Wide boy is a British term for a man who lives by his wits, wheeling and dealing. According to the Oxford English Dictionary it is synonymous with spiv. The word "wide" used in this sense means wide-awake or sharp-witted. The term was used in a 1936 autobiography to describe criminal culture during the first world war. Newspapers of the late 1940s and 1950s often use both terms in the same article about the same person when dealing with ticket touts, fraudsters and black market traders. It has become more generally used to describe a dishonest trader or a petty criminal who works by guile rather than force.
Explore contextually related video stories in a new eye-catching way. Try Combster now!