she·​been shə-ˈbēn How to pronounce shebeen (audio)
chiefly Ireland and South Africa
: an unlicensed or illegally operated drinking establishment

Examples of shebeen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The fourth floor was filthy, residents said, with people tossing trash out the windows while others ran shops and illicit bars called shebeens from their rooms. Lynsey Chutel, New York Times, 1 Sep. 2023 Explore See latest videos, charts and news Amapiano, the musical movement that gained much of its popularity during the lockdowns in South Africa, pours out onto the streets and dancefloors in shebeens, taverns and any other place with a sound system in a cathartic deluge. Seretse Letswalo, Billboard, 28 Mar. 2023 Outside a shebeen, a lean-to bar common here, a group of men sit on a bench in the mid-afternoon sun. Peter Rudden, CNN, 3 May 2021 For the benefit of patrons who may have entered the shebeen late, Greitens is accused of carrying on with a woman to whom he is not married. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 8 Feb. 2018 The shebeen queens were some of the most powerful people in the community. Beth J. Harpaz,, 1 Mar. 2018 Rhythms of Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana; lyrics of township romances, girls sashaying to get water, rowdy shebeens. The Economist, 1 Feb. 2018 It was outlawed by the authorities, so the brew itself--and the culture of drinking it in shebeens [illicit bars or clubs], while dancing and singing--became a form of resistance. Pelican Bomb,, 17 Jan. 2018 The Committee was worried this week that the news was so damned grim that finding a Top Commenter of the Week would be a slog through the shebeen’s collective neuroses, which are many and varied. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 26 Jan. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'shebeen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Irish síbín illicit whiskey, shebeen

First Known Use

circa 1787, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shebeen was circa 1787

Dictionary Entries Near shebeen

Cite this Entry

“Shebeen.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

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