1. [mid-19C] (US campus) a trick, a hoax, a stratagem.
2. [mid-19C–1960s] a telegram [SE in 20C+].
3. [late 19C+] a privately delivered warning or piece of information [note Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin wialis, a gossip, a matchmaker a psychic, f. SE wireless].
4. [1910s] (US tramp) articles constructed of stolen telegraph wire and sold in the street.
5. [20C] (US Und., also wire game) ‘a racing swindle in which the con men convinced the victim that with the connivance of a corrupt Western Union official they could delay the race results long enough for him to place a bet after the race had been run, but before the bookmakers received the results.’ (Maurer, 1940); also attrib.
6. [1920s+] (US) a telephone.
7. [1930s] (US prison) a guard who does favours for the inmates.
8. [1940s] (Aus.) a scolding, a reprimand.
9. [1940s+] (US black) the gossip circuit, the ‘grapevine’; usu. in phr. on the wire
10. [1960s+] any form of electronic eavesdropping device [abbr. SE wire-tapping].
11. [1960s+] the penis; usu. as pull one’s wire
12. [1990s+] (US) the Internet, connected by a modem.
13. [1990s+] (drugs, also wiring) a vein used for the injection of drugs.
14. [2000s] (US prison) a message, a phonecall.
Pertaining to information
see separate entry.
see wire-puller n.1
[1910s+] (US) to receive or give a warning or message, to inform or be informed.
[1960s] (US) to keep under surveillance.
[1900s–50s] (US prison) information.
[1930s+] generally known, going the rounds of gossip and rumour.
[19C+] to exert influence, esp. behind the scenes; thus wire-pulling/wire-working n.
[1960s+] (US black) to circulate gossip or other information.
[late 19C+] (Aus./N.Z.) the honest truth; also used as an excl. to emphasize the truth of an assertion.
Pertaining to masturbation
see separate entry.
[1940s+] to masturbate.
[1990s+] (Irish) to provoke, to fool someone.
[1950s+] to masturbate.
SE in slang uses
see chair, the n.
[late 16C–18C] (UK Und.) a trick that ensnares a victim; thus wire-drawn, tricked in this way; wiredrawer, a trickster.
see sense 5 above.
[1900s–30s] (Aus.) a boundary rider.
[1910s] (US Und.) an execution chamber, using the electric chair.
[late 19C–1930s] (US) a confidence trickster who claims that he can intercept the wire bringing racecourse results and thus cheat the bookmakers; thus wire-tapping, the swindle itelf; also attrib.
[20C+] approaching the crux, the climax; to the very limit.
[1940s] (US black) to obtain something, e.g. money.
[1990s+] (US) to lose control.
[1930s+] at the very last minute.