11 Old Timey Criminal Slang Terms for the Police


Criminals have been referring to police as pigs since at least 1811. But just as they came up with many creative names for the people who ratted them out, crooks also called cops and private detectives by many other, more creative names. Here are a few of them from Eric Partridge’s Dictionary of the Underworld


A term circa 1789 for a policeman who is running down, or finding information about, criminals. It was obsolete by 1870.


According to Henry Leverage's "Dictionary of the Underworld," which appeared in a 1925 issue of Flynn's, this term referred to a detective who looked for pickpockets.


"Popular report has it that he listens so often, so long, so hard, that his ears grow to monsterous size," Partridge writes of this term for a policeman, which originated with a piece by J. Allen Dunn in the November 15, 1930 issue of Flynn's: "There's a couple of elephant ears ... spotting this joint."


Fuzz, referring to the police force, originated in America in 1929. A fuzzy, meanwhile, was a term from 1931 and referred to a policeman who was "very diligent in enforcing the law."


A term from 1933 for policemen patrolling in cars. Even more delightful(ly insulting) is the singular form, Lizzie Lousie: "'A policeman who uses a smalle coupe in which to patrol his beat' ... that being a contemtuous term," Partridge writes.


This 1910 term was "not very common," according to Partridge. "Perhaps, via a hypothetical mittery ... hands clapped by policemen on malefactors' shoulders."


A 1781 term for a constable or officer of the law, from Ralph Tomlinson's parody, A Slang Pastoral:

Will no blood-hunting foodpad, that hears me complain,
Stop the wind of that nabbing-cull, constable Payne? 

The term was obsolete by 1860.


An Australian term, circa the 1930s, for a plainclothes detective.


Scorch is a 1925 term meaning "to arrest (someone)." A scorcher is the policeman or detective who does the arresting.


This term for a detective comes from Edwin Pugh's 1906 novel The Spoilers:

"It shows you ain't too anxious ... to be recognised by the tiggies, see?"

It also appears again in Pugh's 1914 book The Cockney at Home: Stories and Studies of London Life and Character; by 1918, it was low slang. 


This term, used since 1930, referred to a detective of the pickpocket squad. 

From Snoopy to Shark Bait: The Top Slang Word in Each State

There’s a minute, and then there’s a hot minute. Defined as “a longish amount of time,” this unit of time is familiar to Alabamians but may stir up confusion beyond the state’s borders.

It’s Louisianans, though, who feel the “most misunderstood,” according to the results of a survey regarding regional slang by PlayNJ. Of the Louisiana residents surveyed, 72 percent said their fellow Americans from other states—even neighboring ones—have a hard time grasping their lingo. Some learned the hard way that ordering a burger “dressed” (with lettuce, tomato, pickles, and mayo) isn’t universally understood, nor is the phrase “to pass a good time” (instead of “to have” a good time).

After surveying 2000 people (with proportional numbers from each state), PlayNJ created a map showing the top slang word in each state. Many are words that are unlikely to be understood beyond state lines, but others—like California’s bomb (something you really like) and New York’s deadass (to be completely serious)—have spread well beyond their respective borders thanks to memes and internet culture.

Hawaiians are also known for their distinctive slang words, with 71 percent reporting that words like shaka (hello) and poho (waste of time) are frequently misunderstood. Shark bait, one of the state’s more colorful terms, refers to tourists who are so pale that they attract sharks.

Check out the full list below and test your knowledge of regional slang words with PlayNJ’s online quiz.

A chart showing the top slang words in each state
20 States With the Highest Rates of Skin Cancer

They don’t call it the Sunshine State for nothing. Floridians get to soak up the sun year-round, but that exposure to harmful UV rays also comes with consequences. Prevention magazine reported that Florida has the highest rate of skin cancer in the U.S., according to a survey by Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).

BCBS surveyed 9 million of its insured members who had been diagnosed with skin cancer between 2014 and 2016 and found that Florida had the highest rate of skin cancer at 7.1 percent. People living in eastern states tend to be more prone to skin cancer, and diagnoses are more common among women.

Here are the 20 states with the highest rates of skin cancer:

1. Florida: 7.1 percent
2. Washington, D.C.: 5.8 percent
3. Connecticut: 5.6 percent
4. Maryland: 5.3 percent
5. Rhode Island: 5.3 percent
6. Vermont: 5.3 percent
7. North Carolina: 5.2 percent
8. New York: 5 percent
9. Massachusetts: 5 percent
10. Colorado: 5 percent
11. Arizona: 5 percent
12. Virginia: 5 percent
13. Delaware: 4.8 percent
14. Kentucky: 4.7 percent
15. Alabama: 4.7 percent
16. New Jersey: 4.7 percent
17. Georgia: 4.7 percent
18. West Virginia: 4.5 percent
19. Tennessee: 4.5 percent
20. South Carolina: 4.4 percent

It may come as a surprise that sunny California doesn’t make the top 20, and Hawaii is the state with the lowest rate of skin cancer at 1.8 percent. Prevention magazine explains that this could be due to the large population of senior citizens in Florida and the fact that the risk of melanoma, a rare but deadly type of skin cancer, increases with age. People living in regions with higher altitudes also face a greater risk of skin cancer due to the thinner atmosphere and greater exposure to UV radiation, which explains why Colorado is in the top 10.

The good news is that the technology used to detect skin cancer is improving, and researchers hope that AI can soon be incorporated into more skin cancer screenings. To reduce your risk, be sure to wear SPF 30+ sunscreen when you know you’ll be spending time outside, and don’t forget to reapply it every two hours. 

[h/t Prevention]


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