Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rum adj.

also rome
[most prob. from SE Rome (and indeed could be spelled ‘rome’ until the 18C), which, as a city, meant glory and grandeur. Other origins include the Romany rom, a male gypsy, or the Turkish Röm, a gypsy, many of whom passed through the Ottoman Empire. Reversing the process, the Lat. Roma (Rome) is cognate with the Teutonic root hruod (fame) (as found in the names Roger and Roderick) which appears in the German Ruhm (fame)]
(orig. UK Und.)

1. [mid-16C–1920s] excellent, first-rate.

2. [mid-18C+] odd, peculiar, strange; thus rumly, rummily adv., oddly.

3. [19C] illicit, illegal, criminal.

4. [mid-19C] drunk, tipsy.

Pertaining to excellence

In derivatives

rumly (adv.) (also romley, rumely)

1. [early 17C] nimbly.

2. [mid-17C–early 19C] (also rumpsie, rumsie) excellently; well.

3. [late 17C] honestly.

4. [late 17C–18C] bravely.

rummish (adv.)

[mid-19C] fashionably, smartly.

In compounds

rum beak (n.) [beak n.1 (1)]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a corruptible magistrate.

rum beck (n.) [beck n.1 ] [early 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.)

a justice of the peace.

rum bing (n.) [bung n.1 (1)]

[mid-19C] (UK Und.) a full purse.

rum bite (n.) [bite n.1 ]

1. [late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a clever trick, a cunning ploy.

2. [late 18C–early 19C] a clever fraud or confidence trickster.

rum blowen (n.) (also rum blower, rum blowing) [blowen n. (1)/blower n.1 ]

[late 17C–18C] (UK Und.) a good-looking woman, esp. an attractive mistress or kept woman.

rum bluffer (n.) [bluffer n.1 ]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) an honest, jovial, accommodating alehouse-keeper or publican.

rum bob (n.) (UK Und.)

1. [late 17C–early 19C] a sharp, fly trick [bob v.1 (1)].

2. [late 17C–early 19C] (also bob) a neat, short wig [SE bobbed hair].

3. [late 18C–mid-19C] a smart young apprentice [bob n.2 ].

4. [early–mid-19C] a shop till.

rum booze (n.) (also rum boose, rum bose, rum bouze, rum bowse, rum bues, rome...) [booze n. (1)]

[mid-16C–19C] good drink, esp. good wine; thus rum boozing ken, a tavern.

rum-boozing welts (n.) [SE welt, a ridge or raised portion]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) bunches of grapes.

rum bub (n.) [bub n.1 ]

[late 17C–mid-19C] excellent liquor.

rum bubber (n.) [bubber n.1 (3)]

[late 17C–18C] a thief who specializes in stealing silver tankards from taverns.

rum buffer (n.) [bufe n.]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a valuable and attractive dog.

rum bughar (n.) (also rum bugher) [bugher n.]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a valuable and attractive dog.

rum bung (n.) [bung n.1 (1)]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a full purse.

rum chant (n.) (also rum chaunt) [chant n. (1)]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a song.

rum clank (n.) [clank n. (1)]

[18C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a gold or silver cup or tankard.

rum clout (n.) [clout n.1 (1)]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a handkerchief made of silk or other high-quality material.

rum cly (n.) [cly n. (2)]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a full pocket, i.e. of money.

rum cod (n.) [cod n.3 (3)]

[late 17C–early 19C] a full purse; a round sum of money.

rum cole (n.) (also rum gelt, rum ghelt, rum gilt) [cole n. (1)/gelt n.] [late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.)

1. new money.

2. ‘Medals, curiously Coyn’d’ (B.E.), presumably counterfeit.

rum-cove (n.) (also rome cove) [cove n. (1); lit. a ‘good man’]

1. [17C] (UK Und.) a leading beggar, whether through strength or intelligence.

2. [17C–mid-18C] a rich man.

3. [17C–early 19C] a successful villain.

4. [late 17C–mid-18C] (UK Und.) the hangman.

5. [late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a good-natured landlord.

6. [early 19C] an attractive man.

7. [late 19C] (UK und.) an admirable, trustworthy individual.

rum covey (n.) [mid-19C]

1. an attractive man.

2. a sharp fellow.

3. (Und.) a trustworthy, admirable individual.

rum cull (n.) (also rome cull, rum cully) [cull n.1 /cully n.1 ; note mid-19C theatrical jargon rum cull, the manager] (UK Und.)

1. [mid-17C–early 19C] a gullible, rich fool, open to fraud.

2. [late 17C] a man who is very generous to his mistress.

3. [18C–19C] (also rum coll) an intimate friend; a good man.

4. [mid–19C] (UK Und., also rum cull of the casey) the owner or manager of a lodging–house, or a low drinking place .

rum cuttle (n.) (also room cuttle) [cuttle n.; SE cuttle, a knife; ult. OF coutel]

[16C–early 17C] a sword.

In compounds

rum dab (n.) [dab n.1 ]

[late 17C–early 18C] (UK Und.) a very successful sharper, pickpocket and thief.

rum degen (n.) (also ram dagen, rum job, rum tilter, rum tol) [degen n./SE jab/tilter n./tol n.1 ]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a sword with a silver hilt or a hilt or blade inlaid with silver.

rum diver (n.) [diver n. (3)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) an accomplished pickpocket.

rum doxy (n.) (also rum dell) [doxy n. (2)/dell n.]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a beautiful woman or attractive whore.

rum drag (n.) (also rum dragger) [drag v.1 (1a)]

[late 18C] (UK Und.) a thief who poses as a drunkard and persuades a carter to let him lead his horse while he gets some sleep; the ‘drunkard’ then re-addresses the parcels that are on the wagon, which will therefore be delivered to houses where his confederates can collect them .

rum drawers (n.) [drawers n.]

[late 17C–18C] (UK Und.) stockings made of silk or some similar quality material.

rum dropper (n.) [SE drops of liquor] (UK Und.)

1. [late 17C–mid-19C] (also dropper) a vintner.

2. [early 18C] a landlord.

rum dubber (n.) [dubber n.1 ]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) an expert pick-lock.

rum duchess (n.) [duchess n.1 (1)]

[late 17C–mid-18C] (UK Und.) a jolly, buxom woman.

rum duke (n.) [generic use of SE duke] (UK Und.)

1. [late 17C–early 19C] a notably handsome man.

2. [late 17C–early 19C] a tough villain who is sent by a bankrupted individual to guard their possessions, while they leave home and take refuge from arrest in a criminal rookery.

rum fam (n.) (also rum fem) [famble n. (2)]

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

2. [late 19C] (UK Und.) a diamond ring.

rum feeder (n.) [feeder n. (1)]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a large silver spoon.

rum file (n.) [file n. (1)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) an expert pickpocket.

rum flash (n.) [flash n.1 (2)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a large wig.

rum fun (n.) [fun n.2 ]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a clever trick, a cunning fraud.

rum gagger (n.) [gagger n.1 (1)]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a confidence trickster who raises money on the basis of telling fraudulent tales of supposed suffering at sea, at the hands of the pirates of the Barbary Coast and so on.

rum gill (n.) [gill n.1 (2)]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a well-off man who thus presents a target for robbery.

rum glimmer (n.) (also rum glimmar, rum glymmar, rum glymmer) [glimmer n. (1)]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) the head of the link-boys, who were employed to carry a link to light passengers along the street.

rum gloak (n.) [gloak n.]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a well-dressed man.

rum gutlers (n.) (also rum gutters) [SE guzzle] (UK Und.)

1. [late 17C–mid-19C] Canary wine.

2. [18C] good eating.

rum hopper (n.) [SE hopper, one who moves quickly and efficiently, who ‘hops to it’]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) someone who draws ale or wine at a tavern.

In compounds

rum ken (n.) [ken n.1 (1)]

1. [mid–late 18C] (UK Und.) a large, substantial house.

2. [mid–late19C] (UK Und.) a well-known criminal public house or brothel.

rum kicks (n.) [kicks n.1 ]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) breeches that have been adorned with silver or gold embroidery.

rum kiddy (n.) [kiddy n. (1)]

[late 18C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a popular, successful young thief.

rum lap (n.) [lap n.2 (2)]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) good liquor.

rum mizzler (n.) (also mizzler) [mizzle v. (1)]

1. [late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) someone who is clever at escaping difficult situations, whether physically or through words; thus tip someone the rum mizzle, to give someone the slip.

2. [mid-19C] a general derog. term.

rum mort (n.) (also rome mort, rum mot) [mort n. was orig. coined for Elizabeth I]

1. [mid-16C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a queen.

2. [early 17C–mid-19C] a great lady; an attractive woman.

3. [mid-17C–mid-19C] a prostitute.

4. [mid-18C] a rich woman.

rum-muns (n.) [muns n. (1)]

[mid-18C] (UK Und.) a good-looking man.

rum nab (n.) [nab n.1 (3)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a well-made, fashionable hat, a beaver hat.

rum nantz (n.) [nantz n.]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) the best quality French brandy.

rum ned (n.) [neddy n.1 (2)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a very foolish rich man.

rum ogles (n.) [ogles n.]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) bright, clear eyes.

rum one (n.)

see separate entry.

rum pad (n.) [pad n.1 ] [early 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.)

1. (also rom pad, rome pad) the highway.

2. a highwayman.

rum padder (n.) (also rom-padder, rome-padder) [padder n.1 ]

1. [late 17C–mid-18C] a horse.

2. [late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a highwayman.

rum patter (n.) [patter n. (3)]

[late 18C] (UK Und.) criminal slang, cant.

rum peck (n.) [peck n.1 (1)]

[mid-17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) good food.

rum peeper (n.) [peeper n. (2)]

1. [late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a silver mounted looking glass.

2. [late 18C–mid-19C] in pl., bright eyes.

rum prad (n.) [prad n. (1)]

[late 19C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a highwayman’s horse.

rum prancer (n.) [prancer n. (1)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a beautiful, well-made horse.

rum quids (n.) (also rum quidds) [quid n.] (UK Und.)

1. [late 17C–early 19C] a large amount of stolen money, or a share thereof.

2. [late 18C–mid-19C] a ‘good’, i.e. not counterfeit guinea.

rum ruff peck (n.) [ruff peck n.; Westphalia ham was considered to be of the best quality]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) Westphalia ham.

rum snitch (n.) [snitch n.1 (2)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a hard blow on one’s nose.

rum snooze (n.) [snooze n. (1)] [late 18C]

(UK Und.) a sleep induced by alcohol.

rum snoozer (n.)

1. [late 18C] (UK Und.) one who falls asleep in a tavern and is robbed.

2. one who sleeps soundly.

rum speaker (n.) [speak v.]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a good haul of booty.

rum squeeze (n.) [SE squeeze] (UK Und.)

1. [late 17C–mid-19C] a good measure of drink distributed among the fiddlers at a wedding or similar event [a few drops squeezed out].

2. [late 18C] a crush at the theatre; its members are susceptible to pickpockets [a crush].

rum strum (n.) [late 17C–early 19C]

1. a pretty young strumpet [strum n.2 ].

2. a long wig [strum n.1 ].

rum swag (n.) [swag n.1 (1)]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a shop full of expensive goods and thus worth robbing.

rum Tom Pat (n.) [tom pat n.1 ]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a clergyman.

rum topping (n.) [SE topping]

[late 17C–early 19C] (UK Und.) a first-rate or brand-new wig.

rum twang (n.)

[late 18C] (UK Und.) a silver stock buckle.

Rum ville (n.)

see separate entry.

rum wipe (n.) (also rum wiper) [wipe n. (3)/wiper n. (1)]

[late 17C–19C] (UK Und.) a handkerchief made of silk or other high-quality material.

Pertaining to eccentricity

In derivatives

rummish (adj.)

[19C] odd, unsatisfactory.

In compounds

rum beggar (n.)

[1900s] (US Und.) the lowest rank of street beggar.

rum bow (n.) [SE bowline]

[late 18C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) rope stolen from a royal dockyard.

rum bug (n.) [bug n.1 (1)]

[late 19C] (Aus.) an important (or self-important) person.

rum cove (n.)

[mid-19C+] an odd or eccentric character.

rum duke (n.)

[late 18C–early 19C] an odd, eccentric, showy man.

rum flicker (n.) [flicker n.1 ]

[late 17C–18C] (UK Und.) a poor quality or ‘ordinary’ glass.

rum maund (n.) (also rum mawnd, rum maunder, rum maundy) [maund n. (2)]

[late 17C–mid-19C] (UK Und.) a beggar who poses as more stupid than they really are to encourage donations.

rum one (n.)

see separate entry.

rum phiz (n.) (also rum phyz) [phiz n.1 (1)]

[late 18C–early 19C] an odd-looking face.

rum touch (n.) [sense 2 + SE touch, with the implication of someone against whom one brushes up]

[19C] an odd, eccentric person; a strange affair.