Word of the Day : May 19, 2012

shanghai

play
verb shang-HYE

Definition

1 a : to put aboard a ship by force often with the help of liquor or a drug

b : to put by force or threat of force into or as if into a place of detention

2 : to put by trickery into an undesirable position

Did You Know?

In the 1800s, long sea voyages were very difficult and dangerous, so people were understandably hesitant to become sailors. But sea captains and shipping companies needed crews to sail their ships, so they gathered sailors any way they could - even if that meant resorting to kidnapping by physical force or with the help of liquor or drugs. The word "shanghai" comes from the name of the Chinese city of Shanghai. People started to use the city's name for that unscrupulous way of obtaining sailors because the East was often a destination of ships that had kidnapped men onboard as crew.


Examples

Nick was shanghaied by Erika into helping out at the charity fundraiser after her first volunteer bailed out.

"In time, the new novel, lurching around his psyche, dragged itself away and became real. How I loved to see him shanghaied like that, careening down the rum-soaked wharves of imagination, where any roustabout idea might turn to honest labor." - From Diane Ackerman's 2011 book One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir



Test Your Memory

What recent Word of the Day can refer to something that has the shape of a crescent or half-moon? The answer is ...


Video

play image744389224

'Shanghai' — Video Word of the Day 4/16/2019

verb - to trick or force into doing something


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!