Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bone v.1

[? the image of a dog finding and/or worrying a bone]

1. (UK Und.) to arrest, to seize.

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: Bone, to apprehend or seize. The cove is boned, and gone to the whit, i.e., the rogue is taken and carried to Newgate [...] The cull has boned the fen (for Fence), or bloss that bit the blow, i.e., the man has taken the thief that robbed his house, shop or picked his pocket. [...] Boning the Fence, i.e., finding the goods where concealed, and seized.
[UK]J. Dalton Narrative of Street-Robberies 12: After Branch was Bon’d.
[UK]Life of Thomas Neaves 31: They seldom or never happen to be bon’d, viz. taken.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict.
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Boned, seized apprehended, taken up by a Constable.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Dec. IX 164/1: And when death claims his due, like a merciless dun, / Let him bone me, who cares.
[UK]C. Dibdin Yngr Song Smith 109: With a drop of good stuff, / We should live long enough, / If they’d only just bone all the doctors.
[UK]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang. in McLachlan (1964) 228: boned: taken in custody, apprehended; Tell us how you was boned, signifies, tell us the story of your apprehension; a common request among fellow-prisoners in a jail, &c., which is readily complied with in general; and the various circumstances therein related afford present amusement, and also useful hints for regulating their future operations, so as to avoid the like misfortune.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 131: Sure enough you’re boned.
[UK] ‘The Blowing In Quod’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 40: And there stood a knock-me-down chap / A coming to bone poor me.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 June 1/4: I boned him by the neck.
[UK] ‘Wakefield Gaol’ in R. Palmer Touch of the Times 252: I’d bone the tout in half a crack And feed him well on skilly and whack.
[Ind]Delhi Sketch Bk 1 July 84/1: And shure its himself that some good green thay will bone!
[Aus]Adelaide Obs. (SA) 9 Mar. 2/8: [from Punch, London] [W]e have prigged a precious sight of gimcracks, and boned some valuable toggery.
[Ind]‘Aliph Cheem’ Lays of Ind (1905) 41: No Government owned it [i.e. an island] / A few years ago, / Till Great Britain boned it.
[US]Trumble Sl. Dict. (1890).

2. to rob, to steal .

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: I have Bon’d her Dudds, Fagg’d, and Brush’d, c. I have took away my Mistress Cloathes, Beat her, and am troop’d off.
[UK] ‘The Bucket of Water’ in Holloway & Black I (1975) 46: The cash that she bon’d for a Bucket of Water.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Boned [...] Stolen, Cant.
[UK] ‘Tom the Drover’ No. 30 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: Her Cull being leery he bon’d her before she got out of the room.
[UK] ‘Mister Grig and Miss Snap’ in A Garland of New Songs (13) 6: What a set of woes! / For the house-dog, in the freak, / Bon’d the bubble and the squeak, / And pussy ran away with the pettitoes.
[UK]Times 27 Mar. 3/4: It seems that in the slang Dictionary ‘to bone’ means to steal anything, and thus the plunder becomes ‘bonings.’.
[UK] ‘Bubble, Squeak, and Pettitoes’ Universal Songster I 7/1: For the house-dog in the freak / Boned the bubble and squeak.
[UK]Egan Bk of Sports 263: [note] Of vich side of the vay, I cannot say, but she bon’d it from a Tar.
[Ire] ‘Pat And His Leather Breeches’ Dublin Comic Songster 155: I found she’d boned my purse, / My watch, and leather breeches.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 16 Mar. 3/2: She was noticed with her sinistral paw to ‘bone’ the tortoiseshell sides and backs.
[UK]Dickens Bleak House (1991) 105: Egbert [...] demanded a shilling of me, on the ground that his pocket-money was ‘boned’ from him.
[UK]M.E. Braddon Trail of the Serpent 69: I’m blest if he hasn’t been and boned my mug. I hope it’ll do him more good than it’s done me.
[Scot]Chambers’s Journal Dec. 9 A Double Event 774: It would be a breach of confidence to tell you how it was arranged, but, after some haggling, it was arranged that, on the understanding that I gave up the securities, I was to bone the reward which the detectives had missed [F&H].
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Apr. 9/3: Nothing is safe from them. They have ‘boned’ my Claude Melnotte sword, my Major General’s ditto, ‘nailed’ my table cutlery, broken into our empty treasury chest, and even appropriated my last stick of Wigzell’s grease paint. All’s fish that comes to their net.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 14 Jan. 6/6: He takes him down with the confidence for another score and then bones (i.e. steals) his clock and tackle (i.e. watch and chain).
[UK] ‘Thieves’ Sl.’ Gent.’s Mag. CCLXXXI Oct. 349: Two prison inscriptions in the cells: A burst (burglary) in the City. Copped when boning the swag (booty).
[Aus]‘Rolf Boldrewood’ In Bad Company 110: They boned our swags, our horses, our grub, and our pack-saddles.
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 106: She bones my ’at an’ my clothes.
[Aus]L. Stone Jonah 90: Rats an’ mice! [...] They’ve boned the paper ter make their nests.
[Aus]Kalgoorlie West. Argus 21 Nov. 32/2: ‘Bone’ in old times (and in English schoolboy talk still) means [...] ‘to steal’.
[UK]M. Marples Public School Slang 8: Stealing or appropriating [...] bone.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

3. (US) to trick, to beat with dice.

[US]R. Waln Hermit in America on Visit to Phila. 2nd series 24: ‘An elegant six.’ [...] ‘I boned you there, my boy.’.
[UK]Satirist (London) 26 Aug. 279/2: EPITAPH ON CROCKFORD. / Beneath these stones Crockford's bones: / Old Nick has boned the swell, Sir. / The die he threw—but don’t look blue, Crock’s home was always H-ll, Sir.

4. (US/UK Und.) to interrogate, to question.

[US]C. Abbey diary 14 Sept. in Gosnell Before the Mast (1989) 74: He must needs ‘bone’ Sam about it.

5. (US) to betray, to inform against.

[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 10: He had a way of ‘boning on fellers’ – (more plainly, tale-telling) and currying favor with the master.

6. (US) to beg for; to raise money for a cause; thus boning n.

Greeley in Griswold Correspondence (1898) 53: Webb [...] has been round boring every big-bug in the State to bone for him.
[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[US]Daily Trib. (Bismarck, ND) 5 Sept. 11/5: I coaxed Phil out into the bushes and boned him for a game, two-bit ante.
[US]Ade Artie (1963) 34: [He] comes over an’ touches me for two cases. Now, you know you can’t go up and bone a stranger for stuff, can you? He knew me well enough to get the two.
[US]A.H. Lewis ‘Politics’ in Sandburrs 93: I’m goin to begin my money-bonin’ be givin’ a dinner.
[US]O.W. Hanley ‘Dialect Words From Southern Indiana’ in DN III:ii 115: bone, v. To ask, solicit. ‘He boned me for two dollars.’.
[US]Ade ‘The New Fable of Susan and the Daughter’ in Ade’s Fables 219: Jennie did not have the Face to bone him for anything more, but she longed in secret.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 439: Bone, (1) To persude. (2) To beg.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

7. (US campus) to charge with.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 24: bone, v. To charge with.

8. (US) to annoy, to infuriate.

[US]DN II 24: Bone [...] to bore [...] To worry.

9. to nag, to pester, e.g. for an unpaid debt.

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 24: bone v. To ask for, dun.
[US]H. Green Maison De Shine 278: An’ yet ev’ry ball an’ benefit gave fur parties in the perfession I git boned fur a contribution.
[US]W.R. Burnett Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 163: I wasn’t boning you, Dix [...] I was only saying.

10. (US) to solicit, to proposition.

[US]Howsley Argot: Dict. of Und. Sl.

11. (US teen) to victimize, to treat unfairly.

[US]Teen Talk Gloss. in N.Y. Daily News 25 Mar. n.p.: boned [...] given a bad grade.
[Aus]T. Spicer Good Girl Stripped Bare 322: To [...] those who boned me at Network Ten [...] I quote Monty Puthon: ‘I don’t want to talk to you any more [etc]’.

In phrases

bone the fence (v.)

to find out where goods have been hidden by a receiver and then steal them.

B.E. New Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: The cull has boned the fen (for Fence), or bloss that bit the blow, i.e., the man has taken the thief that robbed his house, shop or picked his pocket. [...] Boning the Fence, i.e., finding the goods where concealed, and seized.