Green’s Dictionary of Slang

butcher n.1

1. the penis.

[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues.

2. as a (negative) job description.

(a) (US) a surgeon, a doctor, esp. an inefficient surgeon.

[US](con. 1843) Melville White-Jacket (1990) 252: Away, butcher! you disgrace the profession.
[UK] ‘Six Years in the Prisons of England’ in Temple Bar Mag. Feb. 384: The ‘butcher’ gives me good treatment.
[UK]Eve. News (London) n.p.: One man who had put his name for the ‘butcher’ or croaker, would suddenly find that he had three ounces of bread less to receive, and then a scene would ensue [B&L].
[US]M. Levin Reporter 396: She had to go to Dr. Stein. You know that butcher?
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 44: butcher.–A physician or surgeon, especially one of the staff of a prison or charity hospital.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 37/2: Butcher. 1. (P) A prison doctor or dentist.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 46: A lot of scar tissues in there for you. Septum operation and was that guy a butcher!
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 793: butcher – A prison physician or surgeon.
[US]D. Ward Day of Absence in Black Drama 201: You’ve got ’nuff hacks and quacks there to find out! [...] You mean Nigras know somp’um ’bout drugs you damn butchers don’t?!
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 102: Graveline’s a butcher . . . a hacker. Everybody in town’s mopped up after him.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 104: Croaker A prison doctor. (Archaic: butcher, pill roller).

(b) in playing cards, a king [his warlike image or joc. ref. to the SE occupation].

[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 105: When card-playing in public-houses was common, the kings were called butchers, the queens bitches, and the knaves jacks. The latter term is now in general use.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 13 Aug. 14/1: ‘Pass!’ [...] ‘I’m on me pat!’ [...] ‘Ace!’ (Bang!) ‘Butcher!’ (Thump!) ‘Nine!’ (Wallop!).
[Aus]W.H. Downing Digger Dialects 15: butcher — The king in a pack of cards.
[Aus](con. WWI) A.G. Pretty Gloss. of Sl. [...] in the A.I.F. 1921–1924 (rev. t/s) n.p.: butcher. The king in a pack of cards.

(c) (Aus./US) a barber, esp. a second-rate barber, who cuts people when shaving them.

[US]A. Berkman Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist (1926) 458: ‘You take that chair,’ pointing toward the second barber, a former boilermaker, dreaded by the men as a ‘butcher’.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl. 23: butcher, n. A barber.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 37/2: Butcher. [...] Any crude or inept operator, as a barber, card player, etc.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 793: butcher – A barber.

(d) (US prison) the chief warder.

[US]C.G. Givens ‘Chatter of Guns’ Sat. Eve. Post 13 April; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 132: butcher, n. Captain of the prison guards.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).

(e) (US) a bungler, an incompetent, irrespective of profession.

[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 91: Vince, in my book you are a butcher.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 37/2: Butcher. [...] Any crude or inept operator, as a barber, card player, etc.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Current Sl. I:3 2/1: Butcher, n. One who breaks into a safe in a crude manner.
C. Case Down the Backstretch: Racing and the Amer. Dream 127: The ‘butcher,’ in direct contrast to the horseman, mistreats and misuses the [race] horse in violation of basic knowledge of horse anatomy and good conditioning practices.

3. stout ale, punning on the SE description of the stereotypically rotund butcher.

[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 6 May 4/8: ‘What’s yours?’ ‘A butcher.’ ‘Same here’.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

In compounds

butcher shop (n.)

(orig. US ) a hospital.

[US](con. 1860s) W. Goss Recollections of a Private 228: They were going to put me on a stretcher, but I told them to take up the reb and I’d walk, with a little help, up to the doctor’s butcher shop.
[US]E.S. McCartney ‘Sl. and Idioms of World War’ Papers Michigan Academy of Arts & Sciences 10 283: butcher shop, the operating room; the surgical department.
[US]M. Hargrove See Here, Private Hargrove 83: Butchershop—a dispensary or hospital.
[US]Murtagh & Harris Cast the First Stone 91: Ma said, ‘[...] bring him to th’ Harlem Hospital.’ I said, ‘Ma, I cain’t do it. I cain’t take him there. It’s a butcher shop.’.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]D. Dempsey ‘Lang. of Traffic Policemen’ in AS XXXVII:4 267: butcher shop, n. A first-aid station or a hospital emergency ward.
butcher’s plums (n.)

(chunks of) meat.

[UK]London Dly News 2 Dec. 2/2: Overlooked by Mr [John Camden] Hotten [...] ‘butcher’s plums’ (a sea phrase for the bones of meat).
[UK]Ashton Wkly Reporter 4 Nov. 5/4: A quantity of butcher’s plums were made into a large pie.
[UK]Bristol Mercury 15 Mar. 7/3: There was a full attendance of farmers and dealers; and a brisk trade in most kinds of cattle [...] for butchers plums of choice quality there was a ready sale.
[UK]Wright EDD I 463/2: e.Dur.1 ‘Who lives next door?’ ‘The butcher. That’s where we get our butcher's plums.’ Only heard once.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

butcher’s dog (n.) [the butcher’s dog can ‘lie by the beef without touching it’]

a married man.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Butchers Dog. To be like a Butchers Dog [to] lye by the Beef without touching it. a simile applicable to most married men.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn) n.p.: butcher’s dog. To be like a butcher’s dog, i.e. lie by the beef without touching it; a simile often applicable to married men.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Egan Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
butcher’s meat (n.) [it remains the butcher’s property, if only in theory, until fully paid for]

meat bought on credit.

[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Butchers Meat to Eat Butchers Meat to Eat Meat not paid for. A Journey man Hatter asking his Master for his Weeks Wages, by way of urging the Payment said he must otherwise have Butchers Meat for his Sunday Dinner, which he did not like. The Master, supposing he meant to have Poultry reproved him for his Extravagance and Daintynessto which he answered that the Meat was the Butchers.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).
butcher’s picnic (n.) (also butcher’s shop) [stereotype of the rumbustious butcher]

(Aus.) a noisy party or other occasion that lacks decorum.

[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 240: Billy [...] rushing in mad for glory, loot, murder, anything. He got it! ‘“The Nugget,” by Gawd!’ exclaimed he, aghast. ‘My Gawd, I’ll cave. Wot a butcher’s shop.’.
K. Smith OGF 140: Behave yourself, Gadley, and shut your trap — this isn’t a butchers’ picnic [AND].
J. Goode Aus. Cars and Motoring 38: In Australia, sedan or saloon car racing was always popular. The ‘butchers’ picnic’ of two dozen sedans of every shape, size and colour setting-off in two rows at Fisherman’s Bend [...] was something which brought everyone to the rails [AND].
[Aus]S. Macintyre Militant 137: Terms used to be bandied around like curses at a butchers’ picnic.
butcher wagon (n.) (also butcher’s cart)

an ambulance.

[US]G.W. Peck Peck’s Sunshine 18: The smallpox flag was hung in front of his house and he was riding in a butcher wagon to the pest house.
[UK]Coventry Herald 14 Mar. 4/7: The man [...] dreamed that a flag was hung in front of his house, and that he was riding in a butcher’s wagon to the pest house.
[UK]J. Cary Horse’s Mouth (1948) 263: So I sent for the ambulance [...] And we pushed her into the butcher’s cart.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 104: Butcher Wagon An ambulance.

In phrases

fit as a butcher’s dog (adj.)

of a woman, very attractive; of a man, highly fit.

[UK]G. Carins Diary of a Legionnaire 7: [He] had served with the US Marines [...] Loud, outspoken, fit as a butcher’s dog .
[Scot]I. Welsh Decent Ride 375: She’s sittin thaire, lookin as fit as a butcher’s dug.