Any idea what this means ?


Senior Member
Hello everybody,

I've come across this phrase "recovered 'tom' - booty, jewellery-style - for insurance companies" in a book which I'm translating from a british writer.

The context is the following :
This private detective has been working for himself for a few years now, and he's explaining what he actually does to earn a living : i.e, serving writs for sollicitors, finding missing people and, most of all, recovering stolen objects from thieves and giving them money in exchange from the insurance company. (what he calls "insurance payouts").

I understand that the word booty means 1.plunder gained esp. in war or piracy 2. colloq. something gained or won.

But have you ever seen the word 'tom' in this context ? Would you consider the rest of the phrase as its definition (i.e. "- booty, jewellery style-") ?

Thks very much in advance

PS : when I try "tom" in combination with "booty" via google on the web I always get porn web pages and, believe me, I have no idea why (I reckon my knowledge of english must still be deficient). So I've ended up wondering whether the author had something rude in mind.
  • Helicopta

    Senior Member
    England - English (Learning Spanish)
    Wow, your English must be good if you can figure out rhyming slang! I know bits and pieces of it because my dad is a londoner but i'd never heard 'tom' for jewellery. I just looked it up on 'cockneyrhymingslang dot co dot uk' and you're right!

    Well done me old china!


    Senior Member
    USA / Native Language: English
    LV4-26 said:
    EDIT : I think I've found the answer I'm looking for
    Isn't "tom" a short version of "tomfoolery" which, in turn, is rhyming slang for "jewellery" ?

    Using the great One Look dictionary search I found the following, which confirms what you say. Only it writes tomfoolery as two words. (I would have thought it should just be one word.)

    English slang and colloquialisms used in the United Kingdom:

    tom Noun. 1. A prostitute. A London term nationally known due to its use on police dramas such as The Bill.
    2. Jewellery. From the rhyming slang, Tom Foolery.
    Verb. To work as a prostitute.