rat. A drunken person taken into custody: C.: late C.17-early 19. ?ex idea
a drowned rat or. more prob. ex drunk as a rat.
2. A clergyman: C.17. 'Microcosmography' Earle. A profane man ...
clergyman ... rat, black-coat, and the like. Prob. current also in
since Grose puns thus: Rats. Of these there are the following kinds:
a black rat and a grey rat, a py-rat and a cu-rat. esp. as, in c17 -
early 18, rat occ. designated a pirate.
3. A police spy: c.: from ca 1850, Ex the gem term of contempt.
4. An infernal machine for the foundering of insured bottoms:
nautical coil (from ca 1880) > j.
5. See RATS and RATS! 6. In Australia, a Street urchin; a wharf
C. J. Dennis: late C.l9-20.
rat!, rat it! or rat me! A low coll. imprecation: late C.17-20:
ob. VanblLlgh. Hoadly, Thackeray, Conan Doyle. Ex rot. cf DRAT!
rat, do a. To Change ones tactics: coll: from ca 1860. Ex SE. rat, to
rat, drunk as a. Hopelessly tipsy: coll: mid-C,16-l7. Boorde, 1542.
rat, smell a, see SMELL A RAT.
rat and mouse. A house: rhyming s.: late C19-20.
rat back-clip. Short hair: lower classes': ca 1856-1900.
rat-castle. A prison: s.: Ned Ward, 1703. Rats both lit, and fig, abound
rat-firm, -house, -office, -shop. A workshop. etc., where less than full
are paid.: trade unions' coIl (-1888).
rat-hole. Too large a gap between printed words: printers': from ca ¶870.
rat it!; rat me! See RAT!
rat-offic, see RAT-FIRM.
rat-shop. A shop or factory that employs non-union workers: lower classes:
ca 1875. See also RAT-FIRM.
rat-trap. A bustle or dress-improver: ca 1850-1900. cf. BIRD-CAGE.
rats. A star: back s.: from Ca 1875. (Not very gen.)
2. See RATS, GET.
3. the rats, delirium tremens: from Ca 1865. Ex RATS, GET, 3.
rats! A contemptuous retort = Bosh: (low) coll: orig. U.S., but anglicized
'Pomes' Marshall, 'One word, and that was Rats!' Prob. ex:
rats, get or have or see. To be out of sorts (rarely with see):
1865, F. Yates. "Well old boy, how are you?' . . Not very
"Aw. like me, got rats, haven't you?"
2. To be drunk: very drunk: from ca 1865, Likewise ob., very ob.
3. (Rarely get or have.) To have delirium tremens: low: from ca 1865.
4. Hence (though not with get), to be eccentric (low) coll: from ca
5. Hence, from Ca 1885, to be crazy.
rats, give (one) green. To malian; slander: ca 1860-1910.
Perhaps ex rats: sick 'em!, a call to a dog... Perhaps not.
rats, in the. Sufferins from delirium tremens: low and military: from ca
Ex RATS, 3.
rats and mice. Dice: from ca 1860.
rats in the garret or loft or upper storey. Eccentflc; mad: from ca 1890:
ob. Prob. EX BATS IN THE BELFRY and RATS, GET ..., ,4,5
rat's-tail. A writ legal: from ca 1870. ex scroll on cover.
2. A pigtail: s. Ned Ward, 1714.