[ shuh-been ]
/ ʃəˈbin /

noun Scot., Irish English, South African.

a tavern or house where liquor is sold illegally.

Nearby words

  1. sheaves,
  2. sheba,
  3. sheba, queen of,
  4. shebang,
  5. shebat,
  6. shebele,
  7. shebeli,
  8. sheboygan,
  9. shechem,
  10. shechina

Origin of shebeen

1780–90; < Irish síbín illicit whiskey, place where such whiskey is sold (ellipsis from teach síbín shebeen house), orig., a unit of measure < English chopin1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shebeen

British Dictionary definitions for shebeen



/ (ʃɪˈbiːn) /


Irish, Scot and Southern African a place where alcoholic drink is sold illegally
(in Ireland) alcohol, esp home-distilled whiskey, sold without a licence
(in South Africa) a place where Black African men engage in social drinking
(in the US and Ireland) weak beer

Word Origin for shebeen

C18: from Irish Gaelic síbín beer of poor quality

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 shebeen



"cabin where unlicensed liquor is sold and drunk," 1781, chiefly in Ireland and Scotland, from Irish seibin "small mug," also "bad ale," diminutive of seibe "mug, bottle, liquid measure." The word immigrated and persisted in South African and West Indian English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper