Green’s Dictionary of Slang

skin n.1

1. that which is made of SE skin.

(a) leather jackets and other clothing; a purse, a pocketbook, a wallet; thus queer skin, an empty wallet [the leather of which it is made].

[UK]R. Brathwait Barnabees Journal I D2: Thence to Clowne I came the quicker, / Where I’d given my skin for liquer, / None was there to entertaine us, / But a Nogging of Vulcanus, / Who afford’t me welcome plenty, / Till my seame-rent purse was empty.
[UK]H.T. Potter New Dict. Cant (1795).
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (3rd edn) n.p.: Skin. A purse. Frisk the skin of the stephen; empty the money out of the purse. Queer skin; an empty purse.
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[Aus]Vaux Vocab. of the Flash Lang.
[Scot]D. Haggart Autobiog. 15: Young McGuire had taken some skins with a few shillings in each.
[UK]W.A. Miles Poverty, Mendicity and Crime; Report 112: If he finds any ‘finnips’ (5l.notes) in the skin or purse, he gives them to Nelson.
[UK]G.M.W. Reynolds Mysteries of London III 66/1: Tim [...] buzzed a bloak and a shakester of a yack and skin.
[US]‘Ned Buntline’ Mysteries and Miseries of N.Y. I 61: Vel, sare, the offisare ave frisk me; he ave not found ze skin or ze dummy, eh?
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 3 Feb. 3/2: With both the flesh full of grog, and t’other skin full of cash, he again wiped his specs and departed.
[UK]A. Mayhew Paved with Gold 70: Arn’t we all on us spotted (marked) here? [...] so that we can’t even do a kingsman (silk handkerchief) in a day, let alone a skin or a soup (a purse or watch)?
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 6/1: Knowing that a good many ‘skins’ had ‘come off’ that day, we suspected that they were after the strange ‘mobs,’ including ourselves.
[UK]Sl. Dict. 292: Skin a purse. This term is mostly in use among thieves.
[Aus]Sydney Sl. Dict. 10/1: My tom-tart buzzed a squatter for his skin while he was in doss. She speeled from the crib and he was turned out. I think she hocussed his lush. Last night she was flashing the gilt in S-’s drum.
[Aus]C. Crowe Aus. Sl. Dict. 74: Skin, a purse.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 137: Proper jobs I mean. Not nicking skins from blokes what are lit up.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 196/1: Skin. [...] 3. (Pickpocket jargon) A wallet. ‘Weed (take the money out of) that skin and whip (get rid of) it.’.
[UK]P. Hoskins No Hiding Place! 192/1: Skin. Wallet.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 168/1: skins n pl. 2 leather jackets, leather clothes.

(b) (US black) a drum; also attrib [abbr. SE drumskin].

[UK]Melody Maker Mar. 32: [headline for drum-related material] The Skin Game.
[US]E. Hunter Blackboard Jungle 197: He beats a wild skin.
[US]D. Claerbaut Black Jargon in White America 76: play the skin v. play the drums.

(c) in pl., a set of drums.

[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 11 Jan. 10/4: That hunched-back drumming ace...and his famous, faithful skins.
[US] in ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US](con. 1943) G. Fowler Schnozzola 223: Drummer Jack Roth rolled his sticks against the skins.
[US] M. M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 27: I give him a lightweight fix for a two-hundred-dollar set of skins.
[US]E. Torres Carlito’s Way 11: Chano Pozo, the great Cuban conga player used to work the skins for Dizzy Gillespie.
[US]W.D. Myers Outside Shot 45: ‘You can play guitar, Lonnie on skins, me on horn’.
[UK]Guardian G2 1 Nov. 22: I play the skins.
[Scot](con. 1980s) I. Welsh Skagboys 198: Look at the jazz men, they jist sit back and groove. Especially oan the skins.

(d) (US) a rasher of bacon.

[US] in M. Daly Profile of Youth 235: Potato chips doused in a peppery sauce, or ‘skin’ (toasted bacon rind).
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 87: There was some bacon and eggs in the refrigerator and [...] I had a pair of skins and two sunnysides on a plate.

(e) (US black) the hand as in a handshake or a palm-slapping greeting.

[US]Z.N. Hurston ‘Story in Harlem Sl.’ in Novels and Stories (1995) 1002: ‘Lay de skin on me, pal!’ Sweet Back grabbed Jelly’s outstretched hand and shook hard.
[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 125: Brew shoved his big hand at me. I grabbed it and shook it, adding a slap of skin to bind it.
[US]B.G. Cooke ‘Nonverbal communication among Afro-Americans’, in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 33: The gestural expressions of ‘giving skin’ and ‘getting skin’ are very common in the black community.
[US]E. Folb Runnin’ Down Some Lines 27: Lay some skin on me, baby! [Slaps palms with another black.].
[US]Eble Sl. and Sociability 81: Semantic shifts of various types and degrees account for large numbers of African American slang items [...] skin ‘palm of the hand’.
[US]Dr Dre ‘Still D.R.E.’ 🎵 Swap meets, sticky green, and bad traffic / I dip through then I get skin, D-R-E.

(f) a tyre.

Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO) 2 Sept. in AS (1956) XXXI 305: Skin, a tire.
[US]Hot Car Oct. 62/1: The answer is to run at the same pressure as the standard tyres, as by dropping the pressure any more than two pounds, you could cause sidewall failure, even in the big American skins [OED].

(g) (US) a condom.

[US]Trimble 5000 Adult Sex Words and Phrases.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 102: A circular bulge (rubber, safe, skin) [...] etched itself into his wallet.
[US]Maledicta IV:2 (Winter) 200: The condom is known as a skin, frogskin, French letter or Jo-bag.
[US]UGK ‘Something Good’ 🎵 Cause she’s passin’ out the skinz like government cheese.

2. in senses of SE skin, something that wraps or contains.

(a) (UK Und.) a watch case.

[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 156/1: Upon Joe telling him there was a lot of ‘red skins’ waiting for sale, he quickly laid aside his pipe, and followed Joe.

(b) (Irish/UK/US Und., also skin-bag) a garment, usu. a shirt.

[Ire]‘The May Bush’ in A. Carpenter Verse in Eng. in 18C Ireland (1998) 342: Den out of his Flea-bag he straight flew / And over his shoulder his Skin-bag he threw.
[Ire]Southern Reporter 31 May 4/1: Cast thee off! my outside skin, / Because thou’rt faded — seedy — thin — / Ne’er clasp thee more beneath my chin.
[US]Ladies’ Repository (NY) Oct. VIII:37 317/1: Skin, a shirt.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 9 Mar. 4/3: [of an overcoat] ‘I got into the beggar’s skin, and went afore the beak.’ ‘Do you mean the old man with the tattered blue coat?’.
[US]Ledger (Noblesville, IN) 14 Aug. 6/2: ‘Who is his nibs over there [...] that one with the blue “skin”’’.
[US]F. Hutcheson Barkeep Stories 57: ‘But w’ere did you get dem new togs? An’ dat’s as hot a skin as ever I see in me life!’ ‘Me shirt?’.
[US]F.H. Tillotson How I Became a Detective 95: Skins – Shirts.
[US]Jackson & Hellyer Vocab. Criminal Sl.

(c) a cigarette paper, esp. those used for rolling cannabis joints; usu. in pl. [it provides a skin for the tobacco (and cannabis)].

[UK]T. Taylor Baron’s Court All Change (2011) 55: I took the cigarette papers [...] and made a nice long but thinnish spliff with three skins.
[UK]Oz 1 17: A nouveau-art nouveau silver-plated pillbox to hold his hash and skins.
[UK]M. Novotny Kings Road 146: I haven’t got any skins [...] we’ll have to empty a few cigarettes.
[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 253: skins (n) Cigarette papers.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Last of the High Kings 121: Not even Stony Rogers [...] could roll a nine-skin joint the way Cyril could.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 168/1: skins n pl. 1 cigarette papers.
[UK]N. Griffiths Stump 159: I buy me baccy an skins.

(d) (US gay) in pl., very tight trousers.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 53: skins (because they fit tightly like a second skin).

3. by metonymy, in senses pertaining to a human being.

(a) (orig. naut.) a derog. generic for women; the vagina.

[US] in T.P. Lowry Stories the Soldiers Wouldn’t Tell (1994) ) 124: [He had a few drinks in town and accosted Mrs. Ellie Farnan and her daughter. He offered them money for] ‘some skin’.
[Aus]Dead Bird (Sydney) 22 Feb. 3/4: Oh! the skin wot’s prigged my heart / Is ’Enrietta.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 196/1: Skin. [...] 2. Loose women or degenerates generally; a loose woman.
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 1078/1: [...] C.20.
[US]S. Moore In The Cut 63: I have many more words for the dictionary [...] skins, sex from a female (as in ‘getting some skins from the pretties’).
[US]‘Touré’ Portable Promised Land (ms.) 154: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Sex machine. Sweetback. Skins.

(b) a person, e.g. in phr. a decent old skin.

[US]Ade Artie (1963) 26: I’m too good to play pool with a skin like you.
[US]S.E. White Arizona Nights 31: ‘Now, you old skin,’ says he to Texas Pete.
[Ire]Joyce ‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’ Dubliners (1956) 122: ‘Ah, poor Joe is a decent skin,’ said Mr O’Connor.
[UK](con. 1914–18) Brophy & Partridge Songs and Sl. of the British Soldier 129: Hard Skin.—A rough, wild–living man.
[Ire]‘Flann O’Brien’ At Swim-Two-Birds 166: A decent skin if ever there was one [...] a man that didn’t stint the porter.
[US]J.P. Donleavy Ginger Man (1958) 85: The head master is a good skin and he laughed.
[UK]L. Dunne Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 65: One of the girls in our place, Mary Whelan, was a great skin. She had a big fresh Galway face and she was very nice to me in a big sister sort of way.
[UK]A. Bleasdale Scully 124: Y’re a good skin.
[Ire]H. Leonard Out After Dark 11: Old Sharon was a decent skin.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 4 Oct. 20: Mr Major emerges as a decent skin.
[Ire]G. Coughlan Everyday Eng. and Sl. 🌐 Skin (n): friend.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 38: Provided he was a decent skin who wasn’t about to rip her off with ground up aspirin wrapped in tinfoil.

(c) (US) oneself, one’s life.

[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 290: You’re all thinkin’ of yer own skins; I’m thinkin’ of Stevey.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 597: ...Fitz, nicknamed Skin-the-Goat, merely drove the car for the actual perpetrators of the outrage and so was not, if he was reliably informed, actually party to the ambush which, in point of fact, was the plea some legal luminary saved his skin on.

(d) (US Und.) a male homosexual.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 196/1: Skin. [...] 2. a degenerate. (A hunk of skin.).

(e) as a term of address to an unknown person.

[UK]J. McClure Spike Island (1981) 75: Oh, sorry, skin! Sorry. Didn’t realise.

4. (US) abbr. frogskin n.1

(a) one dollar.

[US]W.S. Mayo Kaloolah in Schele De Vere (1872) 627: Thinks I, may be, old fellow, your gun has bust or you’ve pawned it for ruin and can’t raise skins enough to redeem it, and you want mine, and perhaps you’ll get it.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Heads You lose’ in Dan Turner Hollywood Detective Feb. 🌐 One [entry] was for the five hundred skins paid to Violet Chang.
[US]S.J. Perelman ‘The Longer the Lip’ in Keep It Crisp 152: A new Moosup convertible is fourteen hundred skins.
[US]H. Simmons Corner Boy 15: Just about seventy-five skins apiece.
[US]Mad mag. May–June 48: Trigger fades him for two skins, and Pooch takes a piece of that.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn 12: Somebody found a new tailor who could make the greatest pants for 14 skins.
[US]O. Hawkins Ghetto Sketches 34: I’m payin’ your Captain [...] six hundred skins a month, plus bonuses.
[US]H. Roth From Bondage 132: That bunch o’ tightwads doin’ yo’ all outta ten skins.

(b) a currency note; money; often in pl.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 817: skins – Paper money.
[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 215: skin, n. – money.

5. (US/Aus.) a horse, a mule.

[US]R.A. Wason Happy Hawkins 10: ‘What are you ridin’ that old skin for?’ sez he. ‘’Cause it’s the only pony I got,’ sez I.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 260: A skin, a horse: mule.
[US]Ersine Und. and Prison Sl. 67: skin, n. A race horse.
[Aus]Baker Popular Dict. Aus. Sl. 67: Skin, a horse, ‘generally the property of a professional wayfarer’.

6. a painter.

[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 304: You know the old saying about the skin? ‘Skin’ is a slang term for painter.

7. abbr. of skinhead.

[[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn) 211: skinned Having the head shaved convict style].
[US]Time 8 June 37: Skins or suedes, they specialize in terrorising such menacing types as hippies and homosexuals.
[UK]‘Derek Raymond’ He Died with His Eyes Open 61: ‘Where you get this jam?’ the skin said enviously.
[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 3: I don’t mind a few skins in the Pack, they always look evil.
[UK]Guardian G2 2 Feb. 3: Docs are more famous for protecting the feet of skins.
[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 168/1: skins n pl. 3 (also skinz) a shortened form of ‘skinheads’.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 190: skins [...] 2. Shaven-headed neo-Nazis, short for skinheads.
[Aus](con. 1960s-70s) T. Taylor Top Fellas 43/1: Bands of skins would follow different London clubs.

8. see skinful n. (2)

9. see skin shot under shot n.1

In derivatives

skinner (n.)

(drugs) a hand-rolled marijuana cigarette; the number varies as to the amount of rolling papersused.

[UK]K. Sampson Awaydays 33: He sparks up a one-skinner and ushers me to my feet.
[UK](con. 1970s) Fabian & Byrne Out of Time (ms.) 91: Crim rolled up briskly, took a drag and passed me a lethal one-skinner.
[Scot]T. Black Gutted 186: One of them had a five-skinner in his hand [and] toked away.

In compounds

skin sneaker (n.)

(UK und.) a purse snatcher.

[UK]Flash Mirror 4: Fat Jack’s [...] where all path shavers are allowed to doss for a duce, gaff men for thrums, skin sneakers for a flag.

In phrases

give (some) skin (v.) (also flip some skin, give finger-skin, slap skin, skin, slip some skin) [the practice is of African origin; thus Temme botme-der, put skin and/or Mandingo i golo don m bolo, place your hand in my hand; Burley, Original Handbook of Harlem Jive (1944), suggests it originated in Chicago in 1944 at the time of the Joe Louis-Tony Galento fight]

1. (orig. US black) to perform the ritual palm slapping that forms a greeting between blacks or a black and a knowledgeable white; thus the greeting give/slip/flip me some skin.

[US]Herbert & Spencer Jitterbug Jamboree Song Book 33: slip me some skin: congratulate me.
[US]Lionel Hampton & His Sextet [song title] Give Me Some Skin.
[US]Cab Calloway New Hepsters Dict. in Calloway (1976) 255: gimme some skin (v.): shake hands.
[US] ‘Jiver’s Bible’ in D. Burley Orig. Hbk of Harlem Jive.
[US]B. Schulberg Harder They Fall (1971) 176: Georgie! [...] Where you been, gate? Gimme some skin, man.
[US]Hepster’s Dict. 4: Flip me some skin – Let’s shake hands.
[US]Wild One [film script] Now gimme some skin, and ooze it out.
[US](con. 1940s) Malcolm X Autobiog. (1968) 126: My homeboy! Man, gimme some skin! I’m from Lansing! […].
[Aus]W. Dick Bunch of Ratbags 257: Give me some skin, daddy-o.
[US](con. 1958) R. Farina Been Down So Long (1972) 96: Everybody gave some skin all round.
[US]‘Hy Lit’ Hy Lit’s Unbelievable Dict. of Hip Words 18: give me five – Offering or asking someone for a handshake; give me some skin.
[US](con. 1950s) H. Junker ‘The Fifties’ in Eisen Age of Rock 2 (1970) 100: Beat/Jazz contributed: daddy-o, pad, bread, gig, slip me some skin.
[US]H.E. Roberts Third Ear n.p.: give me some skin a greeting requesting a handshake in which the palm is held flat while the greeter slides his hand along the open palm to the end of the fingers.
[US]R. Woodley Dealer 168: He [...] hung up and went cheerfully over to slap Slick’s palms. ‘Hey, you know who that was? You know who? Yeah. Comin off with an eighth tonight. Hey, an eighth, man.’ And they skinned again.
[US]B.G. Cooke ‘Nonverbal communication among Afro-Americans’, in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 33: The gestural expressions of ‘giving skin’ and ‘getting skin’ are very common in the black community.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].
[US]D. Burke Street Talk 2 37: Gimme s’m skin! How ya living?
Montgomery Advertiser (AL) 6 Mar. 32/1: It looks like he spends all of his time slapping skin [...] referring to those familiar ‘high fives’.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 26: The skins [...] got in a loose circle, gave each other skin, caught their breath.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 19: Karras and Clay gave each other skin.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 150: Wilson laughed, reached across the round-top and gave Karras finger-skin.
[US]A. Steinberg Running the Books 367: He gave me some skin.

2. in fig. use of sense 1, to grant someone respect, admiration.

R. Charles Brother Ray 70: I got to give him some skin for having high standards, even though he cut me to the bone.
have some skin in the game (v.)

to have something to lose; to have a personal committment to a situation.

L. Schecter Jocks 71: ‘If you spend that much money,’ says [ABC television executive Roone] Arledge [...] ‘you’re selling to get your skin back’.
[US]E. Beetner ‘Zed’s Dead, Baby’ in Pulp Ink [ebook] I only get sent out on overdue bills north of ten grand so the people running have some skin in the game, as they say.
[US]J. Stahl OG Dad 115: Once I had some skin in the game — in the form of a child for whose well-being I would eat my own face — all bets were off.
[US]S.M. Jones Lives Laid Away [ebook] ‘I wouldn’t blame you if you pulled the chute on this one, Snow [...] you got no skin in the game’.
[US]S. Hart Once Upon a Prime 242: I don’t buy this ‘young man’s game’ business [...] Admittedly, I have skin in the game, being neither young nor a man, but even so .
skin up (v.)

1. (drugs) to roll a cannabis-filled cigarette.

[UK]M. Dibdin Tryst 28: An assortment of graffiti, including ‘Take 2 you shit crew’, ‘Skin one up’.
[Scot]I. Welsh Filth 168: Skinning up a large reefer of skunk.
[UK]B. Hare Urban Grimshaw 60: ‘Skin up, Chop,’ she ordered [...] I skinned up.
[UK]Independent on Sun. Books 13 Mar. 69/1: He skinned up a jay.
[Ire]L. McInerney Glorious Heresies 64: [S]ometimes she invited him to come in and skin up with her.

2. in fig. use, to involve oneself with.

[UK]Guardian Guide 25–31 26 July n.p.: Brad Pitt may skin up with Newline to make the pothead caper Smuggler’s Moon.

3. (W.I.) to be on friendly terms [the proximity of human skin].

[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 48: Skin-up to be on friendly terms: u. me no skin- up wid’ im#.
[UK]‘Q’ Deadmeat 298: E is bout loyalty an me is bout moni, yu get me? Ah don’t skin up bout dat.

4. see also SE phrs. under skin v.1

slap skin(s) (v.) (orig. US black)

1. to exchange a greeting by slapping each other’s hands.

[US]P. Thomas Down These Mean Streets (1970) 16: I slapped skin with them, playing it cool all the way. Man, that was the way to be.
[US]E. Torres After Hours 55: We slapped skin about here.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 125: Two black men stood [...] casting rods. They laughed and slapped skin.

2. (also slap, slap on) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 9: slap skins – have sex.
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 slap Definition: to have sexual intercourse. Example: Last night I slapped that ass numerous times.
[US]A.N. LeBlanc Random Family 315: Comments like When I’m gonna get that? and When can I slap on that?

In exclamations

skin me!

see separate entry.

SE in slang uses

In compounds

skin-and-grief (n.) (also skin and bones and grief)

1. a very thin person; thus used as insult, see cite 1867.

Tasmanian (Hobart, Tas.) 11 Sept. 5/2: Virgin pure as driven snow—lovely languishes—skin and grief:— ‘Are there no hopes?’.
[UK]Englishwoman’s Mag. q. in Brisbane Courier 1 Aug. 4/3: And perhaps I’d have cut it sooner, ere i came here all skin and grief.
[UK]Illus. Berwick Jrnl 22 Feb. 3/3: Margaret Hamilton [said] she heard him calling names to Mrs Cowan. She heard Andrew Robson ask some boys to call out ‘skin and grief’.
Sthn Argus (Port Elliot, SA) 5 May 2/5: ‘I was once so big’ (extending his arms around the space in front of him where his stomach ought to have been, to the respectable size of the middle of an hogshead). ‘Now, alas! I am gone to skin and grief, like the barber's cat’.
[US]Brooklyn Dly Eagle (NY) 5 May 2/4: ‘The Cardinal is all skin and grief [...] with a nose as thin as a paper knife’.
[Aus]Australasian (Melbourne) 9 Dec. 2/3: It is the ghost of a sea-horse [...] and, even as a ghost, it seems in the very last stage of emaciation, literally all skin and grief.
[UK]East Anglian Times 12 Dec. 7/3: A little judicious stuffing makes a world of difference [...] if you are only skin and grief.
[Aus]Traralgon Record (Vic.) 11 Jan. 4/5: [advert] The Slender Man. There was a man of slender frame, / Who trembled like a leaf, / And wasted till he’d nothing left, / But skin and bones and grief.
[Aus]Hillston Spectator (NSW)30 Mar. 16/3: I’m [...] as right as you could expect a man to be who’s not had a meal for a month. I’m all skin and grief, teeth and hair.
[UK]H. Baumann Londinismen (2nd edn).
[UK]E. Pugh Spoilers 69: ’Urry out, ole Skin-an’-grief.
[Aus]Cumberland Argus (Parramatta, NSW) 1 Mar. 3/4: If he were to fill all expectations he might wear himself to skin and grief.
[UK]Eve. Dispatch (London) 10 Dec. 4/3: [advert] If Chairman didn’t bring relief / He’d waste away to skin and grief. 5½d. for 10.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Sydney) 24 May 4/4: ‘SKIN AND GRIEF.’ Observe a girl who smokes excessively, and you will notice that she also looks under-nourished, in some cases all skin-and-grief, with staring eyes and a yellowish skin.
Central Qyeensland Herald (Rockhampton, Qld) 17 Aug. 12/3: He was just skin and grief combined with a sore back and a bung eye.
[UK]J. Franklyn Cockney 265: Six foot o’ skin an’ grief.
[UK]Aberdeen Eve. Exp. 27 July 3/4: I was such a bit of skin and grief that none of the boys ever cast me an eye.

2. in fig. use of sense 1.

[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 17 June 4/2: We hope that no attempt will be scouted to represent us as an ‘oppressed and down-trodden people.’ We have no need at present for a moody skin-and-grief Ministry.
skin-bag (n.)

1. see sense 2b

2. (US black) a drum.

[US]‘Digg Mee’ ‘Observation Post’ in N.Y. Age 15 Mar. 9/6: [T]he inimitable Ray [...] on the drums...What rhythm he can drag, from that old skin bag.
skin boy (n.) [abbr. SE foreskin]

(N.Z.) an uncircumcised male.

R. Norgrove Shoestring Sailors 138: ‘Of course skinboys pick it up quicker than those who have been ringbarked.’ ‘Ringbarked?’ ‘Circumcised.’ [DNZE].
skin flute (n.)

see separate entry.

skinhead (n.)

see separate entry.

skin-heist (n.)

(US Und.) a rape.

[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 196/1: Skin-heist. (P) A rape or criminal assault. ‘This joint (prison) is crumbed up (full) with fleas (low fellows), squares (victims of economic depression) and them dudes (fellows) in for skin-heists.’.
skin merchant (n.) [ironic use of SE]

a military recruiting officer.

[UK]J. Burgoyne Lord of Manor III ii: I am a manufacturer of honour and glory—vulgarly call’d a recruiting dealer—or more vulgarly still, a skin-merchant.
skin pop/popper

see separate entries.

skin queen (n.) [-queen sfx]

1. (US gay) a male homosexual who views his partners as no more than sex objects, a gay sexist.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.

2. one who prefers uncircumcised penises.

[SA]K. Cage Gayle 94/2: skin queen n. man who likes uncircumcised penises [American Gayspeak].
skin-rags (n.)

(Aus.) a bathing costume.

[Aus]Truth (Melbourne) 31 Jan. 6/1: [I] got into my skin-rags for a plunge.
skin-roll (n.) [the resemblance of the penis to a roll of skin; thus cognate with dork n., prick n. (3) etc.]

(UK juv.) a totally inadequate, inept person.

OnLine Dict. of Playground Sl. 🌐 skin roll n. Insult. A word for a total tosser. Or as we liked to call them; ‘A walking length’. Generally used when someone has performed an act of incredible ineptitude.
skin scratcher (n.)

(N.Z. prison) a pison-made tattoo machine.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 168/1: skin scratcher n. a tattoo machine.
skin shake (n.)

(US prison) a body search.

[US]M. Braly On the Yard (2002) 33: Throw your smokes away. Now come up here one at a time for a skin shake.
skin tickler (n.)

(US) a tympani player.

[US]Eve. Sun (Baltimore, MD) 19 Dec. 21/4: Skin tickler: tympani player.

see separate entries.

skintop (n.)

(US) a bald head.

[US]S. Morgan Homeboy 247: With the skintop you look like a double Y chromosome serial killer.
skinwork (n.) (also skin art)

(N.Z. prison) tattoos.

[NZ]D. Looser Boobslang [U. Canterbury D.Phil. thesis] 168/1: skinwork (also skinart) n. tattoos.

In phrases

fill one’s skin (v.)

to get drunk.

[UK]Bury & Norwich Post 5 Feb. 2/3: To fill our skins is surely to take good care of ourselves. Then drink, boys, drink!
get skin (v.)

(US) to have sexual intercourse.

[US] in Randolph & Legman Ozark Folksongs and Folklore (1992) I 108: I went upstairs to get a little skin, / The hole growed up, an’ I couldn’t get it in. [...] I went upstairs to get a little skin, / Fell in a piss-pot up to my chin.
get (some) skins (v.)

(US black) to have sexual intercourse.

[US]S. Moore In The Cut 63: I have many more words for the dictionary [...] skins, sex from a female (as in ‘getting some skins from the pretties’).
[US]Ebonics Primer at 🌐 skins Definition: to get laid. Example: I be getting skins from dat biotch [sic] Yolanda.
[US]B. Coleman Check the Technique 98: ‘Me and Jamar didn’t talk about skins, but we damn sure got skins!’.
hit (the) skins (v.)

to have sexual intercourse [note Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin paitim bun, to have sex, lit. ‘hit bones’].

[US]L. Stavsky et al. A2Z 49/1: hitting the skins – v. engaging in sexual intercourse.
[US] 🌐 hit them skins: (v.) got with a girl ex. i just hit them skins last night.
in a good skin (also in a whole skin)

good-humoured, cheerful.

[UK]Bridges Homer Travestie (1764) I 75: In a whole skin thou lov’st to be.
[UK]Egan Life in London (1869) 270: Logic found his companions in a ‘whole skin‘ on paying a visit to Corinthian House the next morning.
[UK](con. 1916) F. Manning Her Privates We (1986) 23: Captain Malet’s not in a very good skin today.
in one’s skin

a non-committal answer when asked where someone is.

[UK]Swift Polite Conversation 22: col.: Pray, Miss, where is your old Acquaintance, Mrs. Wayward ?. miss.: Why, where should she be? If you must needs know; she’s in her Skin.
no skin off one’s ass (also no skin off one’s arse, ...backside, ...tail) [ass n. (2)/backside n./tail n. (1)]

(orig. US) no problem, no worries; of no importance.

[US]W.R. Burnett Goodbye to the Past 237: Hen hesitated and rubbed his chin reflectively. ‘You must’ve had bad news.’ ‘Well, it’s no skin off your backside, is it?’.
[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 191: If you haven’t learned [...] that it’s every man for himself, it’s no skin off my ass.
[US](con. 1920s) ‘Harry Grey’ Hoods (1953) 234: So he’ll kill the Fairy. That’s no skin off your ass.
[US]‘Weldon Hill’ Onionhead (1958) 148: ‘It’s no skin off your arse if I smooch Red’s wife’.
[US](con. WWII) R. Leckie Marines! 29: It was no skin off his backside.
[US]‘M.B. Longman’ Power of Black (1962) 139: It’s no skin off my yella ass.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 12: No skin off my tail. [Ibid.] 14: No skin off my back.
[US]E. Bunker No Beast So Fierce 26: I don’t care if you run. It’s no skin off my ass.
Green Bay Press Gaz. (WI) 26 Sept. 22/4: ‘It’s no skin off my tail’ [...] meaning it’s no concern of mine, goes back to our western frontier of the 19th century.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 52: Pete shrugged. ‘Jack’s no skin off my ass either way.’.
no skin off one’s balls (also no skin off one’s dick, ...testicles) [balls n. (1)/dick n.1 (5)]

(orig. US) of no importance.

[US](con. WWII) B. Cochrell Barren Beaches of Hell 193: It’s no skin off your testicles,’ Willy said.
[UK]M. Dibdin Dying of the Light 87: Still, that was no skin off his dick, was it?
J. McDaniel Counterparts 14: No skin off my balls if it does fall. Who the fuck would give a shit anyway?
no skin off one’s nose (also no skin, no skin off someone(’s), no skin off one’s back, …ear, …elbow, ...hide, ...knuckles, ...shonk, …smeller, ...teeth, no hair off one’s brows) [shonk n. (2)/smeller n. (2)]

a phr. implying one’s contemptuous lack of interest; ‘I don’t care’, ‘it doesn’t bother me’.

News-Courant (Cottonwood Falls, KS) 12 Sept. 2/2: ‘Ef ’t ain’t no skin off’n yo’r elbow, pard’.
[US]Out West Mar. 246: The ‘Statehood fight’ concerns the territories only, and is ‘no skin off the knuckles’ of California [DA].
[US]H.A. Franck Zone Policeman 88 134: Now we have a private inside hunch that the three already here have come up particularly and specifically to prepare for the funeral of the three who are arriving. Which is no hair off our brows.
[US]M. Glass Abe And Mawruss 107: Of course, Max [...] it ain’t no skin off my nose, y’understand.
[US]S. Lewis Main Street (1921) 312: Go to it. No skin off my ear, Nat.
[US]G.H. Mullin Adventures of a Scholar Tramp 98: Draw in yere teeth, ye meddlesome old blister [...] If this man knocks at my door, that ain’t no skin off your elbow.
[UK]D. Lawley Hustling Hobo 234: It’s no skin off our backs if there ain’t no coal.
[US](con. 1850s) R. Bradford Kingdom Coming 71: Efn you tells de moster somethin’ de moster know already, hit ain’t no harm done and no skin offn yo’ sweet back.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 561: He had a lot of crust shooting his bazoo off when it wasn’t any skin off his teeth. [Ibid.] 657: What he doesn’t know will be no skin off his ears.
[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 111: If Geiger was running indecent literature, that’s no skin off my nose.
[US]Times (Munster, IN) 4 Nov. 8/7: Seeing as i don’t pay taxes [...] it’s no skin off my teeth.
[US]R.L. Bellem ‘Focus on Death’ Hollywood Detective Jan. 🌐 It was no skin off my elbow.
Howard Fast Freedom Road 229: I know that. It’s no skin off your back [DA].
[US]H. McCoy Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in Four Novels (1983) 154: Now look here, Doc [...] This is no skin off your nose.
[US]N. Algren Man with the Golden Arm 116: It wasn’t any skin off his hide [...] the sucker figured.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 17: If the guy wanted to be somebody’s woolly bear, it was no skin off my teeth.
[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 10: It’s no use for us to cuff and be ruff, fuss and be tuff, because it’s no skin off of our smellers to be good fellers. Nobody’s ready for Freddy, so fall in line and get on time.
[US]F. Paley Rumble on the Docks (1955) 135: Say [...] it ain’t no skin off your back if we hang on to the little box.
[WI]R. Mais Hills were Joyful Together (1966) 56: It’s nothing [...] Some skin off my elbow, ’bout all.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 32: It was no skin off Terry if Joey wanted to louse himself up.
[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 300: That’s his business and no skin off your nose or mine.
[US] in T.I. Rubin Sweet Daddy 12: No skin off my tail. [Ibid.] 14: No skin off my back.
[US]P. Highsmith Two Faces of January (1988) 59: His coolness was almost like contempt, Chester felt. No skin off his nose what had happened, of course, no skin at all.
[US]B. Malamud Tenants (1972) 31: Make it like eight or around that if it’s no skin off you.
[UK]Wodehouse Much Obliged, Jeeves 32: Well, it was no skin off my nose.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 282: It’s no skin off my shonk who you marry.
[US]G. Swarthout Skeletons 13: So what? It’s no skin off mine.
[Aus]M. Bail Homesickness (1999) 299: They’ve got their own newspapers. No skin off your nose!
Minneapolis Star (MN) 26 Mar. 26/4: ‘All you can do is tell ’em [...] if they don’t want to listen, it ain’t no skin off my teeth’.
[UK]M. Simpson ‘Prufrock Scoused’ Catching Up with Hist. 23: Makes no odds. No skin off my nose.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 202: I’ll see that Stuhl gets your message, if that’s what you want. [...] No skin off my nose.
[US]Baltimore Sun (MD) 30 June B1/2: ‘I got something and I don’t need it. If you need it, hey, it ain’t no skin off my back’.
[Ire]P. Howard Teenage Dirtbag Years 13: Her loss. It’s no skin off my nose.
[UK]K. Richards Life 202: I decided it was no skin off my nose.
Hartford Courtant (CT) 6 Jan. A11/4: Let them tay there until they [...] want to go home. No skin off my teeth.
[US]Star Trib. (Minneapolis, MN) 8 Oct. E16/1: ‘I you have to hit the brakes so hard [...] a window breaks, it’s no skin off my nose’.
one’s skin is cracking [play on SE parched, dried out, thirsty]

(Aus./N.Z.) desperate for a drink of alcohol.

[UK]H.G. Lamond Towser the Sheep Dog 48: In the Ianguage of the bush, ‘Jack’s skin was crackin’’. He craved a drunken spree.
S. Mussen Beating about Bush 63: ‘His skin’s fair cracking.’ ‘Fair cracking?’ I asked. ‘He can’t wait to start a drinking spree,’ translated Tim.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 190: skin is cracking, my Dry from lack of booze and feeling an intense desire to remedy this deficiency. 1930s.
on my skin [the primary importance of one’s skin colour in prison]

(US Und.) a phr. that implies absolute honesty.

[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 42: When one gang member tells another something, he may be asked if he is telling the truth. His reply of verification would be — on my skin. This is the most significant word of honor a person can give [...] On my skin is simply a way of assuring someone something is true. It is never used in jest.
[US]J. Lerner You Got Nothing Coming 39: Nah, dawg, straight-up business, on my skin, bo! I was a short-order cook.
on the skin

stealing furs.

[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 196/1: Skin, the. The fur-stealing racket. [...] Skin, on the. Engaged in, or by means of, any of the various forms of the fur-stealing racket.
shed one’s skin (v.)

(Aus.) to become hysterical with rage.

[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 173: Stone the crows, I thought she’d shed her blasted skin!
shoot skin (v.) (also go in the skin) [SE skin]

(drugs) to inject narcotics into the skin rather than into a vein; thus skin-shooting n., injecting in this way; skin-shooter n., one who injects in this way.

[US]B. Dai Opium Addiction in Chicago 203: Skin-shooters. Addicts who inject drugs subcutaneously. This is called going in the skin.
[US]D. Maurer ‘Lang. of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 2 in Lang. Und. (1981) 103/1: To go in the skin. To indulge in skin-shooting as contrasted to veinshooting.
[US]J.E. Schmidt Narcotics Lingo and Lore 69: Go in the skin – To inject an addiction narcotic hypodermically rather than intravenously.
[US] ‘Sl. of Watts’ in Current Sl. III:2 42: shoot skin, v. To make a faulty injection of heroin and miss the vein.
[US]C. Major Juba to Jive 420: shoot skin to inject heroin or some other drug into a muscle.

In exclamations

skin off your nose!

(orig. naut.) a popular toast; often ext. as here’s (to) the skin off your nose!

[UK]R. Tressell Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (1955) 197: Well, ’ere’s the skin orf yer nose, said Crass, [...] taking a long pull at the pint glass.
[UK](con. WWI) Fraser & Gibbons Soldier and Sailor Words 260: Skin Off Your Nose! Here’s To The: Your good health!
[Aus](con. WWI) L. Mann Flesh in Armour 32: ‘Here’s luck, Uncle!’ cried Bill [...] ‘The skin off your nose, Mr Carter!’ proposed Charl.
[Aus]A.L. Haskell Waltzing Matilda 38: ‘’Ere’s ’ow!’ ‘Skin-orf-yer-nose!’.
[UK]G. Fairlie Capt. Bulldog Drummond 23: ‘Good health, Hugh.’ [...] ‘Skin off your nose, old top!’.
[SA]H.C. Bosman Jacaranda in the Night (1981) I 304: Hans Korf placed more drinks before them. ‘Here’s to the skin off your nose.’.
[UK]Wodehouse Mating Season 201: Skin off your nose, Jeeves.
[NZ]N. Hilliard Maori Girl 177: ‘Well, skin off your nose!’ He drained his glass.