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90s Slang You Should Know


[eg-shel] /ˈɛgˌʃɛl/
the shell of a bird's egg, consisting of keratin fibers and calcite crystals.
a pale yellowish-white color.
rather bulky paper having a slightly rough finish.
like an eggshell, as in thinness and delicacy; very brittle; fragile.
being pale yellowish-white in color.
having little or no gloss:
eggshell white paint.
Origin of eggshell
First recorded in 1250-1300, eggshell is from the Middle English word ayschelle. See egg1, shell Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for eggshell
Historical Examples
  • "You can never get through those rollers--they will break you up like an eggshell," the old fisherman shouted.

    With Wolfe in Canada G. A. Henty
  • Our boat was but an eggshell, and we had few clothes to defend us from the weather.

    Journeys Through Bookland, Vol. 8 Charles H. Sylvester
  • As he dropped the boat in the river, it danced as uneasily and buoyantly as an eggshell.

    The Frontier Angel Edward S. Ellis
  • Either trunk would have crushed the old camp like an eggshell!

    When Life Was Young C. A. Stephens
  • The "football" for this game is an eggshell which has had the egg blown out of it.

    Games for Everybody May C. Hofmann
  • It is inadequate to say that the skull was smashed to bits like an eggshell.

  • The mere weight of his limbs, he was sure, would crush the little bed-stead like an eggshell.

    McTeague Frank Norris
  • May they curl themselves into an eggshell and be your guests to-morrow.

  • Crash went the eggshell, as a wagon rolled over both of them.

    Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen
  • When you try to chaff people, it is like an elephant dancing on eggshell china.

    Mammon and Co. E. F. Benson
British Dictionary definitions for eggshell


the hard porous protective outer layer of a bird's egg, consisting of calcite and protein
a yellowish-white colour
a type of paper with a slightly rough finish
(modifier) (of paint) having a very slight sheen: an eggshell finish
walk on eggshells, to be very cautious or diplomatic for fear of upsetting someone
of a yellowish-white colour: eggshell paint
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for eggshell

early 15c., from egg (n.) + shell (n.). Earlier ay-schelle (c.1300). Emblematic of "thin and delicate" from 1835; as a color term, from 1894. The figure of treading on eggshells "to move cautiously" is attested by 1734.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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