Definition of shanghai
1a : to put aboard a ship by force often with the help of liquor or a drugb : to put by force or threat of force into or as if into a place of detention
2 : to put by trickery into an undesirable position
shanghaierplay \-ˈhī(-ə)r\ noun
shanghai was our Word of the Day on 05/19/2012. Hear the podcast!
Did You Know?
In the 1800s, long sea voyages were very difficult and dangerous, so people were understandably hesitant to become sailors. But sea captains and shipping companies needed crews to sail their ships, so they gathered sailors any way they could - even if that meant resorting to kidnapping by physical force or with the help of liquor or drugs. The word shanghai comes from the name of the Chinese city of Shanghai. People started to use the city's name for that unscrupulous way of obtaining sailors because the East was often a destination of ships that had kidnapped men onboard as crew.
Origin and Etymology of shanghai
Shanghai, China; from the former use of this method to secure sailors for voyages to eastern Asia
First Known Use: 1871See Words from the same year
SHANGHAI Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of shanghai for English Language Learners
: to bring (someone) onto a ship by force
: to make (someone) do something by using force or tricks
Definition of Shanghai for English Language Learners
: city in China
SHANGHAI Defined for Kids
Definition of Shanghai for Students
city & port E China
Seen and Heard
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