Green’s Dictionary of Slang

kite n.

[SE kite, a bird of prey (Milvus milvus)]

1. a despicable person, one who preys on others.

[UK]Udall Ralph Roister Doister V iv: Roister Doister, that doughty kite.
[Scot]Polwart Invectiues Capitane Allexander Montgomeree and Pollvart in Parkinson (Poems) (2000) IX line 28: Turdfacit, ay chasit, almaist fyld for an thief, Meslie kyt and thou flyt deill dryt in thy gob.
[UK]‘A Kentish Lybell for A Keyte’ in May & Bryson Verse Libel 105: A soreing goes our Kentish Kyte / And checks to see the emptie luar.
[UK]Shakespeare King Lear I iv: Detested kite! thou liest.
[UK]J. Melton Astrologaster 33: It will do all the Compter-Kites as much good as the World can desire.
[UK]Beaumont & Fletcher Wit Without Money I i: Cramming of serving-men, mustering of beggars, Maintaining hospitals for kites and curs.
Mercurius Urbanicus 2-9 May 2: They have hatch’t a Company of ravenous Kites to pick out the Kingdomes eyes.
[UK]Otway Friendship in Fashion I i: Dam her, she’s the most affected amorous Jilt, and loves young Fellows more than an old Kite does young Chickens.
[UK]N. Ward Hudibras Redivivus I:11 17: Those Hawks and Kites / Those Carrion-Crows call’d Jacobites.
[Ind]Hicky’s Bengal Gaz. 24 Nov.-1 Dec. n.p.: It the Evidence [...] that governs the Verdict. The only danger is in giving too much Credit to the oaths of Wolves Kites and Vultures.
[UK]G.S. Carey ‘Loaves & the Fishes’ One Thousand Eight Hundred 43: And such is the ease with the kites of the law, / When they get a poor client once into their claw.
[UK]N&Q Ser. 6 IX 326 394: ‘My lord, [...] in your country (meaning England) the wind generally raises the kite, but with us,’ significantly looking at the gentleman of the bar, ‘the kite raises the wind’ [F&H].
[UK]‘Peter Corcoran’ ‘Fields of Tothill’ Fancy 72: She was adored by those who are the pink / Of that wild neighbourhood [...] While pamper’d by those red kites their recruitors.
[UK]J. Greenwood Wilds of London (1881) 313: The said thoroughfare was crammed full, chiefly of gulls making bets and kites taking them.
[US]J.S. Wood Yale Yarns 87: ‘Bounce de kite!’ screamed a sodden-looking woman.
[US] ‘Great Bond Robbery’ in Roberts et al. Old Sleuth’s Freaky Female Detectives (1990) 67/1: The Wall Street ‘kites’ are ‘hovering close in’ just now.
S. Rohmer Day the World Ended 103: All I know of this old trail [...] is what you can see. I got it from the highroad. I was covering the kite who went in.
[US]H. Ellison Rockabilly (1963) 159: If you take off and leave me I’m gonna be out in the open for them lousy kite bastards in the other room there.

2. the stomach [the stomach as an ‘eater’].

[Scot]D. Lyndsay ‘Supplication Against Syde Taillis’ in Laing Works I 131: I dreid rouch malkin die for drouth, / Quhen sic dry dusy blawis in hir mouth.
[UK]D. Lyndsay Kitteis Confessioun in Works (1879) I line 140: Thocht Codrus kyte suld cleve and birst [F&H].
[Scot]A. Montgomerie Invectiues Capitane Allexander Montgomeree and Pollvart in Parkinson Poems (2000) II line 754: Misly kyt! And thou flyt, I’ll dryt in thy gob.
[Scot]A. Ramsay Fables and Tales in Poems II (1800) 165: Whose kytes can streek out like raw plaider.
[UK]T. Whittell ‘Johnny Brecking’s Wedding’ Poetical Works 135: He slipt more that day into his kite, / Than would serve him for a whole month to —.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 190: A boatfu’ of sunkets for ye, that will mak a’ your kites rejoice.
[Aus]Australian (Sydney) 4 July 3/3: They blew out their ‘kites’ with the best of liquids and solids.
[UK]Flash Mirror 6: Bouncing. — Walking into a coffee-house, blowing out your kite till you cannot eat any more, flooring the shopkeeper and making your lucky.
[Ire] ‘He Was Such A Queer Old Man’ Dublin Comic Songster 204: I wanted one the lot to keep, / And fill their kites with scran.
[UK] ‘Sunday Trading Bill’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 115: Tho’ the swells may blow out their kites. / On jellies and tarts.
[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 333: ’Is pointer ’ad blowed ’is kite out wiv a good breakfast.
[UK]H. Champion ‘Boiled Beef & Carrots’ 🎵 From morn to night, blow out your kite, / On boiled beef and carrots.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 84: I kick him again and again and again in the kite until he goes limp.

3. as something that ‘flies away’.

(a) (also kyte) a cheque.

implied in fly a kite
[UK]M. Edgeworth Love and Law I ii: Here’s bills plenty – long bills, and short bills – but even the kites, which I can fly as well as any man, won’t raise the wind for me now.
[UK]C.R. Read What I Heard, Saw, and Did 138: He was tried for signing his friend’s name to a kite.
[UK]Binstead & Wells Pink ’Un and Pelican 201: His kites no longer floated on the zephyrs of Cork Street — wouldn’t even rise at all.
[Aus]Townsville Daily Bulletin (Aus.) 14 June 13: Among the criminal classes a cheque is chiefly spoken of as a ‘kite’.
[US](con. 1910–20s) D. Mackenzie Hell’s Kitchen 119: Kite ... cheque.
[Ire]J. Phelan Letters from the Big House 144: ’E says as ’is china bust a two-handful kite, Scotch jug, flutes the bogeys cause the jumper ses the moniker’s bent. Slung ’em the madam, an’ copped.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 82: The kite was for £550.
[UK]F. Norman Guntz 24: He would be delighted to bung me a kyte for a £100 advance.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dictionary’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/3: kite: A cheque.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 190: Kite Cheque: ‘Flying kites’ means encashing fraudlent cheques.
[UK](con. 1950s–60s) in G. Tremlett Little Legs 195: kite cheque.
[Scot]I. Rankin Wolfman 137: He’s in for fraud, tax evasion [...] naughty kites, I mean, bad cheques.
[Aus]R.G. Barrett White Shoes 127: I was in a racehorse scam with them [...] and left them with a dud kite.

(b) a promissory note.

Norwich Election Budget 61: CALEB QUOTUM alias the Bum-brusher of Pottergate Street, could perhaps inform you whether the Paper Kites are still flying by which he raised the wind for a certain Election. They were fastened by strings to the Stable Bank.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 5 May 4/1: A bargain concluded, either for ‘good london accepted bills of exchange [...] or a kite’.
[US]Morning Herald (N.Y.) 15 Aug. 2/4: A kite with a long tail, (many endorsers) is [...] ‘werry waluable — just as good as specie.’.
[UK]Leicester Chron. 4 Sept. 9/6: He was a noted hand at ‘toting up kites,’ and prided himself upon his calligraphy.
[UK]G.A. Sala Things I Have Seen II 38: A friend who, getting a ‘kite’ flown for a hundred pounds, received twenty-five pounds in cash [etc.].
[UK]‘Pot’ & ‘Swears’ Scarlet City 460: All he [i.e. a money-lender] desired was to find out if the gentleman had any ‘kites’ floating about.

(c) (UK tramp) paper; cigarette paper.

[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 267: One, who hawked ‘kite’ and ‘sticky’ (paper and ax) as an excuse for begging, was telling another, who was a cadger, which were the best houses to go to.
[Aus]V. Marshall World of Living Dead (1969) 83: They got me with a bit o’ ‘kite’ [...] I finds it down on the job, an’ whips it inter me shirt on the orf chance o’ gittin a bit o’ snout fer a fag.

(d) (US/Can. prison) a contraband letter or note smuggled into or out of prison.

[US]Matsell Vocabulum.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 42: Kite, a letter.
[US]H. Simon ‘Prison Dict.’ in AS VIII:3 (1933) 29/1: KITE. Outgoing underground letter.
[US]R.J. Tasker Grimhaven 204: We asked for candy, sugar, tobacco, anything that might be smuggled up; and the next evening our kites – letters – had begun to bring results.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl.
[US]J. Archibald ‘It Could Only Happen to Willie’ in Popular Detective Apr. 🌐 It meant only one thing to me—a kite from Fitzy.
[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1960) 195: They were sending kites out to contact their pushers—a kite is an illegal letter generally smuggled out by a guard.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 241: The bitch sent me a ‘kite’ this morning.
[US]E. Bunker Animal Factory 127: Fire a kite to that mouthpiece and see what he says.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US]Rebennack & Rummel Under A Hoodoo Moon 122: The kites float, transfer messages, keep everyone up to date about the latest news.
[US]Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July 🌐 Kite: Notes or letters. Any message passed to a prisoner.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 101/2: kite n. 3 a letter, usually unauthorised and uncensored, secretly carried out of the prison with an inmate.
[US]A.N. LeBlanc Random Family 129: They [...] wondered who would answer the letters they floated into the world – Tito called them kites.
[US] 17 Oct. 🌐 Part of Steinberg's job [...] was wrangling the front counter, a hangout spot, and scouring the books for contraband letters, known as ‘kites’.

(e) (US prison) any form of written document, note, memo etc used within a prison.

[US]G. Milburn ‘Convicts’ Jargon’ in AS VI:6 439: kite, n. A note or letter. ‘If I hear anything I’ll fly you a kite.’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 105: This kite boots me that my grand-uncle’s lifetime playmate has cut out to a cold meat party where she’s stashed in her deep six.
[US]T. Runyon In For Life 281: ‘I’d like to be placed on the nine o’clock outlist, seven days a week,’ I wrote on the kite.
[US]Ward & Kassebaum Women’s Prison 146: I was getting all these kites (notes).
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Pimp 290: It was a kite with two cigarettes and three matches folded inside.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 44: Stool pigeons [...] go ’round dropping kites on everybody.
[US]Maledicta V:1+2 (Summer + Winter) 267: Other terms commonly heard in prison life are [...] kite for message or letter, sometimes a secret one.
[US]E. Bunker Mr Blue 69: He had a kite folded tight. (A ‘kite’ is an unofficial note between convicts.).
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 67: If the tooth starts swelling up [...] then send us a kite and we’ll see about getting you some penicillin.
[US]P. Beatty Sellout (2016) 12: Like prisoners passing jailhouse kites, my clientele would surreptitously pass me their affirmations.

(f) a dud cheque, i.e. one that has insufficient funds to back it.

[US]Morning Courier and N.-Y. Enquirer 25 Mar. 2/1: Jem asks me what sort of money you give — I takes no checks or kite flyers, says he.
[UK]R. Barham ‘Merchant of Venice’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 47: Not ‘kites,’ manufactured to cheat and inveigle, / But the right sort of ‘flimsy,’ all sign’d by Monteagle.
[UK]Sporting Times 12 Apr. 1/4: [He] is committed to Holloway over a little ‘kite’ done for a friend.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 42: [F]lying kites, passing valueless cheques.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 45: Used to say that he’d been done for kites, but everyone reckoned it was for poncing.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 118/1: Kite, n. [...] 3. (Loosely) A forged check; (more accurately) a good check with insufficient funds on deposit to cover it.
[Aus]T. Ronan Moleskin Midas 35: It’s a kite, me lad! [...] Send it to the bank and it would come back like a nigger boomerang.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 53: I’d sooner have readies but you wouldn’t float a kite on me, would yer, Jim-Jim?
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Kite. 1. A forged cheque.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 101/2: kite n. 1 a cheque rendered invalid by lack of sufficient funds.

(g) (US) a letter.

[US]Nat. Police Gaz. (NY) 26 Oct. n.p.: [H]e might send a ‘kite’ and let his friends know.
[US] ‘Return of Honky-Tonk Bud’ in D. Wepman et al. Life (1976) 69: She sent a kite to every girl of the night, / From Egyptian to Eskimo.

(h) a document used by a tramp to facilitate begging.

[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 11 Feb. 7/5: Armed with a certificate as a ‘kite’, Joe called at every gentleman’s and clergyman’s house [...] and made a capital day out of it.
[UK]Leicester Chron. 5 July 12/5: Despite the loss of their cadging ‘kite’, Fred went through the town.

(i) (Aus.) a newspaper.

[Aus]Sun. Mail (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 20/8: Some ‘crook’ wandering casually in might say, ‘Piped anything in the kites?’ The underworldly are diligent readers of the newspapers, and no activity in their environs is allowed to escape their notice.
[Aus]Williamstown Chron. (Vic.) 1 June 6/4: Amusment was caused in literary circles last week when readers of one of Melbourne’s big ‘kites’ perused the ‘letter to editor’ column.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 33: Kite [...] newspaper.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Kite. 2. A newspaper or racing guide.
[Aus]R.G. Barratt ‘The Republic Starts to Flag’ in What Do You Reckon (1997) [ebook] I never seem to see my head in the social pages in the Sunday kite.

(j) (US Und.) a complaint to the police about some form of illegal operation, often from a gambler who has been fleeced.

[US]L. Shecter On the Pad 246: There were always some guys who wouldn’t take and were liable to walk in and bust up a game if they stumbled on it or got a kite (a letter of complaint).

(k) (US campus) an inveterate drug user, who stays high as a kite.

[US]G. Underwood ‘Razorback Sl.’ in AS L:1/2 62: kite n One who uses drugs; one who stays high.

(l) (UK Und.) a credit card, usu. stolen.

[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 13: Pure kite it was — clean as a whistle, not signed or nothing yet.
[UK](con. 1982) N. ‘Razor’ Smith A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 275: They would normally pay me in goods purchased on the kite – suits, shirts and shoes.

(m) a person involved in some kind of criminal dealings.

[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 177: He’s known to one and all as a kite who goes to France, Belgium, Holland and Germany and comes back with splendid merchandise.
[UK]K. Sampson Outlaws (ms.) 91: Looking around this carriage and there’s hardly no one who’s totally legit. There’s kites, dippers, dealers, spivs, all kinds.

(n) (US black) a banknote.

[US]‘Big L’ ‘Ebonics’ 🎵 A kite is a note, a con is a okey doke.

(o) (US und.) a ‘wanted’ notice, whether issued by the authorities or by fellow criminals.

[US]L. Berney Gutshot Straight [ebook] Gina knew she was radioactive in Vegas. The Whale’s network ran wide, and the kite on her had been up for almost a week.
[US]L. Berney Whiplash River [ebook] ‘The kite went up yesterday [...] He told me the kite went out far and wide’.

4. a shirt-front.

[UK] ‘’Arry on ’onesty’ in Punch 31 Jan. 60/1: I mayn’t be a Masher exackly [...] / ’Cos it won’t always run to claw ’ammers, white kites, and front rows in the Stalls.

5. (US) a prostitute or promiscuous woman.

[US]J.M. Sullivan Criminal Sl.
[US]G. Henderson Keys to Crookdom 410: Kite. Prostitute.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 118/1: Kite, n. [...] 4. A prostitute.

6. (US drugs) one ounce of a narcotic.

[US]W. Motley Let No Man Write My Epitaph (1959) 130: ‘Wolf was around today. He was holding a kite.’ ‘A ounce!’.

7. the human face [the position of the ‘eating’ mouth in the face].

[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 173: If I hadna puked on your kite I’d be out of here.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 33: See that cunt, Ally? See the fuckin kite on him?
[UK]K. Sampson Killing Pool 182: The kite on the little twat! Narky, suspicious, growling face.

8. (Irish) the anus.

[Ire](con. 1920s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 73: We had often thought up tortures for Yella’ Man. Such things as [...] shoving the rough end of a pineapple up his kite.

9. (N.Z. prison) a Christian [their reaching towards or (after death) flying up to heaven].

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 101/2: kite n. 2 a Christian. [it has been suggested that this may be because of a kite’s ability to reach towards heaven.].

In compounds

kite-box (n.)

(US prison) a box used both for institutional correspondence and for passing on messages that accuse fellow inmates of illegal activity.

Battle Creek Enquirer (MI) 3 Nov. 9/2: ‘Kite Box’ — A box with slotted top attached to a wall [...] Kites are notes to prison officials.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 57: Snitch Box also Kite Box A box in which inmates put institutional correspondence. Often inmates use these boxes to deliver messages about illegal activities of other convicts.
kite-fishing (n.)

(UK Und.) stealing mail containing bank cheques from homes and offices.

[UK]E. Jervis 25 Years in Six Prisons 55: ‘Kite fishing,’ which is getting letters out of letter-boxes with a piece of bent wire or string covered with bird lime, used to be a favourite game.
kite-flyer (n.)

a passer of dud cheques; used for any minor confidence trickster.

[US]Morning Courier and N.-Y. Enquirer 25 Mar. 2/1: Jem asks me what sort of money you give — I takes no checks or kite flyers, says he.
[UK]Northern Liberator 14 Dec. 4/6: A splendid copany of enterprising schemers [...] paper-kite flyers, Massachussets moon-rakers.
[Scot]Dundee Courier (Scot.) 25 Mar, 7/4: It is not by any means necessary that the ‘kiteflyer’ should be possessed of a good education.
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 433: The ‘kite-flier’ and the counterfeiter possess extensive technical vocabularies.
[Aus]Sun. Mail (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 20/7: Then there is the ‘Kite-flyer,’ the humbler confidence man, between whom and the higher members of this particular branch of crime stretches a long list of tricksters exploiting a host of ingenious schemes.
[Aus]Sunshine Advocate (Vic.) 11 Sept. 6/3: ‘Kite flyers’ are criminals who cash worthless cheques.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[UK](con. c.1950) R. Poole London E1 (2012) 15: The kite-flyers whose ink flowed too easily over other people’s cheque books.
[Aus] ‘Whisper All Aussie Dict.’ in Kings Cross Whisper (Sydney) xxxv 6/3: kite flyer: One who specialises in passing dud cheques.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 33: Kite Flyer Casher of dud cheques.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. 🌐 Kite flyer. Someone who spreads around worthless cheques.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 101/2: kite flier n. a person who passes false cheques.
kite-flying (n.)

1. (also flying kites) raising money by persons colluding in the exchange of accommodation bills or cheques on different banks, in none of which they possess sufficient funds.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 110: Kite-flying [...] In Ireland ‘flying the kite’ is employed to describe ‘raising the wind.’.
[UK]Bell’s Life in London 5 May 4/1: Dick Coster did not confine himself to kite-flying alone.
[US]Morning Herald (N.Y.) 15 Aug. 2/4: Kite flying. [headline] — This term may not be directly understood by all our readers; it means in a commercial sense, that A. gives B. his promissory note; B. ditto to A. The two then negociate their paper, and the transaction is termed kite flying.
[UK]Punch xivv 226: He never does a little discounting, nor lends his hand to flying kites [F&H].
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms 195: kite flying. An expression well known to mercantile men of limited means, or who are short of cash. It is a combination between two persons, neither of whom has any funds in bank, to exchange each other’s checks, which may be deposited in lieu of money, taking good care to make their bank accounts good before their checks are presented for payment.
[UK]G.J. Whyte-Melville Digby Grand (1890) 214: Bills, post-obits, and every species of ‘kite-flying’ known to spendthrifts and money-lenders.
[UK]Birmingham Dly Post 20 Oct. 6/3: City slang comes up with ‘kite-flying’.
Titusville (PA) Morning Herald 1 Apr. 1/5: Kite-flying. Expanding one’s credit beyond wholesome limits.
[UK]Newcastle Courant 2 Sept. 6/5: Straight business being rather dull at the time, he thought he would go in for a little kite-flying.
Licensed Victuallers’ Gazette 23 Jan. n.p.: Prince Alexis Soltykoff, who has been flying kites, and getting into trouble thereby, is the only son of Prince Soltykoff, the steward of the Jockey Club [F&H].
[UK]G.A. Sala Things I Have Seen II 35: ‘Kite-flying,’ or, to use a less figurative term, dealing in accommodation bills, is a financial operation rapidly declining.

2. raising money by transferring accounts between banks and creating an illusory balance against which one cashes cheques.

[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 650/2: from ca. 1830.

3. passing forged, stolen or unbacked cheques.

[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 80: He began with a brief lecture on the graft of Kite-flying – i.e., forging and uttering cheques.

4. (US drugs) smoking crack cocaine.

[US]R. Shell Iced 71: As you can imagine this ‘business’ idea came to me while I was kite-flying with the pipe.
kite-man (n.) (also kite-merchant) [sfx -man/merchant n.]

a criminal who specializes in cheque fraud.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 118/1: Kiteman. A passer of bad checks, or of checks backed by insufficient funds.
[UK]‘Charles Raven’ Und. Nights 80: Any tealeaf may try his hand at adjusting the balance of a post office savings book in his favour but [...] the really expert forger, or kiteman, is a rare bird.
[UK](con. 1982) N. ‘Razor’ Smith A Few Kind Words and a Loaded Gun 275: I also did a bit of minding work for a team of female kite-merchants.

In phrases

fly a kite (v.)

1. (also fly the kite) to obtain credit against bills, whether or not the ‘paper’ is valid or fraudulent.

[UK]Sporting Mag. XXV. 290/1: Flying a kite in Ireland is a metaphorical phrase for raising money on accommodation bills.
[UK]H. Smith Gale Middleton 1 59: ‘They [i.e. bills of exchange] are drawn on the house of Hicks and Hoggins.’ ‘Don’t much like those chaps. Too many kites flying’.
[UK]R. Barham ‘Aunt Fanny’ in Ingoldsby Legends (1842) 148: No doubt but he might / Without any great Flight, / Have obtain’d it by what we call ‘flying a kite’.
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers (1880) xxix: To delay attaching the bobs until the second attempt at flying the kite would indicate but a slender experience of that useful art .
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 41: flying the kite raising money on bills, whether good or bad, alluding to tossing paper about like children do a kite.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.
[US]Letters by an Odd Boy 160: I am informed by a party, singularly unlike my notions preconceived of Æolus, that he is going to ‘raise the wind,’ and, perhaps, to ascertain whether the work or hour is favourable for ‘flying a kite.
[UK]G.R. Sims ‘Little Worries’ Ballads of Babylon 152: You have a kite you cannot fly, And creditors are pressing.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 4: Fly the Kite - To obtain money on bills, good or bad.
[UK]E.C. Grenville-Murray People I Have Met 158: His wife, one of the better of the best society, had flown kites to the height of twenty-five thousand pounds.
[Aus]Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 30: Fly the Kite, raising money on good or bad bills.
[Aus]W.S. Walker In the Blood 143: ‘Solitary’s’ none too small for me. / I ‘fly a kite,’ or ‘bill,’ as ‘fence’ I show my skill.
[UK]P. Kavanagh Tarry Flynn (1965) 98: Here is none of your fly-the-kites, Mrs. Flynn [...] He doesn’t owe a penny piece to any man.

2. (Aus.) to escape via a window.

[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. (2 edn) 4: Fly the Kite - [...] To clear away by the window.

3. to raise money.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Nov. 44/2: ‘By the way, how do you go about flying a kite?’ / ‘Do you not think it is possible some of your friends took your money and are keeping it till they hear from you?’.

4. to pass a dud cheque, ext. as fly a dodgy kite.

[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 42: [F]lying kites, passing valueless cheques.
[UK]O.C. Malvery Soul Market 290: To pass forged cheques or worthless ones is to ‘fly the kite’.
[NZ]N.Z. Truth 15 Apr. 6/2: Jack Smith, who had flown a ‘kite’ for £6 2s 6d [...] was admitted to probabtion for two years.
[UK]N. Lucas Autobiog. of a Thief 158: I flew my first ‘kite’ at the Hotel Splendid; in other words, uttered my first worthless cheque.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 77: Flying A Kite. – Passing worthless cheques.
[UK]R. Cook Crust on its Uppers 21: Flying dodgy kites with each other at bent spielers.
[UK]D. Powis Signs of Crime 190: Kite Cheque: ‘Flying kites’ means encashing fraudlent cheques.
[Aus]R. Aven-Bray Ridgey-Didge Oz Jack Lang 28: Fly a Kite Cash a dud cheque.
[US]E. Little Another Day in Paradise 159: Why not just hit this lame, clear out his safe, and fly kites at his bank?
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 134: You have about two days from the day you fly the first kite or money order from any one company.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 71/2: fly a kite v. 1 to commit cheque fraud, to pass a false cheque.

5. (US prison) to smuggle a letter out of prison; also, as in cit. 1992, to pass letters within prison.

[US]J. Fishman Crucibles of Crime 203: The practice of ‘shooting’ contraband notes is known among the prisoners as ‘flying a kite’.
[US]J. Fishman Sex in Prison 93: A particularly friendly guard who will ‘fly kites’ (that is take out contraband letters which have not been inspected).
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 73/1: Fly a kite. (P) To smuggle a letter out of prison, evading censorship.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 799: fly a kite – To send out an underground letter from prison.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Airtight Willie and Me 10: Maybe I could fly a couple of my magnetized copping kites (high voltage letters) when I hit the bricks.
[UK]J. Morton Lowspeak.
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 102: Sending a kite to someone is referred to as shoot him a kite or fly a kite to him.

6. (US) to send a letter.

Jackson Dly News (MS) 1 Apr. 7/1: Crook Chatter [...] ‘Fresno Phil flew me a kite last week sayin’ they was a dozen raps against me for “throwin a hump” for him in St Louis’.
D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 31 Jan. 16: The one about flying his banter a kite from out of his vest which the banter didn’t cop so he couldn’t back-cap.
[US]D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive 127: I flew you a kite when I crossed the Atlantic.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 204: fly a kite, v. – to send a letter.
[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 157: When love is in bloom, contraband loveletters are passed between inmates. The ‘sending’ of such an epistle is flying a kite [pigeon].

7. (N.Z. prison) to pass on contraband by throwing it over the prison’s internal dividing fences.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 71/2: fly a kite v. 2 to pass contraband from one unit to another by flicking it over the dividing fences.
kite with no string (n.) (US black)

an airmail letter.

D. Burley N.Y. Amsterdam Star-News 13 Mar. 13: I’m out here hustling and rustling [...] and along comes a kite with no string.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

kite string (n.)

(N.Z.) a close attachment, an ‘apron-string’.

[UK]Listener (NZ) 22 Mar. 13: Get seen around with a good woman on your kite-string and no-one bothers you regardless [DNZE].

In phrases

blow out the kite (v.) [the food makes one’s stomach expand like the ‘belly’ of a kite in the wind]

to have a full stomach.

[UK]‘A Rum-Un to Look At’ in Libertine’s Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) I 136: And her kite on ox cheek out I blow.
[UK] ‘The Wager’ in Ticklish Minstrel 7: He set himself down, pitched into the food [...] When he’d blown out his kite, he bade them good night.
[UK] ‘A Bit Of Prize Mutton’ in Gentleman Steeple-Chaser 40: My precious kite out, so nicely I will blow.
[US] ‘Susan’s Sunday Out’ in My Young Wife and I Songster 24: She keeps me well in ‘pannun,’ that’s what makes me look so stout, / And don’t I just blow out my kite.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.
fly a kite (v.) [fig. uses of SE]

1. constr. with at, to court, to pursue a woman.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 110: Kite-flying — said of a truant husband, who makes away [...] to ‘fly his kite’ or Kate.

2. to make public, to publicize.

A. Hope Apr. in Ware (1909) 135/1: He would be very sorry to do entirely without the interview, and politicians were said to use it as a means of ‘flying the kite’.

3. (UK Und.) to write a letter to a receiver of stolen goods, prior to a robbery, to ascertain the value of the goods to be stolen.

[UK]Clarkson & Richardson Police! 351: If they smell a job, they ‘fly a kite;’ that is, send a letter to the fence, who will ‘fly a stiff’ in reply, quoting a price for the ‘pewter,’ or plate. In this way the thieves get the swag off their hands immediately.

4. (US) to show off, to make a big display.

[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 135: I flew me kite pretty high for the first few days.
[US]‘Old Sleuth’ Dock Rats of N.Y. (2006) 101: ‘Sit down!’ commanded the detective. ‘My friend,’ Said Denman, ‘don’t fly your kite too high, your string may be cut.’ The smuggler spoke in a warning tone.
[US]J. Rechy City of Night 99: And oh my dear the kites I flew!
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 113: Tell Maggie to go fly her kite for Hugh Downs.

5. to present a false front or a deceitful line of talk in order to persuade one’s victim that one’s intentions are other than they really are.

[US]Maines & Grant Wise-crack Dict. 8/2: Fly a kite – meaning just that – but out of the presence of the suggester.
[US]B. Jackson Get Your Ass in the Water (1974) 201: Lookit here, Jack, I’m not flyin’ no more kites / and I’m not sayin’ this to bring on no fights.

6. to sound out public opinion, by taking initial steps in a given project or idea.

[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 269: Just fly up a wee kite to let them know who Ray Lennox is.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 122: kite-flying Potential political policy presented to the public to test its acceptability. ANZ.

7. (Aus.) to lie.

[Aus]N. Pulliam I Travelled a Lonely Land (1957) 233/1: fly a kite – to tell a lie.
up a kite (adj.)

(US) in a nervous/undecided state.

[US]Nebraska State Jrnl (Lincoln, NE) 14 June 9/5: Most of the dips, before they connect with the first one [i.e. a drink], are all up a kite about it.

In exclamations

go fly a kite! (also go fly a balloon!)

a suggestion that an unwanted person should go away.

A. Henry Unwritten Law 124: ‘We’re going to Coney to-morrow.’ ‘Who’s going?’ ‘The push.’ ‘Do I get a wheel?’ ‘Sure.’ ‘And Emma?’ ‘Go fly a kite’.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 3 Oct. 21/1: Let the big corporation guys go fly a kite.
[US]R. Lardner ‘Three Kings and a Pair’ in Gullible’s Travels 70: They sing about what a fine mornin’ it is in Wop and she tells him he’d better fly his kite before Archibald catches him.
[US] in R. Butterfield Sat. Eve. Post Treasury (1954) 1 July 266: She told me to fly my kite! She’s off me!
[US]C. Pifer ‘Executioner’ in All-America Sports Mag. Jan. 🌐 There’s a colored girl outside says she wants to see Rufus.’ ‘Tell her to go fly a kite.’.
[US]N.Y. Post 3 Nov. 3: [headline] Go Fly A Kite.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Monster’s Malice’ Dan Turner – Hollywood Detective May 🌐 I felt like telling her to go fly a balloon.
[US]E. De Roo Young Wolves 113: ‘You got the appetite of a fly tonight.’ Roy didn’t answer. He wished she’d go fly a kite.
[US]H. Rawson Dict. of Invective (1991) 226: kite, go fly a (your). Go away, mind your own business, get off my back.
[US](con. 1998–2000) J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 67: A written Inmate Request Form is called a kite for reasons that are clear to anyone who has ever been advised to ‘go fly a fucking kite’.