[kong-ker, kawng-]
noun British Informal.
  1. a horse chestnut.
  2. the hollowed-out shell of a horse chestnut.
  3. conkers, a game in which a child swings a horse chestnut on a string in an attempt to break that of another player.

Origin of conker

1840–50; probably orig. conquer; compare conquering a game played with snail shells (the name of the game presumably later transferred to the playing pieces) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for conkers


  1. (functioning as singular) British a game in which a player swings a horse chestnut (conker), threaded onto a string, against that of another player to try to break it

Word Origin for conkers

C19: from dialect conker snail shell, originally used in the game


  1. an informal name for horse chestnut (def. 2)
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

Word Origin and History for conkers

"child's game played with horse chestnuts," originally with snail shells, 1847, probably a variant of conquer. The goal was to break the other player's item by hitting it with yours.



"snail shell," also "horse chestnut," from children's game of conkers (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper