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Caught / taken

Posted by Lewis on November 09, 2006

In Reply to: You're nicked posted by Valeriy on November 06, 2006

: : : : : Please could you tell me where the phrase "you're nicked" comes from?

: : : : It is, I think, a variant on the theme of 'you're pinched' or 'copped'.

: : : : 'Nicked' also being slang for 'stolen' or 'taken'.

: : : : DFG

: : : Does it mean "arrested", "jailed" or just trapped in a difficult situation (for example, when one obediently follows the orders of the superiors and a s result finds oneself in a difficult situation abandoned by those superiors on one's own)?

: :
: : It means arrested, especially in London (at the hands of the Metropolitan Police), though it is now pretty much universal in the UK.

: : DFG

: Thank you.

there is an old expression for law enforcement officer "thief-taker" i.e. somebody who catches thieves. it has acquired a somewhat perjorative nuance - a police officer would not generally be happy being described as a 'thief-taker' because it has connotations of the person being uncouth, rough and 'on the edge' in law-enforcement terms.

I'm not sure that it applies to "Dirty" Harry Callaghan, but if the Americans have the equivalent, perhaps that would be apt. it certainly has the edginess that many fictional police officers enjoy.