Spiv meaning

spĭv
One, usually unemployed, who lives by one's wits.
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One who shirks work or responsibility; a slacker.
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A man who lives by his wits, without doing any regular or honest work, esp. one engaged in petty, shady dealings.
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(UK, dated) A smartly dressed person who trades in illicit, black-market or stolen goods.
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(UK, dated) A flashy con artist, often homeless, who lives by his wits.
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(UK, dated) In Scotland Yard usage, a low and common thief.
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(UK, dated) A slacker; one who shirks responsibility.
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Origin of spiv

  • Dialectal spif dandified, dandy
    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
  • 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.
    From Wiktionary