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EtymologyEdit

Unknown

Perhaps from spiff, spiffy.

Spiv was the nickname of Henry Bagster, a Londoner arrested a number of times in 1904-6 for activities as described below, and may have been the archetype.

PronunciationEdit

NounEdit

spiv (plural spivs)

  1. (Britain, dated) A smartly dressed person who trades in illicit, black-market or stolen goods.
  2. (Britain, dated) A flashy con artist, often homeless, who lives by his wits.
  3. (Britain, dated) In Scotland Yard usage, a low and common thief.
  4. (Britain, dated) A slacker; one who shirks responsibility.

QuotationsEdit

  • "I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers who did more harm to the British economy than [transport union leader] Bob Crow could achieve in his wildest Trotskyite fantasies, while paying themselves outrageous bonuses underwritten by the taxpayer." -- Vince Cable on the banking system.[1]

SynonymsEdit

The terms below need to be checked and allocated to the definitions (senses) of the headword above. Each term should appear in the sense for which it is appropriate. Use the templates {{syn|en|...}} or {{ant|en|...}} to add them to the appropriate sense(s).

Derived termsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Cable in attack on bonuses for City 'spivs'", Gavin Stamp, BBC News, 2010-09-22

Further readingEdit

AnagramsEdit