Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[shoo-hawrn] /ˈʃuˌhɔrn/
a shaped piece of horn, metal, or the like, inserted in the heel of a shoe to make it slip on more easily.
verb (used with object)
to force into a limited or tight space:
Can you shoehorn four of us into the back seat of your car?
Origin of shoehorn
First recorded in 1580-90; shoe + horn Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for shoehorn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Do you know that some mornings he has to get his hat on with a shoehorn.

    Ulysses James Joyce
  • He cant find a shoehorn with which to get into his breeches.

    Conscript 2989 Irving Crump
  • Even if he had any flavor and wasn't tougher'n a shoehorn, he's too much for us to eat.

    The Black Fawn James Arthur Kjelgaard
  • To dig up de profundis a shoehorn that you need is a more remarkable achievement than to unearth a new Pompeii.

    Bizarre Lawton Mackall
  • He certainly has arrived at what a witty American friend of mine would call the "shoehorn stage."

  • He had a shaven cranium, and his tight scalp might have been slipped over the bony bosses of his head with a shoehorn.

    Old Junk H. M. Tomlinson
British Dictionary definitions for shoehorn


a smooth curved implement of horn, metal, plastic, etc, inserted at the heel of a shoe to ease the foot into it
(transitive) to cram (people or things) into a very small space
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for shoehorn

1580s, from shoe (n.) + horn (n.); earlier shoeing-horn (mid-15c.).


in the figurative sense of "to put or thrust (something somewhere) by means of a 'tool,' " 1859, from shoehorn (n.). Earlier it meant "to cuckold" (mid-17c.), with a play on horn.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for shoehorn



To insinuate by effort; force or fit in:Attorney General Griffin Bell managed to shoehorn an energy pitch into a speech

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for shoehorn

Word Value for shoehorn

Scrabble Words With Friends