shill – Wiktionary

obscene - Wiktionary



Unknown; attested as verb 1914, as noun 1916.[1][2] Maybe an abbreviation of shillaber, attested 1913. The phrase entered English by way of carny, initially denoting a carnival employee who pretends to be a member of the viewers in an try to elicit curiosity in an attraction.

Speculatively an prolonged type of German Schieber (black marketeer, profiteer) by way of *shi-la-ber.[3]

There are some options that it originates within the surname Shilaber or Shillibeer, particularly George Shillibeer,[4] however proposed origins are doubtful because the phrase is first attested in North America within the 20th century, whereas proposed fashions are 19th century British.

American humorist Benjamin Penhallow Shillaber (1814–1890) was identified to put in writing beneath the title Mrs. Ruth Partington to lend credibility to a few of his concepts. That is another potential origin of the phrase, though there isn’t a particular proof supporting a connection.



shill (plural shills)

  1. An individual paid to endorse a product favourably, whereas pretending to be neutral.
    • 2014 June 26, A. A. Dowd, “Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler Spoof Rom-com Clichés in They Got here Collectively”, in The A.V. Membership[1], archived from the unique on 7 December 2017:

      You’ve Received Mail is definitely the fundamental mannequin for the plot, which finds company sweet shill Joel ([Paul] Rudd) and indie-sweetshop proprietor Molly ([Amy] Poehler) regaling their dinner companions with the very lengthy, digressive story of how they met and fell in love.
    • 1983, Robert Anton Wilson, Prometheus Rising,
      Witnesses have testified that Jim Jones (like a number of different skilled faith-healers) used shills a part of the time….
  2. An confederate at a confidence trick throughout an public sale or playing recreation.
    • 1994, Cormac McCarthy, The Crossing,
      The pitchman swept his cane in a sluggish acceleration over the heads of the gang after which all of the sudden pointed the silver cap towards Billy and the shill.
  3. (playing) A home participant in a on line casino.
    • 2000, Dennis R. Harrison, On line casino Playing: Your Absolute, Quintessential, All You Needed to Know …[2]:

      There might even be a on line casino shill sitting adjoining to you. Usually, the on line casino shills are attractive girls, and typically males, so benefit from the surroundings.




shill (third-person singular easy current shills, current participle shilling, easy previous and previous participle shilled)

  1. (derogatory) To advertise or endorse in return for cost, particularly dishonestly.
    • 1996, Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World,
      As we speak there are even commercials wherein actual scientists, a few of appreciable distinction, shill for firms. They train that scientists too will lie for cash. As Tom Paine warned, inuring us to lies lays the groundwork for a lot of different evils.
  2. To place beneath cowl; to sheal.
  3. (Britain, out of date, dialect) To shell.

Associated phrases[edit]



  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Complement, 1933.
  2. ^ “shill” in Douglas Harper, On-line Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2020.
  3. ^ Research within the historical past of the English language II: unfolding conversations, by Anne Curzan, Kimberly Emmons, web page 90
  4. ^ The title’s acquainted II, by Laura Lee, web page 294


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