1. the front part of the leg from the knee to the ankle.
  2. the lower part of the foreleg in cattle.
  3. the shinbone or tibia, especially its sharp edge or front portion.
  4. Chiefly British. a cut of beef similar to the U.S. shank, usually cut into small pieces for stewing.
verb (used with or without object), shinned, shin·ning.
  1. to climb by holding fast with the hands or arms and legs and drawing oneself up.

Origin of shin

before 1000; Middle English shine, Old English scinu; cognate with Dutch scheen, German Schien(bein) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for shinned

Historical Examples of shinned

  • When next I reached a ridgy spot I chose a good pine and shinned it.

  • In a flash I'd shinned over the stone wall and was headin' 'em off.

    Torchy and Vee

    Sewell Ford

  • The satisfied bear strolled to the fence, shinned up it and over.

    Free Air

    Sinclair Lewis

  • He shinned up into the hole, and pulled the grill back into its slot behind him.

    Gold in the Sky

    Alan Edward Nourse

  • The two men that were hooking on grabbed the tackles and shinned for dear life.

    There She Blows!

    William Hussey Macy

British Dictionary definitions for shinned


  1. the front part of the lower leg
  2. the front edge of the tibia
  3. mainly British a cut of beef, the lower foreleg
verb shins, shinning or shinned
  1. (when intr, often foll by up) to climb (a pole, tree, etc) by gripping with the hands or arms and the legs and hauling oneself up
  2. (tr) to kick (a person) in the shins

Word Origin for shin

Old English scinu; related to Old High German scina needle, Norwegian dialect skina small disc


  1. the 21st letter in the Hebrew alphabet (ש), transliterated as sh

Word Origin for shin

from Hebrew shīn, literally: tooth
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 shinned



Old English scinu "shin, fore part of the lower leg," from Proto-Germanic *skino "thin piece" (cf. Dutch scheen, Old High German scina, German Schienbein "shin, shinbones"), from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split" (see shed (v.)). Shin splints is attested from 1930.



"to climb by using arms and legs" (originally a nautical word), 1829, from shin (n.). Related: Shinned; shinning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shinned in Medicine


  1. The front part of the leg located below the knee and above the ankle.
  2. The tibia.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.