Re: RARA-AVIS: Batter up!

From: Chris Routledge (
Date: 12 Sep 2000


>So what exactly is a wideboy? I've seen the description in a bunch of
>books, including the jacket copy for this one.

I've always understood it to have a more general meaning than just tough-guy or thug, more someone who is slightly dodgy and cunning; selling ripped off goods, dubious cars and so on. Someone who operates on the edge of legality rather than outright gangsterism. It's also associated with being a bit flash: gold jewelry, souped up (but terrible) cars and so on. Good parodies would be the character Del Boy in the British comedy 'Only Fools and Horses', if that means anything to you (it's undoubtedly been sold to a cable company or three), or Arthur Daley in the seventies' series
'Minder'. Another characteristic is that the wideboy is far less influential than he'd like to think. Of course, it may be that the meaning is changing - London gangland is hardly my milieu - but for me wideboy has far less malevolent connotations.

Cheers Chris

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