sucker

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

suck (verb) +‎ -er

Noun[edit]

sucker (plural suckers)

  1. A person or animal that sucks, especially a breast or udder; especially a suckling animal, young mammal before it is weaned (since late 14th century).
  2. (horticulture) An undesired stem growing out of the roots or lower trunk of a shrub or tree, especially from the rootstock of a grafted plant or tree (from 1570s).
  3. A parasite; a sponger.
    • 1642, Thomas Fuller, The Holy State and the Prophane State:
      They who constantly converse with men far above their estates shall reap shame and loss thereby; if thou payest nothing, they will count thee a sucker, no branch.
  4. An organ or body part that does the sucking; especially a round structure on the bodies of some insects, frogs, and octopuses that allows them to stick to surfaces.
  5. A thing that works by sucking something.
  6. The embolus, or bucket, of a pump; also, the valve of a pump basket.
    • 1725, Robert Boyle, The Philosophical Works (p. 687):
      The last Mr. Hobbs’s principal explanations, is of the experiment wherein above 100 pound weight, being hung at the depress’d sucker, the sucker was, notwithstanding, impell’d up again, by the air, to the top of the cylinder.
  7. A pipe through which anything is drawn.
  8. A small piece of leather, usually round, having a string attached to the center, which, when saturated with water and pressed upon a stone or other body having a smooth surface, adheres, by reason of the atmospheric pressure, with such force as to enable a considerable weight to be thus lifted by the string; formerly used by children as a plaything.
  9. (Britain, colloquial) A suction cup.
  10. An animal such as the octopus and remora, which adhere to other bodies with such organs.
  11. Any fish in the family Catostomidae of North America and eastern Asia, which have mouths modified into downward-pointing, suckerlike structures for feeding in bottom sediments (since 1753).
  12. (US, informal) A piece of candy which is sucked (from 1823); a lollipop (1907).
  13. (slang, archaic) A hard drinker; a soaker.
  14. (US, obsolete) An inhabitant of Illinois.
  15. (US, slang) A person who is easily deceived, tricked or persuaded to do something; a naive person (since 1836).
    One poor sucker had actually given her his life’s savings.
  16. A person irresistibly attracted by something specified.
    A sucker for ghost stories.
  17. Generalized term of reference to a person.
    See if you can get that sucker working again.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

sucker (third-person singular simple present suckers, present participle suckering, simple past and past participle suckered)

  1. (horticulture, transitive) To strip the suckers or shoots from; to deprive of suckers.
    to sucker maize
    • 1881, F. R. Diffenderffer, “Tobacco Culture”, in Agriculture of Pennsylvania, volume 5, page 91:
      It is as important to sucker tobacco carefully and as often as the situation demands it as it is to search for and remove the green-horn worm.
  2. (horticulture, intransitive) To produce suckers, to throw up additional stems or shoots.
    • 1880, Samuel Thorton Kemeys Prime, The Model Farms and Their Methods, page 423:
      I have let my vines sucker more than I ought this year, perhaps, but I want to start them out in better shape by encouraging a large growth of wood.
    • 1892, Washington Agricultural Experiment Station, “Tests of vegetables in the experiment station garden”, in Bulletin, number 57, page 45:
      We prefer to plant in rows instead of hills because the plants sucker so badly here, and because, with our scanty rainfall, it is better to have the plants isolated than bunched.

Etymology 2[edit]

Origin uncertain. Possibly figurative use of sucker etymology 1, above.[1] One theory relates suckling animals to naivete, while another suggests that the fish is easy to catch during its migration.[2] Possibly from the Pig in a poke scam, where victims were tricked into believing they were buying a suckling pig. Also possibly from suckener. (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?) Originally from North America; attested since the early nineteenth century.[1]

Noun[edit]

sucker (plural suckers)

  1. One who is easily fooled, or gulled.
    A great story is required to sell a confidence game to a sucker.
    • 1859, Oliver Stanley, “The Escape from the Whale”, in Hardin E. Taliaferro, editor, Fisher's River (North Carolina): Scenes and Characters, page 126:
      They had sorcerized me, and I were a done-over sucker; so I jist gin up. No sooner had we ’rove at the boat, instead o’ feastin’ me on gully-whompin oysters, they nabbed me quick as a snappin’ turtle
    • 1887, George Devol, Forty Years a Gambler on the Mississippi, page 221:
      “George, them fellows took me for a sucker. Do I look like a sucker?” ¶ “No, Bill; you look like a nice, smart counter-hopper,” I replied.
Synonyms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

sucker (third-person singular simple present suckers, present participle suckering, simple past and past participle suckered)

  1. To fool someone; to take advantage of someone.
    The salesman suckered him into signing an expensive maintenance contract.
    • 1963, Sewell Thomas, Yaquí Gold, page 170:
      I asked him to tell me specifically just what his gripe might be, but he told me never mind what the details are; that he had put his faith in you on my recommendation but that you had suckered him and he refused to tell me anything about how you suckered him.
Translations[edit]
References[edit]
  1. 1.0 1.1 sucker, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford: Oxford University Press, launched 2000.
  2. ^ sucker” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018, retrieved 2 April 2018.

Etymology 3[edit]

Possibly from German Sache (thing).

Noun[edit]

sucker (plural suckers)

  1. (slang) A thing or object. Any thing or object being called attention to with emphasis, as in "this sucker".
Synonyms[edit]

See also[edit]

Anagrams[edit]