Green’s Dictionary of Slang

John Bull n.1

also Bull, Bully, Jack Bull, Jacky Bull, J.B., Johnnie Bull, Johnny Bull, Miss Bull
[first used to name a character in John Arbuthnot’s The History of John Bull (1712), in which he also coined Nic Frog + Louis Baboon, for the Dutch- and Frenchman respectively]

1. an Englishman, the British, Great Britain; an English ship; thus John Bull-land, England/Britain; see also (1846) Lady Bull, an Englishwoman; also attrib.

[UK]J. Arbuthnot Hist. of John Bull 14: The two chief were, (*The English) John Bull the clothier and (*The Dutch) Nic. Frog the linen draper.
[Aus]P. de Marivaux Agreeable Surprise (translation) I i: In Jacky Bull, when bound for France, / The gosling you discover.
[UK]Smollett Humphrey Clinker (1925) II 65: May a’ unkindness cease betwixt John Bull and his sister Moggy.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘Lyric Odes’ Works (1794) I 30: Unlike our London poor John Bulls.
[UK]F. Pilon He Would be a Soldier III i: Jack Bull is von guinea too heavy; and un Frenchman [...] un Louis d’Or too light.
[UK]‘Peter Pindar’ ‘More Money’ Works (1794) III 137: Thick as may be the head of poor John Bull.
[US]Tax and Axe n.p.: But Old Johnny Bull / looks sulky and dull.
[UK]M. Edgeworth Belinda (1994) 53: You have little curiosity, I presume, to know how many hogsheads of port went down the throat of John Bull.
[UK]Sporting Mag. Feb. XXIII 284/2: ‘Paddy,’ said an Englishman, ‘why are you so apt to make Blunders?’ ‘Because, Johnny, I have such a regards for my dear friends – the Bulls.’.
[UK]Dr. Bull’s Chaunt to Answer Jacky Billy 4: At this threat old John Bull could refrain not a smile.
[UK]‘The Ghost of a Scrag of Mutton’ in Vocal Mag. 1 June 197: For the Emperor Scrag in fear Europe has got, / Tho’ John Bull don’t mind him a button, / For Johnny’s the scholar who’ll send him to pot.
[UK]‘An Amateur’ Real Life in London I 170: Johnny Bull, who is fond of a little gape-seed, is endeavouring to console him under his sufferings.
[UK]‘Jon Bee’ Dict. of the Turf, the Ring, the Chase, etc. 105: John Bull — [...] The name is assumed by any impudent-and-ignorant knave, who behaves astonishing rude and then excuses his crimes under the plea that ‘he is plain John Bull.’ John’s chief characteristic is — great gullibility.
[UK] ‘Odds & Ends’ in Holloway & Black II (1979) 264: The Isle of Wight is very gay now, / To Cowes — the Bulls flock night and day now.
[UK]Sheffield Indep. 14 Feb. 4/5: [headline] A Leaf from Jacky Bull’s Catechism.
[US]‘Devoted to Mirth & Sarcasm’ Splifincator 1:7 27 Aug. 2/1: Johnny Bull has at length obliged his naughty Parliament to reduce the stamp duty on newspapers to one penny, and Johnny Croppo, on the other side of the channel is obliged to allow the ‘citizen king’ a guard of eighty thousand soldiers.
[UK](con. 1809–12) ‘Boz’ Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi 174: God save John Bull! / Send him victorious, / Loud and uproarious, / With lungs like Boreas; / God save John Bull!
[UK]Odd Fellow (London) 1 May 1/2: [pic. captipon] Johnny Bull and the Locusts.
[UK]R.S. Surtees Hillingdon Hall I 59: Bull, as you say, is a great hobstinate beast [Ibid.] 61: It will require a deal o’ sleight o’ tongue to make Bully believe you’re a workin’ for his good.
[UK]Swell’s Night Guide 35: These Femmes de Francois have given a foreign cast to the entertainments, customs and grubbery department; and Lady Bull has followed the example of John Bull by getting into the French style.
[UK]A. Smith Natural History of the Gent 87: John Bull being represented generally as a vulgar, toop-booted man verging on apoplexy, with, evidently, few ideas of refinement, obstinate and hard-natured.
[UK]Lloyd’s Wkly Newspaper 22 Dec. 9/1: Among whom will be found many of Jacky Bull’s favourites.
[Ire] ‘Flaming O’Flannagans’ Irish Songster 19: With Irish Miss Murphys and English Miss Bulls.
[US] ‘Bainbridge’s Tid-Re I’ Jack Tar’s Songster 15: Now Johnny Bull, / All canvas full, / Bore down upon us cheerily, O.
[UK] ‘Lovely Albert’ in Henderson Victorian Street Ballads (1937) 149: And Old John Bull had his belly full / Of dirty Russian tallow.
[US]N.-Y. Trib. 18 Mar. 2/2: So the aristocratic Senator [...] is half Yankee, half Bull [DA].
[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 276/1: Oh, take your time Miss Lind, / You’re only to raise your voice, / John Bull, will raise the wind.
[US] ‘Grant’s the Man’ Grant Songster 13: Johnny Bull don’t like our hero.
[US]W.H. Thomes Slaver’s Adventures 31: ‘Ah, dat English man-of-war I know,’ the old fellow cried. ‘Now, I go off and get five dollars, and humbug John Bull, you see.’.
[UK] ‘Naval Toasts’ Sea Songs of Old England 5: May John Bull ever be Commander-in-chief of the ocean.
[UK]Eve. Teleg. (Dundee) 13 May 4/3: Oh! Johnny Bull, My Joe!
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 28 Mar. 7/1: When coin is required for [...] some bogus Indian scheme – the British public dropped eight or ten millions in Indian gold-mining – John Bull ‘comes down’ like a lamb.
[UK]Mrs J.H. Riddell Mitre Court II 127: I myself have no idea, unless it was your thick-headed John Bull.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 247: I tried to show the other Johnnie Bulls how the lad lost his gun.
[UK] ‘’Arry in Switzerland’ in Punch 5 Dec. in P. Marks (2006) 98: They [i.e. the French] in fack always fails in Ler Sport, though they gives Bull a lead in Ler Bo!
[UK]W. Sickert Pall Mall Gazette 21 July 2: By this time we stood in front of a very fair specimen of that kind of Impressionism against which I as a Philistine – a typical ‘John Bull’ – had constantly railed.
[UK] Punch 31 Jan. 54: Seven million blacks on his folks’ backs / Would kind o’ rile J.B.
[UK] Punch 15 Oct. 170: The FROG beat the BULL by a length and a half, / With your MOSSOP and JAMES, licked by BOUDIN and CUZIN.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 15 July 1/8: Should Austria with the Bear make pact, / Should both then tackle Bull.
[UK] ‘Harry on ’Arry’ Punch 17 Aug. in P. Marks (2006) 24: He takes ‘Rule Britannia’ along with him, young JOHNNY BULL does.
[US]‘Frederick Benton Williams’ (H.E. Hamblen) On Many Seas 351: Well, after the Johnny Bulls had hunted out the last grain of wheat from peak and run, we left Gloucester, and went across to Cardiff.
[Aus]W.A. Sun. Times (Perth) 16 Jan. 3/1: Great Britain has been left out of the alleged partition of China [...] It seems that old ‘Bully’ is getting as weak on politics as it is on mining.
[UK]Sporting Times 6 Jan. 1/2: John Bull’s in Africa hunting the fox, / It’s a stiffish country with roughish knocks.
[UK]Eve. Post (Angus) 19 June 1: [strapline] Extravagant Johnny Bull! [...] See our Magazine Page.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Nov. 15/4: Bull swears at his men personally and offensively, whereas, though Jonathan is a real nigger-driver, his ‘language’ is directed at the work, and not at the men.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 10 Jan. 4/6: The brown man is John Bull’s ally - precious near J.B.’s only one.
[UK]Marvel III:55 11: Johnnie Bull Cochon, speak you to a gentleman as a gentleman.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 25 Aug. 36/2: In the whole and extensive world is there, I ask, a more muddled up coinage and weights and measures system than Bulls’.
[US]N.Y. Tribune 15 Jan. 12/3: The Johnny Bull gave up an’ left the boat in disgust.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 25 Aug. 85/6: Neath the old red, blue and white / Bull the cagmag loudly scorns, / While contentedly we bite / Ancient hoofs and crumpled horns.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 198: But who said I spoke English? It’s good American. [...] I hate John Bull worse than a poison rattle.
[US]J. Tully Beggars of Life 125: Them damn Johnny Bulls gimme a pain in the ear.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 141: Say, don’t run away with the notion that I’m a wild, Johnny Bull hatin’ Irishman.
[UK]A. Christie Murder in the Mews (1954) 67: I thought you were too much of an old John Bull to put your trust in a Frenchman.
[Ire] (con. 1900s) S. O’Casey Drums Under the Windows 239: I’ll make me home in John Bull’s Other island.
[UK]H. Tracy Mind You, I’ve Said Nothing (1961) 54: A fat and truculent John Bull prevented him.
[UK]A. Sinclair Breaking of Bumbo (1961) 93: We’ve got to sell ourselves to live, and who’ll buy Johnny Bull.
[UK](con. 1940s) J. Healy Death of an Irish Town 47: The young boys, who were destined for John Bull-land, were now without a school.
[UK]P. Barnes Ruling Class I v: I’m the real England, not beef-eating Johnny Bullshit.
[US]J. Langone Life at the Bottom 27: He wasn’t doing it for old John Bull.
[Ire]J.B. Keane Bodhrán Makers 337: Donal Hallapy laughed, well aware of Bluenose’s abhorrence for the land of John Bull.

2. an English woman.

[US]H.L. Williams Black-Eyed Beauty 36: Oh! you peppered the big Johny Bull of a moll!
[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 82: Them Johnny Bulls are daffy over it.

3. (US short-order) a beefsteak.

[US]Ocala Eve. Star (FL) 20 June 1/5: ‘Beefsteak and onions,’ says a customer. ‘John Bull! Make him ginny!’ shouts the waiter.

In derivatives

John Bullism (n.) (also Johnny Bullism)

self-conscious promotion of the stereotyped characteristics of a ‘true’ Englishman.

[UK]Southern Reporter 1 Apr. 4/5: You must mingle freely with all denominations and classes; you must put off all the Johnny-Bull-ism of your country.
[UK]Morn. Post (London) 2 Dec. 4/1: [headline] John Bullism and Jack-a-Dandyism.
[US]Lancaster Gazette 8 Mar. 2/2: If I were a journalist [...] I would model myself on ‘the Times’, but divest myself of his John-Bullism.
[UK]Kendal Mercury 13 July 1/7: So wedded as they to old customs, even to John Bullism [etc.].
[UK]Inverness Courier 1 Oct. 5/3: A straight forward Englishman with a dash of blunt John Bullism about him.
[UK]Liverpool Daily Post 30 Dec. 5/3: John Bullism, however, prevailed, the war was persisted in.
[Ire]Cork Examiner 28 July 2/4: It is greatly to be regetted that the Bill [...] should be defeated by the obstinate John Bullism of Mr Beresford Hope.
[UK]Bristol Mercury 31 May 5/2: The majority of the nation have no sympathy with the vulgar John Bullism of the music hall patriotic song.
John Bullish (adj.)

agressively patriotic.

[NZ]N.Z. Observer (Auckland) 27 Mar. 5/2: Is one to suppose that the full-blooded John Bullish Dr. Averill forgets his college days?
John Bull-ite (n.)

an Englishman.

[US]‘Jack Downing’ Andrew Jackson 101: By this time the swannery of the John Bull-ites became pritty much a goosery.

In compounds

John Bull’s bastard (n.)

(Irish) an Englishman.

[Ire](con. 1940s) B. Behan Borstal Boy 23: That old John Bull’s bastard of a copper.