shil·​le·​lagh shə-ˈlā-lē How to pronounce shillelagh (audio)
variants or less commonly shillalah
: cudgel

Examples of shillelagh in a Sentence

the bartender in the Irish pub keeps a shillelagh behind the bar just in case there's trouble
Recent Examples on the Web There are fleas and chamber pots and thumbed noses and a St. Patrick’s Day picnic that — hold on to your shillelagh! Dan Barry, New York Times, 15 Mar. 2024 Or this:Youu can't pack a shillelagh in your carry-on: TSA finds cudgel at Idaho airport Meg Foster, a justice fellow at Georgetown University's Center on Privacy and Technology, said there are concerns about bias within the algorithms of various facial recognition technologies. Rebecca Santana and Rick Gentilo, USA TODAY, 15 May 2023 Air travelers, take note: Be sure to keep your guns and your knives and shillelaghs – and your cats for that matter – out of your carry-ons. Forrest Brown, CNN, 19 Apr. 2023 In contemporary times, some people study bataireacht, a type of Irish martial art, using the shillelagh. Emily Mae Czachor, CBS News, 20 Apr. 2023 Owusu Koramoah loved it when former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly hoisted the jeweled shillelagh in the locker room when the Irish would beat USC. Jimmy Watkins, cleveland, 9 Dec. 2022 The shillelagh, a tall walking stick, was also a protection against large animals. Brenda Yenke, cleveland, 24 Mar. 2022 Alabama played a competitive first half of its NCAA tournament opener Friday against Notre Dame, but then took a whack from the Fighting Irish’s shillelagh in the second half to end its season with a 78-64 loss. Mike Rodak |, al, 18 Mar. 2022 So in a team meeting, Helton hit all the historical notes, even giving a tutorial on the shillelagh that goes to the winning team. Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 11 Oct. 2019

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

Word History


Shillelagh, town in Ireland

First Known Use

1772, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of shillelagh was in 1772

Dictionary Entries Near shillelagh

Cite this Entry

“Shillelagh.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


shil·​le·​lagh shə-ˈlā-lē How to pronounce shillelagh (audio)

named for Shillelagh, a town in Ireland noted for its oak trees

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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