Definition of shillelagh in US English:



  • A thick stick of blackthorn or oak used in Ireland, typically as a weapon.

    • ‘Incidentally, here's a good place to learn more about your shillelagh.’
    • ‘Our whacking shillelaghs came over their heads,’
    • ‘I couldn't get a shillelagh, so I used a cane with knots in it instead.’
    • ‘Ballybunion, for instance, has 36 holes in the dunes, but 18 of them are great and 18 are such that you couldn't persuade me to play them even with a shillelagh.’
    • ‘You're as likely to get mugged and beaten in Ireland as anywhere else in Western Europe, and rest assured, you won't be beaten with a magical shillelagh.’
    • ‘Metaphorically, with the traditional whiskey under his belt and a shillelagh under his arm, he sets the tone of the play and from there it never looks back.’
    club, bludgeon, stick, truncheon, baton, blackthorn, mace, bat
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Late 18th century: from the name of the town Shillelagh, in Co. Wicklow, Ireland.