Green’s Dictionary of Slang

strike n.

1. (UK Und.) a sovereign, a guinea [SE strike, to mint a coin].

[UK]Hell Upon Earth 6: Strike, Twenty Shillings.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 14: Strike, Twenty Shillings.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: strike. Twenty shillings.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795) n.p.: strike, a guinea.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK]Life and Trial of James Mackcoull 26: He could not at that moment command a strike.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]‘The Christening of Little Joey’ in Corinthian in Spedding & Watt (eds) Bawdy Songbooks (2011) IV 45: I have done one cull twice, with between fifteen and sixteen strike in his sack.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.

2. a watch [SE strike, to ring the time].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

3. (US) a failure to seduce [baseball imagery].

[US]E.H. Babbitt ‘College Words and Phrases’ in DN II:i 65: strike, n. In phrase ‘go on strike’, to be infatuated.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 186: The girl stared back at him, and [...] turned and went through a doorway marked ladies. ‘Strike one!’ Seven said, laughing.

4. (US Und.) an arrest and the prison sentence that follows; thus two strikes, two terms in prison; three strikes, three arrests and the mandatory life sentence that follows in many states [baseball imagery, three strikes and you’re out].

[US]T.A. Dorgan in Zwilling TAD Lex. (1993) 85: (IS: Listening to a crape [sic] hanger tell the cashier how tough the going is these days) Yep he’s always got 2 strikes on him.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 267: You know I ain’t pink, and I got two strikes against me now.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 191: You know why California has all the prisons? Why it has all the three-strikes-and-you’re-out?

5. (US) any position of weakness [baseball imagery].

[US]New Republic 26 Jan. 336/1: All movements for social good will [...] have two strikes on them before they start [OED].
[US]D. Dressler Parole Chief 111: [We want] to send you out of here into something that won’t start you off with two strikes against you.
Food, Drug [...] Law Jrnl 26 425: Most manufacturers enter these hearings with the feeling they have two strikes on them before they start.

6. (US prison) a disciplinary charge [baseball imagery].

[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 20: Even two strikes puts you out of the lineup at the Big L.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

strike breaker (n.)

(US) a woman who takes advantage of a temporary estrangement to date the male of a couple.

[US]Edwardsville Intelligencer (IL) 14 Sept. 4/4: The Flappers’ Dictionary [...] Strike breaker: Young woman who goes with her friend’s steady while there is a coolness.

In phrases

make a strike (v.) [orig. skittles/bowling imagery, later baseball imagery]

to be lucky, to be successful.

[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 46: If I leave town lookin’ seedy an’ come back swell, they know ’t I’ve made a strike somewhere.
[US]W.M. Raine Brand Blotters (1912) 14: Right about now he’s ridin’ the grub line, unless he’s made a strike somewhere.
[US]J. Jones From Here to Eternity (1998) 168: If we don’t make a strike, we’ll hitchhike back.
make a ten-strike (v.) [bowling use ten-strike, the knocking over of all ten pins]

(US) to do well, to succeed.

[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 46: Make a ten-strike if you know how, and cut!
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 37: You ain’t a-goin’ to make any ten strike if you follow that dope.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 197: He suggested that Mr. Roxworthy could make a ten-strike with the Tall-Grass Statesman by showing him a Swell Time.