Green’s Dictionary of Slang

make n.2

[make v.]

1. a successful robbery or swindle.

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Binstead & Wells A Pink ’Un and a Pelican 161: Good Gordon’s beer! [...] Ernest Wells! An’ both of us at the same good old game — the ‘make’!
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 133/1: Make, n. 1. Professional thievery in general. [...] 2. A specific robbery, especially by the craftier methods, as in confidence games, picking pockets, etc.

2. (US Und.) the proceeds of a theft or robbery.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 331: If we’re going to ‘slough’ our ‘make,’ we’ve gotta keep our eyes open for them guys.

3. a seduction.

[US]R. Chandler ‘Red Wind’ in Red Wind (1946) 20: ‘It’s not a make,’ I said. ‘You’re in trouble.’.

4. (US) a description or an identification of a suspect, esp. through fingerprinting, photofit or other forms of police records.

[US] in Gangbusters [radio script] We got a make on his prints [W&F].
[US]‘Ed Lacy’ Men from the Boys (1967) 74: All Lawrence remembers is dimly seeing a guy that looked like Dick Tracy and [...] I think that Dick Tracy stuff is a good make.
[US]H. Ellison ‘Have Coolth’ Gentleman Junkie 128: Derry Maylor was about medium height ... this is the make on him, so dig.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 36: Captain, first let me give you a short make on our witness here.
[US](con. early 1950s) J. Ellroy L.A. Confidential 141: No way police agencies could subpoena records, no make on incoming calls.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 61: That put enough numbers on the slate for me to get a make on the fake Samaritan [...] The guy was a wolf.
[US]J. Ellroy ‘Jungletown Jihad’ Destination: Morgue! (2004) 334: I called the DMV [...] A clerk caught the ‘DeFrzz’ stats and coughed up a make.

5. (US) kissing, necking.

[US]Baker et al. CUSS 155: Make, Have a To neck.

6. see easy make under easy adj.

In phrases

lay the make on (v.)

(US) to become sexually aggressive.

[US]Current Sl. IV:1 10: Lay the make, v. To become sexually aggressive.
on the make (orig. US)

1. looking to benefit oneself, ambitious, keen to do whatever will be most useful for one’s own advancement or profit.

[UK]M. MacFie Vancouver Island and British Columbia 416: The slang in vogue in the mining regions is imported mainly from California, and is often as expressive as it is original. [...] A mean and greedy man is ‘on the make’.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 54: They had a soft thing of it [...] They were on the make, continually.
Talford. An Affair at the — Club 29: What would the Bowery boy call right? His mottto in life is, ‘I’m on the make’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 17 Mar. 1/6: Everyone appears to be ‘on the make’ in this sordid age, when all are for [...] themselves.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Aug. 24/2: ’Ome doggy journal, Our Dogs, struck trouble by offering a reward, and ‘no questions asked,’ for a lost hound, whereat some caitiff ‘on the make’ set the 40-year-old Larceny Act in motion and got £50. Leave was, however, given to appeal.
[UK]‘Ian Hay’ Lighter Side of School Life 224: A newly elected Member of Parliament [...] rarely if ever addresses the House during his first session. He leaves that to Radical thrusters and Scotsmen on the make.
[UK]Kipling ‘The Janeites’ Debits and Credits (1926) 159: One of ’em was a curate—the Reverend Collins—always on the make an’ lookin’ to marry money.
[UK]M. Allingham Mystery Mile (1982) 308: Since we’re all on the make [...] I’ll give you a piece of information for your first fifty.
[UK]J. Cary Horse’s Mouth (1948) 298: I told you I was on the make.
[US]C. Himes Crazy Kill 11: She worked in the chorus line [...] and she looked strictly on the make.
[UK]G. Melly Owning Up (1974) 224: The producers [were] fed up with bandleaders on the make who were willing if necessary to kiss their rings.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 11: Past boarded-up stores and pushers on the make.
[UK]T. Blacker Fixx 18: The yob on the make.
[US]G. Plimpton Truman Capote 444: He thought everyone was just like him: made up, on the make, malicious.
[UK]Observer Rev. 30 Jan. 2: In N.Y., where almost everyone is on the make, you’re judged solely according to your value as a contact.

2. engaged in theft or swindling.

[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 226: go on the make—Begin a career of crime.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 133/1: Make, n. [...] 3. ‘On the make.’ Actively pursuing a criminal career; ready to participate in any lucrative criminal venture.
[US]Lait & Mortimer USA Confidential 5: Farmers are on the make like everyone else, to rob the railroads, beat banks and gyp consumers.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 54: Everyone was on the make, out to stitch her up.

3. seeking sexual activity.

[US]Bismarck (ND) Trib. 3 Nov. 4/4: A New York correspondent [...] had a dream of going down to the bay [...] to interview the Jersey Lily, who used lots of slang, and told him she was ‘on the make.’ But this was only a dream.
[US]J. Lait Broadway Melody 73: Francis Warriner, the best known ‘on-the-make’ party aroun’ Broadway.
[US]J.P. McEvoy Hollywood Girl 42: Of course he’s on the make and what of it, all men are.
[US]I. Shulman Amboy Dukes 23: A kid who was definitely [...] on the make.
[US]W. Brown Run, Chico, Run (1959) 27: Other cats, they’re on the make – that’s plain enough.
[Aus]‘Geoffrey Tolhurst’ Flat 4 King’s Cross (1966) 18: Anybody who tipped me at the Green Cat was usually drunk or on the make.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 112: [She] was talking with a guy who I knew was always on the make.
[US]B. Moyers Listening to America 97: She was clearly on the make.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 390: tomcat. A male who is on the make or, as a verb, to chase women, from the name of the hero of a bestseller of 1760.
[US]T. Dorsey Florida Roadkill 108: Two men on the make walked up to the secretaries.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 25: Whoa now, Beth on the make, a good sign.

4. (US Und.) of a police officer, willing to be bribed.

[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 104: ‘Are you on the make?’ ‘What have you to offer?’ ‘You can drop to a big sum.’.
run a make (on) (v.)

(US police) to identify a suspect.

[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972) 163: run a make [...] Conduct a police check on a person [...] done by radio.
[US]J. Wambaugh Choirboys (1976) 95: Pulling the hand mike outside to run a make.
[US]J. Wambaugh Secrets of Harry Bright (1986) 17: I couldn’t afford to pay them and one day one of your motor cops ran a make on me and put me in jail.
put the make on (v.)

1. (US) to assess.

[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 144: You always say, when you meet somebody new, the first thing you do is put the make on them, and if the figures are okay, level with them.

2. (US) to make sexual advances.

[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 130: He’s still putting the make on those kids, oh Shelley!
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 14 4: That was the first guy ever put the make on me.
[US]D. Goines Inner City Hoodlum 37: He wondered how many dudes were trying to put the make on her.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 47: Secure enough to tell Reynaldo Flemm to go pound salt every time he put the make on her.
[US]F. Kellerman Stalker (2001) 315: Has he ever put the make on you?
[UK]K. Richards Life 181: With English chicks it was you’re putting the make on her or she’s putting the make on you, yea or nay.