One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A broad plug hammered into a hole in the top of a cask when the cask has been filled.
- ‘Is there a product we can use to seal up the outer edge of the shives when necessary.’
- ‘The mayor was taken on a site tour of the operation, by the Brewing Director, where he saw the art of brewing and even tapped bungs into shives.’
- ‘He only scored 98% in the beer competition as he failed to wipe his keystones and shives - but then no one was going to get 100%: it is the best beer in the county!’
Middle English: related to sheave. The original sense was ‘slice (of bread’), later ‘piece of split wood’; the current sense dates from the mid 19th century.
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