Origin of shucking


  1. a husk or pod, as the outer covering of corn, hickory nuts, chestnuts, etc.
  2. Usually shucks. Informal. something useless or worthless: They don't care shucks about the project.
  3. the shell of an oyster or clam.
verb (used with object)
  1. to remove the shucks from: to shuck corn.
  2. to remove or discard as or like shucks; peel off: to shuck one's clothes.
  3. Slang. to get rid of (often followed by off): a bad habit I couldn't shuck off for years.
  1. shucks, Informal. (used as a mild exclamation of disgust or regret.)

Origin of shuck

First recorded in 1665–75; origin uncertain
Related formsshuck·er, noun


verb (used with object) Slang.
  1. to deceive or lie to.

Origin of shuck

1955–60; origin uncertain; perhaps from exclamation shucks! (see shuck1) taken as a feigned sign of rural ignorance or a sham apology Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shucking

shed, shell, peel, remove, husk, strip, discard, pod, ditch, jettison, worthless

Examples from the Web for shucking

Contemporary Examples of shucking

  • Shucking oysters is a particular skill and a task best approached clear-headed and with no distractions.

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    What to Eat

    September 1, 2009

Historical Examples of shucking

British Dictionary definitions for shucking


  1. the outer covering of something, such as the husk of a grain of maize, a pea pod, or an oyster shell
verb (tr)
  1. to remove the shucks from
  2. informal, mainly US and Canadian to throw off or remove (clothes, etc)
Derived Formsshucker, noun

Word Origin for shuck

C17: American dialect, of unknown origin
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 shucking



"to remove the shucks from," 1819, from or related to shuck (n.). Related: Shucked; shucking.

Many extended senses are from the notion of "stripping" an ear of corn, or from the capers associated with husking frolics; e.g. "to strip (off) one's clothes" (1848) and "to deceive, swindle, cheat, fool" (1959); phrase shucking and jiving "fooling, deceiving" is suggested from 1966, in U.S. black English, but cf. shuck (v.) a slang term among "cool musicians" for "to improvise chords, especially to a piece of music one does not know" (1957), and shuck (n.) "a theft or fraud," in use by 1950s among U.S. blacks.

[B]lack senses probably fr[om] the fact that black slaves sang and shouted gleefully during corn-shucking season, and this behavior, along with lying and teasing, became a part of the protective and evasive behavior normally adopted towards white people in "traditional" race relations; the sense of "swindle" is perhaps related to the mid-1800s term to be shucked out, "be defeated, be denied victory," which suggests that the notion of stripping someone as an ear of corn is stripped may be basic in the semantics. ["Dictionary of American Slang"]



"husk, pod, shell," 1670s, of unknown origin. Cf. shuck (v.). Later used in reference to the shells of oysters and clams (1872). Figurative as a type of something worthless from 1836.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper