Shellac (v.) & spit-coat
Douglas G. Wilson
douglas at NB.NET
Thu Nov 14 09:56:42 UTC 2002
>(#1) "[give x a good shellacking]"
> which means in comon parlance to either ... defeat decisively, or ... to
> batter ....
There is also "shellacked" = "intoxicated". (Ingestion of shellac by
alcoholics is not unknown, but I doubt its relevance.)
>The two possible sources that might make sense for the slang
>usage is either (a) when one coats something with shellac, it's
>a complete covering, so by extension from the completeness
>componnet we'd get 'to completely' do something, or (b) a dark
>red dye is made from shellac, and beating someone physically
I find (a) conceivable, (b) unlikely.
Here are my guesses; I find any of them plausible, or a combination.
(1) Derivative of German "schlagen" (= "strike") or equivalent. Cf.
supposed etymology of "schlock" (from Yiddish). Cf. "Our team really got
clobbered", "I really got hammered on schnapps last night", "They really
gave him a pounding".
(2) Onomatopoeic (cf. "smack", "whack", etc.).
(3) [The books seem to favor this one] Shellacking being the last step in
finishing something; thus something shellacked is something completed,
something which has been "finished off".
-- Doug Wilson
More information about the Ads-l