shel·​lack·​ing shə-ˈla-kiŋ How to pronounce shellacking (audio)
: a decisive defeat : drubbing

Examples of shellacking in a Sentence

They took a shellacking in yesterday's game. suffered a shellacking at the hands of a vastly superior opposition
Recent Examples on the Web After a 30-6 shellacking at the hands of the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Sunday, the Steelers were trying to come back east later in the day. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, 2 Oct. 2023 The Dodgers relief corps was reeling in mid-June, with back-to-back shellackings at the hands of the San Francisco Giants exacerbating the struggles of an already ailing bullpen. Mike Digiovanna, Los Angeles Times, 2 Oct. 2023 The previous high was 17, which occurred during a a 34-point shellacking at Pittsburgh on Feb. 7, 2023, the most lopsided loss of Payne's tenure. The Courier-Journal, 20 Jan. 2024 This isn’t the first time the coach busted out his moves — he was seen getting down after the team clinched the AFC’s No. 1 seed and first-round playoff bye on New Year’s Eve with a shellacking of the Miami Dolphins. Dan Belson, Baltimore Sun, 21 Jan. 2024 When Jamal Murray banked in a 26-footer to end the first quarter, the Heat looked headed toward a shellacking. Barry Jackson, Miami Herald, 1 Mar. 2024 Yet this shellacking of the mainstream parties is only a preview of what regional elections in the fall of 2024 will bring in three of Germany’s eastern states: Saxony, Thuringia, and Brandenburg. Liana Fix, Foreign Affairs, 10 Oct. 2023 The Hawkeyes returned in February 2023, and the Terps again ran them out of the gym with a 96-68 shellacking, holding Clark to 5-for-13 shooting. King Jemison, Baltimore Sun, 1 Feb. 2024 At that point, the task was particularly unenviable: American Samoa was winless over its 17-year history, slotted last in FIFA’s 204-team rankings and the victim of the worst loss in international soccer history (a 31-0 shellacking against Australia a decade earlier). Thomas Floyd, Washington Post, 16 Nov. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1931, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shellacking was in 1931

Dictionary Entries Near shellacking

Cite this Entry

“Shellacking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a lopsided defeat

More from Merriam-Webster on shellacking

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