1

shill

verb \ ˈshil \

Definition of shill

intransitive verb
1 :to act as a shill
2 :to act as a spokesperson or promoter
  • the eminent Shakespearean producer … is now shilling for a brokerage house
  • —Andy Rooney

shill was our Word of the Day on 08/16/2015. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of shill from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Professionals licensed to shill won't necessarily knock you dead, but they may not do you any good either. They might simply be pitchmen employed to extol the wonders of legitimate products. But in the early 1900s, when the first uses of the verb shill were documented, it was more likely that anyone hired to shill you was trying to con you into parting with some cash. Practitioners were called shills (that noun also dates from the early 1900s), and they did everything from faking big wins at casinos (to promote gambling) to pretending to buy tickets (to encourage people to see certain shows). Shill is thought to be a shortened form of shillaber, but etymologists have found no definitive evidence of where that longer term originated.

Origin and Etymology of shill


2

shill

noun

Definition of shill

1 a :one who acts as a decoy (as for a pitchman or gambler)
b :one who makes a sales pitch or serves as a promoter
2 :pitch 8a

Recent Examples of shill from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of shill

perhaps short for shillaber, of unknown origin


SHILL Defined for English Language Learners

shill

verb

Definition of shill for English Language Learners

  • : to talk about or describe someone or something in a favorable way because you are being paid to do it



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to speak evil of

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