail (n.) [tail n. (5)]

1. a prostitute; esp. one seeking wealthy customers who will be robbed by her pimp.

[UK] ‘Six Years in the Prisons of England’ in Temple Bar Mag. Nov. 538: ‘I heard a bloke talking about a picking-up moll [...] What did he mean by that?’ ‘Oh! that’s a very common racket. He meant a “flash-tail,” or prostitute who goes about the streets at nights trying to pick up “toffs”.’.

2. (US black) any prostitute.

[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
flash thief (n.)

(US) a confidence trickster.

[US]C.S. Montanye ‘Perfect Crime’ in Penzler Pulp Fiction (2007) 351: You haven’t got enough imagination to be a flash-thief or a con.
flash wad (n.)

(US Und.) a wad of notes with high denomination bills displayed at top and bottom but only singles in between.

[US]J. Stahl Happy Mutant Baby Pills 79: I pulled out my paper-clipped flash was. A fifty in front and back. Nineteen singles in between.
flash ware (n.)

(US Und.) items that are bought legally but sold as ‘stolen goods’ in order to excite the customer.

[US]S. Sterling ‘Ten Carats of Lead’ in Black Mask Stories (2010) 226/2: Phony ‘flash wares’ bought at auction [...] for sale to overwise suckers.

In phrases

on the flash lay [lay n.3 (1)]

(UK Und.) involved in some form of criminality.

[UK]G.A. Sala Gaslight and Daylight 354: The sooner you peels off them cloth kicksies the better. There ain’t no wear in ’em, and they’se no good, if you ain’t on the flash lay.