Green’s Dictionary of Slang

rig n.2

[? dial.]

1. (also rigg, rigging) a dodge, a confidence trick, thus throw rigging, to perpetrate such a trick.

[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: rig Game, Diversion, Ridicule.
[UK]Bailey Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. 1725].
[UK]J. Poulter Discoveries (1774) 18: We went out at Night on our old Rigg.
[UK] ‘Potato Man’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) ) 55: I’m up to all your knowing rigs.
[UK]G. Parker View of Society II 39: Men not having horses, who are on the Foot-pad Rig. [Ibid.] 55: When you have stood this rig, he begins to work you upon another.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Oct. V 5/2: hairb: Was it high fun? rump: Rare rig!
[UK]‘T.B. Junr.’ Pettyfogger Dramatized I i: What’s the rigg now? [Ibid.] 109: Rigg. Mischief or Roguery.
[UK] ‘Drunk in the Night’ No. 26 Papers of Francis Place (1819) n.p.: The scouts all came up being flash to the rig.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]I. Pocock John of Paris II i: I see how it is, you’re a wag, Mr. John’s man, you’re a queer one,—you wanted to frighten me, but it won’t do; I’m up to your rig.
[UK]Vidocq Memoirs (trans. W. McGinn) II 160: Where there is enough for two, there is enough for four: thus we settled it, and they were to be in the rig with us.
[UK]Marryat Japhet 8: Sometimes I carry on my rigs a little too far.
[UK] ‘Mr. Ferguson and Queen Victoria’ in C. Hindley Curiosities of Street Lit. (1871) 63: The next was Mr. Broomstick / With him she play’d a rig.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 8 Oct. n.p.: I didn’t suppose a man of your cloth would throw rigging. Rather low, that.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 143: ‘That’s a queer way of doing business.’ [...] ‘Wait till Whit-Monday and you’ll see worse rigs than them.’.
[US] ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ in My Young Wife and I Songster 52: Down among the pigs, / I played some funny rigs.
[US]G.P. Burnham Memoirs of the US Secret Service 97: During the rebellion, he run a new rig.
[UK]Henley & Stevenson Deacon Brodie I tab.I vii: brodie: The old move, I presume? the double set of dice? smith: That’s the rig, Deakin. What you drop on the square you pick up again on the cross.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 44: I feared they might tumble to the rig and get next to me.
[UK]J. Masefield ‘Burial-Party’ in Salt-Water Ballads 11: It’s a rummy rig of a guffy’s yarn.
[Scot]‘Ian Hay’ First Hundred Thousand (1918) 277: I suppose there’s some low-down political rig at the back of it all.
[US]‘Blackie’ Audett Rap Sheet 79: Real tough boys that would as soon let you have it as look at you, unless they knowed you was in on the rig.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 25: A loaf of punk you get from putting the rigging on [...] a baker.
[US]Da Bomb 🌐 24: Rig: A trick or cunning deception.

2. ridicule, mockery.

[UK]New Canting Dict.
[UK]B. Weatherby Great News from Hell 14: I began my old Rig, and gave them such a Paterero as brought the Devil himself to the Gate.
[UK]A Puff at the Guinea Pigs n.p.: To call a man like me a hog! – a very pretty rig, sir!
[UK]W. Combe Doctor Syntax, Consolation (1868) 160/1: The rats, it seems, had play’d the rig / In tearing up the Doctor’s wig. [Ibid.] 198/1: He ne’er saw the Sportsmen’s tricks, / Who, slyly, had contriv’d to fix / A Fox’s brush, by way of rig, / To dangle from the Doctor’s wig.
[US]T. Haliburton Letter-bag of the Great Western (1873) 44: To-day, when I fell on the broad of my back, they began running their rig as usual, saying, ‘Pull down your smockfrock, John Skinner, or you’ll show your legs’.
[US]D. Corcoran Picking from N.O. Picayune 84: ‘Folks call me Hopand Go Constant, by way of a rig’ [...] said the odd legged man.

3. a prank or game.

H. Carey Honest Yorkshire-Man 18: O Bartledom [i.e. Bartholemew] Fair / [...] / Such Pork, Such Pig, / Such Game, Such Rig.
[UK]Satirist (London) 14 Aug. 151/1: ‘The young Falkners,’ as a packet of little gentlemen [...] are called, have been kicking up some strange rigs among the minor divinities [...] ladies as easy of access here [i.e. in Brighton] as the fair dealers in the purlieus.
[UK]J. Lindridge Sixteen-String Jack 206: So now I’m on the boozing rig.
[US]Life in Boston & N.Y. (Boston, MA) 10 Aug. n.p.: She runs a pretty rig for a little while — her name is on every lip.
[UK]Peeping Tom (London) 9 32/3: The ‘fine madams’ were allowed to run their rigs without molestation.

In compounds

rig sale (n.)

a false sale, a mock auction.

[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 148: ‘The rig;’ in auction sales, the dealers agree not to bid against each other, buy low, and afterwards re-sell the same, by a mimick auction — called ‘knock out.’.
[Scot]Chambers’s Journal xv, 103: A pawnbroker contributes the linen, an exuberant quantity of which is generally one of the characteristics of the rig sale [F&H].
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.

In phrases

run one’s rig upon (v.)

to ridicule.

[Ire]K. O’Hara Midas II i: With his quips, and his quillets / And running his rigs.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 148: He who has ‘the rig run upon him,’ has to undergo a great number of false imputations.
[US]T. Haliburton Clockmaker III 37: It won’t do to get cross when fellers are running of their rigs; it only makes them wus.
[US]Joliet Signal (Joliet, IL) 18 Jan. 1/3: What do you mean by running your rigs on me jest because I’m a stranger in these parts?
[UK]C. Reade Hard Cash II 16: It’s only Jem’s fun: he is allus running his rigs. [Ibid.] 94: Ye can’t run your rigs on me.
run the rig on (v.)

1. to deceive, to trick.

[Scot]Caledonian Mercury 15 May 1/2: ‘You have run the rig upon me, Sir, and so I desire you will meet me to Morrow Morning in Pancreas Burying Ground’.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Lousiad’ Works (1794) I 277: For pot-boy and de pot-girl run der rig!
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Pathetic Odes’ Works (1794) III 431: Now on poor kingless France they run their rigs!
[UK]Sporting Mag. Aug. XII 282/1: Dear me! what fights I saw, when there! / So droll they run their riggs.
[UK]‘One of the Fancy’ Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress 4: While snug and secure you may now run your rigs, / Without fear that old Boney will bother your gigs.
[UK]‘Bill Truck’ Man o’ War’s Man (1843) 311: Don’t go to be running the rig on us in that sly manner.
[UK]Thackeray Yellowplush Papers in Works III (1898) 264: Come, come, Mr. Deuceace, don’t you be running your rigs upon me; I ain’t the man to be bamboozl’d.
[UK]Egan ‘Miss Dolly Trull’ in Farmer Musa Pedestris (1896) 143: She runs such precious cranky rigs / With pinching wedge and lockets.
[UK] in Punch ‘Dear Bill, This Stone-Jug’ 31 Jan. n.p.: In the dayrooms the cuffins we queers at our ease, / And at Darkmans we run the rig just as we please.
[UK]Morn. Post 18 Dec. 3/3: Oh, it’s rare times for us prigs; in quod we runs our rigs. As merry as the grigs, on the best o’ grub and snooze.

2. to mock, to ridicule.

[UK]Cumberland Pacquet 7 Aug. 4/1: Those who are still itching to run the Rig, may [...] cry, if they please, that the Subject is shocking.

In exclamations

go the rig, Maria!

an exhortation to commit oneself without any artifice or subtlety.

[UK]Pierce Egan’s Life in London 26 Sept. 5/2: Much cautious manceuvring. (Cries of ‘None of your science—go the rig, Maria’).