English Dictionary

Pioneers in dictionary publishing since 1819

shellacking (ʃəˈlækɪŋ Pronunciation for shellacking ; ˈʃɛlækɪŋ Pronunciation for shellacking



  1. (slang, mainly US & Canadian) a complete defeat; a sound beating   ⇒ anyone who gives a shellacking to their bigger neighbours

shellac or shellack (ʃəˈlæk Pronunciation for shellack ; ˈʃɛlæk Pronunciation for shellack



  1. a yellowish resin secreted by the lac insect, esp a commercial preparation of this used in varnishes, polishes, and leather dressings
  2. Also called: shellac varnish. a varnish made by dissolving shellac in ethanol or a similar solvent
  3. a gramophone record based on shellac


-lacs, -lacking, -lacked (transitive)
  1. to coat or treat (an article) with a shellac varnish
  2. (US, slang) to defeat completely

Derived Forms

shelˈlacker noun

Word Origin

C18: shell + lac1, translation of French laque en écailles, literally: lac in scales, that is, in thin plates

Example Sentences Including 'shellacking'

His reputation as the self-appointed `greatest boxing promoter in the history of the world "would have taken a shellacking.
Kiam, Victor Going For It!: How to Succeed As an Entrepreneur
It was Australia's 26th win from as many Tests against South Africa and followed up the 40-goal shellacking of a depleted England last week.
The Mercury, Sunday Tasmanian (2005)
There was a strip missing and she was shellacking her board.
Courier, Sunday Mail (2004)


Log in to comment on this word.