Green’s Dictionary of Slang

badger n.1

[SE badger, an animal which is nocturnal and carnivorous; the prostitute/thief also ‘devours’ their victims after dark; senses 9 to 12 are less ‘aggressive’ versions of sense 7]

1. [early 18C] (UK Und.) a pimp.

2. [early 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a thief who specializes in robbery on the riverbank, after which he murders the victim and disposes of the corpse in the water.

3. [early 19C+] (US) an old man [? the ill-temper of the animal].

4. [mid-19C+] (US) the nickname of the natives or inhabitants of Wisconsin, the Badger State [the early Wisconsin lead-miners (badgers) lived in subterranean diggings alongside the seams of lead they were mining; for detailed discussion see R.H. Thornton, An Amer. Glossary (1912) I pp.32–3].

5. [mid-19C+] a thief who rifles the pockets of a man who is currently engaged with his accomplice, a prostitute.

6. [mid–19C–1940s] (US, also badge) a prostitute, esp. one who participates in a scheme to rob her clients.

7. [1930s] (US Und.) a man who dresses as a woman in order to exploit other men for money.

8. see badger game

In compounds

badger-crib (n.) [crib n.1 (6)]

[mid-19C–1900s] a brothel that specializes in robbing its clients.

badger game (n.) (also badger lay) [SE game, scheme, intrigue; lay n.3 (1)] [mid-19C+] (orig. US)

1. (also badger) the ensnaring of a client by a woman, often a prostitute, and his subsequent robbery, either by the woman herself or more often by her pimp, posing as an ‘outraged boyfriend’; the man often emerged, while the pair were in flagrante, from a hidden door or panel in the bedroom wall.

2. in ext. use, a confidence trick based on exploiting the victim’s interest in a woman.

badger house (n.) [house n.1 (1)]

[mid-19C–1900s] (US) an establishment, often a brothel, where the client is robbed.

badger-man (n.) (also badger game man)

[late 19C+] (Aus./US) the accomplice of a prostitute or female confidence trickster who tricks her clients.

badger moll (n.) (also badger girl) [moll n. (1)]

[late 19C-1900s] (US) a woman, often a prostitute, who tricks her client.

badger worker (n.) (also badger game worker) [SE worker/worker n.1 (1)]

[late 19C–1940s] (US) a prostitute who tricks her clients; and allows them to be robbed by a supposed ‘busband’ or ‘brother’ thus badger work.

In phrases

growl at the badger (v.)

[1970s+] to perform cunnilingus.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

badger-box (n.)

[late 19C] (Aus.) ‘a roughly-constructed dwelling’ (Morris, Austral English, 1898).

badger-gassing (n.)

[1990s+] (UK juv.) an especially foul-smelling breaking of wind.