Get Smart: don’t let only the thieves use these words.

Specialized words are used to describe certain legitimate and not-so-legitimate commercial and political activity.
  1. AIRTIGHT, adv. – With every possible precaution; certain.
  2. BADMAN, n. – Policeman or other peace officer.
  3. BEAT A SPOT, v. – Steal from a certain place.
  4. BIG ONE,  n. – A large gain from theft.
  5. BIG-TIME, adj. – Theft in which preparations are elaborate and prospective gains large.
  6. BLOW A SCORE, v. – Fail in an attempted theft.
  7. BLOWOFF, n. – The final act in the operation of a confidence game, resulting in the separation of the thieves from the victim.
  8. BUILDUP, n. – Part of a confidence game designed to develop confidence in the victim.
  9. BURN, v. – Hold out part of the proceeds of a theft from the partners in the theft.
  10. CASE, v. – Watch carefully.
  11. CHILL, v. – Stare icily, refuse to negotiate.
  12. CONVINCER, n. – Money which a prospective victim of a confidence game is permitted to win, as a means of inducing him to continue further.
  13. COOL OFF, v. – Assuage or comfort a victim after he has suffered a loss; leave a dangerous situation until the danger decreases.
  14. CUT UP, v. – Distribute the proceeds of a theft.
  15. END, n. – Share, portion.
  16. FIX, v. – Arrange immunity for a thief on a criminal charge; n.: the act of arranging immunity; one who arranges immunity.
  17. FIXER, n. – One who arranges immunity for thieves.
  18. FRONT, n. – Dress or appearance; v.: to use one’s influence for another.
  19. GONNIF, n. – Thief, supposed to be derived from Yiddish.
  20. GRIFT, v. – To steal; n.: theft.
  21. HEAT, n. – Danger in general; an investigation; a policeman.
  22. HUSTLE, v. – Operate a racket.
  23. INSIDE MAN, n. – A member of a confidence mob to whom a victim is brought.
  24. JOINT, n. – A fake gambling establishment or brokerage office used in the more elaborate confidence games (same as “store”); any place, such as home, office, hangout.
  25. LEMON, n. – A confidence game involving collusion in betting.
  26. MARK, n. – Victim; same as “sucker.”
  27. MOB, n. – A group of thieves who work together; same as “troupe” and “outfit.”
  28. MURDER GRIFT, n. – Stealing under conditions in which thieves are unhampered and unafraid.
  29. NIX, interj. – A word of warning.
  30. NUT, n. – The sum total of expenses.
  31. OUTSIDE MAN, n. – A member of a confidence mob with whom the victim makes contact on the basis of friendship.
  32. PACK IN, v. – Cease, desist, abandon.
  33. PUTUP, n. – An opportunity for theft reported to a mob of thieves for a commission or other consideration.
  34. RUMBLE, n. – Discovery; suspicion. Same as TUMBLE.
  35. SHADE, v. – Cover, conveal.
  36. SHORT CON, n. – Confidence games designed to reach completion in a relatively short time and to secure only the money the victim may have on his person.
  37. SICK ENGINEER, n. – A confidence game.
  38. SNITCH, v. – To inform on a criminal;  n.: one who informs.
  39. STEER, v. – Direct, guide, especially in confidence games; n.: a member of a confidence mob who makes the first contact with the prospective victim and guides him to the inside man; also used as “steerer”.
  40. STRAIGHTEN OUT, v. – Remove difficulties; especially to induce a victim to refuse to prosecute or make complaint.
  41. SUCKER, n. – Victim; anyone who is not a thief.
Note #41: Those that are playing the game are either Victims or Thieves. No other categories are possible.

– The Professional Thief: An astonishing revelation of criminal life, by a professional thief, Annotated and Interpreted by Edwin H. Sutherland, The University of Chicago, 1937.


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