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[shuhk] /ʃʌk/
a husk or pod, as the outer covering of corn, hickory nuts, chestnuts, etc.
Usually, shucks. Informal. something useless or worthless:
They don't care shucks about the project.
the shell of an oyster or clam.
verb (used with object)
to remove the shucks from:
to shuck corn.
to remove or discard as or like shucks; peel off:
to shuck one's clothes.
Slang. to get rid of (often followed by off):
a bad habit I couldn't shuck off for years.
shucks, Informal. (used as a mild exclamation of disgust or regret.)
Origin of shuck1
First recorded in 1665-75; origin uncertain
Related forms
shucker, noun


[shuhk] /ʃʌk/
verb (used with object), Slang.
to deceive or lie to.
1955-60; origin uncertain; perhaps from exclamation shucks! (see shuck1) taken as a feigned sign of rural ignorance or a sham apology Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for shucks
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She has got a brother, but he don't amount to shucks—he ain't much more'n a three-spot.

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • "Fine as silk," replied the sergeant from his own heap of shucks.

    The Rock of Chickamauga Joseph A. Altsheler
  • Then he looked at the pump and he gave it a whack and he kicked at the spout and said "shucks!"

    Rippling Rhymes

    Walt Mason
  • Why, he wouldn't amount to shucks here, even if he stayed a year.

    From Farm to Fortune Horatio Alger Jr.
  • shucks, sonny, no need to get this excited over a little spilt milk.

    Make Mine Homogenized Rick Raphael
  • They yelled and we yelled back that they could not shoot worth "shucks."

  • I'll give you this straight: if I can't be corn, I won't be shucks.

    No Clue James Hay
  • But shucks, as for that, we can turn tricks on the way for money.

    Mitch Miller Edgar Lee Masters
British Dictionary definitions for shucks


plural noun
something of little value (esp in the phrase not worth shucks)
an exclamation of disappointment, annoyance, etc


the outer covering of something, such as the husk of a grain of maize, a pea pod, or an oyster shell
verb (transitive)
to remove the shucks from
(informal, mainly US & Canadian) to throw off or remove (clothes, etc)
Derived Forms
shucker, noun
Word Origin
C17: American dialect, of unknown origin
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 shucks

expression of indifference, 1847, from shuck (n.) in the secondary sense "something valueless" (i.e. not worth shucks, attested in a separate source from 1847).



"to remove the shucks from," 1819, from or related to shuck (n.). Related: Shucked; shucking.

Many extended senses are from the notion of "stripping" an ear of corn, or from the capers associated with husking frolics; e.g. "to strip (off) one's clothes" (1848) and "to deceive, swindle, cheat, fool" (1959); phrase shucking and jiving "fooling, deceiving" is suggested from 1966, in U.S. black English, but cf. shuck (v.) a slang term among "cool musicians" for "to improvise chords, especially to a piece of music one does not know" (1957), and shuck (n.) "a theft or fraud," in use by 1950s among U.S. blacks.

[B]lack senses probably fr[om] the fact that black slaves sang and shouted gleefully during corn-shucking season, and this behavior, along with lying and teasing, became a part of the protective and evasive behavior normally adopted towards white people in "traditional" race relations; the sense of "swindle" is perhaps related to the mid-1800s term to be shucked out, "be defeated, be denied victory," which suggests that the notion of stripping someone as an ear of corn is stripped may be basic in the semantics. ["Dictionary of American Slang"]



"husk, pod, shell," 1670s, of unknown origin. Cf. shuck (v.). Later used in reference to the shells of oysters and clams (1872). Figurative as a type of something worthless from 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for shucks


Related Terms

aw shucks



Deceptive; fake: All he has to sell is a shuck and jive caricature of Blackness


A theft or fraud; ripoff: Linear thinking was a total shuck (1950s+ Black)


  1. To undress; strip oneself (1848+)
  2. (also shuck and jive) To joke; tease; fool around:
The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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