shoehorn

noun
shoe·​horn | \ˈshü-ˌhȯrn \

Definition of shoehorn 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: a curved piece (as of horn, wood, or metal) used in putting on a shoe

shoehorn

verb
shoehorned; shoehorning; shoehorns

Definition of shoehorn (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to force to be included or admitted shoehorned irrelevant arguments into his essay

2 : to force or compress into an insufficient space or period of time : squeeze shoehorn the past, present, and future into about 500 pages— Otis Port

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Synonyms for shoehorn

Synonyms: Verb

cram, crowd, crush, jam, ram, sandwich, squeeze, stuff, wedge

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Examples of shoehorn in a Sentence

Verb

A parking garage has been shoehorned between the buildings. She's trying to shoehorn a year's worth of classes into a single semester. I don't know how they managed to shoehorn everyone into that little room.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the weapons in our bedroom were limited to a shoehorn, a flattening iron and a stack of hardcover books. John Kelly, Washington Post, "I thought I was alone in the house, then I heard a bump. Or did I?," 1 July 2018 But this documentary feature is fascinating and infuriating in unequal parts, the latter far outweighing the former, since Mr. Jarecki’s instrument is a shoehorn. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘The King’ Review: A Documentary That’s All Shook Up," 28 June 2018 In the closet was a cane-size shoehorn topped with a silver dog’s head, Tom Wolfe-style. Anthony Flint, BostonGlobe.com, "In the lap of luxury in Lenox, at the reborn Blantyre," 6 June 2018 Students used shoehorns and grapefruit knives to detach screens and squirm out windows, or stumbled out a basement exit into the stabbing cold. New York Times, "Never Solved, a College Dorm Fire Has Become One Man’s Obsession," 13 Apr. 2018 But what makes this shoehorn special is its length—30 inches—which allows its 6-foot 3-inch owner to put on the snuggest of loafers without sitting or bending down. Clifton Leaf, Fortune, "The Quest for Intuitive Design," 22 Dec. 2017 In between, the show shoehorns social media into as many segments as possible, with sometimes-cringeworthy results. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "Here's why MTV's 'TRL' reboot is totally, really lame," 11 Oct. 2017 The Polynesian-themed bash shoehorns tropical drinks, Tiki art, surf rock, go-go dancers and an assorted of things for sale into one flea market. John Petkovic, cleveland.com, "Tiki Underground bar and restaurant to host Tu Tiki flea market (photos)," 14 July 2017 An image or phrase finds you, pleases you with its wit or vividness, shoehorns open your evolving vision of the fictive world, and before that change gets fully processed, here comes another. George Saunders, The New Yorker, "Grace Paley, the Saint of Seeing," 3 Mar. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Sure, the writers shoehorned in a subplot about Monica making Mocklate—a fake chocolate—for a job, but this episode was really about Ross and Rachel following their first kiss. Phoebe Robinson, Glamour, "Friends Thanksgiving Episodes Guide: List of the Best and Worst," 21 Nov. 2018 Instead, the committee shoehorned senators, witnesses, the press and 20 members of the public into a bandbox room in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Chad Pergram, Fox News, "Dramatic testimony from Kavanaugh, Ford included outrage, emotion, history," 27 Sep. 2018 The old Whitney has lost some of its funkiness as curators have tried to shoehorn in tasteful exhibitions into that are modern in classification but anesthetized in temperament. Kelsey Keith, Curbed, "The inaugural monthly column from Curbed’s editor-in-chief turns an eye to Postmodernism, following the loss of Robert Venturi," 24 Sep. 2018 There are a few things that feel culled from other movies and shoehorned in here to the film’s detriment. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "This Week in Timothée Chalamet, July 27 Edition," 27 July 2018 But the most perfect and only-in-Europe thing about this classic spot—a hotel improbably shoehorned into a Tuscan crag near the town of Porto Ercole—is a Glorious Mediterranean Cliff Elevator. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "8 European Beach Vacations That’ll Make Your Instagram Friends Jealous," 28 June 2018 And shoehorning companies into specific activities could discourage them from exploring others. Raymond Zhong And Paul Mozur, New York Times, "Tech Giants Feel the Squeeze as Xi Jinping Tightens His Grip," 2 May 2018 At first, the Federal Circuit did this cautiously, finding ways to shoehorn software patents into the legal framework the Supreme Court had established in the 1970s. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why a 40-year-old SCOTUS ruling against software patents still matters today," 21 June 2018 But the bounty of talent counts for little in a tedious, inert piece that awkwardly shoehorns numerous dance interludes into a thin storyline. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Beast in the Jungle': Theater Review," 24 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of shoehorn

Noun

1589, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1859, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for shoehorn

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Time Traveler for shoehorn

The first known use of shoehorn was in 1589

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More Definitions for shoehorn

shoehorn

noun

English Language Learners Definition of shoehorn

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a curved device that you use to slide the heel of your foot into a shoe

shoehorn

verb

English Language Learners Definition of shoehorn (Entry 2 of 2)

: to force (something or someone) into a small space, a short period of time, etc.

shoehorn

noun
shoe·​horn | \ˈshü-ˌhȯrn \

Kids Definition of shoehorn

: a curved piece (as of metal) to help in sliding the heel of the foot into a shoe

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More from Merriam-Webster on shoehorn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with shoehorn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shoehorn

Spanish Central: Translation of shoehorn

Comments on shoehorn

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