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shoehorn

[shoo-hawrn]
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noun
  1. a shaped piece of horn, metal, or the like, inserted in the heel of a shoe to make it slip on more easily.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to force into a limited or tight space: Can you shoehorn four of us into the back seat of your car?
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Origin of shoehorn

First recorded in 1580–90; shoe + horn
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shoehorn

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Do you know that some mornings he has to get his hat on with a shoehorn.

    Ulysses

    James Joyce

  • He cant find a shoehorn with which to get into his breeches.

    Conscript 2989

    Irving Crump

  • Even if he had any flavor and wasn't tougher'n a shoehorn, he's too much for us to eat.

    The Black Fawn

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • To dig up de profundis a shoehorn that you need is a more remarkable achievement than to unearth a new Pompeii.

    Bizarre

    Lawton Mackall

  • He certainly has arrived at what a witty American friend of mine would call the "Shoehorn stage."


British Dictionary definitions for shoehorn

shoehorn

noun
  1. a smooth curved implement of horn, metal, plastic, etc, inserted at the heel of a shoe to ease the foot into it
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verb
  1. (tr) to cram (people or things) into a very small space
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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 shoehorn

n.

1580s, from shoe (n.) + horn (n.); earlier shoeing-horn (mid-15c.).

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v.

in the figurative sense of "to put or thrust (something somewhere) by means of a 'tool,' " 1859, from shoehorn (n.). Earlier it meant "to cuckold" (mid-17c.), with a play on horn.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper