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[shel-bak] /ˈʃɛlˌbæk/
an old sailor.
a person who has crossed the equator by boat.
Origin of shellback
First recorded in 1880-85; shell + back1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shellback
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Skinner, you don't suppose Matt's like every other shellback of a skipper?

    Cappy Ricks Retires Peter B. Kyne
  • "There's never a flat foot nor a shellback but will tell you same thing, messmate," agreed Ferral heartily.

    Motor Matt's Hard Luck Stanley R. Matthews
  • I s'pose she thought mebbe Parsonsbridge butter would churn easier than shellback; I dono.

    Mrs. Tree Laura E. Richards
  • And there are barrels of it in this town, Mr. shellback Holmes, waiting to be converted into song.

    Anderson Crow, Detective George Barr McCutcheon
  • The word was no sooner spoken than our shellback again excelled himself.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
British Dictionary definitions for shellback


(informal) a sailor who has crossed the equator Compare polliwog (sense 2)
an experienced or old sailor
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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