in Queer Street

in Queer Street

BRITISH, OLD-FASHIONED
If someone is in Queer Street, they are having difficulties, especially because they have no money. Carry on like this, my son, and you'll end up in Queer Street. Note: In the 19th century, `queer' was used in many slang terms applied to dishonest or criminal people or activities. However, `Queer Street' may have developed from `Carey Street', in London, where the law courts dealing with bankrupts were. Another possibility is that `queer' may come from `query', as traders might have put a question mark in their records by the names of customers who could not be trusted to pay their bills.
See also: queer, street

in Queer Street

in difficulty, especially by being in debt. British informal, dated.
Queer Street was an imaginary street where people in difficulties were supposed to live. The phrase has been used since the early 19th century to indicate various kinds of misfortune, but its predominant use has been to refer to financial difficulty. The use of ‘queer’ to mean ‘a male homosexual’ is a separate development.
1952 Angus Wilson Hemlock and After He enjoys a little flutter…and if he finds himself in Queer Street now and again, I'm sure no one would grudge him his bit of fun.
See also: queer, street