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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web 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 As is their wont, The New York Times and most of the rest of the elite media concentrated first and foremost on how this budget will increase The Deficit, thereby standing in naked violation of the shebeen’s First Law of Economics. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 13 Feb. 2018 While huddled over a fire in an oil barrel in the center of the shebeen’s function room, The Committee members knew that the winner probably would come from the news that The Girl With The Faraway Eyes was, well, eying a comeback. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, 5 Jan. 2018 The shebeen queens were some of the most powerful people in the community. Beth J. Harpaz,, 1 Mar. 2018 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shebeen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 27 Jan. 2023.

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