Green’s Dictionary of Slang

bull’s eye n.

[? the size and shape]

1. the vagina; joc. euph. coined by John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester (1647–80).

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.
[UK]Farmer Vocabula Amatoria (1966) 50: burette, f. The female pudendum; ‘the bull’s-eye’.

2. a crown or five-shilling (25p) piece [later use is SE].

[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew.
[UK]Hell Upon Earth 5: Bull’s-Eye, a Crown.
[UK]J. Hall Memoirs (1714) 11: Bull’s-Eye, a Crown.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) 203: Bulls-eye, a crown or five shillings.
[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]Life and Character of Moll King 12: She flash’d half a Slat, a Bull’s-Eye, and some other rum Slangs.
[UK]B.M. Carew Life and Adventures.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ A Dict. of the Turf, The Ring, The Chase, etc. 19: A crown was formerly ‘a bull’s-eye’.
[UK]Chelmsford Chron. 31 Jan. 4/7: The young man charged with robbing [...] Wm. Polley of a £5 note, two half sovereigns, and some bull’s eyes.
[UK]Duncombe New and Improved Flash Dict.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 37: Young Alf slashed down a bull’s eye for the drink.

3. a large, round sweet.

W. Hone Every-day Bk I 51: Hard-bake, brandy-balls, and bulls’-eyes.
[UK]T. Hood ‘Sonnet’ Works (1862) II 360: I thrilled when lollipops were hawked about; / How pleased to compass hard-bake or bull’s-eye.
[UK]T. Hughes Tom Brown’s School–Days 72: Where huge bull’s-eyes, and unctuous toffy might be procured.
[UK]R. Broughton Cometh up as a Flower 394: Like little naughty boys whose pockets have been found bulging with [...] the succulent bull’s-eye in church.
[UK]‘F. Anstey’ Voces Populi 74: Look, his little cheek is quite bulged out. I shouldn’t wonder if he had a bull’s-eye in it.
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 134: ‘Why,’ I cried, ‘why do I always accept a bull’s eye [...] when some little toddler offers me one?’.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘The Sweetshop Girl’ Sporting Times 5 Mar. 1/4: Scored a ‘bull’s-eye,’ did that sweetshop girl.
[UK]Liverpool Echo 2 Aug. 4/6: Bull’s-Eyes for Britons, Sweet Manufacturer’s Evidence at Tribunal. [...] — What is the nature of your supply to the Army? — Bull’s Eyes.
[UK]M. Forrest Hibiscus Heart 238: Arline [...] proffered a bull’s-eye.
[UK]F. Jennings Tramping with Tramps 180: Some nice bull’s-eyes.
[UK]J. Cary Herself Surprised (1955) 235: I always had a chocolate bar, or a paper of bulls-eyes in my pocket.
[UK](con. 1930s) A. Higgins ‘Sodden Fields’ in Helsingør Station and Other Departures 49: My younger brother and I sucked bull’s-eyes.

4. a bull’s-eye lantern.

[UK]R. Nicholson Cockney Adventures 13 Jan. 85: The voice issued from a policeman, the light from his bull’s-eye.
[US]R.H. Dana Two Years before the Mast (1992) 184: The forecastle [...] was large, tolerably well lighted by bulls-eyes.
[UK]Sam Sly 6 Jan. 4/1: [T]hat shabby-looking lamp over the door of his house [...] is not much bigger than a police-man’s ‘bull's eye’ .
[UK]J. Hannay Singleton Fontenoy II 31: An odd little place lighted by a ‘bull’s-eye’.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 5: Their blue and red bulls’-eyes look like huge gems.
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 2/2: Some two or three policemen, with their bull’s-eyes, and still more effective truncheons, speedily restored order.
[US]Galaxy (N.Y.) Aug. 170: ‘This bullseye is an old acquaintance here,’ said the detective, ‘and as its coming most always means “somebody wanted,” you see how they hide.’.
[UK]J. Payn Thicker than Water I 111: He could open his eyes to some purpose, when their effect was that of a policeman’s bull’s-eye suddenly turned on a detected thief.
[UK]E. Pugh ‘The Inevitable Thing’ in Keating Working Class Stories of the 1890s (1971) 123: And no policeman’s bull’s-eye ever shines down here.
[UK]Marvel XIV:344 June 14: One of the constable’s bull’s-eyes displayed a rent in his overcoat-sleeve.
[UK]Marvel 22 Jan. 3: Opening the shutter of his bullseye, he flashed the light on him.
[Aus]‘Henry Handel Richardson’ Aus. Felix (1971) 218: The well-meaning constable who [...] turned on his bull’s eye for you in a fog.
[UK]R. Llewellyn None But the Lonely Heart 334: This copper come [...] testing the doors and putting his bullseye on the locks.
[US]C. Hamilton Men of the Und. 320: Bull’s-eye, A flashlight which throws a thin beam of light.

5. a thick, old-fashioned watch.

[US]J. Neal Down-Easters I 78: Lugging out a heavy silver watch [...] a genuine bull’s eye with a huge copper logging chain.
[US]O.W. Holmes Professor at the Breakfast Table 39: A friend of mine had a watch given him [...] a ‘bull’s eye,’ with a loose silver case.
[US]J.C. Duval Young Explorers 217: As soon as Uncle Seth had finished his yarn, he slowly extracted his big bullseye silver watch from his fob.