Green’s Dictionary of Slang

cold meat n.

[the first use of the term appears to be that of Grose himself, used as its definition: ‘A dead wife is the best cold meat in a man’s house.’ (1796); note WWI milit. cold meat ticket, an identity disc]

1. [late 18C+] (also cold clay, ...mutton) a corpse; thus occas. as v., to kill.

2. [1910s] one who has been knocked unconscious.

In compounds

cold meat box (n.)

1. [mid-19C+] (also meat box) a coffin.

2. [mid-19C] a hearse.

cold meat cart (n.)

[early 19C+] (US) a hearse.

cold meat party (n.)

[20C+] (US black) a funeral, a wake.

cold meat ticket (n.)

a milit. identity disc, worn when alive, attached to the soldier’s corpse when dead.

cold meat wagon (n.)

[late 19C–40s] a hearse.