Then he was in line for a teller, smacking himself on the thigh with his rolled-up Herald. this was something a sweaty-eyed arsonist did, returning to the scene of the crime. A whiff of bleach hit him, even if it was present only in his mind.
“Oh, hi.” She made him right away, Jesus Christ, this skinny-necked black teller with her hair flour-sacked on top of her head, smiling. “Haven’t seen you for a while. Meter change, right?”

-- Chuck Hogan, The Town

The highlighted part seems to mean either of these: (1) she recognized him as soon as he neared the counter of her; (2) she made him ready right away. What does the phrase mean?

  • 2
    Use of "made" in similar case implies identifying someone. Generally even after some kind of disguise or a situation where it is hard to identify. – kmdhrm Jan 17 '14 at 9:22

The use of word "made" in this case is not a formal one but instead a slang.

Defition form here.

Make: (Slang) Identification of a person or thing, often from information in police records: Did you get a make on the thief?

So in this case "made him right away" means "recognized/identified him right away."

  • It's interesting that the definition and example sentence in TFD mention law enforcement and criminality, and the passage in the book is about an arsonist. I wonder if using make to mean identify wouldn't be such a good idea in other circles. I know it's slang I haven't heard very often, but then I again, I try to stay out of trouble :^) – J.R. Jan 17 '14 at 10:19

I think the former one fits in this context of identifying a person whom she hasn't met for quite some time.

As you identified right away correctly,

Right away (adv.) - Without delay or hesitation; with no time intervention.

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