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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shellback

Contemporary Examples of shellback

Historical Examples of shellback

  • 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 equatorCompare polliwog (def. 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