One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verbshanghaiing, shanghaied, shanghais[with object]historical
1Force (someone) to join a ship lacking a full crew by drugging them or using other underhand means.‘they specialized in drugging and robbing sailors, sometimes arranging for them to be shanghaied aboard tramp boats’
- ‘The merchant ship's hold had been emptied, and according to the crew some of their shipmates had been shanghaied by the pirates.’
- ‘Otherwise, as Hume remarks in his essay ‘Of the Original Contract’, it is like telling a man who has been shanghaied aboard a ship that he is free to leap into the sea and perish.’
- ‘It was probably the first time any of them had received a kind word from the panda since they had been shanghaied to the crew.’
- ‘Budd innocently exalts, even as he is shanghaied and set upon a path that leads to the yardarm.’
- ‘Anyone publishing it should be shanghaied aboard a hell-ship and flogged through the horse latitudes.’
- 1.1informal Coerce or trick (someone) into a place or position or into doing something.‘Brady shanghaied her into his Jaguar and roared off’
enlist, sign up, enrol, engage, take on, round upView synonyms
- ‘Gender-hustlers in the equal Opportunities Commission sponsored over three hundred programmes to shanghai women into Science and Engineering.’
- ‘Joe, and Ned it turns out, are minutes from being shanghaied into white slavery when Nancy finally gets around to saving them.’
- ‘So right off the bat, I'm thinking this Nietzsche guy might be worth investigating, and I'm feeling pretty good about shanghaiing his name - at least temporarily - for my latest exercise in metaphysical gymnastics.’
- ‘The night before he began his college basketball career, Anthony was shanghaied along with the rest of his Syracuse teammates and was taken to a party at the New York museum on board the USS Intrepid aircraft carrier.’
- ‘Adventure shanghaied me to near disaster on the high seas.’
- ‘Cain had made that very clear when he had shanghaied them for this little errand.’
- ‘I, for instance, listen largely to Radio National, which has in recent years been shanghaied by this Government and is now less likely to present an unbiased view for fear of being sacked and general de-funding.’
- ‘But first of all, it's not like they're going to take a helicopter down there and shanghai these people to the CBS studios.’
- ‘It wasn't $20 million, but it was still more money than I imagine this woman had seen in her life - a pretty good payout and hardly deterrence to other parents in the neighborhood who felt entitled to shanghai the system.’
- ‘Marcella shanghaied him and said something about his brother being in the study and wanting to see him.’
- ‘Voluntary - even mandatory - service to school and community is one thing, but to be shanghaied into unpaid labor in order to improve your schoolmasters' quarterly figures?’
- ‘At the end of the afternoon the cameras came out, and a waiter was shanghaied to take the group photo.’
- ‘Or, a bowl of intense onion soup under a mantle of heat-blasted Gruyère croutons lies waiting to shanghai your palate with a sneak shot of warming red pepper.’
- ‘To recap: last week Jack shanghaied a suspect and used a taser to force him to reveal the location of the primary bad guy.’
- ‘Which begs the question: How did the film-makers shanghai this many recognizable actors into such a debacle?’
- ‘I felt like an idiot, standing there with nothing to say after I'd shanghaied him.’
- ‘Doubtless the car's previous owner would be irked to discover that his car was gone, but he'd likely be amazed if he knew it was being shanghaied to Mercury.’
- ‘This reader felt almost shanghaied between Contents and Index.’
- ‘The emotional nature of feelings about morality makes it especially vulnerable to being shanghaied by baser instincts.’
- ‘What they don't realize is that the plane is still en route to LA and Walt has merely shanghaied their minds for this astral plane adventure.’
Late 19th century: from Shanghai.
nounPlural shanghaisAustralian, NZ
catapult, slingshotView synonyms
- ‘We need to have two battle-ready battalions in Australia at all times - and soon this may comprise of boy scouts armed with shanghais at the rate that the government is sending our troops to other countries.’
- ‘There is a small bronze statue of a New Zealand schoolboy, with a shanghai hanging out of his pocket.’
- ‘Kids disappeared after school, rode bikes, messed about in home-made boats, fired shanghais and generally ‘created havoc’.’
- ‘The idea of a singer who never travels without his shanghai should have been irresistible.’
- ‘Younger children would play ‘bullrush’, make shanghais and stilts and go bird nesting or exploring.’
verbshanghaiing, shanghaied, shanghais[with object]Australian, NZ
1Shoot with a catapult.‘in spite of his shanghaiing all the cats, the rodents were still on top’
- 1.1with object and adverbial of direction Catapult in a particular direction.‘the springy, resilient saplings would shanghai him backwards’
- 1.1with object and adverbial of direction Catapult in a particular direction.
Mid 19th century: probably an alteration of Scots dialect shangan ‘a stick cleft at one end’.
A city on the east coast of China, a port on the estuary of the River Yangtze; population 11,283,700 (est. 2006). Opened for trade with the west in 1842, Shanghai contained until the Second World War areas of British, French, and American settlement. It was the site in 1921 of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party.
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